Posts Tagged ‘industry-recognized credentials’

Advance CTE 2023 Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Diamond Sponsor, Certiport – Earn College Credits with Industry Certifications

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

When learners earn an industry certification, they’re not just earning a credential for their resume. They’re also potentially saving money on higher education. It’s no secret that pursuing higher education in the United States comes at a high cost to learners. According to EducationData.org, the average federal student loan debt is $36,510 per borrower, and students with private student loans have debt averaging $54,921 per borrower. Any chance learners can get to earn college credit while in high school is a great move. That’s where ACE CREDIT comes in.

Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the country are embedding industry-recognized credentials in their programs of study as a measure of program quality and to ensure that learning is validated, recognized, and portable. Certiport offers exams for a number of commonly state-approved certifications. In addition to providing state and local leaders with valuable information about program quality, our exams provide the added learner benefit of conferring ACE credit.

What is ACE CREDIT?

Founded in 1918, the American Council on Education (ACE) is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

ACE CREDIT connects workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain access to academic credit at colleges and universities for formal courses and examinations taken in the workplace or other settings outside traditional higher education. For more than 40 years, colleges and universities have trusted ACE CREDIT to provide reliable course equivalency information to facilitate their decisions to award academic credit. And now, learners who pass select Certiport exams can earn this valuable credit as well.

Which Certiport Exams Qualify for ACE CREDIT?

The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Learning Evaluations®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for multiple Certiport programs, including:

  1. Autodesk Certified User
  2. Adobe Certified Professional
  3. Communication Skills for Business
  4. Entrepreneurship and Small Business
  5. IC3 Digital Literacy
  6. Intuit
  7. IT Specialist
  8. Microsoft Certified Fundamentals
  9. Microsoft Office Specialist

You can find the full list here.

How Do Learners Obtain ACE College Credit?

Certiport’s partnership with ACE’s Transcript Service makes obtaining college credit simple.

First, learners should verify with their university/college admissions office that they grant credit for the specific certification.

Second, learners should send their transcript to their college or university via Credly’s Acclaim platform. Information on transcript services is available in the ACE Student Resource Center.

Interested in having your certified learners earn college credit? You can learn more here.

Hannah Davis, Certiport, a Pearson VUE business

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Advance CTE 2023 Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Diamond Sponsor, CompTIA – The DNA of a Winning CTE Program

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

Tech organizations are in a constant race to find skilled and qualified workers who can keep up with ever-evolving demands. Skills and confidence gaps can throw a wrench in the works, making it tough for companies to meet their needs and for individuals to reach their full potential. That’s why addressing and tackling these gaps requires a well-thought-out plan that sets everyone up for success.

Angel Piñeiro, vice president of strategic academic relationships at CompTIA, shares a case study about how a technology company solved a skills and confidence gap problem by building a diverse future workforce pipeline with the largest school district in the country.

The Problem

In 2013, a large public school district, encompassing 1.1 million students and 1,800 schools, put out a contract to support their entire infrastructure. At the time, Piñeiro was the senior vice president of a national technology firm that won the multi-million-dollar contract. The problem was that they had two months to accomplish the following:

•         Hire 200-230 professionals, including technicians, engineers, dispatchers and more

•         Provide personnel with security clearances

•         Integrate the school district’s service desk into their firm’s service desk

“We managed to do it, but I will never, ever be put in that situation again,” Piñeiro said. To avoid running into the same problem in the future, Piñeiro needed a program in place that would create a pipeline of skilled and certified workforce.

The Solution

Faced with the challenge of rapidly recruiting skilled IT professionals, the initial solution was to work with local training providers, talent recruitment companies and college graduates. However, Piñeiro’s team realized that these approaches were not only expensive but also lacked the scalability needed to meet the demands of large-scale contracts. They also needed a solution that was efficient and repeatable – it needed to work for everybody.

Then, it clicked.

