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Posts Tagged ‘technical skills assessments’

Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series: Education Malfunction is a Myth

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Todd Thibodeaux is CompTIA president and CEO.

Is today’s education system failing our children?

Not necessarily. The problem may be that too many people are limiting the boundaries of what makes up our education system.

Think about it. A lot of folks with a stake in the matter are doing just that and results indicate the traditional college route isn’t cutting it when it comes to career opportunities for young people.

More states, school districts, government leaders and students themselves are demanding improved preparation in career readiness in the form of industry certifications and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

In our particular quadrant of the professional world, the technical industry, there’s a greater demand today for young people entering the professional world to gain real-world training not always available through traditional academic avenues.  Add to that the expense of a post-secondary education and one can certainly understand the growing acceptance and encouragement of CTE programs as a viable substitute for an academic
 degree.

 


A student who graduates with a high school degree and an industry certification has the opportunity to garner a well-paying position while pursuing an education to continue up the ladder on a career path.

In the past decade, language within the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act focused on the inclusion of industry certifications as a measure of what must be attained to enter many industries and careers has increased dramatically.

Just as CompTIA certifications come in the form of high-stakes exams, government programs must quantify success or lack thereof to determine individual student achievements and program viability. More and more employers not only are recommending, but requiring attainment of those credentials.

Studies have shown that student graduates of CTE programs have a higher grade-point-average and a higher rate of graduation than their peers in high school.

In a form of unprecedented joint commitment from U.S. government agencies this April, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor promoted the use of career pathways as a “promising strategy” to help adults earn marketable skills and industry-recognized credentials toward employment. Career pathways such as CTE are to be a chief focus of integrated federal and state funding streams to advance higher levels of future education and better aligned training and employment.

Lest we forget Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity Project which balanced its illustration of an education system that has failed to engage students with a solution that has a strong emphasis on CTE?

All in all, actions within our academic, government and technical communities continue to align in favor of CTE programs as a valued method of preparing students to step foot in the workplace and succeed.

Today’s education system is not a failure. The boundaries of that traditional system just need to be expanded.

How Can You Get Involved?

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 Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager, at [email protected]

By Erin in News
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Legislative Update: House Appropriations, Community College Grants, ESEA Markup

Friday, September 30th, 2011

House Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill Released

As we told you this morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education released a draft of their FY12 appropriations bill. The bill provides for $153.4 billion in discretionary spending, which is $4 billion below FY11 enacted levels. However, this is a much smaller cut than the $18 billion proposed in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (WI) FY12 budget plan.

Perkins Act funding was maintained in the House’s current proposal, but not all education and workforce programs fared as well. The bill eliminates 31 programs from the Department of Education, including the Elementary and Secondary Counseling Act, High School Graduation Initiative, Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation grants, and FIPSE. The Pell grant maximum award was maintained at $5,550, but eligibility was eliminated for less-than–half-time students and the proposal would reduce the semesters that a student can receive the grant from 18 to 12.

Programs within the Department of Labor saw significant cuts, including:

The bill is not scheduled to be marked up by the Appropriations Committee, but these funding levels will likely be part of a House omnibus bill.

TAA Community College Grants Awarded

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter announced $500 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to 32 community colleges this week. The grants will be used for targeted training and workforce development to help dislocated workers obtain the skills they need to change careers. The grants support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide career pathways and build instructional programs that meet industry needs. Congress allocated $2 billion for the TAACCCT program to be awarded in each of fiscal years 2011-2014.  A list of grantees can be found here.

Senate ESEA Markup Scheduled

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced that they will markup an Elementary and Secondary Education Act bill on October 18. In a statement, Harkin said “This reauthorization is now more than four years overdue, and our students, schools, and communities cannot afford to wait any longer.” Draft language has not yet been released, but we will keep you posted on any further developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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Health Information Technology Education Grants Awarded

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $36 million in grants to five regional community college consortia to develop or improve non-degree health IT training programs that students can complete in six months or less. The grants were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These grants will be used to establish or expand programs with the goal of training more than 10,500 new health IT professionals annually by 2012. This goal is in response to President Obama’s healthcare reform initiatives, specifically transitioning to electronic health records by 2014.

