New America Releases Recommendations for Connecting Higher Education and Apprenticeships to Improve Both

December 7th, 2017

In conjunction with the release of eight new recommendations regarding the connections between higher education and apprenticeships, New America’s Center on Education and Skills (CESNA) conducted an in-depth discussion on the topic with national experts and state and local practitioners.

The event began with remarks by CESNA director Mary Alice McCarthy and senior policy analyst Iris Palmer, as well as Diane Jones, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary at the US Department of Labor. These presentations examined the current state of apprenticeships in the United States, including the difficulty in knowing how many students enrolled in postsecondary are also enrolled in apprenticeships, as well as conflicting messages given to learners that they must choose either apprenticeship or higher education, rather than choosing both. This is a particular challenge for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, as the experiential learning provided by an apprenticeship can be invaluable for learners enrolled in postsecondary credential programs. They also discussed the eight recommendations for breaking down these barriers to expanding apprenticeships, which include creating definitions for a “student-apprentice” and a “Degree Apprenticeship” which would connect Registered Apprenticeships and postsecondary programs and allow learners a clear pathway option to pursue both an apprenticeship and a postsecondary credential. These programs would be designed with input from multiple stakeholders and funded using H-1B Visa funds and an expansion of the Federal Work-Study program to allow funds to cover “student-apprentices.”

Then began the first of two panels, which featured state-level practitioners from Indiana and Washington, as well as national experts on apprentice programs. Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director at the Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, expanded on the work her state has been doing to connect postsecondary programs and apprenticeships in order to build a system that promotes lifelong learning and development. The panel also discussed how most apprenticeships are traditionally in construction fields, and their efforts to expand the role of apprenticeships in other fields, most notably health care. The topic of equity also featured heavily in this discussion, particularly since apprenticeships tend to be mostly male, and more women are enrolled in postsecondary programs than males.

The second panel featured three women working at the local level in designing and administering apprenticeships in health care and early childhood education. Keisha Powell, Workforce Development Consultant at Fairview Health Services, Carol Austin, Executive Director at the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children and Ta’Mora Jackson, Early Childhood Education Coordinator at District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund spoke about their work on the ground in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. In both industries, having a postsecondary credential is often necessary for employment but not enough to immediately begin work without on-the-job training. Without a structured apprenticeship or similar experience, on-the-job training is likely inconsistent and uncoordinated. These panelists also focused on the other supports that “student-apprentices” would require for success, including bridge courses and advising.

The prospect of “Degree Apprenticeships” is certainly a promising one for connecting these disparate worlds in a way that maximizes the efforts of both.

“State Directors have an exciting role to play in apprenticeship implementation in their states, as they already sit at the intersection of secondary, postsecondary and workforce policies,” said Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director. “CESNA’s recommendations will allow State Directors to be more informed about the learners and apprentices in their state, and more deliberate in the design of comprehensive programs of study that incorporate postsecondary credentials and Registered Apprenticeships.”

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Reaching Economies of Scale in Rural Communities

December 5th, 2017

Latest Advance CTE resource describes strategies to expand career pathways opportunities to rural learners

Rural communities all too often face scarce funding, instructors and facilities, forcing institutions to choose between offering a variety of introductory courses across a breadth of subjects or providing more narrowly focused, sequenced programs within one or two priority Career Clusters®. Providing learners access to diverse career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge for all states.

Today Advance CTE released the latest brief in the CTE on the Frontier series to help states identify promising strategies for expanding the variety of career pathways available in rural areas. The brief profiles how states such as Nebraska, Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho have leveraged strategic partnerships and new technologies to reach economies of scale.

In North Dakota, for example, rural learners are connected remotely to instructors at different campuses by a live broadcast network called Interactive Television, or ITV. Districts and regional technical centers come together to inventory all of the courses available in their region and open up enrollment to remote students. Participating schools receive a 4 percent reimbursement per receiving school to incentivize participation.

