National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

This Week in CTE: Arne Duncan Resigns in December

October 2nd, 2015



Assistant Superintendent says CTE is Vital for State’s Future
West Virginia’s simulated workplace program has gained international attention for providing students with real-world experiences enhancing what their learning in the classroom. Kathy D’Antoni, assistant state superintendent of schools for the Division of Technical and Adult Education Services says CTE and this type of program is necessary to prepare students to for lifelong careers in West Virginia.
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Southern Regional Education Board is offering 150 teacher training grants for high school teachers and technical centers to better prepare high school students for postsecondary education and careers. Contact for more information.


American Graduate Day is on Saturday, October 3, and the live seven-hour broadcast will focus on the people and organizations that keep students on track to graduate. Journalists, thought leaders and celebrities will raise awareness around such topics as college and career readiness, caring consistent adults, dropout prevention, and STEAM.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Celebrating Excellence for Manufacturing Day

October 2nd, 2015

In honor of Manufacturing Day, we’d like to highlight one of our 2015 Excellence in Action award winners in Microsoft Word - Letter of Reference - Excellence in Action.docthe Manufacturing Career Cluster. The Welding Technology Program at Butte-Glenn Community College (BGCC) in Oroville, California is an exemplary program of study relying on rigorous program performance standards and national curriculum standards along with quality employer partnerships to produce entry-level technicians prepared to work in the industry.

BGCC has developed articulation agreements with 20 high schools in the state, and offers opportunities for high school students to complete college courses through concurrent enrollment. In 2013-2014 almost 80 students earned postsecondary credits through these agreements, creating a true pathway to postsecondary success.

Once students enter postsecondary education, they have the opportunity to earn a variety of certifications and have access to work hands on with industry leaders. For example, PG&E and the college developed the PG&E Power Pathway for welding, providing curriculum, instructor training and scholarships for welding students. “I have found Butte College’s program to be exemplary and a model for others. Frankly, I consider them to be one of the best welding programs in our state,” said Kerry Shatell, Sr. Welding Engineer at PG&E. “The graduates are considered to be more highly qualified and able to perform journeyman level work sooner than other graduates in the marketplace.”

This sentiment rings true with data showing that 92 percent of students earned a pass rate for a certification, and all students entered the workforce or military upon completion of the program.

Read more about BGCC’s Welding program of study here, and join us in celebrating Manufacturing Day! We will be on Twitter sharing exciting news, events and resources throughout the day.

 Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Welcome to Utah’s New State CTE Director, Thalea Longhurst!

September 29th, 2015

We are pleased to welcome Thalea Longhurst, Utah’s new State CTE Director! Longhurst had an unusual introduction to the education field, beginning her career in sports medicine. While obtaining a master’s degree and working in a clinic, a local school district expressed interest in starting a sports medicine program. Longhurst started by teaching just a few hours a day, which eventually turned into a 10-year part-time teaching tenure at the local high school. Utah has the unique ability to license industry professionals to teach in the classroom, allowing her to practice sports medicine professionally, while also teaching part time.

After 10 years, Longhurst decided to dedicate her career to education and took a full-time position. After working in the district to develop standards and assessments, she transitioned to the State CTE office and rose through the ranks to her eventual appointment as State CTE Director in 2014.

As State Director, her primary goal for CTE in Utah is to take a hard look at what programs are outdated or are not aligned to the workforce needs of the state and ensure only the highest quality programs are supported moving forward. “CTE should be a part of a comprehensive approach to education that is rigorous, not less than any other type of study and is an integral part to every student’s education,” said Longhurst.

A challenge in building and supporting these high-quality programs of study has been engaging the right partners in program development. To create a program that not only focuses on high academic and technical achievement, but also provides learners with the skills employers in the community needs, the Utah CTE office has been bringing multiple partners to the table, including local industry, business, economic development agencies, workforce services, educators, and parents among others. Although engaging each partner, in addition to aligning expectations of success across these sectors, has been challenging, Longhurst is convinced this effort will strengthen the quality of Utah’s CTE programs of study.

Under Longhurst, Utah is working towards the goal of every student equipped with 21st century college- and career-ready skills with access to high-quality programs of study that are directly aligned with industry needs. Be on the lookout for exciting work happening in Utah.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

September 25th, 2015


The Alliance for Excellent Education and Asia Society are hosting a webinar, Raising the Bar for the Quality of Career Preparation Pathways: Apprenticeships on October 2 from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT. Panelists will focus on the success of the Swiss apprenticeship program and how the U.S. education system can integrate some aspects of the Swiss program.
Register today

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a new website this week where the business community can learn more about college and career ready standards. Achieving Tomorrow is complete with, videos, op-eds from chamber leaders, resources and a map with state assessment information, college completion rates and skills gap projects.
Learn more

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Getting to Know … Idaho

September 21st, 2015

Note: NASDCTEc has launched a new blog series called, “Getting to Know …” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, our partners and more. Check out our entries about Florida and Michigan!

