This Week in CTE

April 28th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK 
Advance CTE released a new report, Raising the Bar: State Strategies for Developing and Approving High Quality Career Pathways, examining the role state leaders can play in promoting quality by leveraging policy, programs and resources to ensure all career pathways meet minimum standards. Take a look and how Tennessee, New Jersey and Delaware took on this important work.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Idaho Career & Technical Education released a video highlighting CTE students career aspirations and prospects.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

College and Career Indicators: How Do You Define CTE Completion?

April 27th, 2017

This post is written by Harris School Solutions, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

As we draw near to the end of another school year, we should be asking ourselves, “Have we prepared this year’s graduates to really be ‘college and career ready?’” To answer that question, we first must decide what, exactly, that phrase really means.

Nearly every state in the nation is on a fast and furious quest to answer this question. College and Career Indicators (CCI) have emerged, as each state is defining various criteria that can be measured to validate “college and career readiness.” In today’s world of data crunching, this phrase should not be just a subjective evaluation; it must be quantifiable, based on specific and measurable student outcomes.

Some examples of CCI are more easily measured. Business internships give students real-world work experience. Practical-skill attainment based on robust CTE Programs of Study can lead to increased student engagement. Industry credentials can be earned before a student graduates from high school.

However, one of the most highly sought after CCIs remains elusive and difficult to define: CTE completion. While everyone wants to claim their students have “completed” a career pathway or program of study, what exactly does this mean? Some states define it by the number of hours a student is enrolled in a given pathway. Others base it on the amount of curriculum completed, where 70 percent is often a universally accepted threshold of proficiency.

CTE completion rates are complicated by the fact that different states offer CTE programs during different intervals of secondary education. High schools that specialize in CTE often provide three- or four-year programs of study, where students can accumulate 360-400 hours of concentrated CTE study per year. In traditional high schools, students may take a CTE course for only two or three hours per week in a given semester, accumulating, on average, 180 hours of study. Some practitioners feel it’s important to distinguish between enrollment duration and attendance hours. If a student is absent for two weeks, she potentially could lose 30 or more hours of seat time, thus affecting her ability to “complete.”

Regardless, if our quest is to measure whether a student is truly “college and career ready,” then expressing these various metrics in a universal dashboard is critical. Though the goal of consensus may be ambitious, aggregating data to share CTE outcomes is nonetheless a necessity for objective comparison and subsequent improvement. Furthermore, interpreting the data to help key stakeholders – students and parents – understand the value of a CTE education will help students to realize the opportunity for high-skill, high-wage, high-demand careers.

California has taken the lead in creating a CTE College and Career Indicator Dashboard. The Association of Career and College Readiness Organizations (CAROCP) is trailblazing an initiative to define what deems a student to be “college and career ready.” What makes the California initiative impressive is that it is a grassroots movement; a group of 11 pilot sites have published the first edition of a California CCI Dashboard. They started with simple metrics, but have gained the attention of the California Department of Education. In fact, superintendents from across California recently marched into the State Capitol, armed with mobile devices, sharing evidence of CTE student success using the CCI Dashboard. The Senators loved it – and asked for more.

We know all students must be “college and career ready” by the time they graduate. By striving to utilize our CTE data in meaningful and productive ways, we can help others to realize the benefits that a CTE education has to offer today’s students in accomplishing that goal. But that only happens if we, as CTE educators, commit our time, resources, and energy to ensuring “college and career ready” stands for something more than just words – we must translate it into numbers.

To learn more about how your state can collect and measure College and Career Indicators, please contact Kathy Ritch, Harris School Solutions, at kritch@harriscomputer.com.

New Advance CTE Report Highlights States that Are Raising the Bar through Career Pathways Approval

April 26th, 2017

Next week, Advance CTE will recognize the winners of 2017’s Excellence in Action awards — an annual competition to elevate and celebrate high-quality programs of study. This year’s slate of competitors is stronger than ever, demonstrating how well-designed programs that integrate academic and technical instruction, span secondary and postsecondary education, and equip learners with relevant work-based learning experiences can prepare learners for academic achievement and career success.

Examples of strong programs of study — and career pathways, more broadly — exist in every state. Yet all too often these career pathways are islands of excellence, setting the bar for quality, but requiring further state action to ensure all students can benefit from strong career pathways. While the approach to developing career pathways varies across the nation, state leaders can play a role in promoting quality by leveraging policy, programs and resources to ensure all career pathways meet minimum standards.