“There are schools in the cities. There are schools in the suburbs. There are schools in the rural areas. There are schools everywhere. So why not work with the schools?” Piñeiro said. After determining the key stakeholders they needed to work with, Piñeiro’s team came up with the DNA of a successful CTE program.

Innovation

The company adopted a visionary approach to address a significant hiring issue prevalent in the information technology sector. By collaborating closely with public schools, it ensured the program would be scalable, repeatable, and sustainable. The company recognized the program as a return on investment that directly influenced its bottom line. Today, the program tackles the well-known challenges in suburban and rural areas where resources might be scarce.

For more information, reach out to the CompTIA Workforce Solutions Team, Angel Piñeiro at apineiro@comptia.org

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Legislative Update: President Biden Releases Congressional Budget Request

Friday, March 10th, 2023

This week President Biden released a much anticipated annual Congressional budget request for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24).  In addition, House Republicans have made changes to appropriations legislation rules that impact CTE funding. Advance CTE asks members to encourage their representatives in  Congress to support much needed reforms to federal Pell Grants. 

President Biden Unveils FY24 Budget Request 

Earlier today, President Biden released his long-anticipated federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request to Congress. The request proposes a $43 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program– a proposed three percent increase over FY23 enacted levels. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) have been advocating for a $400 million increase for this program to close an inflationary gap in funding that has widened considerably since FY04. Advance CTE will continue to pursue this goal with partners on Capitol Hill as the wider FY24 process unfolds later this year.  

In addition, the Biden Administration has also renewed its request, first made last year, for $200 million in new funding for the creation of a new competitive grant program known as “Career Connected High Schools.” This initiative seeks to prioritize dual and concurrent enrollment, work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials and career counseling. Notably, Perkins V’s basic state grant program includes these priorities as eligible uses of funds and many states and local recipients currently use these resources to support these, and many more, opportunities for learners. Advance CTE has previously raised equity concerns regarding the Career Connected High Schools grant program–which the Administration estimated last year would only reach 32 programs in total–due to the limited scope and reach of a competitive grant program. Advance CTE and ACTE released a statement outlining these concerns following the formal publication of the budget. 

Encouragingly, the budget request proposes significant new mandatory and discretionary funding to make two years of community college tuition free, so long as students and institutions meet certain criteria. The request also proposes a $25 million increase in funding for Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act)– another key source of federal funding that can be used in support of CTE. Regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) portion of the request, the Administration is proposing $50 million in additional funding for registered apprenticeship programs, $200 million for the creation of a sector-partnership grant program and $11 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative– nearly double the FY23 enacted level. Elsewhere in this portion of the budget, the Administration has proposed additional investments to improve labor market information and to modernize outdated IT systems to better serve workers.  

Additional details regarding the budget are expected to be available next week. The release of the budget formally begins the wider FY24 budget and appropriations process in Congress—an effort that is expected to be challenging in a divided Congress. As this process gets underway, Advance CTE will continue to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the CTE community are reflected in final legislation. 

House Republicans Ban Education Earmarks

For the last few years, members of Congress have been able to make specific funding requests in support of projects or initiatives related to their home state or district. Known formally as “community project funding” in the House and informally as “earmarks” elsewhere, these requests totaled $290 million in last year’s (FY23) spending package for career education initiatives. Last week, House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) announced new guidance for the upcoming FY24 budget and appropriations process. Among other notable changes, the guidance will not allow earmarks for the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill—legislation where Perkins V derives funding—in the upcoming budget and appropriations cycle. Elsewhere, the Senate has announced that it will still allow such requests this year which will be due April 13. 

Encourage Congress to Support the Short-term Pell Grant Expansion

As shared previously, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. Most recently companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 793) by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ). 

This legislation is a longstanding federal policy priority for Advance CTE and is an important way to expand learner access to high-quality CTE program opportunities at the postsecondary level. Along with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE),  we encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress to ask them to support this vitally important legislation and to share this information with your wider networks. 

