Posts Tagged ‘CTE Vision’

The Future of Dual Enrollment Policy and Programs

Monday, January 29th, 2024

Late last year, the College in High School Alliance (CHSA) released “The Next Phase of Dual Enrollment Policy: A Vision for the Field,” laying out a set of critical priorities to ensure all learners get the full benefit of early postsecondary opportunities. As a member of CHSA’s Steering Committee, Advance CTE is excited about the potential—and ambition—of this new vision and what it can mean for learners, in Career Technical Education (CTE) and beyond, across the country.

The vision starts with a goal: states eliminating access gaps for participation and success for historically marginalized students in college in high school programs by 2030. To achieve this goal, it will take a mix of critical state- and national-level imperatives and commitments, including:

Importantly, this vision was not developed in a vacuum. Rather, it is the result of a year-long strategic planning process that engaged CHSA’s steering committee members (Achieving the Dream, Advance CTE, Bard Early College, JFF, KnowledgeWorks, The Middle College National Consortium and The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships) as well as policymakers and practitioners from across the nation. It builds on years of policy adoption and implementation—elevating what has worked and where more attention is critically needed. That is key as it will take individuals at all levels working in concert to advance and achieve this new vision for dual enrollment. 

Going forward, CHSA is committed to making this vision a reality at the state and national levels by publishing new resources that elaborate upon the various components of this vision; providing direct technical assistance to states to help them develop visions that promote equity, set inclusive goals and expand intentional dual enrollment; and convening policymakers to support ongoing collaboration in this space.

As noted in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for Career Technical Education, “the current landscape of college in high school and postsecondary transfer policies and programs is overly complicated, often results in loss of credit and does not consistently support equitable access and success.” As dual enrollment rates continue to rise and more learners, including CTE learners, participate in college in high school opportunities, it is more important than ever that we ensure our systems are designed to be equitable, meaningful and intentional. Advance CTE is excited and proud to be part of this work.

Relevant Resources

Kate Kreamer, Executive Director

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE, Public Policy
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2023 Advance CTE Fall Meeting Vision-Focused Workshops: Staff Reflections

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Advance CTE’s 2023 Fall Meeting featured two rounds of interactive workshops based on the five foundation commitments of our vision, CTE Without Limits – equity, quality programs and instructors, public-private partnerships, and data and collaboration. These sessions allowed attendees to collaborate together to incubate innovative ideas in these specific topic areas and elevate Career Technical Education (CTE)’s impact in each state. Read our staff’s recaps and reflections on each workshop:

Foundational Commitment 1: Removing Geographic Barriers for Learners Through CTE Without Borders

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

The Foundational Commitment 1 Workshop: Removing Geographic Barriers for Learners Through CTE Without Borders led participants through small and large group discussions and analysis to expand access within and across state borders.

Jennell Ives, Director of the Secondary-Postsecondary Transitions Team at the Oregon Department of Education, offered a strategy for state teams working to expand access that includes an intensive two-day workshop. In this two-day workshop, she recommended states bring together cross-sector teams and champions across agencies to flesh through an action-planning process that addresses expanding statewide access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning opportunities across secondary and postsecondary institutions. Narrowing the time and space to solely focus on expanding access within and across state borders is a strategy to jump-start the work of expanding access and ensuring all partners, actions and responsibilities are aligned and actionable.

Foundational Commitment 2: Creating Opportunities with Stakeholders to Ensure Quality and Impact

Tunisha Hobson, Director, State Policy Implementation

Marcette Kilgore, Texas’ State CTE Director, introduced the process of engaging stakeholders in a program of study refresh which served as a catalyst for an implementation tour to ensure regions in the state were aware of changes to the state’s approved list of programs. The development process included the completion of a skills gap analysis, conducting listening tours, establishing statewide CTE advisory committees and offering and processing public comments through digital submissions. Participants learned about the use of a piloted software, Calibrate, a Skills Engine product created by the Center for Employability Outcomes within the Texas State Technical College System. The Calibrate system allowed employers to enter preferred skills by individual job profiles developed in alignment to the Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.

