Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Welcome Jennell Ives as the New State CTE Director in Oregon

Monday, November 8th, 2021

Advance CTE commits to investing in formal leadership development for our members. The New State Director Institute (NSDI) uses a cohort model to welcome and support first-year State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors. Each cohort is connected with mentors and other national leaders; provided leadership tools and resources; and offered instructional workshops designed to assist them as they develop and implement their state-wide visions for CTE. This and upcoming blogs in the Getting to Know blog series will introduce you to the Fall 2021 NSDI cohort! 

This summer, Oregon welcomed Jennell Ives as the new Director of the Secondary Postsecondary Transitions Team. In this position, located in the Oregon Department of Education, Jennell is also the designated State CTE Director. She is a leader and innovator with a relentless commitment to improving the educational experiences of learners. She has a passion for building direct connections between learning during school and the lives and futures of Oregon’s youth. Jennell has been with the Oregon Department of Education for 11 years and served the agency in various capacities: Health Science Specialist, Accelerated & Personalized Learning Specialist, leading the Standards and Instructional Supports team, launching High School Success, and Perkins Grant lead & Career and Technical Education Investments.  Prior to moving to Oregon, she was director of Global Education at the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York.

Jennell’s priorities for the state are deeply rooted in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) and increasing equity and access for each learner. With the implementation of Oregon’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plan and CTE Without Limits, Jennell and her team will focus on: 

Jennell anticipates the biggest challenges for this role to be CTE teacher recruitment and retention (which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic), expanding the involvement of stakeholders in shaping CTE in Oregon and communicating the value of CTE to learners and their families. 

However, these challenges come with much opportunity! Jennell is most excited about the opportunity to engage with employers and the workforce industry to create CTE statewide programs of study and the opportunity to build regional networks for teachers to be supported delivering such programs of study.

We asked Jennell to share one thing she would wish to be an expert in at the snap of her fingers. While we were expecting to hear about having gold medal talent in an Olympic sport, Jennell answered in true leadership fashion with the wish to communicate and build strong relationships and networks. She is rolling up her sleeves and is ready to do the “slow and hard work” to ensure the career preparation ecosystem in Oregon meets the needs of each learner. 

Please join us in welcoming Jennell to Advance CTE!

Learn more about the work happening in Oregon by viewing their CTE state profile and the state resource page in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE State Director, CTE Without Limits
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Getting to Know: Stakeholder Engagement at Advance CTE

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

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

Meet Dan Hinderliter! Dan is a State Policy Associate at Advance CTE and supports a number of different national projects. As a site liaison for the New Skills ready network, Dan works with two sites (Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), providing resource and research support while also serving as a direct link to the national project team. He also works on site snapshots, the annual report and quarterly newsletters, as well as major publications that highlight promising national, state and local practices aligned with the principles of the New Skills ready network

Dan also supports the modernization of the National Career Clusters® Framework and spearheads the Year in Review, the annual aggregation of state policy impacting CTE. As part of the Year in Review process, Dan regularly tracks state-level legislation and other policy actions.

Q: Considering your work on the New Skills ready network initiative, how are the six sites leveraging stakeholder engagement to advance career pathways? 

A: Each of the six New Skills ready network sites is working to leverage stakeholder engagement in some capacity to advance career pathways. First, because each of the sites is composed of a variety of stakeholders, engagement with business and industry, postsecondary partners and K-12 institutions has to happen to ensure each voice is involved in and buys into the work of the site. Outside of the project teams, however, most sites are doing some level of stakeholder engagement involving learner and family communications practices. Some sites are surveying parents and learners to understand what resonates with them about available career pathways, while others have done focus groups to understand where there are gaps for learners in specific programs. Columbus, Ohio’s project team hired a minority-led communications firm, with roots in Columbus, to help share consistent messaging and work to understand how each stakeholder can be better supported.

View the 2020-2021 site snapshot for Columbus, Ohio here

Q: Earlier this year, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released State Policies Impacting CTE: 2020 Year in Review where industry partnership was a frequently addressed topic area. Are there any states that can serve as a model for policy actions around stakeholder engagement? 