Today Advance CTE released its newest report, Raising the Bar: State Strategies for Developing and Approving High-Quality Career Pathways. The report examines successes in Tennessee, New Jersey and Delaware to demonstrate how states can use the career pathways approval process to raise the level of quality.

  • In Tennessee, the Department of Education in 2013 underwent an exhaustive course review initiative to align all courses and programs of study with labor market standards. Through the initiative, working groups of teachers, postsecondary faculty and employers reviewed and revised course standards. Ultimately, this effort led to the discontinuation of nearly one hundred courses.
  • The New Jersey Department of Education in 2008 adopted a more hands-on process for enforcing the state’s program quality criteria, which were previously outlined in administrative code. Under the new system, local districts are required submit documentation of program structure for each program within a specific Career Cluster.
  • And in 2015, Delaware implemented a new policy for reviewing and approving both local and state-model programs of study. The policy requires programs of both types to be developed with input from multiple stakeholders, including industry and postsecondary representatives.  

All states have processes in place to review and approve career pathways, but not all use them to promote and uphold quality standards. This report describes a few approaches states can take — such as defining quality criteria, using fiscal and accountability policy to incentivize adoption, and providing regional supports — to promote quality through the pathways approval process.

This report was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

New Report Offers Solutions to Better Communicate About CTE with Parents and Students

April 24th, 2017

Career Technical Education (CTE) has had a long struggle with stigma. Despite programs preparing students for both college and career, and a 10 percent higher graduation rate for CTE students compared to the national average, CTE remains plagued by outdated perceptions and stereotypes.

To help combat these perception challenges, Advance CTE with support from the Siemens Foundation, released a new report addressing this important issue, and offering solutions to drive students and parents to consider CTE as an option for their education.

“The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students,” explores the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to improve understanding of the promise and opportunity of CTE.

The survey had many critical findings including: 

 

 

 

 

  • More than double the percentage of CTE parents and students are ‘very satisfied’ with their overall education experience compared to that of parents and students not involved in CTE
  • CTE parents and students are more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their classes, teachers and opportunity for career exploration
  • Across the board, CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits related to college and career success
  • Counselors, teachers and CTE students and alumni are among the most trusted sources of information for students and parents alike

The report highlights findings that can help states, district and local leaders more effectively communicate with parents and students to encourage interested students to enroll in CTE programs.

To help you get started, Advance CTE has developed a series of tools including talking points and supportive statements, Dos and Don’ts and a fact sheet. Learn more here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Computer Skills No Longer Optional

April 21st, 2017

This post is written by the Certiport, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

It’s easy to think of the millennial generation, those born roughly between 1982 and 2002, as tech-savvy digital natives — and in many ways they are. Immersed in consumer technology since birth, today’s youth has mastered the art of the swipe, the selfie and social media. So it may come as a surprise that millennials often lack essential digital skills needed to succeed in the workplace — be it a conventional office setting, an auto mechanic’s shop, or in a tractor on a farm.

Technology: Ubiquitous in Every Industry

Digital technology has extended its reach into every field imaginable — and it isn’t limited to white collar careers. Ninety-six percent of working Americans use new communications technologies as part of their daily life, while 62 percent use the internet as an integral part of their jobs.1 Nearly all industries today require at least some on-the-job interaction with a digital device, including sectors the general public often doesn’t consider technology dependent.

Succeeding in the Modern Workplace

Basic digital literacy skills are requisite in virtually every industry everywhere you go, but students often enter the workforce without them. This is why performance-based digital literacy certifications — such as Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification — are critical for both employers and students.

“A certificate provides an excellent opportunity for kids to reach a goal. There’s a lot of discipline in obtaining a certificate, and a lot of structure in certificate programs. These elements help students become successful at whatever they pursue beyond high school.”
–Dan Ramirez, National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3)

Learn More

We invite you to read more about the need for globally-recognized, third-party validated digital literacy skills in the issue brief that will be included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting conference bag.

Certiport offers performance- and knowledge-based certification exams, as well as courseware and practice materials for the following programs:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Adobe Certified Associate
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • IC3 Spark
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business NEW
  • ToonBoom Certified Associate NEW

Please join us Tuesday evening for drinks and discussion at our hospitality suite (Room 825 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel) from 5 to 7 PM. Click here to RSVP.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Spring Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

 

 

Current and Former Education Secretaries Talk Career Technical Education (CTE)

April 14th, 2017

This week has been relatively quiet, the Senate is in recess until April 24 and the House is out through April 25. However, Career Technical Education (CTE) is still making a buzz across the country, with current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussing CTE.