Meanwhile, state leaders in Idaho are working to balance virtual instruction through Idaho Digital Learning with work-based learning and Career Technical Student Organization participation to ensure hands-on learning isn’t lost in a virtual classroom. Instead of converting all CTE courses to be offered online, Idaho has adapted a few introductory courses to free up in-school teaching capacity to focus on more advanced coursework. The state is also working to align digital courses with college and career pathways — some Idaho Digital Learning courses are even eligible for dual credit — and requires CTE students taking online classes to engage in hands-on learning.

The latest CTE on the Frontier brief demonstrates how states can leverage partnerships and technology to reach economies of scale and offer a wider breadth of career pathways to rural learners. Earlier briefs in the series examine how states can ensure program quality and connect learners to the world of work.

CTE on the Frontier: Providing Learners Access to Diverse Career Pathways was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

December 1st, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTE FRIDAY FACT

76% of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring career options, compared to just 7% who say college is the right time. CTE helps learners find their passion and prepare for the future before investing in their postsecondary education.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A new article on Education Week, explores the ways in which learners gain critical skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork they need to be successful in a global economy. Read about how CTE and project based learning can be used as a potential strategy to help learners in gaining these skills.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join a webinar on December 13 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET to learn how state leaders can align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to provide students with the academic, technical, and employability skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Aligning the education-to-workforce pipeline can help increase cost-efficiency, promote coherence, and produce better outcomes for students and workers. This webinar will highlight three forthcoming CCRS Center resources, Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Legislative Update: House Introduces HEA Reauthorization Bill

December 1st, 2017

There has been a lot of legislative action this week in Washington, DC! This week’s news includes the introduction of two pieces of postsecondary legislation, the nomination for a key position at the U.S. Department of Education and details on the school U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited this week – read below to find out more about each of these updates.

Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

On December 1, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER, Act). This bill would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008, and would make significant changes to a number of provisions within the current law. The four-page summary from the Committee can be found with additional materials here (with full bill text here). According to the summary, the act “will help more Americans earn a lifetime of success by promoting innovation, access, and completion, simplifying and improving student aid, empowering students and families to make informed decisions and ensuring strong accountability and a limited federal role.” Advance CTE will provide additional analysis of this bill as soon as possible and you can find our recommendations for the reauthorization of HEA here.

Go To High School, Go to College Act Introduced in U.S. House Representatives

On November 16, Representatives John Faso (R-NY) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) along with 11 co-sponsors reintroduced the “Go to High School, Go to College Act.” According to the press release, the bill “would allow Pell grant funding for eligible students to be used for transferable college credits that students complete in an early college program offered by an accredited Institution of Higher Education.” A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

President Trump Nominates New Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

On December 1, President Trump sent twelve nominations to the Senate, including Mark Schneider for Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is part of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for education statistics, research and evaluations.

Secretary DeVos Visits Oakland High School

On November 29, Secretary DeVos toured Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Oakland High School was a 2017 winner of Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action Award for its Mechatronics program, which prepares students for careers through hands-on experiences, rigorous academic coursework, nationally recognized certifications and dual enrollment opportunities. Beginning through a partnership with Oakland High School, Bridgestone and the Manufacturing Leadership Council, industry led the charge to build a talent pipeline of qualified employees in a highly in-demand sector. Upon completion of this program, students are armed with credits and certifications and poised to enter postsecondary education and the workforce. Learn more about Oakland High School and the 2017 Excellence in Action Award winners here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Getting to Know… Kansas

November 21st, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Kansas

State CTE Director: Connie Beene, Senior Director, Adult & Career Technical Education, Kansas Board of Regents

About Kansas: The Kansas State Board of Regents (KBOR) is the state fiscal agent under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), though Perkins funds are split 50/50 between secondary and postsecondary. Interestingly, many rural districts in Kansas are too small to qualify for the minimum grant award under Perkins, so many partner with regional education service centers to apply as a consortium. This not only allows small districts to qualify for funds, but also fosters greater regional collaboration, with many education service centers providing professional development, resources and networking opportunities for the schools they serve.