The Texas Education Agency uploaded the course standards for every program of study which were created by grouping occupations by SOC code. An analysis of the alignment between course standards and industry-identified valuable skills was conducted to determine the gaps the agency needed to address as a priority and to schedule course reviews and rewrites/updates. The remainder of State Director Kilgore’s presentation focused on how this input was not limited to the pilot software but also included steps taken to engage the state’s CTE advisory committee, visit regions in the state and offer public comment opportunities which provided a more structured approach to supporting the redesign.

Yolanda Flores, a member of the Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation,  presented her real-world project focused on increasing adult learner awareness of opportunities available in manufacturing programs and subsequent in-demand high-wage jobs in Florida. She included an analysis of English Language Learners (ELL) and their access and supports while participating in the program. Her project includes an intervention through hosting a one-day exploration event for adult learners inclusive of ELL. The event not only increased awareness for the learner population, but it also identified for educators and industry partners other necessary interventions for addressing the needs of many more industries and learner groups. Flores was awarded a $170,000 grant to continue the work highlighted in her project to continue expanding access for learners.

Foundational Commitment 3: Advancing the National Career Clusters Framework

Paul Mattingly, Senior Policy Associate

Sheri Smith of Indigo Education Company and Alexandria Wright of WestEd’s Center for Economic Mobility provided an update on the National Career Clusters Framework Revision Project. The National Career Clusters® Framework is undergoing a modernization effort to ensure it remains responsive and relevant to both the world of work and learner needs for decades to come.

Participants in the workshop learned about the mixed method approach utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods for a data-informed process in updating the Framework. Additionally, participants learned of the progress that has been made recently with the Industry Advisory Groups and about the National Implementation Survey to gain knowledge about current and desired future use of the Framework and further support the engagement with those that use the Framework. During the group activities, attendees identified the most important uses and biggest challenges of utilizing the Framework for a variety of stakeholders.

Foundational Commitment 4: Data Dashboard Confessional – Ensuring Data are Actionable, Transparent and Trustworthy

Dan Adams, Associate Director, Data & Research

Dr. Jeffrey Fletcher, Lead Education Consultant at Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Community Colleges and Postsecondary Readiness framed Iowa’s success with building and using Data Dashboards as involving three specific benchmarks: collaboration with grant recipients; collecting complete/correct data; and limitations such as data matching. The resulting data dashboards are allowing Iowa to monitor student outcomes from enrollment, through different levels of education, successful completion of education, and gainful employment.

Donna Lewelling, Director at the Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development at Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission described Oregon’s work standing up a postsecondary data dashboard. Critical to Oregon’s success has been building data literacy among those collecting and those using postsecondary CTE data. Oregon’s work is relational, and resources have been devoted to building and sustaining the relationships necessary to create useable data dashboards, as well as providing technical assistance to the field in using data to identify opportunities and obstacles to student success.

Foundational Commitment 5: Seamless Transitions: Continuously Improving Alignment Across Sectors 

Eliza Fabillar, Senior Advisor

Alex Perry, Policy Advisor, Foresight Law and Policy, introduced the College in High School Alliance, a national partnership to advance dual enrollment and early college policy. Dual enrollment is growing nationwide, but more work is needed to develop consistent policies to achieve access to dual enrollment for all learners. States need to develop a common vision across sectors, expand the equity mission tied to dual enrollment by focusing on special populations, and be intentional about implementing policies that will advance dual enrollment. At the national level, policymakers and practitioners need to establish common definitions and examine policies and practices that support or hinder progress. 

Nancy Ligus, Advance CTE-ECMCF Fellow and Director of Workforce, Continuing Education and Economic Development at Pierpont Community College shared her work on a local workforce system. She differentiated systems versus ecosystems and provided a successful example from West Virginia. She also defined team characteristics that can ensure scalability and elaborated on strategies to form an ecosystem approach as a viable solution toward workforce and economic development goals.