To contact Congress about the JOBS Act, click here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Diamond Sponsor, Center for Energy Workforce Development – Seeking a Skilled, Diverse Workforce for America’s Clean Energy Future

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

The energy industry powers life. Business, education, healthcare, and even many of our favorite pastimes are made possible by the energy industry. More than six million people work in energy careers in the United States. These men and women are highly trained, highly skilled and in high-demand. Their roles range from future-focused innovators and engineers exploring new ways to harness and store power to skilled tradespeople, who are the backbone of the industry’s operations. The work of these professionals is essential and rewarding. Because of the knowledge and skills that are required, energy employees are well compensated, often earning above national averages. Energy professionals are proudly leading the country’s attainment of climate change goals while maintaining energy reliability, resiliency, safety and affordability. 

The industry expects to fill hundreds of thousands of positions in the next few years. Industry growth, retirement by tenured employees, and traditional attrition are opening doors for a new workforce seeking stable employment in an essential industry that offers training, mentoring, and on-the-job professional development experiences. The energy sector seeks to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion for its workforce as it continues to grow.  

With so many different jobs in energy, it can be tough to navigate where and how to start a career journey. There are a tremendous number of career pathways available in the skilled trades, for instance. Learners and career explorers often ask how they should prepare themselves. More specifically, they are curious about postsecondary requirements, including opportunities available from local technical schools and apprenticeships, and what’s possible right after high school. The simple answer is all these avenues can lead to successful energy careers. Yet, they each start you in a different place. The industry is equally reliant on those with degrees and those who prefer to learn through on-the-job training and experience.

The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) is a non-profit organization driven by electric, natural gas, nuclear, and renewable energy companies, trade associations, large contractors, and unions. It also unites strategists from industry, education, government, and communities to ensure the industry balances workforce supply and demand to build the necessary talent pipeline. 

We offer several resources to support state CTE leaders in leveraging CTE programs to develop learner experiences and pathways in energy careers. . In addition, some states have a specific energy Career Cluster devoted to preparation for this sector. CTE also provides opportunities to earn stackable certificates, industry-recognized credentials, and degrees as outlined by the Center for Energy Workforce Development’s Get Into Energy website. CEWD also offers a curriculum, Energy Industry Fundamentals, specifically designed to develop the energy workforce of tomorrow and ensure CTE leaders have essential educational tools and resources readily available. 2-3 sentences of what you have worked with a state to do (may be helping them develop a career cluster, aligning energy curriculum with state standards of learning ,etc. 

CEWD welcomes you to join us in developing the energy workforce of the future.  It starts today!

Missy Henriksen, Executive Director, Center for Energy Workforce Development 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Gold Sponsor, Home Builders Institute

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

A severe lack of skilled workers and an aging workforce threaten to slow new home production, curb housing affordability, and derail the industry’s ability to stand strong amid rising recession risks to the overall economy. In fact, the construction industry needs to add 2.2 million workers over the next three years to keep up with housing demand, according to a recent report from the Home Builders Institute (HBI), a workforce development nonprofit that works closely with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

Changing social and economic factors are driving a renewed focus on Career Technical Eeducation (CTE) among educators, policymakers, students and their families. Shifting the narrative about Career Clusters® supporting architecture & construction is an important way to capture the interest of young students and their parents. Schools can offer more technical training that exposes students to the potential of many exciting post-graduation architecture & construction career opportunities that don’t result in student debt.   

With nearly 400 programs in 46 states, HBI’s industry-recognized curriculum is preparing the next generation of skilled workers through pre-apprenticeship training and certification programs in secondary schools, community colleges, military bases, Job Corps centers and training academies. These programs are providing students with no-cost training that leads to well-paying jobs and careers in the home building industry. 

Half of construction workers earn more than $49,000 annually with the top 25 percent% making more than $75,000. This eclipses the U.S. median wage of $45,760 and the top quartile making just $68,590. In addition, the industry is one of the few where women and men earn nearly equal pay, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, versus all other occupations where women make just 81.5 percent% of what men earn. 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advocates for local, state and federal support of industry-sponsored programs — such as HBI’s —that are successful, cost-effective means of providing skills training and job placement to individuals who can comprise a robust pipeline of trade professionals. Producing more and better workers strengthens families, communities, and the U.S. economy. 