Additionally, Kansas is home to a network of 26 community and technical colleges that deliver CTE to college students, adults and dual enrolled high school students.

Programs of Study: At the postsecondary level, CTE programs go through a program alignment process to validate standards, generate employer input and anchor programs in a nationally-recognized industry certification.

Under program alignment, KBOR convenes a business and industry committee specific to each field of study. The committee reviews the program’s standards and credentials and offers recommendations for alignment. Recommendations are reviewed by curriculum experts, approved by institution presidents, and, once approved, put into place across the entire community and technical college network. Programs are updated every five years.

A total of 25 programs have been reviewed, validated and modified through program alignment and are available to students statewide at Kansas community and technical colleges.

At the secondary level, Kansas recognizes the 16 national Career ClustersⓇ. In the 2015-16 academic year, CTE students concentrated in all Clusters but one: Government and Public Administration. Although secondary CTE programs do not go through the same rigorous program alignment process as postsecondary programs, state leaders in the Department of Education are working to better align programs with business and industry needs.

Notable in Kansas – Excel in CTE: One of the biggest successes for Kansas CTE is the Excel in CTE program. Launched in 2012, the program was designed to expand opportunities for CTE students to earn industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary credit in high school. The program includes four components:

  1. An incentive fund to compensate school districts for the cost of credential examinations
  2. Free tuition for high school students enrolled in technical courses
  3. A state-identified list of credentials in high-demand occupations, published annually by the Department of Labor
  4. A statewide articulation agreement to facilitate concurrent enrollment in Kansas community and technical colleges

 

In the 2015-16 school year alone, 10,023 students participated in Excel in CTE, earning a total of 79,488 college credit hours and 1,228 credentials.

Notable in Kansas – Adult Education: This year has seen a renewed focus on integrating adult education and skills training in Kansas. In 2012, Kansas joined the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in partnership with Jobs for the Future to help adult learners earn both high school equivalency diplomas and industry-recognized credentials. According to a program impact evaluation, the likelihood of earning a credential increased by 19 percent for students in the program.

After the success of Accelerating Opportunity, Kansas is working to sustain integrated career and basic education services through a combination of federal (through Perkins and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)) and state funds. Kansas also organized an inaugural conference this year to bring together CTE and adult education teachers from around the state to discuss and share promising practices.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Legislative Updates: Tax Reform in Full Swing, Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing

November 16th, 2017

It’s been a busy time in Washington with tax reform in full swing and a Senate confirmation hearing for officials at both the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor. Read below to find out more about these updates and a new report from AASA, The School Superintendents Association and The Rural School and Community Trust, a recent op-ed by Rep. Foxx (R-NC) and the remarks from Secretary DeVos at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Conference and Expo.

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Tax Reform Bill, Senate Committee on Finance Marks up Senate Tax Reform Bill

On November 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a vote of 227-205. The Senate Committee on Finance began marking up its tax reform bill on November 13. While a final version has not been enacted, it is important to note that there are provisions in both bills (as currently written) that would have implications for CTE.

OCTAE Assistant Secretary Nominee Withdrawn

The nomination of Timothy Kelly, a Michigan state legislator, for the post of Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education was withdrawn. Education Week reported that Kelly’s blog, which he maintained from 2009 to 2012, included offensive comments about Muslims, women in STEM and Head Start. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee had scheduled Kelly’s confirmation hearing for November 15. Dr. Michael Wooten will remain the Acting Assistant Secretary until another individual is nominated for Assistant Secretary and confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Key Officials at U.S. Departments of Education and Labor 

On November 15, the Senate HELP Committee began the confirmation process for Brigadier General Mitchell Zais, USA (Ret.), who was nominated for Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education, James Blew, who was nominated for Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the Department of Education, Kate O’Scannlain, who was nominated for Solicitor at the Department of Labor and Preston Rutledge, who was nominated for Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor. You can find the hearing and written testimony from each nominee here.

