Posts Tagged ‘Industry Collaboration’

Getting to Know Advance CTE and State Technical Assistance

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Nithya Govindasamy! Nithya is a Senior Advisor at Advance CTE; she recently joined the organization in October 2021. Nithya leads and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality CTE, which includes: workforce development, education and equity initiatives; technical assistance (TA) for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits); efforts to maximize the stimulus investments; and Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. 

In this month’s edition of the CTEWorks Newsletter, we share resources, tools and supports to foster continuous improvement and collaboration among stakeholders in the career preparation ecosystem. This work includes the TA Advance CTE will deliver to states implementing CTE Without Limits. Learn more in the interview with Nithya below: 

Q: How does the shared vision, CTE Without Limits, promote the value of collaboration, equity and innovation in states? 

A: CTE Without Limits lays out a bold vision for a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage CTE to ensure that every learner can reach success in the career of their choice. 

The five inter-connected and equally critical principles call for our education and workforce system to collaborate and leverage their assets and take an innovative approach to ensuring that the learner can achieve career success. 

Q: What are the benefits of statewide structures that increase collaboration and coordination across K-12, postsecondary and workforce development to support a career preparation ecosystem?

A: States that invest in structures and systems to increase strategic collaboration and coordination across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce development continuum will be able to better serve the needs of each learner and the employer community. 

Each partner within the statewide structure serves a unique role in the career preparation ecosystem and greater connectivity means learners can access the support they need at any of the entry points. Collaboration between the education and workforce system also provides an avenue for industry to connect with future talent in a systematic way. Statewide structures that build these meaningful interconnections can benefit by accessing additional non-traditional funding and resources that are targeted towards incentivizing collaboration and establishing and meeting aligned goals.  

As a benefit all CTE leaders across the 50 states and territories, Advance CTE shares best practices and policy innovations from exemplar states (and partnering organizations) that have successfully embraced collaboration and partnerships, coordinated services, and support to benefit each learner (especially those from historically marginalized populations).

Q: As the organization begins to provide technical assistance to the cohort of states, what are the objectives and goals that Advance CTE hopes to achieve? 

A: Advance CTE hopes to assist states and our members to advance and implement the principles in CTE Without Limits within their state. Our goal is to support states, and their cross-sector teams, to bridge gaps in their systems to ensure all learners have equitable access to and can benefit from high-quality CTE. Through the community of practice that will be launched this February, we hope to identify and lift up best practices among states and inspire leaders and practitioners to take bold actions to design and implement a new career preparation ecosystem that is learner-focused and can offer endless opportunities.   

Q: How will the TA help build capacity within states to develop and strengthen their cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystems?

A: The TA delivered will provide states an opportunity to engage in a deeper needs assessment that will identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as the root causes for gaps and barriers that exist in their current systems. Each state will have access to a dedicated coach as part of this initiative who will work with the state team to develop a strategic and solutions-oriented plan to address the specific needs and priorities expressed by each state. 

Q: Are there resources and supports for state and local leaders outside of the TA cohort who are beginning to implement the principles outlined in CTE Without Limits

A: Yes! The community of practice that will be part of this initiative will be open to all states and not just the TA cohort states. The community of practice will be a great opportunity for states to engage in discussion with other states about how they are tackling various components within the vision as well as learn from fellow members. Advance CTE will also continue to host webinars and post blogs that will focus on CTE Without Limits and share strategies and approaches with state leaders to help implement vision principles broadly across systems. States can also reach me directly at ngovindasamy@careertech.org if there’s a need for specific guidance or assistance.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Exploring Area Technical Centers: Elevating ATCs in a National Economic Recovery

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

The transformative workforce changes resulting from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic have made it more urgent than ever for states to have a comprehensive strategy for reskilling and upskilling that unites stakeholders across education, workforce development and economic development. Advance CTE has been vocal that investment in secondary and postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) is critical to a national recovery strategy. 

ATC Positioning in the Workforce Development System 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things in our way of life, including the education or training path most Americans will pursue to return to work. A typical economic recovery would have millions of Americans flocking to traditional higher education programs but instead, in this post-pandemic economic recovery, the majority of Americans say they will seek non-degree and skill-based education and training programs to reskill or upskill their way back to a good job.