The grants will also fund the development of model curriculum materials and technical skill assessments based on validated industry standards. These new HIT careers will provide opportunities for students participating in programs of study in both health science and information technology career clusters.

For a listing of the consortia as well as all the individual participating community colleges and funding levels, please visit HHS’s health IT webpage.

By Nancy in News
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Institute Report Out: Closing General Session Highlights Employer Needs

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
TimTaylor

Tim Taylor, Colorado Succeeds

We closed out the 8th annual Career Clusters Institute with a panel discussion lead by Tim Taylor, President of Colorado Succeeds, a coalition of business leaders who focus on education and workforce policy. He explained to the audience that the business community is excited about career pathways because they provide the “why” to students who question the relevance and importance of high school and postsecondary. The panel included Gary Barbosa, Lockheed Martin; Elaine Gantz Berman, Colorado State Board of Education; and Tom Currigan, Kaiser Permanente. Expanding on Mr. Taylor’s point about relevancy, Mr. Barbosa of Lockheed Martin stated that businesses should be part of enticing students to their industries and should be developing talent rather than just being the consumer of talent. He suggested that businesses should offer programs such as internships for teachers as a way to help them teach relevant skills in the classroom.

Ms. Gantz Berman said that Colorado just revised their state education standards to focus more on workforce readiness and 21st century skills, with a big emphasis on CTE.  They are also working on assessments that will be able to test these areas. She was also passionate about the need to get Career Clusters into all of our high schools – to “mainstream it” as she said. But she was not sure how to accomplish this.

Finally, Mr. Currigan of Kaiser Permanente emphasized the need for a skilled workforce. When a company considers moving to region, the first thing they look at is whether there are skilled workers there. In order to keep the workforce in tune with the times, he said each Career Cluster must be continually refreshed to keep up with the changes and new demands from industry. But more important than the specific technical skills required by the job, employers want workers who are able to navigate complexity and who understand connections – skills that the foundational Career Clusters Knowledge and Skills statements help students master.

By Nancy in Career Clusters®
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Data Quality Institute Posts Preliminary Outline, Shares Topics Being Considered

Friday, May 7th, 2010

According to the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN), the 2010 Data Quality Institute (DQI) will be ‘virtual,’ spreading out over a several week time period in late 2010, rather than concentrated into a single block of 1 1/2 to 2 days. Content will be offered via general strands, with sessions currently in consideration that include:

Refer to the PCRN Web site for more information.

PCRN is a resource of the Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE),  within the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

By Ramona in Meetings and Events
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ESEA Reauthorization Hearing: Standards and Assessments

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

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At yesterday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, “ESEA Reauthorization: Standards and Assessments,” much of the focus was on common core standards, college and career readiness, computer adaptive testing and multiple measures.

In his opening statement, Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) stressed the need for high standards in part because the cost of remediation for students entering postsecondary is in the billions, and more than 50 percent of high school students entering the workforce do not have the skills they need to do their jobs. Ranking member Michael Enzi (WY) agreed that students need to be held to high standards that prepare them for college and careers. He also stated that it is important for states to use various assessment models that measure higher order skills and 21st century skills that employers value.

Regarding college and career readiness, Dr. Cynthia Schmeiser of ACT told the committee that they believe that college readiness and career readiness are one in the same – the math and reading skills that students need to enter their first year of postsecondary are identical to the math and reading skills high school graduates need to enter the workforce. This definition differs from NASDCTEc’s.  We believe that while there is overlap between the knowledge and skills individuals need to successfully transition into postsecondary education and into the workforce, additional competency will be needed depending on the path a student chooses.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, much of the dialogue was related to CTE:

By Nancy in Legislation
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CTE State Directors Take Helms of Opportunity, Unveil New Vision for CTE

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

June SanfordThe world is changing at a rapid rate and as a result the nation’s education system has a new range of issues to face. A confluence of occurrences — national fiscal challenges, a flattening globe, and the winds of technology – has given rise to new economic challenges that have been impacting all sectors of our society, including education.

