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Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

More Career Readiness, Life Skills Needed in High School, Say Recent Graduates

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

One year after high school graduation, most students wish they had received more life skills training and more opportunities for career readiness during high school, according to a recent survey.

The College Board, a non-profit organization seeking to connect students to college, released a national survey of high school graduates who evaluated their high school experiences based on preparation for college or careers.

Students also reported that they would have benefitted from more practical career readiness and life skills training during high school, such as managing personal finances, to better prepare for college or careers. Students also wish they had taken more rigorous high school course work in science, math and writing.

Students overwhelmingly reported that a college degree is worth the time and money, and 90 percent of respondents stated that students need to complete training or college after high school to succeed in a future career.

Career Technical Education (CTE) programs fill these gaps by combining rigorous coursework with meaningful hands-on experiences to fully prepare CTE graduates for college and careers.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Report Finds STEM Jobs Still on the Rise

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The nation’s unemployment rate remains high and jobs are scarce, yet workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields remain in high demand.

A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that STEM jobs have grown three times as fast as non-STEM jobs over the last decade. Last year, the almost 8 million Americans who worked in STEM fields represented only about 6 percent of the entire labor force. Yet, the country relies on these workers to drive America’s competitiveness and innovation.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce: Recent and Projected Growth in STEM and Non-STEM Employment

The low supply of available STEM workers translates into higher wages and less joblessness than non-STEM employees. Even STEM degree holders working in non-STEM fields benefit similarly. The future for STEM jobs continues to looks bright, as the Department of Commerce projects STEM jobs will continue to grow at a much faster rate than non-STEM jobs.

STEM jobs include professional and technical support occupations in computer science and mathematics, engineering, and life and physical sciences. Career Technical Education (CTE) students in the STEM Career Cluster are prepared for further education or careers in these high-wage, high-demand fields through rigorous academic and technical training.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst, [email protected]

By Kara in News, Publications
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Study: How Much Does A College Major Impact Potential Earnings?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Which college majors are linked to the highest job earnings? A report released last week by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed 171 majors to report on median salaries in each field.

Anthony Carnevale, Director of the Center, stated that “The majors that are most popular are not the ones that make the most money.” He also remarked that, while he views attaining a bachelor’s degree as necessary, a student’s choice of major may be an even more important decision.

Not surprisingly, majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields take the top ten spots for salary. The highest earners are Petroleum Engineers with a median salary of $120,000. All ten of the lowest median earnings are in social science fields. Counseling/Psychology majors earn the least with an annual average of $29,000.

The report also reveals the majors with the lowest unemployment, including Military Technologies and School Student Counseling, and those with the highest unemployment, including Social Psychology and Nuclear Engineering.

Race and gender earnings gaps are present in all majors.

The huge disparities in earnings potential confirm the necessity of career guidance in secondary and postsecondary education. Career guidance is a key part of Career Technical Education (CTE), and helps students to attain postsecondary certificates or credentials in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs.

By Kara in News, Research
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Legislative Update: Senate Rejects FY 2012 Budget Proposals, House Committee Votes to Cut 43 Education Programs, Bills Introduced

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Senate Rejects FY 2012 Budget Proposals

The Senate voted on four separate FY 2012 budget plans yesterday, and each of the plans was rejected. The budget plans set the overall spending caps for Congress and, in most cases, allocate funds to the subcommittees.

The budget rejections signal that passing an FY 2012 budget will again be a drawn-out process.

House Committee Votes to Cut 43 Education Programs

The House moved forward with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) yesterday by voting to cut 43 education programs identified in a bill proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) two weeks ago.

The measure, the first in a series of ESEA bills, would cut many programs that were defunded in the FY 2011 budget, those consolidated or eliminated in Obama’s proposed FY 2012 budget, and those that have not been funded recently.

Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), stated his support, “[The bill] is a starting point that helps us narrow the role of the federal government while making sure that taxpayer dollars can be dedicated to the most efficient K-12 programs.”