Secretary DeVos Signals Support for CTE  

On April 11, Secretary DeVos delivered a statement after participating in the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum. The highlight of these remarks was her recognition of CTE, “The best workforce is an educated workforce, and this Administration is committed to increasing access to career and technical education for college students and adults alike. By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.” Find the full statement here.

Arne Duncan Shines Light on Chicago CTE Programs

In an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on April 11, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan highlights local CTE programs writing, “Today, we have career and technical education programs like the Manufacturing Connect program at Austin College and Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago that trains students in advanced manufacturing. They get paid work experience while still in high school and have jobs paying as much as $30,000 a year waiting when they graduate — a good wage for a young person coming out of high school” and goes on to describe how these programs help students plan for their futures.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Get to Know the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council!

April 14th, 2017

This post is written by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is the nation’s leading industry-led training, assessment and certification organization focused on the core technical competencies needed by the nation’s frontline production and material handling workers. The nationwide MSSC certifications, based upon industry-defined and federally endorsed national standards, offer both entry-level and incumbent workers the opportunity to demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge and skills increasingly needed in the technology-intensive advanced manufacturing and logistics jobs of the 21st century. MSSC applies to all frontline manufacturing production jobs (6 million) and all front-line material handling and distribution jobs (6.1 million). MSSC has developed two nationally portable certifications for this workforce:

Certified Production Technician (CPT): The CPT Certification addresses the core technical competencies of higher skilled production workers in all sectors of manufacturing. MSSC awards certificates to individuals who pass any of its five Production Modules: Safety, Quality Practices & Measurement, Manufacturing Processes & Production, Maintenance Awareness and Green Production and a full CPT Certification to those who pass all four core modules (Note: Green is not required for full-CPT certification.)

Certified Logistics Technician (CLT): The CLT Certification addresses the core technical competencies of higher skilled, frontline material handling workers in all supply chain facilities: in factories, warehouses, distribution centers and transportation companies. MSSC awards the foundational-level Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) certificate and the mid-level CLT certification. CLA is a prerequisite for CLT.

CPT and CLT are the only national industry certifications, for both manufacturing and logistics, accredited under ISO 17024 (personnel certification) and endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers.

“20/20” Vision

Approved by its Board in 2010, MSSC’s vision is to credential 20 percent of individuals entering or employed in the nation’s front-line manufacturing production and material handling workforce in 20 years—2.4 million workers by 2030. To achieve that goal, MSSC offers industry a new set of tools to ensure that both entering and incumbent workers are flexible, easily trainable, and highly motivated knowledge workers able to keep pace with technological change—the “Industrial Athlete of the Future.”

MSSC benefits to employers include:

  • A pipeline of skilled workers by embedding MSSC certification training into schools
  • Decreased recruitment costs by providing job candidates with industry-recognized credentials
  • Elimination of remedial training costs by providing well prepared workers
  • A new ISO standard in certificates companies can use as a common practice throughout their global operations
  • Increased ROI for training by targeting it against the gaps identified by the MSSC Diagnostic Tool
  • An aid to attracting, motivating and retaining qualified employees

The federal National Skill Standards Board formally recognized MSSC as the standards and certification “Voluntary Partnership” for all manufacturing sectors in 1998 and officially endorsed MSSC’s national standards in 2001 which were developed and nationally validated by 700 companies, 378 educational organizations and most industrial unions. MSSC has since been used by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as Job Corps and both Federal and State Prison Systems. MSSC is a Founding Partner in the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-endorsed Skills Certification System, which has endorsed both CPT and CLT.

MSSC provides annually updated standards, courses, computer-based training materials, textbooks, instructor authorization, assessment center authorization, a national registry, assessments, credentials and diagnostic tools for employers. Companies may use these tools themselves or work through their local community colleges, high schools, unions or other training providers. Individuals can also earn college credit for MSSC courses (three hours each for core CPT modules, two hours for GPM and four hours for full-CLT) based upon the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) course review.

MSSC’s delivers these tools through a nationwide network of over 1,760 trained instructors and 998 authorized assessment centers in 49 states, DC, and three centers internationally. To date, MSSC has given over 141,300 assessments and issued over 105,500 credentials.