But with those challenges also comes opportunity, particularly for career technical education (CTE) – a system that addresses the nation’s needs to educate and train the economy to success. Recognizing the responsibility we have as leaders in the CTE community to combat these challenges, State Directors across the nation have taken the helms of rethinking how CTE serves individuals, the economy and society.

Recently, we have undertaken a major revamp of the guiding principles that have mapped our course for CTE in recent years. Acknowledging global influences, the evolution of the economy and the interconnectedness of all education stakeholders – from secondary to postsecondary, and educators to industry leaders – State Directors have a created a formal, unified plan for the way we will lead CTE into this new era.

New Vision Cover IconThat new plan is laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, which is a vision paper that is designed to serve as a guiding document to lead a new, progressive course for CTE. While spearheaded by State Directors, the vision paper is a product of teamwork that involved educators and administrators of all education levels, a mix of education associations, student groups and industry leaders. The principles reflect the effort to include and align the priorities of our valued stakeholders, who are all needed to successfully take CTE to the next level.

This vision paper highlights the major areas in which we recognize CTE must transform in order to best serve individuals. However, this is more than just a call to action. Our vision paper includes specific tasks that we have imposed on ourselves and ask of our peer stakeholders to implement. The tasks and vision are framed around the themes of five principles:

Already, CTE has played a leading role in equipping individuals for the jobs of today. While State Directors are looking to maintain our responsibility, we also accept the new, challenging task of preparing individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. A door has opened for CTE to showcase the value it holds for individuals and the nation as a whole. We have chosen not to squander this opportunity and the plan in our vision paper demonstrates just that.

June Sanford, President

By Erin in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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College and Career Readiness Goals Not Reflected in Most High School Accountability Systems

Friday, February 5th, 2010

In College-and-Career Ready: Using Outcomes Data to Hold High Schools Accountable for Student Success, the Education Sector reports that many districts rate schools solely on graduation rates and on student scores on basic-skills tests in a single year, but finds that most high school accountability systems fail to recognize college and career ready goals. The report suggests that states can do more to recognize college and career readiness goals by calculating the earnings of graduates who enter the workforce, broken down by occupation and industry sector.

By Ramona in Publications
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Data Quality Campaign Releases Annual Survey on Elements of Longitudinal Data Systems

Friday, February 5th, 2010

In order to track student progress and answer critical policy questions, states have been developing longitudinal data systems. The Data Quality Campaign’s Compendium report provides a national overview on state progress toward implementing the ten elements below:

According to the report, data on course-taking and grades (element 6), college readiness test scores (element 7), and other feedback from post-secondary institutions (element 9) can help determine whether high school courses and graduation standards are aligned with college and workplace expectations.

By Ramona in Publications, Research
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Raising the Bar: Technical Assessments for Secondary CTE Programs

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

The enactment of Perkins IV in 2006 elevated CTE standards and launched a new debate to the issue of technical skill assessments – a barometer used to measure new expectations for CTE programs, particularly at the secondary level. In a recent Techniques magazine article, a CTE-focused ACTE publication, NASDCTEc staff highlighted the challenges the CTE community faces when implementing these new assessments and the opportunities to maximize the efforts underway.

While some CTE stakeholders may look at a technical assessment as another component of the Perkins’ checklist, NASDCTEc staff suggests that the requirements present an avenue to elevate the value of CTE programs. Such an enhancement would be achieved by designing the assessments to have a direct and tangible benefit for students. “The assessments should serve as a signaling and credentialing tool for students entering the workplace and postsecondary education,” according to the article, Raising the Bar: Technical Assessments for Secondary CTE Programs.

Creating assessment and certification programs that are valued and recognized by industry and postsecondary education will require investment by and collaboration among all stakeholders – CTE state directors, industry, policymakers and other education stakeholders. Perkins offers education leaders the bully pulpit to enact the change needed to best serve our students with meaningful education and assessment programs that lead to successful careers. It is time to take advantage of this opportunity.

By Erin in Public Policy, Publications
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