Read our other blogs in the 2023 Fall Meeting recap series: 

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Research Roundup: Strategies for Fostering Effective Partnerships for Equitable CTE Research

Monday, June 26th, 2023

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s blog highlights strategies that support the connection between researchers and local CTE practitioners to generate evidence-based research to inform program improvement. These findings align with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where each learner engages in a responsive career preparation ecosystem.

State CTE leaders are eager to learn about the newest innovations or best practices to improve CTE learner outcomes. Researchers play an important role in translating the outcomes of different interventions and distilling their findings into recommendations that help to shape the direction of CTE programs. The K-12 education research landscape is rapidly shifting, and to effectively recruit districts and schools, researchers need to have strategies for building strong partnerships. A recent blog from the Career & Technical Education Research Network suggests that understanding these changes and their implications for evaluations is crucial for funders, researchers, and policymakers because of limited information on evidence-based CTE strategies and relatively few causal studies of CTE.

During the pandemic, it became clear that districts and schools are already facing many challenges regarding the availability of resources and their capacity to participate in research evaluations. Additional barriers include challenges with identifying clear counterfactuals, or programs to serve as reasonable comparisons, navigating district approval processes, and the willingness of schools to participate in district research.

States can support researchers to mitigate these challenges and foster mutually beneficial research partnerships with local practitioners that will contribute to the development of an effective data strategy. 

Strategies 

The CTE Research Network suggests the following strategies: 

Application for State CTE Leaders 

Strategic partnerships provide CTE leadership with relevant, evidence-based recommendations for implementing high-quality CTE programs for every learner. These partnerships expand the scope and quality of data available to state leaders by working directly with districts to capture the most timely information available to improve the alignment and quality of CTE programs.

There are several examples of established partnerships between state-level agencies and researchers. The Data Quality Campaign produced a Roadmap for Effective Data Use and Research Partnerships that breaks down the steps for integrating research into school improvement policies. 

The American Youth Policy Forum and Results for America also offer resources targeted to support state leaders in pushing beyond simply disseminating data to leverage research evidence to drive policy decisions.

Additional resources on data-informed program improvement can be found in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center. The Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative blog series represent lessons learned and successful strategies employed across the five states to move their data systems and structures forward.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

By Layla Alagic in Research
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Vision Commitments ‘Vlog’ Episode 3: Maximizing the Return on Investment for Industry Engagement to Build CTE Without Limits

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

This summer, Advance CTE is pleased to partner with experts from supporting organizations of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) to conduct video panels to delve into four of the five foundational commitments that connect the vision principles. 

Our third panel featuring the Corporation for Skilled Workforce (CSW), National Skills Coalition (NSC) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation discussed the growth and potential of public-private partnerships and the need for this collaboration across all stages of program development, including design, delivery and evaluation. Each panelist shared their insights on policy frameworks and next steps to more easily facilitate public-private partnerships and better connect systems of education, industry and workforce, as well as recommendations to improve trust-building and communication with industry partners to fully realize the value of CTE. 

All panelists agreed that the positive shift of public-private partnerships towards long-term investments with industry as “end customers” rather than one-time requests for input can strongly benefit CTE, and identified key components to successful partnerships including consistent engagement, braided funding that incentivizes partnership and level-setting on success and performance metrics. Equity was another common theme, with panelists emphasizing the importance of evaluating equity at each program stage, leveraging partnerships to bring diverse voices into program development, and utilizing partnerships to advance skills-based hiring. 

You don’t want to miss CSW’s Vickie Choitz’ road trip analogy as a policy framework for advancing collaboration in purpose, funding and performance metrics in partnerships – it starts at the 8:20 mark! 