State Name: Idahocte-logo-idaho

State CTE Director: Dwight Johnson, Administrator, Professional-Technical Education

About Idaho: CTE in Idaho is known as Professional-Technical Education, or PTE. The Division of Professional-Technical Education is responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult PTE programs. PTE is delivered at the secondary level through high schools and magnet schools. At the postsecondary level, there are three community colleges, one standalone technical college and two technical colleges that are embedded within the state’s four-year universities – all with PTE programs.

With the belief that PTE sits at the nexus of education and the workforce, Johnson has been using his years of experience at the Department of Labor to strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary PTE programs and the workforce. This starts with an intensive realignment process of secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, which will help to provide a seamless educational experience for Idaho students and best prepare them for success in their careers. Check out just a few facts about Idaho PTE here!

Notable in Idaho: Idaho has been working to expand student access to PTE programs of study through its soon-to-launch PTE Digital, which allows students to take PTE courses in health and IT. Johnson said PTE is looking to expand these options to other pathways to create more opportunities, particularly for students located in very rural areas.

Additionally, in 2014, the Idaho legislature established the Fast Forward program, which provides junior and senior high school students with up to $200 and $400, respectively, to help cover the cost of taking dual credit courses, PTE-approved industry certification exams and college-bearing exams. The program has been so successful that costs have far exceeded original projections, as more and more students take advantage of the opportunity to earn advance credit and certifications.

Finally, the Department is developing a microcertification and badging effort called SkillStack. The initiative has two primary goals: to validate students’ technical skills and competencies against industry-defined standards and to help with the articulation of credit from secondary PTE programs to postsecondary institutions. Idaho educators can track and validate student skill attainment through the site, once the Department verifies that the curriculum taught was aligned to industry standards. Soon, employers will be able to search for candidates with the badges, and skills, that they need.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

September 18th, 2015



The Council of State Governments September/October issue of Capitol Ideas magazine focuses on Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with an article specifically on how Career Technical Education intersects with STEM.
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NASDCTEc in partnership with the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center are hosting a webinar,. Reshaping Tennessee’s Work-based Learning on Thursday, October 15. The webinar will explore how Tennesee is reshaping work based learning to create a rigorous and relevant experience for all students.


Don’t Quit on Me, a report released by America’s Promise Alliance, explores how the role of relationships in a student’s life impacts their chances of graduating high school.
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The Alliance for Excellent Education opened applications for their Excellence and Innovation In Secondary Schools award. The awards will identify exemplary high schools and/or districts that are improving outcomes for undeserved students.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: Obama Administration Announces College Scorecard and Apprenticeship Grants as Congress Edges Closer to Funding Deadline

September 17th, 2015

United States CapitalEarlier this year, the Obama Administration announced its intention to create a college ratings system where postsecondary institutions would be sorted into three broad categories of high, medium, and low performing schools. Many stakeholder groups, including NASDCTEc, provided feedback on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and many groups had significant reservations about the newly proposed effort.

After taking these comments into consideration, ED announced earlier this summer that they would change direction with this initiative and create a new public-facing information tool that would make institution specific information available to consumers to make more informed choices about their postsecondary education options without making a value judgement.

Last week, the Department released this tool, known as the College Scorecard which is now available on their website. The tool offers information on an institution’s costs, graduation rates, the percentage of students receiving federal aid, and significantly, the median earnings of graduates 10 years after completion. Most of this information comes with caveats—as a related technical paper from ED notes, the earnings information only covers those students receiving federal grants or loans, includes graduates and non-completers alike, and excludes currently enrolled students.

More detailed information on the scorecard can be found via the Workforce Data Quality Campaign of which NASDCTEc is a national partner.

While the scorecard is a significant step in the right direction, more can still be done to improve upon this work such as refocusing the effort to look at program-level data where it would be far more useful to students and their families. In the coming weeks, NASDCTEc plans to work with its partners to provide comment on the scorecard and will continue to think through ways in which the tool could be improved.

Administration Announces More Funding for Apprenticeships

Another big development happened last Wednesday when President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced the 46 grantees for this year’s U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) American Apprenticeship grant program (AAG). Using Macomb Community College in Michigan as a backdrop for the announcement, this $175 million investment is part of the Admisntration’s wider effort to double the number of apprenticeships in the country—a realistic goal considering the U.S. lags behind nearly every other advanced country when it comes to participation in apprenticeships. While this is the second year for the AAG program, the Admisntration’s move to increase the amount of funding available by an additional $75 million underscores their strong commitment to what they’ve dubbed the “earn and learn” model for the coming years.

The grantees plan to create training opportunities for 34,000 apprenticeships at these 46 public-private partnerships, mostly in areas such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology while scaling up many existing programs in construction, transportation, and energy over the next few years. Many of the grantees plan to develop or build upon existing state or local career pathways, sector partnerships, and the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium initiative that have boosted activity in this area throughout the country in recent years.

For instance, the Illinois Advance Apprenticeship Consortium grant, which will receive $3.9 million in grant funding, plans to create 600 new apprenticeship positions that link to the state’s career pathway initiative, in order to create new on and off ramps for students to pursue these opportunities.

NASDCTEc applauds the Admisntration’s commitment to investing in the nation’s workforce and looks forward to the work that lies ahead as these grants start to reap benefits for students across the country. More information on the announcement can be found here and here.