A: Every year, states enact new legislation that impacts how each state engages with stakeholders, either through input gathering or through information sharing. Many states, including Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho and Missouri (among others), passed legislation this year requiring a state agency to collect and disseminate information that allows learners to make more informed decisions about their futures, including information about in-demand jobs or industry recognized credential attainment. Other states are using legislative action to improve equity and access in part through stakeholder engagement; Oregon and Washington, for example, now require institutions to collect feedback or input from diverse or historically marginalized stakeholder groups to inform new practices and strategies that will increase access to high-quality CTE programs for those groups. At the beginning of 2022, we will release our state policy tracker for 2021 which includes the above legislative actions and others.

Q: One of the foundational commitments within CTE Without Limits is based on stakeholder engagement. How can states, through such partnerships, ensure each learner reaches success in a career of their choice? 

A: Advance CTE’s shared vision, CTE Without Limits, calls for CTE to be incredibly learner-centric and for programs to ensure that the learner voice is incorporated into each decision about career pathways or programs. As states continue to expand access and equity in their CTE programs and work toward dismantling systemic barriers in CTE, the learner voice must be an integral part of these conversations, as only the learner who participated in the program can fully understand the consequences of decisions made at each level. At the same time, states and local institutions can continue to expand offerings by building partnerships with community based organizations to offer learner supports or with business and industry to offer new or improved work-based learning opportunities. By including opportunities for stakeholder groups like learners, their families and local businesses to provide input into decisions surrounding CTE, states can ensure that their career pathways and CTE programs are truly aligned with the needs of their communities.

Q: Lastly, Advance CTE announced the modernization of The National Career Clusters® Framework. How has Advance CTE prioritized stakeholder engagement and the voices of the field in this work? 

A: Though we don’t yet know what our end product will look like at the conclusion of these modernization efforts, we did know the process had to be highly collaborative to ensure everyone buys into whatever the outcome happens to be. As such, we have included a lot of opportunity to incorporate feedback from the field; we convened an expert kitchen cabinet to provide insights about the purpose and uses of the Framework, opened a crowdsourcing portal to collect feedback from the larger field about critical changes they’d like to see, and held workshops to assist in the prototyping of a new Framework. In this next phase of work, we’re hoping to hold focus groups to discuss the future of the Framework. As we near a model for a new, modernized Framework, we are hoping to have many more conversations with stakeholders about how they can implement the Framework in their own state and community to ensure that the modernized Framework is implemented with fidelity.

For resources and tools to increase stakeholder engagement in CTE, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Highlighting Equity in State Policy

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

State leaders, particularly state legislators, have a unique role to play in ensuring equitable access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, access and technology gaps have been laid bare, revealing inequities in opportunities for marginalized learner populations. While policies addressing access and equity concerns remained a high priority for legislators in years past, 2021 has been no different; this year to date, almost 30 pieces of state legislation have passed in 17 states addressing this issue. Enacted policies focus on elevating learner voice, examining historically inequitable systems and removing barriers to entry, or providing financial support for historically underrepresented populations. The following policies represent a small sample of equity-focused policies already passed in 2021:

Advance CTE’s 2021 Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) commits to “All dimensions of equity, including educational, racial, socioeconomic, gender and geographic, and meeting the unique needs of each individual learner,” and promotes many of the same actions connected to these legislative outcomes, including elevating learner voice, supporting equity audits and realigning systems to increase access and funding for marginalized learners. Visit our CTE Without Limits landing page for our call to action and the Learning that Works Resource Center for more access and equity resources.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

Developed with input from nearly 200 national, state and local education and workforce development leaders and supported by over 40 national organizations, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education lays out five inter-connected and equally critical principles.

Only through shared commitment and shared ownership among leaders and practitioners at all levels can we realize the possibility and aspiration of a new career preparation ecosystem that provides each learner with limitless opportunity. The This Week in CTE blog series will highlight state and local examples where CTE Without Limits has been made actionable. If you would like to share how your CTE program creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

 

This Week in CTE: July 5-9, 2021

Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem

Virginia CTE recently started a video campaign titled, Career Success Stars. This video campaign highlights the shared ownership of the career preparation ecosystem in Virginia among learners and families, educators, and business and industry partners. Each video showcases learner success in careers of their choice and is proof of high-quality career pathways that lead to in-demand careers as a result of stakeholder engagement across the state.

