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Posts Tagged ‘technical skills’

Friends of CTE Blog Series: Career Technical Education’s Role in Achieving Talent Sustainability

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Jorge Perez is senior vice president of Manpower North America, overseeing ManpowerGroup’s staffing business in the United States and Canada. Perez, recently named one of the 100 most influential leaders in the staffing industry by Staffing Industry Analysts, is an expert in workforce trends and is passionate about equal employment opportunities.

Jorge Perez, senior vice president of Manpower North America

Jorge Perez, senior vice president of Manpower North America

Historically, the world’s focus around sustainability has been on environment and natural resources. But in a time of unprecedented unemployment, combined with critical talent shortages, there is also a great need and opportunity for the world to shift its focus to talent as a critical resource for sustainability. At Manpower, this is at the core of what we do – connecting people to jobs to improve a person’s employability, which also builds communities, countries and the lives of individuals.

Part of talent sustainability is equipping people with the tools, opportunities and training they need to achieve their goals. For many years, we have been telling our young people that the training they need to achieve their goals is only in the form of a four-year degree. Unfortunately, we’ve been doing our young people a disservice with this advice. As a result, many young professionals are graduating from college with astronomical student loan debt and diminished career prospects due to the high unemployment still lingering from the recession.

It’s Time for a Mindset Shift
According to ManpowerGroup’s 2013 Talent Shortage Survey, 39 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty finding staff with the right skills. In the same survey, employers report that the most difficult jobs to fill are skilled trades positions. Drivers, technicians and mechanics also make the list. There is at least one thing each of these positions has in common – all require technical or vocational training, not a four-year college degree. Knowing the skills that are in demand, why are we guiding the vast majority of students toward a university education?

There needs to be a collective mindset shift in how society views Career Technical Education (CTE). We have to acknowledge that the four-year university experience is not for everyone, and we’ve made the mistake of steering too many kids in that direction in the past. There was a perception that the jobs accessible to students who did not go the four-year college route, like manufacturing jobs, were dirty and dangerous. That’s an outdated idea, and we need to bring honor back to manufacturing and the skilled trades. Parents, teachers, guidance counselors and students themselves need to understand what it’s really like to work in a modern manufacturing environment – it’s clean, it’s high tech, there is upward mobility. It’s very rewarding – personally, professionally and monetarily – for those who choose this path.

Getting back to CTE – it is a critical component of the educational system. We need CTE because it prepares students for both college and career readiness. CTE is focused on preparing students for their career path of choice, with the understanding that most careers require some postsecondary education and training. Right now, this country needs students to be made aware of the demand for careers that call for skilled training as plumbers, welders, carpenters, machinists and the like. Students need to know that these career paths offer employment security at a time when job security is no longer a guarantee. It’s time to reinvent the image of technical training and associated technical careers so we can move toward talent sustainability.

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry to researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at [email protected]

By Melinda in CTE: Learning that works for America, News
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Register Now for Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar Featuring Area CTE Centers: Conquering the Skills Gap through Business-Industry Collaboration

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Area CTE Centers operate in a variety of ways – from shared-time centers offering primarily technical training to full-time centers that provide students with both academic instruction and technical training – but all provide opportunities for students to receive relevant, rigorous CTE. And at a time when employers say that they are unable to find workers who have the right skills to fill job vacancies, area CTE centers provide a crucial link between the knowledge and skills that students learn and those demanded by local businesses.

Join us for a webinar that features state and local leaders who will discuss area CTE centers in their states and how they are making connections to the needs of business and industry and their communities.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 25th at 3 p.m. ET. Speakers include:

Steve Gratz, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Career-Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education
Harold Niehaus
Director of Instructional Development, Miami Valley Career Technology Center
Paula Bowles
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education
Bill Kramer
Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Canadian Valley Technology Center, El Reno, OK

Link to register

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Webinars
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Friends of CTE Blog Series: PG&E Uses Public-Private Partnerships to Address Skilled Candidate Shortage

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

John R. Simon is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, one of the largest combination natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. PG&E has 22,000 employees who serve 15 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in California.

John R. Simon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company

John R. Simon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Our customers rely on us to provide safe, reliable and affordable gas and electricity across Northern and Central California. Our workforce is the key to making that happen. Unfortunately, our company is faced with two converging workforce issues: 1) a significant number of employees will need to be replaced due to retirement or attrition over the next five years, and 2) we have a shortage of skilled candidates for our skilled craft jobs. Without a qualified pipeline of candidates ready to join the ranks of PG&E, it will be extremely difficult for us to do our job.