Administration Launches “Heads Up America” Campaign and Continues to Push College Promise Proposal

Apprenticeships were only half of the conversation when President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden spoke at Macomb Community College last week. The President has continued to advocate for his America’s College Promise proposal which would make the first two years of college tuition free for qualifying students.

As part of that effort, the President has announced the creation of an independent advisory board for this effort, chaired by Dr. Jill Biden and former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, to convene like-minded postsecondary leaders, share best practices and models for the effort’s expansion, and to serve as recruiting tool to get more individuals involved in the work to expand the initiative throughout states and local communities. A full list of the board members is located here.

To that end, one of the core functions of this new board will be to spearhead a public awareness and grassroots campaign called “Heads Up America”. The goal of this effort is to spread awareness about community colleges and to create a nationwide movement to support the President’s call for lawmakers to take action on his America’s College Promise proposal. More information on this effort can be found here.

Odds & Ends

  • With the Fiscal Year 2016 funding deadline on September 30th fast approaching, lawmakers are currently working to avoid a government shutdown over Republican opposition to any funding measure that contains support for Planned Parenthood. While no deal has been reached as of today, the likelihood of a temporary stop-gap spending measure, known as a Continuing Resolution or CR, is growing increasingly likely. NASDCTEc will provide further information about that process next week.
  • The Workforce Data Quality Campaign hosted a Congressional briefing on the need to more effectively leverage education and workforce data to improve education and employment outcomes for students. The briefing also examined ways in which data systems could be improved, from local, state, and federal perspectives. More information on the event can be found here.
  • Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee recently announced that he will not seek reelection in 2016. While he will remain Chair of the Committee through next year, his likely replacement still remains uncertain, but includes among others, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Joe Wilson (R-SC).
  • The U.S. Secretaries of Labor and Education recently wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a renewed focus on improving the K-12 education experience. The piece highlights IBM’s P-Tech model as one way to improve student learning and outcomes. More here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

CTE Research Review: Making Sense of Credentials

September 16th, 2015

The number of high-demand jobs requiring an occupational license has grown over the past several years. This shift requires changes from the education community when considering the requisite training and preparation that students will need to enter these careers.

A new report from the White House offers policymakers a framework for the growing field of occupational licensing as well some best practices to consider.

Some interesting facts:

  • More than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, and most are licensed by their state – which represents a five-fold increase since the 1950s.
  • The share of licensed workers varies widely across the states from 12 percent in South Carolina to 33 percent in Iowa. Differences are largely due to state policies not occupational differences across the states.

Also, licenses are just one type of credential that students can obtain in their educational journey, and with states working to meet the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), understanding the different types is more important than ever.

The Association of Career and Technical Education recently published a primer on credentials, in particular the postsecondary space between high school and a two-year degree. Check out the full brief here.

Finally, the two-year degree attracts students of all ages, but which of those age groups are most likely to continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree? A quick fact sheet from the American Association of Community Colleges’ “Data Points” series has the answer.


Source: Association of Career and Technical Education

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Inside International CTE: CTE From an International Employer Perspective

September 15th, 2015

Our previous international blog posts have largely focused on international Career Technical Education (CTE)/Vocational education systems and how they operate. Today, we will look at CTE through the lens of an international employer in an interview with Aaron Coulson, New Talent Manager at National Grid in the UK. This is part of our ongoing blog series with Asia Society’s Global Learning Blog on Education Week. 

Can you describe a little bit about your company and your need for global talent?

National Grid is an international electricity and gas company based in the UK and northeastern U.S. As owners and operators of the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain, we are committed to safeguarding our global environment for future generations and providing all our customers with the highest standards of service through investment in our networks and through our talented, diverse workforce.

In my role working with Our Academy, our largest training center in the UK, I am responsible for all of National Grid’s entry-level talent development programs, an integral component of the company’s ‘grow your strategy,’ that helps develop the skills and knowledge of new employees in the company. The following best outlines our focus areas:

  • Providing the resources and support they need to develop and build on the wealth of experience and talent that already exists across the organization.
  • Attracting and retaining high-quality employees.
  • Developing new talent through apprenticeships, our graduate training program and engineer training program.
  • Supporting the development of our employees in order to ensure the future success of our organization.

Our Academy has garnered much recognition for our approach to developing new talent and our training programs receive a high number of applicants per year.

Read more about National Grid’s role in the UK CTE system including their work developing new employer-led apprenticeship standards and advice for organizations who want to engage in the field on Education Week’s Global Learning blog.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: President Obama Announces Apprenticeship Program

September 11th, 2015



Association for Career and Technical Education released a two-page brief describing the different types of credentials including who they are awarded by, what the credential indicates, and examples of each type.


National Tech Ag Day is hosting a live webcast on September 24 from 1:45 0 4:00 p.m. EDT where the American Farm Bureau Federation Office will host panels, national and state education leaders, agriculture teachers and more.


President Obama visited Michigan Technical Education Center in Michigan this week to announce a $175 million Labor Department program that will create 34,000 apprenticeships around the country.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate