Posts Tagged ‘employability skills’

Elevating the Story of Career Technical Education: June Meeting Series Day 3 Highlights

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

On June 22, Advance CTE hosted the third and final event in its three-part June Meeting Series. The day focused on the theme of “Elevate,” and offered knowledge about raising the profile of Career Technical Education (CTE), so that key stakeholders and the public support and engage with the field. 

The opening keynote session, “Breaking Through: Making CTE Resonate in a Noisy World,” was built around the fact that Americans are bombarded with thousands of messages a day, from advertising to social media to the news. That makes it difficult to build awareness of and support for CTE. The session provided insights on how to break through, by becoming expert storytellers, sharpening messaging and speaking directly to the issues that matter most. Panelists included Teresa Valerio Parrot, Principal of TVP Communications; Leslie Slaughter, Executive Advisor to the Office of Career & Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Education; and Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director of Advance CTE. 

Two key quotes from the panel included: 

The keynote session was followed by content-rich breakouts and discussions to build connections and knowledge. Each breakout session was aligned to one of the five foundational commitments of CTE Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education

Breakout highlights included:

“Quality: Maximizing Limited Time for Media Relations” elevated efficient methods to start and sustain meaningful relationships with local and regional media. Expert panelists included national reporters Derricke Dennis, Anchor and National Correspondent for ABC News, and Rebecca Koenig, Editor for EdSurge. Both encouraged attendees to understand the demands on journalists, and be mindful of their workflows when pitching stories.

“People are writing about education and others are writing about the workforce,” Koenig said, “but there is an opportunity to meet in the middle to tell stories about CTE.”

One practical tip Dennis offered: “Start your email subject line with the words ‘STORY IDEA.’” Something that simple can make him jump right to the email. 

He continued, “Real stories are worth repeating. CTE is really an American story which exists all around us!”

In “Systems Alignment: A View From the Hill: A Federal Policy Update,” attendees heard from an expert panel consisting of Advance CTE’s Policy Advisor, Steve Voytek, Dr. Alisha Hyslop of ACTE and José Miranda of the Associate of Community College Trustees. Topics ranged from current priorities in Congress to the midterm elections. 

Two key takeaways from the session included the effort to l extend Pell Grant eligibility to short-term workforce training programs is moving through Congress and there is likely to be an increase in the Perkins Basic State Grant funding.

In the breakout “Equity: Student Voices: What Clicks with Me,” secondary and postsecondary CTE learners shared how they learned about CTE, what it felt like/feels like to be a CTE learner, and barriers to full program participation and success. Panelists included Technology Student Association President Gowri Rangu, 2021-2022 Future Farmers of America Utah state officer Kenadee Stubbs and CTE alumni Kendall Brown from Alabama and Faith Lanzillo from New Hampshire. 

The panelists talked about overcoming the obstacles they faced and envisioned what we can do, as state leaders, to diversify and strengthen CTE enrollment.

The panelists agreed that mentorship is essential: they were able to see themselves in career paths through diverse ambassadors, learners and professionals, who helped them choose and stay on a career path. Some shared the obstacles they had to overcome, such as lengthy application processes and difficulty changing programs, but all expressed gratitude for having found a path to a fulfilling and rewarding career. 

“Public-Private Partnerships: Centering Equity to Address Our Talent Pipeline Shortages” focused on how industry needs to think differently about how they attract, hire and retain talent. Bridgette Gray and Kate Naranjo, leaders from Opportunity@Work, an organization committed to changing hiring practices across the nation, provided expert insights. Opportunity@Work is a strong advocate for  more skills-based hiring practices, a policy construct advocated for in CTE Without Limits. These practices have the benefit of broadening and diversifying the talent pool for the private and public sectors. Recently, the state of Maryland adopted a skills-based hiring strategy and can be a key tool to ensure a more equitable and diverse workforce. 

Skill-based hiring promotes hiring based on demonstrated competencies, lived experiences and credentials. Some years ago Advance CTE shifted its language in position description to allow for lived experience equivalency when assessing new candidates and position announcements do not generally list degree requirements. 

“Communicating With Data to Drive Policy and Practices and Inform Stakeholders” rounded out the breakout offerings. The session focused on the story CTE administrators are able to tell with data, which can invoke a sense of urgency in addressing the needs of learners and the economic ecosystem. Panelists included Josie Brunner, Data Strategist in the College, Career and Military Preparation Division at the Texas Education Agency; Scott U’Sellis, Data Manager at the Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education; and Brennan McMahon Parton, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign. 

“The average person is not going to go looking for nine different tools,” U’Sellis said. “You need one tool that gives them the answer they want. Ask people, is this interesting data to you, does this help you find what you really want to know?”

Brunner boldly asserted that the storytelling power of data is full of potential: “We need our data to say to learners that no matter where you are in your career journey, there’s a place for you,” she said. 

Taking a step back, the panelists agreed that there is always a human element to the data, and that’s what can make storytelling so powerful. When looking at data, they noted that it’s easy to forget that data points represent whole people who are so much more than the data that represent them.

Further learning ahead

More than 200 people from across the country tuned in to the three-part June Meeting Series. The event will be complemented by Advance CTE’s Virtual Learning Series, a year-round webinar sequence for the general public and members. We also recently announced our first large in-person gathering since the pandemic started, our Fall Meeting, which will take place in October 2022 (more details coming soon)! 

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Learner Perspectives: Tejas Shah, Advance CTE Intern

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Tejas Shah served as Advance CTE’s Spring 2022 Policy Intern. Prior to joining Advance CTE, he interned for elected officials, political candidates and a policy organization at the local level.  He is a rising junior at Cornell University majoring in Policy Analysis and Management. 

Introduction

This spring, I had the amazing opportunity to intern with Advance CTE, and support their state policy team. As I look back on my four months with Advance CTE, I am reflecting on my professional and personal growth. This post gives state leaders a learner’s perspective on being exposed to the field of Career Technical Education policy for the first time.

Where I Started

When I started my internship search for the spring semester, I knew I wanted to get real-world experience in the policy space. As a sophomore at Cornell University majoring in policy analysis, I am at that point in my college career where I am starting to think about my post-graduation plans. Thus, dipping my toes into a policy sphere that I had little experience with seemed exciting. Before interning with Advance CTE, I didn’t know much about CTE. I had heard the terms vocational education and work-based learning, and had a general idea about what that meant. However, my understanding of these topics contained  assumptions and biases that I hoped to, and did, recognize through this internship experience.

Learning About CTE Systems

The first project I was assigned to involved the New Skills ready network (NSrn) initiative. I transcribed interviews with education professionals across one of the six sites,  Nashville, Tennessee. I heard from principals, guidance counselors, and educators, each with a unique perspective on CTE policy within their community and how the NSrn initiative impacted learners and systems. Hearing from such a diverse set of individuals was illuminating. Although I graduated from a public high school, I never truly knew how much goes into ensuring learners have a high-quality education. 

This project made me reflect on my own high school experience. Through this project, I learned that high-quality career pathways would have helped me narrow down my career interests before I entered college. Additionally, hearing from guidance professionals about the significance of a high-quality guidance program was extremely interesting. I did not know career and technical education were options I could take advantage of. My guidance counselor had hundreds of other students to assist – perhaps a guidance department based on academic flexibility and smooth transitions from secondary to post-secondary education would have opened doors I did not know I had access to.

I also had the opportunity to build on my learning about writing a blog by highlighting another New Skills ready network site, Boston, Massachusetts. I heard from experienced professionals within high schools and postsecondary institutions, and learned about a variety of dual-enrollment initiatives in place that link secondary and postsecondary experiences. Like high-quality pathways, ensuring secondary learners have access to college-level learning opportunities significantly impacts postsecondary readiness and completion outcomes. I took a few classes at my high school that offered college credit. However, very few of these credits transferred to my postsecondary institution. Fortunately, I was not relying on these credits to graduate. However, through this project, I came to realize that for some students, getting college credit for high school classes can significantly improve a learner’s chances to succeed in college-level coursework and achieve a postsecondary attainment. I never realized that my college credits not transferring were symptoms of a larger issue that Advance CTE hopes to address.

What I especially enjoyed about my experience at Advance CTE was the infusion of equity in all the projects that I completed. My supervisor always made it a priority to bring equity to the forefront of our discussions. I was exposed to a variety of different readings, resources, and interviews that highlighted the importance of integrity of support for each learner within the education system. For example, I became aware of the importance of wraparound supports for learners. I lived a very privileged life – my parents had access to a vehicle and my house had stable internet. However, for learners who don’t have access to such resources, receiving a high-quality education is much more difficult. Additionally, through supporting  the New Skills ready network project, I was introduced to the systemic racism and inequality that exists within the education sphere, which is reflected through gaps by race and ethnicity in participation in high-demand career pathways. Breaking down these systemic barriers and stereotypes is work that I now realize is extremely important to making sure all students, regardless of background, have equitable access to high-quality education.

Skillbuilding Journey

My experience at Advance CTE was a great opportunity for me to build my professional skills. This internship was the first time I was charged with managing projects. At first, it was a challenge to have the confidence to take on projects with a lot of responsibility. However, the staff at Advance CTE gave me plenty of resources to help me to be proactive in my task management. For example, I utilized Basecamp to remind myself of the checkpoints I needed to complete for a project. Breaking down a daunting assignment into smaller, more digestible pieces made it much easier for myself to understand what needed to be done. Additionally, splitting up projects into smaller portions made it easier to notice when I was falling behind. Coming out of this experience, I feel much more confident in my proactive communication skills. I have found myself applying these strategies to my college work as well. I have started to map out my assignments on Google Calendar. I can look a week, a month, or a whole semester ahead to make sure I am prioritizing my tasks and budgeting my time efficiently and effectively. 

In addition to my project management development, this opportunity has strengthened my adaptability skills. Many of the deadlines set at the beginning of projects changed, some of which were last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. In some cases, receiving information or feedback from outside sources took longer than expected. In others, staff changes meant changing project roles. Though some of these changes could be dizzying, it helped strengthen my ability to be flexible. Projects and the needs of Advance CTE’s members constantly evolve, and being able to adapt to such changes is important. For example, I was tasked with updating pages on the Advance CTE website. However, during the project, the manager left Advance CTE, so my supervisor and I had to learn together to execute the project. This was intense at first, but it was a great learning experience as well. Proactive communication and collaboration allowed me to adapt and carry out the project successfully. 

At the end of every month, I would have a check-in with my supervisor where we pinpointed skillbuilding areas that I have excelled in, and skillbuilding areas that I could improve upon. These monthly meetings were extremely beneficial in my development as a professional. I was given the ability to see my progress firsthand. We would brainstorm strategies to implement over the course of the following month to bolster my skillbuilding process. Through discussing hypothetical situations and deconstructing problems that occurred during the previous month, these monthly meetings were especially important in increasing my confidence within the internship program. Guidance and constructive criticism are paramount for learner development, in and out of the classroom.

Appreciation and Next Steps 

I want to thank all the staff at Advance CTE. Their constant support and direction has been extremely helpful in my career exploration and development. This internship solidified my interest in researching and communicating policy. This summer I will serve as an intern for the Office of the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. I look forward to continuing to broaden my skill set and policy experiences! 

Tejas Shah, Spring 2022 Policy Intern

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Two States Report Positive Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Results

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Colorado and Washington both released reports recently citing positive numbers on participation dual and concurrent enrollment. In Colorado, 38,519 students, which equals 30 percent of all 11th and 12th graders, participated in concurrent enrollment during the 2015-16 school year. Nearly 40 percent of those students participated in Career Technical Education (CTE) concurrent enrollment courses, which allow students to apply credit towards a technical certificate or degree. Students passed 93 percent of all the credit hours attempted in any concurrent enrollment program.

In Washington, 190,000 students, or two-thirds of Washington high school students, earned dual credit in the 2015-16 school year, which is an increase of 18,000 students over the previous year. In addition to promoting Advanced Placement courses, the state provides supplemental funding for students who enroll in college-level courses at community and technical colleges. While this is an encouraging mark of progress, state officials were quick to note that work remains to be done in closing gaps between racial subgroups.

ACTE Releases Recommendations for Effective Career Counseling in Middle School

The Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), in partnership with Career Cruising, recently released a report and set of recommendations related to career counseling in middle schools. Research has shown that middle school is an excellent time to explore different careers and take introductory CTE courses. The report goes on to describe six recommendations, which are listed in the graphic on the right, for effective career counseling programs and dives into some of the barriers middle schools can face in providing students with quality career exploration experiences. Though many of the recommendations are focused at the local level, the authors note that state leaders have an important role to play in supporting these local innovations and practices.

Odds and Ends

A new analysis out of the California Community College system finds high salary returns for students completing an associate degree. According to the study, which draws on public earnings data through Salary Surfer, 48 percent of students graduating with an associate degree and 44 percent of students graduating with a certificate earned $56,000 or more within five years of completing their credential.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia allow computer science coursework to fulfill a core graduation requirement. That’s according to a new state scan from EDC and other research organizations examining state strategies for writing, adopting and implementing computer science standards. The report describes state policies related to ten policy priorities and identifies common challenges and approaches across the states.

A survey of entry-level employees, conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation and Edelman, finds that 49 percent of employees aren’t using skills they learned in college while 90 percent feel they are using skills they learned on the job. The authors suggest that screening candidates based on college degree may limit the talent pool and cut off high-quality employees who could be trained on the job.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By admin in Research
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Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By admin in Research
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Friends of CTE Blog: The Strength of America: It’s in the American Workforce and Technical Careers

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Nicholas T. Pinchuk is chairman and chief executive officer of Snap-on Incorporated, and serves on the Corporation’s board of directors. He was named president and chief operating officer in April 2007. He joined Snap-on in 2002. Mr. Pinchuk has been a strong advocate for career and technical education and has provided leadership in the development of new initiatives to link industry and education.

Nicholas T. Pinchuk is chairman and chief executive officer of Snap-on Incorporated

Ideas and Amplifiers

Harvard professor David Landes in his landmark book Wealth and Poverty of Nations recognizes that the success of our nation is rooted in our workforce. The American workforce – focused on individual aspirations and pursuing collective goals – has been our country’s strength for generations.