Episode Quotes 

“While today the quality of CTE has vastly improved, the involvement of business and other private organizations can act as a way to build trust with those communities that vocational programs of the past failed to appropriately serve.”                                                                  Brianna McCain, State Policy Analyst, National Skills Coalition 

“In order for [employers] to see a positive return on investment they need to capitalize on those relationships. None of us can do this alone – it’s going to take these really effective public-private partnerships to make a difference for learners and ensure their experiences are worthwhile for both educators and employers.”                                                                            Jaimie Francis, Executive Director of Programs & Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce

“It’s important to make sure that your structures support partnership building [so that] partnerships are the default – funding, regular meeting structure, etc. so that partnership is the way of doing business rather than trying to swim against the tide.”  – Vickie Choitz, Director of Federal, State & Local Systems Change, Corporation for Skilled Workforce 

Thank you to Advance CTE’s Meredith Hills for serving as a facilitator and to our panelists for your expertise and insights. 

Watch previous episodes that discuss steps CTE leaders can take to prioritize quality and diversity, equity and inclusion in realizing CTE Without Limits. Our final episode will focus on harnessing actionable, transparent and trustworthy data. 

Visit our vision page to read the full vision, access vision communication and implementation resources, and view recordings of our summer Lunch and Learn webinar series focused on the five vision principles. Vision the Learning that Works Resource Center for tools to evaluate and advance public-private partnerships in CTE systems and programs through employer engagement and systems alignment

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits, Uncategorized
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Recap of Without Limits: Reflections on a Shared Vision for the Future of CTE

Friday, March 19th, 2021

This week, Advance CTE released its third shared-vision, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, which calls for a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage CTE as a catalyst for ensuring each learner can reach success in the career of their choice.

This vision is supported by 38 national organizations that represent the full continuum of CTE learners and stakeholders. It lays out five inter-connected and equally critical principles:

To celebrate the release of this new vision, on Thursday, March 18th, Advance CTE hosted a live virtual event, “Without Limits: Reflections on a Shared Vision for the Future of CTE” featuring leaders across workforce, philanthropy, education administration, and higher education to share their perspectives on vision themes and impact. 

Advance CTE Executive Director, Kimberly Green, kicked the event off with opening remarks, centering the importance of shared-commitment and shared-ownership to realize the possibility and aspiration of a new career preparation ecosystem, “This vision reminds us of our responsibility as leaders to have courageous conversations, challenge tradition and status quo, and to take the risk of trying to do new things. It takes us working together across systems, across states and across sectors to realize the aspiration and the hope of this vision.” 

For the remainder of the event, Sara Allan moderated the panel composed of Dr. Adrienne Battle, Emily Fabiano and Dr. Nicole Smith, focusing on the areas of the vision the speakers were most excited about, work they are doing related to the vision and advice for how to get started. Major themes discussed were the importance of alignment across K-12, postsecondary, workforce and industry sectors, attending to equity, and the need to take an integrated approach to providing opportunities to learners. Emily Fabiano stressed the importance of leadership in driving this vision forward: “We can as leaders bring organizations together – the programs, the data and the priorities – to do the backend work to create those seamless pathways.”  Nicole Smith commended the strong focus on equity, sharing “in many ways the shared vision has redefined equity. It includes all dimensions of equity – educational, racial, socio-economic, gender and geographic.”

The speakers also pointed to our country’s current reality. In the past year, the pandemic and economic recession have highlighted existing disparities between who has and does not have access to opportunities. Now more than ever, learners need practical and efficient educational options to successfully enter the rapidly changing workforce. This vision has the potential to do right by learners and provide the opportunities they need to learn career skills that will launch them into a promising future. As Sara Allan noted, “This blueprint for action couldn’t come at a more important moment.”

In closing, Dr. Battle reminded listeners to, “be courageous, be willing to not have all the answers and to know you will fall down before you walk or run. Despite all of that, we have to stay the course. This work will take time, collaboration and investment of time, talent and resources.”

To get started, visit careertech.org/without-limits to read the vision, view the vision supporters and sign on to stay engaged as this ambitious and bold shared-vision is implemented in states, districts and industry sectors across the country.