A Unique Model

PG&E has taken this matter into our own hands by creating PowerPathway a collaborative workforce development model built upon the public-private partnerships between PG&E, California community colleges and universities, community-based training organizations, the public workforce development system, unions and other industry employers. At the heart of this model is the need to support the development of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that meet the workforce needs of PG&E and the utilities industry.

CTE’s Role

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium’s (NASDCTEc) vision for CTE is partially based on the principal that CTE must actively partner with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs. With the guidance and partnership of business and industry professionals, CTE can help students understand the realities of the workforce and economy while preparing them to be college and career ready.

In the case of PG&E’s PowerPathway, candidates participate in a 240-hour utilities-industry CTE program. Coursework for the training program includes basic gas and electricity, safety, physical conditioning, math, reading and other employability subjects vital to workplace success. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates receive a certificate of completion from the community college and PG&E’s PowerPathway. These certificates demonstrate that the graduate is a work-ready and competitive candidate for employment within the energy and utilities sector. Note: Some community colleges also offer credit for successful completion of the program.

Successes – The Numbers

PowerPathway started in 2008, graduating about 75 students the first year. Fast forward five years, and we’ll be graduating more than 250 students in 2013. Not only are we scaling our programs, we are consistently placing PowerPathway graduates into industry positions. As of the first quarter of 2012, 71 percent of graduates have been hired into industry positions, a majority with PG&E. The top five jobs in which students have found employment at PG&E are utility worker, apprentice electrician, gas service rep, materials handler and nuclear security guard.

Seventy percent of those hired from the PowerPathway candidate pool progress into apprenticeships or higher job classifications within one year of hire. The rate of retention after six months is also significantly higher for those who have graduated from PowerPathway – 98 percent versus 88 percent for the same skilled craft classifications. In addition, nearly 90 percent of PG&E supervisors who have hired PowerPathway graduates said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their performance.

A Win-Win for All 

By collaborating with CTE and local partners in the community, PG&E has been able to grow a more qualified and career-ready pool of candidates to join our workforce. In addition, building a strong internal brand for PowerPathway programs as a trusted source of quality candidates has been a huge component of sustainability and scalability for our programs. PG&E is a strong proponent of investing in its future workforce, and we’ve found a model that works. You can learn more about PowerPathway at www.pge.com/powerpathway. We encourage all companies to consider leveraging the power of public-private partnerships to advance CTE and strengthen their future pipeline of talent.

 

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at [email protected].

By Melinda in CTE: Learning that works for America, News
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Texas Bills Would Create a Fast Start Program for Students

Friday, March 8th, 2013

The Texas Fast Start Program, an initiative designed to train workers faster and in the skills local industries need most, is being proposed via a pair of companion bills recently introduced into the Texas House and Senate, according to Dan Zehr of the American-Statesman.

In the news release, Zehr stated “The program would bring community colleges and public institutions together with employers to identify and craft training programs for needed skills. But it would also allow students to advance through classes as they master various skills, rather than requiring a arbitrary number of hours in classrooms or labs.”

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Public Policy
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Friends of CTE Blog: CTE, Quality Workforce are Needed for Stronger American Businesses

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Roy Schroer is Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources at Union Pacific Railroad, North America’s premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States.

Roy Schroer, Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources, Union Pacific Railroad

Strengthening the Labor Pool

One of America’s most successful and iconic companies, Union Pacific Railroad delivers the goods families and businesses use daily.  Celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2012, we recognize that one of the most vital elements to our success is a quality workforce. The foundation of our workforce has been our ability to recruit top-tier students when they complete their education.

Union Pacific hires college graduates who possess the necessary skill sets to quickly become an asset to the company.  The learning curve is limited for graduates who have the fundamental knowledge needed for their respective positions.  However, we are experiencing a shortage of employees skilled in important trades and crafts taught in Career Technical Education (CTE).

Offer earlier opportunities

High school students – or even younger students – need more opportunities to learn the necessary trade skills to become the next generation of diesel mechanics, industrial engineers and electricians.  Today, students complete high school and face one of two choices: go to college or start looking for a job.  But how do we expect someone with a high school education and no workforce experience to compete in the job market?  It is likely that students with just a high school degree or less will only be able to obtain a low-skilled, and thus low-wage position, to support themselves or their families.