In Case You Missed It

On November 15, AASA, The School Superintendents Association and The Rural School and Community Trust released Leveling the Playing Field for Rural Students, a report that highlights recommendations for Congress on how to support students living in rural communities, including leveraging CTE.

On November 7, Rep. Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, penned an op-edLyndon B. Johnson’s Vision for Higher Education No Longer Serves Students, that outlines four pillars for reforming the Higher Education Act (HEA).

On October 27, Secretary DeVos spoke at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Conference and Expo. Find her remarks online here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Leveraging Federal Policy to Strengthen Rural CTE

November 16th, 2017

New Resource from Advance CTE Identifies Key Leverage Points

Today Advance CTE released a new cheat sheet to help state leaders identify and leverage federal policy to strengthen rural CTE. The brief, developed as part of Advance CTE’s CTE on the Frontier initiative, examines policy and funding intersections between the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The resource is designed as a conversation starter to help state leaders align supports and services in their states.

Rural America is home to 9.1 million K-12 students and more than half of the nation’s school districts. Many of these students do not go on to earn a postsecondary credential or degree. Only 28 percent of rural adults above the age of 25 held at least a 2-year degree in 2015, compared to 41 percent of urban adults.

CTE can help close this gap and prepare rural learners for the world of work. Already, states are adopting creative measures to ensure programs are high quality, connect rural learners with authentic work-based learning experiences, expand the breadth of options available in rural institutions and strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. Many of these efforts are supported with state and local funds, but states are also leveraging Perkins reserve funds as well. 

The reserve fund is one of many leverage points in federal legislation that states can use to strengthen CTE in rural areas. Under the Perkins Act, states can set aside up to 10 percent of local funds to provide formula or competitive grants to recipients with either rural populations, high numbers of Career Technical Education (CTE) students or high percentages of CTE students. In Montana, state leaders have used the reserve fund to strengthen Big Sky Pathways in rural schools and focus dollars and supports on state priorities such as expanding dual credit opportunities.

According to a recent survey from Advance CTE, 38 state CTE directors reported using the reserve fund option in 2017, and 27 of those said that supporting rural students is one of the focus areas for their reserve funds this year. States can change their reserve fund priorities from year to year, but the fact that more than half are using the fund to augment rural CTE efforts is a testament to the need in rural communities.

Another example of how federal education programs can be leveraged to support rural communities is the Rural Education Achievement Program under ESSA, which provides supplemental funds to rural schools and districts that can be used to support other local activities. With ESSA’s renewed focus on career readiness and well-rounded education, schools and districts can use these funds to design and expand CTE programs of study, provide professional development for CTE and academic teachers, expand dual credit opportunities, and more. By braiding funds, aligning policy priorities, coordinating service delivery and working to remove barriers across programs, state leaders can better meet the needs of rural learners.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Legislative Updates: Implications of House Tax Reform Bill for CTE

November 13th, 2017

This week’s news includes a status update on the tax reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and its implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) and an upcoming webinar. Read below to find out more about these updates.

Upcoming Webinar: “Connecting Secondary Students to Apprenticeship Programs” 

On November 20, from 2-3 pm ET, there will be a webinar on “Connecting Secondary Students to Apprenticeship Programs.” The description for the webinar notes that, “During this second webinar in a two-part series, OCTAE welcomes the release of technical assistance resources to assist state and local leaders in initiating or expanding the alignment between existing CTE and apprenticeship programs based on project findings. Presenters from Vivayic, RTI International, and the Tech Ready Apprentices for Career in Kentucky (TRACK) program will introduce the resources and discuss potential application for CTE and apprenticeship stakeholders.” You can register for the webinar here.