Working with HBI, state CTE leaders can access industry-recognized curriculum and certifications that will provide middle and high school students throughout their state with more opportunities to pursue a stable and successful career path. State leaders can also leverage NAHB’s network of 700 local and state home builders associations. These local  associations comprise building industry leaders from all facets of the construction industry eager to provide mentorship, networking, program support and job opportunities to eligible students. 

There is no single answer to solving the labor gap issue, but working together, NAHB, HBI and State Directors can prepare students for meaningful careers in building that will result in increased housing availability and affordability for American families.

For more information on HBI’s curriculum, visit hbi.org.  To learn more about NAHB’s workforce development efforts, visit nahb.org/workforce.  

Ed Brady, President and CEO, HBI

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Gold Sponsor, NOCTI – Navigating Uncertain Times

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

This post is written by NOCTI, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2022 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

A “black swan” event is an unpredictable occurrence beyond what is normally expected of a situation, often with severe consequences. While the entire educational environment was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Career Technical Education (CTE), which focuses on hands-on learning, was heavily impacted by this black swan event.  In addition to navigating the perils of COVID-19, CTE experienced instructor shortages and concerns about the limited related work experience of those available for these positions. Though many states have relevant, standardized, industry-identified competencies, the associated curriculum must be delivered by individuals with a solid understanding of the field, which is generally based on work experience. In some cases, these concerns can result in a reduction of content depth delivered in a CTE classroom. 

How does the CTE community respond to these kinds of events? What can states, teacher preparation systems, schools, and administrators do to increase equity and access to CTE programs as well as maintain high-quality program content and delivery? To address these variables would take more space than this blog offers, but we can describe three tools offered by NOCTI and Nocti Business Solutions (NBS). 

Let’s start with a focus on a teacher candidate’s technical skill competence. NBS offers assessments that are used in the hiring process. These assessments can be used to verify a candidate’s experience, determine a candidate’s fit to a position, and establish an employee’s professional development plan upon hire. Using these assessments longitudinally can provide additional information to those hiring CTE teachers.

The second tool is a credentialing assessment developed by NOCTI and several other associations, entitled “Principles of CTE Teaching”. The credential offers two levels and establishes an individual’s understanding of CTE pedagogy and covers student management techniques, facility management and safety, teaching, and both formative and summative assessment strategies. 

The final tool developed by NOCTI, micro-credentials, gathers the collective knowledge of seasoned CTE instructors and subject matter experts. NOCTI utilized longitudinal data across a variety of industries to identify areas in which CTE learners were having difficulty. NOCTI then worked with instructors to design short video segments to address these specific areas. The resulting content segments are available 24/7 and can be viewed repeatedly in both synchronous and asynchronous settings. Micro-credentials can be used in a variety of situations and can be an effective tool to reinforce an instructor’s content knowledge. 

Acting without deliberate planning can exacerbate problems and pondering an issue without action rarely helps anyone progress. NOCTI’s tools were designed to assist in the expansion of the CTE community and represent thoughtful actions to inspire state CTE leaders to address instructor pipeline challenges and empower new instructors to be successful in CTE.  Please reach out to us to find out more at nocti@nocti.org.

Dr. John C. Foster, President and CEO, NOCTI & NBS 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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State CTE Policy Update: Exploring Louisiana’s Back on Track Pilot Program for Justice-Connected Learners

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

State Career Technical Education (CTE) policy initiatives and programs vary across the nation; innovations across states can offer helpful insights for state CTE leaders to continue to support each learner’s path to success in the career of their choice without limits.  

This post provides an overview of Louisiana’s recently enacted Act 370 (H.B. 323) 2022 Regular Session, known as the “Back On Track Louisiana Pilot Program”, and how it connects with CTE programs to support justice-connected individuals.