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) agreed that some programs should be consolidated, but argued that removing programs completely would cut off valuable resources and harm students.

The measure will be unlikely to gain support from the Democratic Senate, as Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate’s education committee, and other Senators have strongly opposed many of the program cuts.

Encouraging Engineering Education in K-12

Rep. Paul Tonko (NY) introduced H.R. 1951, a bill to award planning and implementation grants to schools to enable them to integrate engineering education into K-12 instruction and curriculum. The legislation would also provide evaluation grants to measure the effectiveness of the programs.

Post 9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act

Sen. Tom Petri (WI) introduced H.R. 1947, the Post 9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act, to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The legislation would update the Troops to Teachers program to increase the number of schools eligible to participate, and would make more retiring servicemen and women qualified to participate. Since 1993, over 12,000 retired members have brought math, science and foreign language expertise to schools through the program.

Bill to Address Nursing Shortage

Rep. Sensenbrenner (WI) introduced H.R. 1929, a bill to provide relief to the projected nurse shortage. The bill would create a career ladder for nurses, encourage pipelines for nursing education, and encourage the participation of public and private employers and other organizations. The goal is to encourage current healthcare workers to become nurses.

By Kara in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Improve STEM Proficiency, Lifelong Learning Accounts, Community College Energy Training, STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The House is in recess until May 23rd. The following bills were introduced recently:

Education Agenda to Improve STEM Proficiency

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 969, an innovation education agenda as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill would award planning and implementation grants to state educational agencies to implement activities integrating engineering into K-12 instruction and curriculum. Additionally, evaluation grants would be provided to assess the performance of the program. The bill aims to graduate more STEM students, attract more STEM teachers, and raise science proficiency to restore America’s competitiveness.

Lifelong Learning Accounts Act

Rep. John Larson (CT) and several others reintroduced H.R. 1869, the Lifelong Learning Accounts Act (LiLA). The bill promotes continuing education as a way to improve job skills and promote workers’ marketability. LiLA would create worker-owned, employer-matched savings accounts to incentivize career-related skill development and to promote a competitive workforce through lifelong learning.

Community College Energy Training Act

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM) introduced H.R. 1881, the Community College Energy Training Act, to help community colleges provide clean energy workforce training. The bill would require the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Labor to establish a program at community colleges for workforce training in sustainable energy. The legislation currently has 24 cosponsors.

STEM for Girls, Underrepresented Minorities

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA) reintroduced H.R. 1903 to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide schools with grants to encourage girls and underrepresented minorities in fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Woolsey says that it’s important to address gender and racial gaps in the STEM field to provide more opportunities for all students, and also as a smart economic strategy for the country.

By Kara in Public Policy
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New Report Says Expand and Promote CTE

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) should be expanded and promoted to address the skills gap and to staff the American workforce, according to a new report.

The HR Policy Association, an organization representing the chief human resource officers of major employers, produced the report to lay out specific changes to ensure the competitiveness of the American workforce and fulfilling careers for job seekers.

The organization’s members recommend the following changes that can be addressed through CTE:

The report states that “Americans are not being educated in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of today’s highly technical work processes and products.” Our country increasingly relies upon ever-changing technology, and workers need skills to develop, repair, and maintain it.

CTE provides a solution. Comprehensive CTE programs prepare students to be college and career ready and to effectively fill vacancies for skilled jobs.

By Kara in News, Resources
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Vermont to Host National Association for Workforce Improvement STEM Conference May 24 & 25

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Vermont to Host National Association for Workforce Improvement STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Conference May 24 & 25, Burlington Hilton

On May 24 and 25, Vermont will host an annual conference of the National Association for Workforce Improvement (NAWI) at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington, VT.  NAWI is a professional organization of high school and community college career and technical education administrators, faculty, business and government from across the United States and as far away as Hawaii, California and Florida.  Between 100-150 professionals are expected to attend some or all of the two day conference.  The event is co-sponsored by the Vermont Department of Education.