Area technical centers (ATCs) should be part of this solution – helping more Americans secure non-degree credentials of value. Our national analysis found that in the states where ATCs serve an adult population, these institutions provide short-term credentials and programs below the level of an associate’s degree, and  are uniquely positioned to be nimble and responsive to changing workforce needs. Further, these institutions are accessible, by design serving a region, and low-cost, with few or no barriers to admission for adult learners and affordable tuition rates as low as $2.00 per seat hour. ATCs can and should be better leveraged to serve those who have been disproportionately impacted by job losses associated with the pandemic, particularly Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less, and female workers.  

Leveraging Federal Funding 

Funding matters, and in states that have leveraged federal funds, we see ATCs being key players in meeting the state’s short- and long-term workforce priorities.  

For example, all of Ohio’s Ohio technical colleges (OTCs) and selected programs in Delaware’s ATCs are eligible training providers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Many ATCs are eligible for federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, including institutions in Florida, Ohio and Utah most commonly accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

Some states have utilized 2020 federal stimulus funding to reinforce their ATCs as valuable institutions in an economic recovery. Delaware leveraged $10 million of its federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic relief funding to support its Forward Delaware initiative, a set of rapid training and credentialing programs focused on in-demand occupations and skills in the state. Florida’s governor designated Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) funds provided through the CARES Act to award grants to its ATCs, known as technical colleges, to establish or enhance rapid credentialing programs that lead to a short-term certificate or industry-recognized certification as part of its statewide Get There campaign. 

Utilizing ATCs in Statewide Workforce Training Programs 

ATCs have strong connections to their local communities and employers by design and often offer customized training programs to meet those needs. 

To recover from the devastation of the coronavirus will require persistence, creativity and leveraging all public assets to ensure a full and equitable economic recovery. States should be learning from one another – what worked and what didn’t  – and leveraging their public assets, including ATCs to every learner with the opportunity to access a career pathway that leads to sustained, living-wage employment in an in-demand field. 

To find the ATCs in your state and to access the full report and additional resources, please visit www.areatechnicalcenters.org . To read other posts in this series, please check out our Medium post that breaks down the major findings, and our blog post on leveraging ATCs to advance state postsecondary attainment goals. 

By Stacy Whitehouse in COVID-19 and CTE
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SkillsUSA: How Industry Collaboration Creates Opportunity for the Future of CTE

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

SkillsUSA ConstructionFor students in high-skill career pathways, winning an invitation to the SkillsUSA national competition is one of the biggest honors in their field. Not only does the annual competition give students an opportunity to showcase their talent in different trades but it also demonstrates what the future of Career Technical Education (CTE) can be: a coordinated, cross-sector effort to put learner success first.

This year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky — the 52nd annual competition — featured more than 6,000 competitors, 4,000 teachers and advisers, and 600 national industry leaders from across the United States. In two days of fierce competition, students took to the exposition floor to demonstrate their mastery in a variety of skilled trades: Automated Manufacturing Technology, Culinary Arts, Health Occupations, Mechatronics, Web Design and Welding, to name a few.

What stood out throughout the conference was not only the passion from competitors and their advisers, but also the relationships that students, educators and conference organizers had with industry leaders in each field. Business and industry representatives were highly engaged, contributing generous prize packages for winners in each category, partnering with SkillsUSA National to align competition criteria to industry standards, and providing judges for each competition. Further, many industry leaders could be seen on the exposition floor throughout the week, observing competitions and scoping out future hires.

While students demonstrated their skills on the competition floor, SkillsUSA allowed CTE thought leaders to demonstrate their own wins through SkillsUSA University sessions. In one such session, Dan Belcher of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) laid out a 12-step plan for facilitating cross-sector collaboration, informed by his experience in the construction industry. He suggested that organizations can start by identifying their needs: the specific skills and knowledge they want to teach their students. This will prepare them to discuss and maximize areas of collaboration with industry partners. On the industry side, organizations should evaluate the resources — equipment, mentorship, strategic guidance, etc. — that they are willing to bring to the table. Such cross-sector collaboration will help streamline pathways from education to career and ensure future success for CTE students. Other sessions included discussions on engaging nontraditional students, engaging the community, and adapting to new assessments.

Advance CTE’s updated Vision, Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, describes a future in which CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence and all systems work together to support learner success. The SkillsUSA conference provides an encouraging snapshot of what this world will look like, with industry experts and educators alike working together to prepare students for their futures. The task remains to take this successful model and apply it nationwide so that all students can access the opportunity that CTE provides.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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