The “Back On Track Louisiana Pilot Program” aims to reduce recidivism in Louisiana by offering incarcerated individuals the tools they need, such as driver’s licenses and bank accounts, to skillfully navigate their reentry into the workforce. It also provides a CTE funding mechanism and establishes a mandate for data accountability within correctional education spaces.

Program Background 

This legislation stands out as an innovative means to not only incentivize high-quality correctional education programs by rewarding outcomes with additional funding. It allows for the flexibility needed to make the program effective for individual populations and meet each program’s needs. With the appropriate connections between state agencies such as the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC) can leverage industry partnerships and maximize the effectiveness of the credential programs they offer within their correctional facilities. 

With the “Back On Track Louisiana Pilot Program”, justice-involved learners who are incarcerated will have the opportunity to earn multiple credentials of value that align with Louisiana’s Industry Based Credential (IBC) Focus List compiled by the Louisiana IBC Council. These credentials of value ensure learners are prepared for high-skill, high-wage, in-demand occupations that support the future workforce of the state. This effort aligns with other funding mechanisms to support correctional education and high-quality programs such as the state’s utilization of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) federal funds. In Louisiana, the state allocates a portion of its Perkins funds to DPSC to ensure learners experiencing unique circumstances such as incarceration have access to relevant workforce education and training. Offering learners in correctional facilities the opportunity to explore career pathways will not only allow them to reenter the workforce and their communities as a whole but will also strengthen CTE programming in an often overlooked population.

Funding Flexibility 

The legislation provides guidelines for funding and accountability while also establishing a framework for sheriffs to personalize their programs. The language of the law requires jails and prisons to collect the information of participating incarcerated and paroled individuals regarding specific success metrics. While these metrics track measures for these individuals to successfully reintegrate into their communities, there are several explicitly targeting CTE initiatives, namely whether the inmate: 

To ensure each sheriff has a scalable funding system for their program, DPSC calculates half of the average number of days of incarceration of the enrolled individual multiplied by the amount the Department pays the sheriff each day for the housing of inmates in parish jails. As an additional incentive for the successful execution of the program, sheriffs will receive a bonus stipend per incarcerated individual based on the percentage of targets successfully attained. Funds will be used for equipment, instructional materials and instructors, allowing smaller programs to flourish as well as larger programs. 

Program Customization 

Authority for this legislation is housed at the DPSC, which already offers ten programs eligible for Perkins V funding: Automotive Technology, Building Technology, Carpentry, Collision Repair, Construction Project Management, Electrician, Heavy Equipment Operator, HVAC, Small Engine, and Welding. The prison system has employed a method to train and hire correctional facility instructors for the Industry Based Credential (IBC) classes offered at each facility. Each participating facility ensures that all justice-connected tutors/instructors remain up to date in their training by providing funding to renew all pertinent certifications, as needed. CTE instructors are supervised by a prison education coordinator who is responsible for maintaining the cohesiveness of the entire education department.

The “Back On Track Louisiana Pilot Program” is a new initiative seeking to provide more accessible and equitable CTE credential programs to justice-involved learners. The following resources provide additional on connections between CTE and corrections education: 

Brice Thomas, M.Ed, Policy Associate

*Special thanks to Dr. Brittney Baptiste Williams, State Director for Career and Technical Education, Louisiana for her insights that contributed to this post. 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Welcome Ross White as the New State CTE Director in Arkansas

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

Advance CTE joins the Arkansas Department of Education in welcoming Ross White as the new State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director. Ross transitions into this role while fulfilling the duties of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)’s Region IV Vice President

Advance CTE staff met with Ross as he shared his pathway to becoming the State CTE Director, as well as his initial priorities for CTE in Arkansas.

Advance CTE: Which of your professional experiences has most prepared you for your role as the State Director? 