But, when we rise any morning and watch TV or read the newspaper, we hear that we are under challenge . . . that we’re in a global competition. Well, the best thing we can do in this conflict is to enable our workforce with Career Technical Education (CTE). This is the way forward . . . there is no more important task in contemporary America.

The American workforce has delivered us from evil, generation after generation. We’ve had brilliant people such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Henry Ford. Ford, like the others, had a groundbreaking idea but his vision would not have been actionable without an assisting amplifier.  And, he chose the greatest commercial amplifier of the day . . . the American workforce . . . committed, focused and energetic. In the process, he created the American auto industry and he got rich for it, as he should have.  But, along the way, he also created the opportunity to build prosperous and fulfilling lives for the millions of Americans who helped make his vision a reality.

The same story is true of Snap-on. We were founded on an innovation and the people from the state of Wisconsin helped take our products around the world and, in the process, built lives of fulfillment and prosperity for themselves and their successors.

Competitive Advantage in the Global Workforce

We know there are urgent challenges to our economy and to our workforce. Thirty percent of America’s manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the past 20 years. So what’s changed since Henry Ford? A lack of innovation . . . I don’t think so.  We can just look around and see that there are still many new ideas, clearly evident in the progress across modern America.

It’s not the American workforce.  Clearly…I can tell you, when I walk the hallways and the factory floors of Elizabethton, Tennessee, or Murphy, North Carolina, or Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I see the same commitment and focus and energy that I suspect Henry Ford saw all those years ago.

What is different is that when I tour those same passages in Shanghai or Delhi, as I do regularly, I also see commitment, focus and energy . . . I see a workforce hungry for advancement and motivated to build their own prosperity.

What has changed is that qualities like commitment and energy are no longer differentiating in the global competition to be the preferred enabling workforce for the ideas of today.

So, we can only win the global economic competition for broad prosperity by creating an advantage…by arming our workforce with capability and technical skills. If we learn anything from American history, it is that society advances through the hands, minds and hearts of its professional workers. In fact, America has consistently moved forward over the years on the brilliance of the few and on the efforts of the many.

Now, Snap-on is – I believe – a great example of what I’m talking about. We make 80 percent of what we sell in the United States right here in America. And, most of what we make has high labor content.  This  can be hard to accomplish successfully in a developed environment like the United States. We’re able to do it because we have a capable and flexible workforce, proximate to the world’s greatest market. This approach, using proximity and capability as an advantage, can be duplicated all across this country.  But, what’s needed is an American workforce armed with the right skills…a workforce enabled by technical education.

Industry and Government both must participate in this effort.  In that regard, I see two major areas of focus:

Industry needs to enable technical institutions.  We must ensure that schools are using the best equipment and facilities.  Industry also needs to help set standards for education so that students learn the specific skills that are necessary, that are actionable in the marketplace, and that can get them the jobs that create prosperity. That’s first.

Second, is that somewhere along the way, America – in my opinion – has lost a bit of its respect for technical occupations.  They are now often viewed as a consolation for not earning a four-year degree. Both Government and Industry need to work in tandem to change this view.  Young people must be encouraged to pursue technical professions.

The Clarion Call

People might recognize the importance of training for a technical career, but how do they react when someone close to them follows such a path?  I’m not sure…probably not so positively.  The truth is that technical education and the associated careers are viewed by many as a consolation prize.  Now, the facts don’t support this view.  But, there’s no denying that there is a gap between perception and reality for technical education.  It’s an optics problem that I believe must be remedied by leaders . . . national leadership from business, government and education.

During the space race, President Kennedy recognized that Americans felt threatened by the Russians with the launch of Sputnik. He appeared on national TV and said: “We are going to put a man on the moon in this decade.” He made it a national priority and young people all over this country viewed entering technical careers as a national calling.

Just like in the space race, we need to make skilled workforce training a national priority. And, we need to make skilled careers a national calling. Technical education must possess that kind of priority focus. That’s one reason why I’m so enthusiastic about student organizations like SkillsUSA. They enable young people with the capabilities they need to win the global competition, and they create an excitement so that these young men and women readily embrace technical learning and avidly pursue those careers with pride.

When some say the American worker is the problem, I say no . . . the American worker is the answer. But, the strength of any workforce is based on technical capabilities. As a nation, we must transform the view of a technical degree from being a consolation to an aspiration. We need to enable workers with both training and respect. Because of that, CTE and SkillsUSA have never been more important to assure a prosperous American future.

How Can You Get Involved?

Now is the time to act.  Form partnerships involving all stakeholders – education, industry and government.  Understand the skills requirements on a local level.  And celebrate technical education and career achievements at every opportunity.

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

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager, at euy@careertech.org.

By admin in News
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