The full lineup of videos can be viewed on Virginia CTE’s webpage

Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem

A recent Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central webinar explored current research and district-level strategies to address equitable access, participation and success in CTE programs. Guest speakers on the webinar represented two school districts in South Dakota: Rapid City Area Schools and Huron School District. The third guest speaker represented Portland Public Schools in Oregon. Each speaker shared insights into strategies they’ve been using to enhance and improve CTE programs in their districts. The recording can be viewed here

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

CTE Without Limits supporter Data Quality Campaign published a blog this week aligned to principle 3 and the data learners need to successfully navigate their career journey. 

One former school counselor shares their perspective on the scope of data that should be shared with each learner in order for them to make informed college and career decisions.

Read the full blog here.

More resources on CTE data quality can be found in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable

A local partnership is bringing new skills training opportunities to Tennessee. McNairy County Schools and GE Appliances (GEA) have joined together to launch the Skills Training Alliance for Youth (STAY) initiative that will provide new work-based learning opportunities for learners. GEA will hire for part-time work, train and coach ten learners per year. Through the STAY initiative, GEA also commits to an investment in industry credentials. Learn more here.

More resources on systems alignment can be found in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Each learner can access CTE without borders

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE): Interstate Passport® is the only nationwide network of institutionally accredited, nonprofit, public and private two- and four-year institutions dedicated to the block transfer of lower-division general education attainment based on multi-state faculty-developed learning outcomes and proficiency criteria instead of on specific courses and credits. Students of member institutions experience a seamless, efficient and economical transfer process.

Learn more in the new CTE Without Limits partner initiative repository. The repository can be found here under implementation resources.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits, Resources
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State of CTE: CTE Instructors in Perkins V State Plans

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

In October 2020, Advance CTE released “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of States’ Perkins V Priorities,” which examines how states have leveraged the development of the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans to expand quality and increase equity within their Career Technical Education (CTE) systems. 

Attracting and retaining qualified and diverse CTE instructors remains one of the most persistent challenges facing states. Last year, ACTE held a Teach CTE Summit to more closely examine teacher pipeline challenges, surfacing numerous key issues and recommendations. According to previous Advance CTE research on this issue, 86 percent of State Directors reported a moderate or severe CTE teacher shortage in at least one Career Cluster at the secondary level, and a further 60 percent indicated the same at the postsecondary level. 

The underlying causes for these shortages most often relate to the difficulties CTE programs have in competing with the private sector for the same pool of qualified instructors, along with the fact that many universities have closed their CTE teacher preparation programs in recent years. As is the case in other sectors of the economy, the CTE teacher workforce is also aging rapidly.

At the same time, the demands on CTE instructors are rigorous. CTE instructors need strong technical knowledge and industry expertise, effective classroom management and pedagogical skills, and cultural competency to support and engage each learner on an individual basis.

Without a qualified pool of CTE professionals, one that is responsive to the needs of each learner, our country cannot effectively educate learners and prepare the future workforce. Attracting, retaining and fully developing a strong cadre of CTE professionals is therefore a crucial ingredient CTE systems need for success, and this need is reflected throughout states’ Perkins V plans.

Based on Advance CTE’s analysis of state Perkins V plans:

Key Innovations

The Work Ahead

One area of future work is ensuring that the CTE instructor workforce is representative of the learners they serve. Only five states included any explicit recruitment activities focused on diversifying the CTE teaching field in their Perkins V plans.

Recruiting, developing and retaining qualified teachers and faculty are critical for CTE programs to be successful. As noted previously, instructors are among the most important in-school factors that contribute to the success of learners. No single policy or strategy will fully address the challenges facing states with regards to this issue. Some of these challenges have to do with issues outside the realm of CTE, such as broader terms negotiated by labor and management (e.g., teacher/faculty pay scales or tenure requirements), lack of teacher preparation programs at universities, and accreditation requirements or limitations. Only through a coordinated set of approaches can states begin to make progress on this critically important topic. Through the Perkins V planning process, states have certainly started to make significant progress in this area.