House Tax Reform Bill Has Implications for CTE Educators, Students and Funding

On November 2, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Committee on Ways and Means began to mark up the bill on November 6 and it passed out of committee on a party line vote on November 9. If enacted, the bill would have implications for CTE educators, students and funding, as it proposes:
  • Eliminating Deductions for Teacher Expenses;
  • Eliminating Student Loan Interest Tax Deduction;
  • Eliminating Tax Benefits for Employer Education Assistance Programs;
  • Eliminating the Lifetime Learning Credit;
  • Expanding 529 College Savings Accounts to Cover Apprenticeship Expenses; and
  • Eliminating State and Local Tax Deductions that Help Fund Public Schools
To learn more about each of these provisions and how the bill would impact federal revenue and education funding, check out this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

November 9th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK 

ADVANCE CTE RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

As Congress considers the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, it’s important to keep in mind how the federal investment the law authorizes is currently being used by states. Check out our latest fact sheet that summarizes key findings from an Advance CTE survey of State CTE Directors regarding the implementation of the law.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

To enrich our students’ high school experiences and secure a path to career and postsecondary success, communities across the country are strengthening the pipeline between CTE and apprenticeship. This U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) project explored programs that connect CTE students and apprenticeship programs.

On November 20, 2017 at 2-3 pm ET, OCTAE welcomes the release of technical assistance resources to assist state and local leaders in initiating or expanding the alignment between existing CTE and apprenticeship programs based on project findings. Presenters from Vivayic, RTI International, and the Tech Ready Apprentices for Career in Kentucky (TRACK) program will introduce the resources and discuss potential application for CTE and apprenticeship stakeholders. Register here.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

With support from OCTAE, RTI International invites community partnerships to submit a letter of interest to join a free technical assistance initiative focused on improving the outcomes of justice-involved young adults (ages 16–24) by connecting them with CTE, workforce development, and special education services. Learn more about how to get involved here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Analysis of Labor Market Information is Incomplete without Effective Dissemination of Results

November 9th, 2017

Many states, school districts and postsecondary institutions use labor market information (LMI) to justify the creation of new Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and to inform program design. This information, which includes data on the current and projected number of openings in specific industry sectors, as well as data on salary and any technological or policy advancements that may affect the Career Clusters®, can also be used at the state, regional, local and even student levels for career awareness and exploration in priority sectors.

However, the dissemination of LMI has often been carried out in an ad hoc and not a strategic way, hurting the effectiveness of the data itself. Today, Advance CTE released a guide about the effective dissemination of LMI, which will help states think through this process more strategically. The guide highlights work done in Nevada, Kentucky and Washington and their dissemination of LMI to employers, districts and learners, respectively, and poses guiding questions for states to consider for each of those audiences.

This guide 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.

In Nevada, the state leveraged newly restructured Industry Sector Councils to create the 2017 In-Demand Occupations and Insights Report, which lists industries’ job growth and salary information for identified priority sectors along with a crosswalk for employers and CTE practitioners that identifies which occupation titles fall into which career pathways. This allows industry partners and CTE practitioners to communicate about LMI with a common language.

Kentucky similarly worked with industry partners to create a common language and used various data visualizations to share that information with school districts. When sharing LMI with district superintendents and CTE coordinators, the state was deliberate in how it presented the information so the LMI would have the most impact on policy with the least amount of confusion or varying interpretations.

Washington takes the state’s LMI straight to individual learners with Career Bridge, an online portal that allows students to explore career pathways and how they tie directly with job projections within the state. Additionally, the portal lists educational providers for specific career pathways and details student outcomes and other relevant data so that students have as much information as possible about their desired pathway.

All three of these state approaches disseminate LMI in various ways, but each is deliberate and thoughtful in both audience and messaging so that LMI can have the greatest positive effect for CTE programs. Read more about these strategies and examine your state’s approach by accessing the guide here.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

 

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