Ross: Most of my time in education has been spent in the CTE setting: a classroom educator, career student technical organization (CTSO) advisor, district CTE director, and as an ACTE officer and member. I give credit to my years as the district director because it is in this role where I learned how to be innovative and bold, rethinking systemic solutions to serve each learner. I also developed strong business and industry partnerships that I can continue to foster as State Director.

Advance CTE: In what ways have you had the opportunity to leverage social capital and professional networks in your career progression?

Ross: Early in my professional career journey, I had a mentor who taught me all I needed to know about CTE. I have relied immensely on this knowledge throughout my career, and will do so as I became the State Director. I also participated in the ACTE’s National Fellowship and have been active in multiple professional memberships. In my experience, no matter the type of fellowship (or mentorship), there will be an amount of influence, conversation and ability to impact change. Ultimately, social capital is not the people you know, but the people who make you grow.

Advance CTE: What excites you most about being the State Director in Arkansas? 

Ross: It excites me that in this new role as State Director I will be able to more quickly connect policy and programming across the CTE ecosystem in the state. This is largely due to my background in school administration, in the classroom and at the state agency. However, also playing a part is the consolidation of all education programs under the Department of Education. Being under one “roof”, the state CTE system will become much stronger in our cross-sector relationships, aligning secondary and postsecondary systems, and will have the opportunity for more frequent communication and data sharing. 

Advance CTE: As you are settling into your new position, what initial priorities have you identified? 

Ross: I have identified a few initial priorities around CTE data collection and reporting. One of our Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) program quality indicators is credentials of value. Yet, we do not have a best practice in place to meet the data reporting needs for credentials in our state. Once we identify the best path forward from the state-level, the next priority will be to educate local districts on credentialing and credential data. 

The work we have to do around credentialing aligns with our career coach initiative in the state. We have received additional funding to implement career coaches and it is a priority to scale statewide. 

Advance CTE: Fast forward and we are now celebrating your one-year anniversary as State Director. What is one challenge you’d like to have overcome by that milestone?

Ross: We have a need for the division of career and technical education (DCTE) to reinvent our brand in the state. We are known far too often as, “the rules place.” I want to build more trusting and lasting relationships with our local recipients, ensuring they know who to call on my state team when they are in need of support. I hope to have been successful in this endeavor by this time next year.

Our state team will also work to address teacher shortages across the state. I am sitting in on a working group that is developing a grow your own program. Over the next year, I hope to be able to celebrate its success. 

Advance CTE: What is one weekend activity or hobby or interest you would like your peers to know about you? 

Ross: Outside of work, my wife and I spend much time attending to our daughters and their love for dancing, swimming and gymnastics.

Welcome, Ross! Advance CTE is thrilled to support Ross as he strives to ensure each learner in Arkansas has access to and the means to succeed in any high-quality CTE program or experience that leads to success in their career of choice.

Click here to learn more about the state CTE system in Arkansas.
View resources that feature best practices in Arkansas here

Follow Ross on Twitter

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media

By admin in Uncategorized
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State Policies Impacting Industry-Recognized Credentials

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

State education agencies, legislators and educators faced significant challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, including adapting to remote and hybrid delivery of hands-on learning, and responding to local and national skilled labor shortages. The number of state-level CTE policies enacted that affect Career Technical Education (CTE) fell to the lowest number in 2020 since Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) began publishing these annual Year in Review reports.

However, with a new commitment to upskilling and reskilling American learners and a CTE without limits, 41 states enacted 138 policies impacting CTE and career readiness in 2021. Advance CTE and ACTE have witnessed the return of pre-pandemic numbers in state policy actions in 2021 with policies affecting the secondary, postsecondary, adult and/or workforce systems, and including legislation, executive orders, and budget provisions that significantly changed funding.