Business and industry recognize that CTE can play a critical role in helping to maintain a pipeline of potential employees for businesses across the nation. CTE options are key to preparing our young students to learn skilled trades, gain valuable work experience and discover what path is most suitable for them.  These education options are beneficial to the future employees, help education systems achieve the goal of producing graduates who will be productive citizens, and will ultimately benefit employers as well.

Win-win solutions      

Companies dedicate significant resources to recruiting, hiring and training new employees, however we experience loss when employees do not enjoy their new job or are not adequately prepared; they leave the position and company.  If students had opportunities to learn about various jobs, trades and crafts during their formal education experience, schools could produce employee candidates who have explored their interests and are better prepared to enter the workforce and succeed. Collaboration between schools and businesses to develop quality CTE programs could address such issues.

For example, Union Pacific Railroad works with local schools through our Direction Recruitment Education and Mentoring (DREAM) program in which employees provide students with career, educational and social guidance.  The mentoring program serves as a vehicle to develop students’ self-esteem and confidence in their personal and career ambitions as they explore the business world.

Providing CTE options to students as early as possible will provide a new stream of job candidates who have a much better understanding of their desired career, which makes for happier, more productive and efficient employees, as well as a deeper and stronger workforce for American businesses.

How can you get involved?

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager at [email protected].

By Erin in CTE: Learning that works for America, News
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CTE in the news: Skills gap hinders unemployed, business and industry

Friday, November 30th, 2012

More than 20 million Americans have been unemployed or underemployed since January 2009, so why is it that there are more than 3 million job openings in the United States? Experts point to the skills gap as part of what is hindering the recovery of our nation’s economy, according to experts in a recent  60 Minutes news special.

The skills gap is a frustrating problem among out-of-work individuals, business and industries that need positions filled, and the rest of the nation that wants to see the health of the economy revitalized. The skills gap issue raises the question as to whether the nation is investing in and supporting programs such as Career Technical Education that will help educate and train workers.

Ryan Costella, head of Strategic Initiatives at Click Bond, a Nevada-based manufacturing company, is aiming to address the skills-gap issue among the company’s entry-level positions. Because applicants are lacking basic skills, Click Bond is collaborating with nearby community college to offer free training programs for select unemployed individuals.

“I think far too long we’ve had our heads in the sand, you know. We make our parts. We just hoped that the education system would produce what we need,” Costella said. “And I think the recession, I think a lot of things have taught us, ‘no, you have to engage.’”

Click Bond’s workers are expected to operate, program and fix computer-controlled machines that make precision parts, “accurate to a thousandth of an inch; the thickness of a piece of paper.”

“I can’t tell you how many people even coming out of higher ed with degrees who can’t put a sentence together without a major grammatical error. It’s a problem,” Costella said. “…We’re in the business of making fasteners that hold systems together that protect people in the air when they’re flying. We’re in the business of perfection.”

The experiences are not limited to the company, he noted. And the problem will only grow worse as a wave of baby boomers who work in these skill-focused jobs retire. Education and training are much needed to prepare the next generation of workers.

At Alcoa, a large aluminum company, executives are working on the challenge of retraining individuals so they keep up with advances in technology. Avoiding the widening of the skills gap is critical to the nation’s economic recovery. According to the report, Alcoa is one of the largest and oldest companies in the nation and has been hiring skilled workers since 1888.

“The environment is changing all the time. And if you don’t stay on top of things, you know, somebody will eat your lunch,” noted Klaus Kleinfield, Alcoa CEO.

“[Employees] also need to understand that their incomes over time are a direct function of their education and not just education, their skills, [and] what they can bring to the table.”

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in Uncategorized
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CTE in the News: If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The skills gap — the lack of workers qualified to fill open high-skilled jobs – will only continue to widen and threaten the future of our nation if policymakers, industries and education leaders do not address the issue of equipping students (of all ages) with the skills demanded by the economy, according to a recent New York Times op-ed.

“We’re in the midst of a perfect storm: a Great Recession that has caused a sharp increase in unemployment and a Great Inflection — a merger of the information technology revolution and globalization that is simultaneously wiping out many decent-wage, middle-skilled jobs, which were the foundation of our middle class, and replacing them with decent-wage, high-skilled jobs. Every decent-paying job today takes more skill and more education, but too many Americans aren’t ready,” says Thomas L. Friedman, author of the op-ed.