Special thanks to our 38 national partners for supporting this vision and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Strada Education Network for making this event possible.

Christina Koch, Policy Associate

By admin in Meetings and Events
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A Decade of Visions for Career Technical Education and Why it is Time for CTE Without Limits

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Advance CTE is looking forward to releasing Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, a new vision supported by 38 national organizations that pushes Career Technical Education (CTE) to its full potential by dismantling systems that silo stakeholders and perpetuate inequalities so that each learner has access to and the means to be successful in the career of their choice. 

This shared vision is the culmination of over a decade of efforts by our organization and our members to better connect systems of learning and work to advance learner success. CTE Without Limits takes that work to the next level by providing a framework for system-wide transformations that have held CTE in providing high-quality and equitable experiences to each learner regardless of their background or where they live.

A Decade of Visions for the Future of CTE

 In 2010, Advance CTE released Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for CTE. This vision emerged from the economic crisis of the late 2000s and strived to place CTE at the forefront of preparing learners and workers with the skills to achieve sustainable careers in a global economy. This vision focused on achieving excellence in program quality through improving program alignment with the National Career Clusters® Framework, increasing industry participation in program development, developing national programs and assessments to increase skill portability and connecting data systems across learning and work to identify and elevate high-quality CTE programs.

Successful initiatives related to this vision include: 

In 2016, Advance CTE and 11 supporting organizations released Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This vision elevated the emphasis on creating learner-centered and learner-supported systems and introduced the need for a shared commitment among CTE stakeholders to advance program quality and system alignment across each learner’s journey. 

This vision also shifted its focus from national initiatives to improving state systems to fully serve learners and position them for potential scaling. Significant new action areas included the development of an integrated career advisement system, expanding work-based learning for all learners, removing barriers to recruitment and retention of quality instructors and enhancing accountability measures in federal and state policy across programs where learning and work intersect. 

One of the most important accomplishments of this vision was the reauthorization of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The updated legislation successfully included elements to build learner-centered systems, including streamlined performance targets and program quality measures to better define and track learner success; an increase in the reserve fund set-aside to encourage innovation and flexibility; and the creation of a new comprehensive local needs assessment that compels state CTE leaders to conduct regular, collaborative evaluation of program and learner needs.

The Need for a New Vision for CTE 

The national crises of the past year has brought to the forefront issues that have held learners and workers back for too long. Our new vision, CTE Without Limits, will be released next week and is inspired by the ideas of more than 200 CTE leaders and partners that participated at our CTE Forward Summit in Fall 2020. 

This vision names solutions that not only bring together actors across K-12 and postsecondary education, workforce development and business and industry, but also lay the groundwork for CTE to lead in addressing the most pressing issues facing learning and work as a whole, including breaking silos among systems; dismantling barriers that perpetuate racism and inequalities that inhibit learner success; and empowering the individual to contribute to and direct their path to career success. We are most proud that this vision takes a much-needed step in prioritizing equity not only as a principle, but also as a theme that unites all five vision principles and action areas. 

Take the first step to bring this new vision to life – register to join us on March 18 at 2:00 pm ET to celebrate CTE Without Limits virtually featuring Sara Allan, Director of Early Learning and Education Pathways at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of the Metro Nashville Public Schools, Emily Fabiano, Director of Strategy and Operations, Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, and Dr. Nicole Smith, Chief Economist, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

We hope to see you there! 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits
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Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Committing to Program Quality

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence

This first principle of Putting Learner Success First is a topic that has been an area of focus for many states for a while now. Many states and districts have worked to improve program quality, though the country still lacks an agreed-upon, detailed definition of high-quality for all programs of study. More work is needed from all stakeholders to ensure that all learners have access to excellent programs, no matter their zip code.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders put their commitment to quality into action, they have access to multiple resources related to program approval, program evaluation and academic and CTE standards integration.