To obtain a full description of MSSC certification system tools and price sheets, including volume discounts, please contact Neil Reddy, Executive Director, at reddyn@msscusa.org or at 703-739-9000, ext. 2221.

In Kentucky and Arkansas, Lawmakers Authorize New ESSA Accountability Plans

April 13th, 2017

Education Week last month reported that “as state legislative sessions forge ahead, you’ll start to see states’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability plans vetted by lawmakers as the new law requires.” This is partly a result of statutory requirements in the law that mandate consultation with the governor and members of the state legislature. But it is also due to the fact that many state ESSA plans promise changes to assessments, accountability and standards that must be made by the legislature or state board of education.

With the first submission window for ESSA state plans now officially open, implementation of the new federal law has been top of mind for many states. As they finalize their ESSA plans, state policymakers have been working in parallel to implement core strategies within their education systems.

Kentucky Plans to Measure Industry Credential Attainment

In Kentucky, for example, Governor Matt Bevin signed a revised state accountability system into law. While Kentucky has been recognized as a leader in career readiness accountability — the state’s Unbridled Learning system uses a weighted point system that values college and career achievement equally — SB1 applies a fresh coat of paint, aligning the system with ESSA requirements and recalibrating the weighted point system to better incentivize relevant career learning experiences. Namely, the law:

  • Adopts a “Postsecondary Readiness” indicator measuring apprenticeship participation and achievement of industry-recognized credentials in addition to college credit, performance on college admissions exams and concurrent enrollment.
  • Directs the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board and the Department of Education to annually produce a list of industry-recognized credentials eligible for credit under the accountability system. Credentials are to be identified by local workforce investment boards and weighted according to industry demand.
  • Eliminates inclusion of the WorkKeys career readiness assessment in the accountability system.

Arkansas Provides Accountability Guidelines for Department of Education

Meanwhile, Arkansas lawmakers passed — and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed — a law authorizing the Department of Education to develop a state accountability system and providing certain guidelines. The law largely mirrors the requirements set forth in ESSA, which requires state to report indicators related to academic performance, growth, graduation rates and English Learner progress. But lawmakers also provided nine suggested indicators for the Department of Education to consider, including one measure of the percent of students earning Advanced Placement credit, concurrent credit, International Baccalaureate credit or industry-recognized credentials.

If the Arkansas Department of Education chooses to pursue this route, it will join several other states that are considering career readiness indicators in their statewide accountability systems. As we shared last week, about half of states planning to submit ESSA plans during the first review window are considering career readiness indicators, including measures of industry credential attainment.

Other CTE-Related Legislation Hitting Governors’ Desks this Session

ESSA-related legislation is inching along in other state houses nationwide. In the meantime, state lawmakers have kept themselves busy, continuing a years-long trend to strengthen and scale relevant career pathways. Though this list is not exhaustive, here is a snapshot of what states have passed so far in the 2017 legislative session:

  • Idaho and Utah saw increases in state-appropriated funding for CTE.
  • Two bills passed in Virginia will allow school districts to waive certain CTE teacher licensure requirements and require community colleges to accept credit for state-approved apprenticeships.
  • Arkansas’ new Future Grant program repurposes $8.2 million to cover two years of tuition and fees for Arkansas students to study at a state technical or community college, provided that their course of study is in a high-demand field and they elect to work in the state for three years after graduating.
  • South Dakota voted to reorganize the state technical college system under the authority of a new Board of Technical Education, following through on a ballot mandate approved by voters in November.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

140 Members of Congress Sign on to Support Perkins

April 10th, 2017

News This Week:

Bipartisan support for a strong investment in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was the top highlight of the week, but we’ll also dig into a recent happenings on the Hill, news and resources out of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and updates on ESSA state plans and budget resources.

“Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 140 Signatures in Support of Perkins

On April 6, a “Dear Colleague” Letter was sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request a strong investment in Perkins in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 140 signatures from Members across 38 states and shows the strong bipartisan support for CTE in the House (we anticipate a similar letter will be circulated in the Senate later this spring). Please check to see if your Member of Congress signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note!  We will also be thanking these Members and the House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) for leading the charge to collect signatures!

Go to High School, Go to College Act Reintroduced

On April 6, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Go to High School, Go to College Act, which would “make college more affordable for low-income students by letting them earn college credits while still in high school, funded through the Pell Grant program” according to the press release for the bill.

DOL Announces New Toolkit, Grants

On March 28, DOL released a toolkit to assist in the implementation of WIOA. Tools include a Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cost Allocation Analyses and could be used to guide local development processes.

On April 4, DOL announced $5.7 million in grants for states to build and improve upon their workforce databases. State Workforce Agencies are eligible to apply for funds, part of the sixth round of DOL’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative.

U.S. Department of Education (ED) Releases ESSA State Plan Peer Review Criteria:

The criteria notes that ED “will conduct a peer review only of the portions of a State plan related to Title I, Part A (ESEA sections 1111(a)(4) and 8451(d)); Title III, Part A (ESEA section 3113(c)); and Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act; (section 724(a) of the McKinney-Vento Act).” Department staff will review all other sections of state plans.

Hearing Highlights Skills Gap, Need to Invest in CTE

“Invest in career and technical education. Strengthen the direct funding for community colleges and career and technical education programs that play a crucial role in training the nation’s middle-skill workforce” – this testimony from Zoe Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation was part of a hearing, “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs” held by the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on April 4th. The committee heard testimony from Douglas J. Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council who focused his remarks on the “skills mismatch” facing the US and discussed ideas for how to “improve and invigorate WIOA”. Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale Institute Fellow, Urban Institute testified as well, highlighting promising practices in job training and notes that WIOA “includes provisions and changes that should improve the workforce development system and continue to build evidence about ‘what works.’” These hearings are increasingly important as Congress gears up to make appropriations decisions for both the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) and the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18).

Looking for Tools to Communicate About the FY17 and FY18 Budget Proposals?

The Committee for Education Funding has updated its funding charts, including the one to the right demonstrating how the President’s FY17 and FY18 proposals (excluding Pell Grants) compare to 2010 levels.  Find charts and additional federal budget resources here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

CompTIA: Helping Student Success in IT Careers

April 10th, 2017

This post is written by CompTIA, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Currently, there are more than 500,000 open IT jobs and not nearly enough qualified candidates to fill them.  Does anyone anticipate this number going down?  We certainly don’t.  As everything becomes more and more connected—lightbulbs, appliances, smart grids—the need also increases to maintain and secure these connections.  In addition, IT is everywhere!  Is there any industry that doesn’t have IT needs?

Did you know:

  • Median IT job salaries are nearly $40,000 higher than non-IT jobs
  • By the end of 2017, the global IT industry will exceed $5 TRILLION
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IT Security Analyst position is the fastest growing job they have ever seen
  • 85 percent of executives indicate there is an IT skills gap in their business

A great way to visualize the size of the skills gap is to visit the new CompTIA sponsored website  www.CyberSeek.org.  This new site includes very recent job data to illustrate the need for  qualified cyber workers by state, region and nation.  There is also a cyber pathway tool that shows specific cyber jobs, salaries and openings in the US.

We need to work together to help students and educators understand the vast opportunities in technology careers.  Employers are looking for candidates that can demonstrate the skills needed to fill technology positions in almost every industry sector.

Providing students with the proper preparation AND a recognized industry recognized credential will help them stand out during their career search.  Keeping skills current and relevant is a challenge, but one answer is to ensure that they obtain Industry-Recognized Certifications.  More than 72 percent of businesses say they believe IT skills certifications are becoming more important.  CompTIA is at the forefront of helping prepare students to become job-ready:

  • We have certified more than 2 million individuals worldwide
  • Our certifications are recognized globally
  • We are the largest vendor-neutral IT certification body in the world
  • Our Academy Partner Program works with secondary and post-secondary schools to support their efforts to train and certify students

What can you do NOW to help properly prepare students for a rewarding IT career?  It must first start in our high schools:

  • Instructors need to be certified in the certifications they are teaching
  • Help students understand the importance recognized certification credentials;
  • Certifications=Jobs, and most colleges provide credit for industry-recognized certifications towards a degree
  • Combine classroom-based instruction with work based learning opportunities—apprenticeships, visits to local businesses, etc.

CompTIA is here to help!  Our Academy Partner Program (free to schools) provides:

  • Complimentary instructor vouchers and CertMaster online learning companion
  • Significantly discounted certification vouchers for students
  • CompTIA Instructor Network community to network with other teachers and provide webinars on how to teach our certifications.
  • Research, posters case studies and other resources

Working together, we can help students get started towards an exciting career in the tech industry.  Please stop by our tabletop to learn more.

 

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