The nation has three million open jobs around the country but an 8 percent unemployment rate, he notes.

Friedman calls for reform with a focus on assisting community colleges and universities to keep pace with the changes in the economy so courses reflect industry demands and students are prepared for the jobs of today and the future. Further, he suggests a type of Race to the Top initiative to incentivize businesses to embed workers in universities and universities to embed professors inside businesses “so we get a much better match between schooling and the job markets.”

Friedman goes on to close his op-ed with insight from Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College: “The skill shortage is real… The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in Uncategorized
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PARCC Sets Benchmark to Define Academic Preparation Necessary for College and Career Readiness

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governing Board and the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) have established a common benchmark to define the academic preparation necessary for college and career readiness.

Recently, the groups voted unanimously to adopt a College- and Career-Ready Determination (CCRD) policy and Policy-Level Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs). Agreement on a CCRD policy and the PLDs in mathematics and English language arts/literacy is a significant milestone in the development of the next generation assessments, according to a recent PARCC announcement.

The CCRD policy defines the level of academic preparation in English language arts/literacy and mathematics students need to be successful in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in two- and four-year public institutions of higher education. Such institutions include technical colleges that award degrees or credentials aligned to entry requirements of middle- or high-skilled jobs.

Further, students who achieve at the CCR level on the secondary assessments will be able to enter directly into certain entry-level, credit-bearing courses in those subject areas without needing to take placement tests.

The CCRD policy recognizes the importance of academic preparation, but also notes that a focus on that area alone does not encompass the full range of knowledge, skills, and characteristics that students need to be successful. Skills and traits such as persistence, motivation, time management, employability skills and technical skills also are essential. The CCRDs aims to serve as one among many tactics to support students as they work to be college and career ready.

Learn more at http://www.parcconline.org/about-parcc.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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Pilot Project on Improving Data Exchange Between Industry Certification Organizations and State Education and Workforce Longitudinal Data Systems

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

NASDCTEc is serving on the advisory committee, led by ACTE and collaboration of national and state partners, to support a project that expands and improves data exchange between industry certification organizations and state longitudinal data systems.

 The project is based on a multi-year roadmap for the development of a national data exchange clearinghouse that will allow states and educational institutions to gain access to data on industry-recognized certifications earned by students.

The clearinghouse could serve as an excellent resource to inform the decisions associated with programming, teaching and learning within CTE and provide a crucial missing link in the pursuit of quality data reflecting student performance of CTE programs.

Over the next year, in addition to a focus on raising awareness of the need for improving data exchange a pilot project will be conducted between states and industry partners on how data can be effectively and securely exchanged and used for the benefit of all parties. Current industry partners include CompTIA and The Manufacturing Institute (an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, or NAM).

The Department of Education is also interested in the development and outcome of this project. Industry certifications and licensure are a growing part of the expected outcomes of career and technical education (CTE) programs, and the Department is interested in the identification of solutions to the issues surrounding state collection of valid and reliable data.

This pilot project is based on a recent Illinois and CompTIA project that demonstrated the feasibility of linking state and certification data, and states are currently being recruited to participate.

To find out more about the project or to submit a state application to participate in the pilot project please go to the web page to view the documents and information or contact Alisha Hyslop at ACTE.

 

Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

 

By Dean in Career Clusters®, NASDCTEc Announcements, News
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New York’s P-Tech Program Leads Students to Success

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In New York, the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) is a new style of Career Technical Education (CTE) school that weaves high school and college curriculums into a six-year program tailored for a job in the technology industry.

Students are following a course of studies developed in consultation with IBM, and are expected to emerge with associate’s degrees in applied science in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering technology. The first group of students is slated to complete coursework by 2017.

Other school systems around the country are encouraged by this approach. The Chicago area opened five similar schools this year with corporate partners in telecommunications and technology. Besides New York and Illinois, education officials in Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee have committed to creating such schools as well.

According to a New York Times article by Al Baker, John B. King, Jr., the state education commissioner said “When we view high-quality CTE programs, we see how engaged those students are and what clear aspirations they have for their future.”

CTE programs such as these enable students to be successful by gaining the skills and training needed through specialized programs of study. These programs achieve added strength through a partnership with IBM that provides mentoring to students and assistance to the school’s educators.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in News
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