Each year, Advance CTE and ACTE publish a yearly state policy tracker and categorize each state policy action by topic. In 2021, the top five topics that state policy most frequently addressed were:

Industry-recognized Credentials
Policies that address the attainment of credentials recognized by industry, including micro-credentials, such as badges, and educational Degrees are categorized by this topic. Nineteen states enacted 33 policies affecting industry-recognized credentials. Policies in this area are designed to increase or incentivize the attainment of certifications, credentials or degrees aligned with labor market information or industry need. Below are a few state policy actions from this category: 

State Policies Impacting CTE: 2021 Year in Review marks the ninth annual review of CTE and career readiness policies from across the United States conducted by Advance CTE and ACTE. This report does not describe every policy enacted within each state but instead focuses on national policy trends. 

View the full report and 2021 state policy tracker here

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Publications
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Navigating CTE During COVID-19: What Are Credential Providers Doing to Respond to COVID-19?

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Even as unemployment numbers climb steadily upwards and the stock market continues its volatile roller coaster ride, it is far too soon to measure the full effect of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and its impact on Career Technical Education (CTE) and industry-recognized credential attainment in particular. High schools, community colleges, area technical centers and places of business have shut their doors to protect learners and to comply with state orders. It is fair to predict that, based on the challenges states have encountered in maintaining industry-recognized credentialing opportunities during this time, credential attainment among secondary, postsecondary and adult learners will fall precipitously during the second quarter of 2020.

The slowdown in industry-recognized credential attainment will have a twofold impact on our current crisis. For one, industry-recognized credentials – which verify that an individual is ready for work in a given occupation – can act as barriers to entry in essential industries when education and assessment opportunities are not widely available. This threatens to weaken the workforce pipeline in sectors such as healthcare where access to talent is urgently needed.

Second, as states and businesses start planning for the economic recovery, industry-recognized credentials will help to get millions of recently unemployed Americans retrained and back to work. But without efforts to sustain credentialing opportunities now, there is the possibility of a critical bottleneck as soon as states reopen.

As we covered in an earlier blog post, states have been swift to address industry-recognized credentialing amid the Coronavirus. But what are the credential providers themselves doing to adapt to the crisis? How are they extending flexibility to states and learners without compromising the rigor and validity of their credentials?

Scaling Up Remote Proctoring

Advance CTE examined nearly 20 common credential providers to understand how they are addressing the Coronavirus. These providers were identified using ExcelinEd’s Credentials Matter database and were corroborated using secondary and postsecondary credential lists in three states.

One major takeaway from this research is that many credential providers are making the shift from in-person to remote proctoring, albeit at an additional fee. There are three common approaches to remote proctoring, each of which requires a computer and access to high-speed internet:

Virtual proctoring is the best way that credential providers have been able to meet the sustained demand for industry-recognized credentials amid the pandemic. However, the strategy is not easily scalable and requires significant investment of funds as well as human capital. Not to mention, the reliance on computers and high-speed internet exacerbates the digital divide. States and credential providers should take an equity lens as they work to scale up these opportunities.

Extending Flexibility to Learners and Workers

Aside from virtual proctoring, credential providers have extended flexibility and resources to learners, educators and test takers. To encourage continuity of learning, many providers have made curriculum, resources and other supports and materials available online for free amid COVID-19. The CTE Coalition, a growing partnership of industry associations, non-profits and credential providers, is one example.

Many are also extending eligibility windows for testing, either for learners who have recently applied or met pre-qualifications, or veteran workers whose certifications are up for renewal. This added flexibility takes the pressure off of learners and workers and ensures they can wait to complete their assessments until it is safe to do so.

Additionally, some testing centers have been offering in-person credential examinations on a very limited basis, and only for credentials in essential occupations. In these rare cases, the testing centers have committed to enforcing social distancing and upholding a strict cleaning regimen.

Amid the uncertainty with the Coronavirus, one thing is clear: a qualified and credentialed workforce will be an essential building block for the forthcoming economic recovery. It will take a coordinated effort within and across states, and in partnership with credential providers, to ensure a robust, talented workforce is ready as soon as the doors are open once more. The actions that states and credential providers take today will facilitate a swift recovery once things return to normal.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE
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