Resources

Christina Koch, Policy Associate
Alisha Hyslop, Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education
Catherine Imperatore, Research Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education

 

By Christina Koch in Uncategorized
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Oregon’s Perkins V Planning Process Aims to Go Beyond Federal Compliance

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

While one-year transition plans for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) now submitted, states are very involved in the process of developing their four-year plans, due in the spring of 2020. Advance CTE, in partnership with ACTE, has been contracted to facilitate and inform this process for the state of Oregon, and recently led a workshop with key state and regional leaders to focus on priority areas.

The workshop took place over the course of two days in April in Salem, Oregon, and included around 35 participants, including state-level staff from both the Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, as well as regional and institutional representatives and employer and workforce partners. The first day focused on facilitating discussions on Oregon’s previous use of Advance CTE’s Policy Benchmark Tool on program approval policies to examine program quality across secondary and postsecondary. Oregon began using the tool in 2018, and plan to use the findings to inform priorities for Perkins V planning.

On the second day, participants participated in prioritization exercises and provided input on Oregon’s forthcoming state vision and priorities for CTE. This vision and priorities will go beyond the requirements of Perkins V, and instead will leverage the federal law to promote a broad plan for success for Oregon learners. Participants also had conversations focused on equity, career advising and meaningful stakeholder engagement.

The workshop happened in the midst of Advance CTE and ACTE developing and Oregon leaders administering a statewide stakeholder survey, which focused on multiple measures of quality in CTE. Going forward, Advance CTE and ACTE will continue to work with Oregon state leaders, particularly in the facilitation of four work groups, each focused on a priority area identified by participants during the workshop and informed by data from the statewide survey. Oregon staff are also conducting stakeholder engagement activities and working across secondary and postsecondary to ensure that both the Perkins V state plan and broader strategic plan for CTE adequately address the needs of learners in Oregon.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Maryland Strengthens Quality of Apprenticeships; Iowa, Oregon Advance Governors’ Initiatives

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

As most legislative sessions have come to a close, states have adopted policies to expand opportunities for learners. Maryland and Iowa took steps to improve apprenticeship programs, and Oregon passed a bill that would help to encourage construction workers to start their own businesses and expand the talent pipeline.

Maryland Passes Bills to Strengthen Access and Quality of Apprenticeships

In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan signed two bills in May related to apprenticeships that strengthen the quality and accessibility of the programs to learners. HB1216 authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations requiring the award of credit toward high school graduation for time spent in certain apprenticeship programs and expands state financial aid for apprenticeships.

By allowing time spent in an apprenticeship program to count towards credit for high school graduation, this law prevents students from having to choose between work-based learning opportunities and the completion of high school credit requirements. Additionally, the expansion of financial aid will allow more students to access apprenticeship programs and gain the real-world experience needed to be successful in an ever evolving job market.

Governor Hogan also signed HB1234, which authorizes county boards of education to award credit to high school students for work-based training or classroom instruction completed under a Registered Apprenticeship Program and prohibits certain institutions from referring to certain courses as an apprenticeship or apprenticeship training course unless the course is part of a Registered Apprenticeship training program.

Since Registered Apprenticeship programs are registered with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and must meet federal and state requirements, this law will help to ensure that apprenticeship programs in Maryland are high-quality and culminate with learners receiving portable, industry-recognized credentials.  

Oregon and Iowa Advance Governors’ Initiatives

In Iowa and Oregon, governors took steps to advance their offices’ initiatives, both of which aim to build a talent pipeline to address the skills gap in their respective states.

In Iowa, in alignment with Future Ready Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds announced an online High School Apprenticeship Playbook, a guide that provides detailed steps for Iowa high schools, employers and students interested in establishing a Registered Apprenticeship program. This guide is meant to help scale apprenticeships in Iowa and provide a model from which schools can develop apprenticeship programs so that they don’t have to start from scratch.

In Oregon, as part of the Future Ready Oregon initiative to turn wage earners into job creators, Governor Kate Brown signed HB4144, which aims to help mid-career construction professionals start their own business, and provides incentives to attract and retain new, young talent into the workforce through providing funding to new businesses and waiving all state fees and formal education requirements for aspiring entrepreneurs who have worked in the construction industry for more than eight years for certain construction licenses.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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More Evidence Demonstrates How Postsecondary Credentials Can Help Learners Unlock Career Opportunities

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Earning a credential of value is still the surest path to success for American workers. A recent New America poll released last month finds that 80 percent of American adults believe there are more opportunities for those who pursue education after high school, compared to 14 percent who think it is better to enter the workforce right away.