Principle in Action

Relevant Resources

Upcoming Resource

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Resources
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Friends of CTE Blog Series: Career Technical Education’s Role in Achieving Talent Sustainability

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

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

Jorge Perez, senior vice president of Manpower North America

Jorge Perez, senior vice president of Manpower North America

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at mlloyd@careertech.org.

By admin in News
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Friends of CTE Blog Series: CMT Goes Back to School

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Lucia Folk is the Senior Director of Public Affairs for CMT (Country Music Television), a cable television network distributed in 92 million homes across the country.

Lucia Folk, Senior Director of Public Affairs for CMT (Country Music Television)

Lucia Folk, Senior Director of Public Affairs for CMT (Country Music Television)

I’m lucky enough to have my dream job, which is utilizing CMT’s media platforms—television, radio, digital, etc.—to encourage our viewers to give back in their communities. So when our parent company, Viacom, partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation a few years ago to launch the Get Schooled Foundation with the goal of empowering young people to take charge of their education, I was excited to have a role in helping CMT support that mission.

In 2010, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) redesigned all 12 of its zoned high schools into smaller learning communities, enabling students to learn through the lens of a career or academic theme. CMT immediately saw the connection between this new initiative and our parent company’s ongoing mission, and we were one of the first business partners to step forward and offer our support. The Academies of Nashville* is an innovative approach to school redesign which engages the business community to help drive change in our public schools. We partnered with McGavock High School’s Academy of Digital Design & Communication, and over the past three years this relationship has been transformational, not only for the school, but also for our employees.

In the business world, we’ve heard for years that “our schools are failing and we need your help.” The only ways we knew to help were to throw money at the problem or do occasional volunteering that may impact small numbers of children. The Academies model provides a way for business partners to work alongside those on the frontlines educating our youth—our teachers and our school administrators—to make systemic change in our public schools. Business partners support the Academies by providing knowledge, support and experiential learning opportunities for our students, teachers and administrators.

You in the Career Technical Education (CTE) world have been connecting with businesses for years. In fact, the second principle of the CTE Vision is to actively partner with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs. You know the power of connecting education and industry. The Academies model is an especially innovative example because it utilizes business engagement at all levels, from working one on one at the grassroots level with individual Academies, all the way up to working alongside administrators in the school district.

At the school level, the Academies encourage and, frankly, require connectivity between what you teach in your CTE classes to the curriculum in the academic subjects. This is achieved through common planning among all disciplines, reinforced by business partnerships relevant to each Academy’s pathways. At the district level, business partners belong to partnership councils, which bring together employers in similar fields to ensure that what is being taught in the Academies directly relates to workforce needs. This partnership and shared accountability at all levels makes the Academies of Nashville unique, especially because this structure has been implemented “wall-to-wall” in all of our zoned high schools, providing every student access to these opportunities.

CMT is starting year four of our partnership and although we still have much work to do, McGavock has made tremendous progress since 2010: They have seen a 10 percent increase in the graduation rate; doubled the number of students who attend from outside of their zone; increased the composite ACT score by 5 percent; and made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for three years in a row (which they had not achieved for the 10 years prior to 2010/11).  In addition to quantitative results, the real magic of the Academies structure is that it is community-building at its core. McGavock is our school and we share the challenges and successes with our teachers, administrators, fellow business partners, and most importantly, our students.

One of the proudest moments of my professional career was having the honor of standing on stage alongside our McGavock colleagues at this year’s commencement ceremony to congratulate the first graduating class of the CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication.  That’s what makes this my dream job: I, as well as my colleagues at CMT, have the privilege of partnering with McGavock to help our students find their dream jobs.

*If you want to learn more about the Academies of Nashville, there is a study visit planned for October 2-4, 2013 .  There will also be another study visit offered in the spring of 2014.  You can also learn more about the model on which the Academies are based at the Ford Partnership of Advanced Studies Next Generation Learning.

 

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

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at mlloyd@careertech.org.

By admin in News
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