The conference will focus on the future of STEM education.  The afternoon of May 24 participants will discuss what STEM education should look like in 5 years.  There are more than 18 one hour workshops, keynote speakers from Washington DC and elsewhere, several interactive sessions the afternoon of May 24 followed by a reception for educators, government and businesses.

To see the program listing and register, go to http://www.nawionline.org/conference/index.html

This information was submitted by Douglas Webster, Career and Technical Education Coordinator, Vermont Department of Education. Douglas can be reached at 802-578-7738 or
[email protected].

By Ramona in Meetings and Events
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NAEP Results: More Students Choosing Challenging Courses

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Findings from a recent National Center for Education Statistics report suggest a strong relationship between the rigor of a high school student’s coursework and the student’s academic achievement.

The report, America’s High School Graduates: Results from the NAEP High School Transcript Study, analyzed student transcripts for coursework taken, credits earned, and grade point average (GPA). Specifically, the connection between courses taken and student achievement was considered.

Based on a representative sample of 37,700 public and private high school graduates, the analysis of the 12th grade NAEP assessment reveals that students taking more challenging coursework earn higher math and science scores. On average, 2009 graduates earned more credits, including those in career technical education (CTE) courses, than any previous graduating class. Additionally, the overall GPA for students taking classes in areas like CTE increased from 3.03 to 3.39.

Students taking Algebra I before entering high school scored 31 points higher on the math portion of the NAEP than those who did not take Algebra I until high school. Additionally, the study indicates that students taking basic or mid-level curriculum can greatly increase the rigor of their studies simply by adding more challenging science classes. Girls were found to take less science coursework than boys.

The report describes that students taking the most challenging or “rigorous” level coursework earned proficient-level scores on the NAEP test. On average, students taking “mid-level” curriculum or “standard” curriculum (the lowest level of coursework) received basic-level scores on the NAEP exam, indicating only partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for success in 12th grade math and science.

The report states that, on average, high school students are taking increasingly challenging coursework, and the increased rigor leads to higher student achievement. We can continue this trend by increasing the rigor of CTE programs of study and by ensuring that CTE students are taking rigorous math and science courses.

By Kara in News, Research
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Creation of ARPA-ED Agency Would Catapult Science and Technology Education Research

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

In his January 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expounded upon his goals to out-innovate other nations through ground-breaking education initiatives leading to increased college completion rates. Part of the President’s strategy includes strengthening educational technology research and development, and his FY2012 budget proposes adding a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED), to press forward with such initiatives.

The Department of Education states that “ARPA-ED will aggressively pursue technological breakthroughs that have the potential to transform teaching and learning the way the Internet, GPS, and robotics… have transformed commerce, travel, warfare and the way we live our daily lives.” Based on the innovative Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-ED will focus on funding transformative projects in the areas of teaching and learning. Some projects to be pursued include:

Aside from improving K-12 and postsecondary learning, the Department also suggests that projects will deliver fast-paced learning opportunities to help retrain displaced workers for workforce reentry.

To read more, visit the Department of Education’s Winning the Education Future: The Role of ARPA-ED.

By Kara in News, Research
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Study: Out-of-School Time STEM Programs for Girls

Friday, March 4th, 2011

A recently updated Harvard report credits out-of-school time (OST) programs for increasing middle school and high school girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) – areas that are a part of many career technical education programs.

The study evaluates six OST programs that engage female students (some also include male students) in STEM subjects through mentoring, field trips, afterschool programs, and other activities. Initial evaluations of the six OST programs reveal positive academic and behavioral outcomes for girls. The researchers conclude that female participants thrive in a “non-threatening and non-academic environment for hands-on learning that is collaborative, informal, and personal.” They also suggest that these and similar OST programs may be an effective way to lead more females into STEM careers.

To read the report, visit the Harvard Family Research Project’s Research Update 5: STEM Out-of-School Time Programs for Girls.

By Kara in Research
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