For adult learners, the connection between education and careers is even more important. According to Public Agenda, 71 percent of adult prospective students — those who are actively working to go back to school — say that their primary motivation is either to get ahead in their current career or to get the skills they need to start a new career.

Studying the return on investment for credential earners can be quite an undertaking, however, considering the vast number and types of credentials on the market today. Credential Engine, a nonprofit dedicated to counting and cataloging every credential, estimated in April that there are more than 330,000 individual credentials available in the United States today, and only a fraction of them are available at four-year institutions. That count includes nearly 67,000 postsecondary certificates, 13,600 Registered Apprenticeships and 5,400 certifications.

It is well understood that a university education can improve career opportunities. But where to start? Does major matter? And what is the return on investment for other sub-baccalaureate credentials like associate degrees, postsecondary certificates and industry certifications?

More Advanced Credentials Lead to Higher Earnings, but Field of Study Matters

With so many credentials on the market, how can learners navigate the education marketplace and find the credential that best suits their career interests and economic goals?

New research out of the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce helps us begin to demystify the credential marketplace.

The report finds that, while median income rises with more advanced credentials, the field of study matters a lot. A bachelor’s degree in architecture and engineering, for example, will land you a median salary of $85,000, far above the $46,000 median salary for education majors. Further, less education can even lead to higher earnings, depending on the field of study. Associate degree holders who study science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) earn a median salary $13,000 higher than workers with bachelor’s degrees in psychology & social work. Certainly, credentials help learners unlock career success and earn a family sustaining wage, but field of study is far more important than level of education.  

A separate Georgetown study puts a magnifying glass up to one particular type of credential,  postsecondary certifications, examining earnings for individuals who earned a certification at an Oregon community college. The study finds that, on average, certification earners experienced a 19 percent increase in earnings. And Pell students experience an even larger premium, more than 50 percent of their wages prior to enrollment, further demonstrating the power of short-term certifications to provide an on-ramp to a sustainable career.

How Can States Help Learners Navigate the Credential Environment?

As the universe of postsecondary credentials continues to grow, learners will need support and guidance to help determine which credentials to pursue and where to pursue them. Already, a number of states have developed protocols to review, verify and publish a list of high-quality, industry-recognized credentials for secondary and postsecondary students. A new 50-state scan from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign finds that 30 states identify or plan to identify credentials of value at the state level. However, only 23 states report that they analyze employment and earnings outcomes and only 21 seek regular employer input.

If credentials are going to deliver on their promise, the credentialing system must be transparent and learners must be able to know which credentials are valued in the marketplace and recognized by employers. It is important for states to set up systems to regularly gather and put to use employer input. The evidence is encouraging, but there is still a lot of work to do to help demystify the credentialing marketplace and empower learners to achieve their career goals.

To learn more about credentials of value or state strategies to promote high-quality credentials, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Research, Resources
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Iowa, Oregon, North Carolina Expand Career Readiness, CTE Efforts

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

At the beginning of this year, governors delivered their State of the State addresses and highlighted the 2018 policy priorities for their states. Many of this year’s State of the State addresses underscored the importance of workforce development and Career Technical Education (CTE). According to the Education Commission of the States (ECS), 23 governors encouraged expanding workforce development efforts, 19 governors mentioned the need to improve postsecondary affordability, and 16 governors identified modernizing CTE as a priority. Unsurprisingly, as the 2018 legislative session moves forward, governors have recognized and announced new initiatives that highlight the importance of job readiness and CTE.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized the recent launch of the Work-based Opportunity Regional Referral Consortium (WORRC), a partnership with the Iowa Community Colleges and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) to expand and improve work-based learning in the state. The 15 Iowa Community Colleges and more than 1,500 member companies represented by the ABI will partner together to increase the number of work-related learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships, available to learners. According to ABI, the partnership aims to:

In addition to addressing the demand for highly skilled workers, the WORRC will collaborate with Gov. Reynold’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, which focuses on building Iowa’s talent pipeline, to implement workforce recommendations from the governor’s initiative.

Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown launched the Future Ready Oregon initiative, which aims to address the “skills gap” in Oregon and provide jobs and skills training to adults and students. Currently, middle skill jobs, which require some post-secondary education and training, account for 50 percent of Oregon’s job market, but only 45 percent of workers in Oregon are qualified for those jobs. This governor’s initiative recognizes that CTE can address this “skills gap,” and involves dedicating $300 million to CTE classes in the 2019-2021 state budgets, expanding existing apprenticeship opportunities, and introducing legislation that will help mid-career construction professionals start their own business. The initiative also places a significant emphasis on equity and access, calling for an investment in rural areas, communities of color, and Oregon’s nine Native American tribes, an increase in affordable housing supply in rural Oregon, and for hands-on learning to be available in every school district in Oregon.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced NC Job Ready, a job readiness initiative that aims to equip North Carolinians with the skills, employer guidance, and economic opportunities necessary to secure high wage, high demand careers. This governor’s initiative consists of three core elements: skills and education attainment, employer leadership, and local innovation. Governor Cooper’s calls for improved skills and education attainment in North Carolina comes after a recent report ranked the state’s public schools 40th in the nation, a worse ranking than the year before. NC Job Ready aims to make North Carolina a top ten educated state and focuses on increasing public awareness about job growth in local areas and training programs that can provide North Carolinians with the skills for high-demand jobs. The initiative draws on North Carolina’s already existing 27 Certified Career Pathways to increase the accessibility of job training.

NC Job Ready recognizes that obtaining a quality education is just one part of the equation to ensuring success for North Carolinians. The initiative focuses on the importance of employer-led job training programs and utilizing the partnerships among workforce and economic development agencies to advance career-readiness. The initiative also will support innovation and replication funds so that local leaders may pilot new ideas for local workforce development, which if successful can be replicated in other parts of the state.

These recent governors’ actions are just some examples of governors’ plans to leverage existing and new programs and partnerships in their states to promote CTE and workforce development.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy
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Welcome to Laura Foley, Oregon’s New State CTE Director!

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Laura Foley, Oregon’s new State CTE Director, has viewed her entire professional career, which has included being a social worker, a small business owner and an educator, through a social justice lens.

“My equity lens is always, ‘Who’s paying attention?’” Foley said.

That’s because Foley, who was the first in her family to graduate from high school, was once a child who fell in between state systems and supports. She said she graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average though sleeping through most of her classes and working 40 hours a week to help her family pay the bills. Her school guidance counselors focused on students deemed on the “college track.”

“I looked at college as a place for rich kids that was just about reading a bunch of books,” she said.

Instead, the local public library was the place she would go to teach herself what she wanted to know – for free. After a number of years, Foley would eventually go on to college, where she finished her undergraduate and master’s degrees in two and a half years.

Foley said she has spent her career trying to find the way to help the most people she can reach.

She first started working in social services, but quickly realized that the work was more reactive and intervention-focused than it was proactive. That realization led her to become a teacher, which instantly felt like a natural fit and could reach up to 300 students and their families each year.

Over the next 18 years, Foley would continue to expand her reach and impact as an instructional coach, then as an administrator and a teacher trainer. Whenever she saw a need, she would work to find a way to fill it, which is why she is now one of five K-12 reading specialists in the state and also once started her own business to design clothing for people with disabilities.

So when the position of State CTE Director became available, moving into the state administration was a natural next step for Foley. In this new post, she plans to use that same approach to ensure equity and opportunity for all students by asking “who’s paying attention” and identifying gaps that need to be filled. She sees the state’s chronic absenteeism and low graduation rates as symptomatic of larger issues.

Foley said she wants to expand career readiness so that students as young as elementary school begin to have authentic exposure to careers. Then during middle school, students are engaging in hands-on, authentic curriculum that encourages them to be creative.

“By the time they get out of high school, they should have a viable plan that they have tried for a while and have received guidance for postsecondary education to help them decide where they want to go and have a good idea what it’s going to take [to get there],” Foley said.

Foley comes into this role at an exciting time, as Oregon has made historic investments in recent years in CTE as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Foley said she plans to better connect these two disciplines because there are so many natural collaboration and integration opportunities.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE State Director
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