Centering CTE in the Time of Disruption: A Conversation with SHRM’s Dr. Alex Alonso

May 17th, 2024

Advance CTE held a ‘fireside chat’ with Dr. Alex Alonso, Chief Knowledge Officer of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and Advance CTE Executive Director Kate Kreamer at our 2024 Spring Meeting that saw over 200 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in attendance last month.

The two tackled this burning question of the future of work: How will Career Technical Education (CTE) continue to be the solution to ensuring success and security for all learners, especially amidst the imminent impacts of AI, the green economy, and evolving workplace trends?

Key Trends for the Future of Work

Dr. Alonso first presented newly released research conducted by SHRM drawing from data collected from a vast network of 2000 HR professionals, which, with the help of LLM (Large Language Models), aggregates major trends in the future of work and identifies the challenges facing employers today. Dr. Alonso unpacked several of these major trends, including:

Balancing Operational Efficiencies and Talent Needs

The challenges and problems companies face continue to become increasingly complex. That means that as the skills gap grows, the depth of that gap, or the “skills crater,” also grows, necessitating an even greater urgency for faster and more effective skills development. At the same time, amidst current inflationary pressures, there is a growing imperative to strike a balance between ensuring fair compensation for this high-demand talent and maintaining operational efficiency.

Training an Evolving Workforce

Because employers have a renewed focus on upskilling and reskilling, steps must be taken need to ensure alignment between training programs and the evolving needs of industries. This is a critical opportunity for CTE to be a leader and to meaningfully partner with industry.

Later on, during the fireside chat, Dr. Alonso elevated that the delivery of CTE programs might need to evolve to meet these trends and demands, not just in terms of content but also in how it’s delivered. Kate noted the shifting perspective on digital apprenticeships and virtual work-based learning– what was once seen as a compromise for accessibility is now being reconsidered as a viable content delivery option, especially as more jobs transition to partial or fully virtual settings. 

Realizing the Full Potential of AI

AI has changed and reshaped the way that work is happening. Because it’s evolving right before our eyes, the challenge for employers and educators is to keep pace, all the while ensuring responsible integration into the workforce, particularly given the high potential for its misuse. 

These challenges all point to one major takeaway, in Dr. Alonso’s words: 

The 5th Industrial Age is here, where all facets of work, the workers, and the workplace are re-imaginable.

 

Embracing Change through AI

A significant portion of the fireside chat focused on the specific challenge of realizing the full potential of AI, and the broader theme of embracing change. 

It’s a common worry: the idea that AI could eliminate job opportunities. Kate raised a crucial point: How do we leverage AI to create more opportunities rather than take opportunities away?

Dr. Alonso highlighted that while many job roles may diminish due to technological advancements, even more new jobs will emerge in the economy in the coming years. His argument: AI complements human intelligence rather than replacing it. AI should be viewed as a tool to aid in the creation of these new roles in tandem with human intelligence— “AI plus HI

This dynamic shift isn’t about a loss of jobs, instead, it’s an evolution of industries and professions. Dr. Alonso also noted the attitude toward AI is changing as well; there’s a noticeable transition from apprehension to curiosity. People are increasingly inclined to engage in dialogues about AI, recognizing its potential to enhance both their industry and personal lives.

As we embrace these challenges and opportunities, CTE has a unique opportunity and advantage to equipping the future workforce. Explore further insights on SHRM’s research in their 2023-24 State of the Workplace Report.


Preparations are underway for Advance CTE’s 2024 Fall Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, October 21-23! Visit the event page to save the date and learn more.

Layla Alagic, digital communications associate

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Diamond Sponsor Certiport | Promoting the Value of CTE

April 26th, 2024

Career technical education (CTE) has the power to transform the workforce landscape. By teaching workforce-specific skills, learners can find a career-specific pathway that leverages their passion and talents. Unfortunately, in the United States, CTE is often undervalued and underutilized. 

Matt Fritzius, CTE Curriculum Supervisor at Broward County Public Schools, said, “I think a lot of the CTE stigma in the United States comes from the vocational education of the past, classifying students as less academically inclined and ineligible for college. Instead, these students were put on specific vocational paths where they could get a job, but there wasn’t really much advancement. But the CTE of today is not the vocational education of the past.”

We were able to sit down with Matt to talk about people’s incorrect assumptions about CTE. Matt shared some ways to help change the CTE narrative, and really promote the value of today’s CTE classroom. 

Do Your Research

Understanding the current workforce landscape is crucial to maximizing the value and impact of CTE, and employers are moving away from degree requirements for job postings. A Harvard Business Review article said that “between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions.” Companies are doing away with degree requirements and instead focusing on finding employees that have the skills for the job. 

“If every student pursues the bachelor’s degree track, the workforce will be full of people with credentials they don’t need for the jobs they land,” said Matt. “Furthermore, we’ll see a huge skills gap for jobs that require a significant amount of technical training and knowledge that can’t be filled by someone with a traditional liberal arts degree or a business degree. Today’s workforce is looking for employees with a very specific set of skills for specific job roles. CTE provides students with an opportunity to learn those skills, often while still in high school.” 

Share the CTE Vision

Once you’ve done your research and understand the job landscape in your area, it’s time to share that information and vision with your fellow educators, administrators, and Departments of Education. Gather testimonials from your past learners. Talk to employers in your community about learners they’ve worked with. Find ways to get others on board and see the impact of CTE in your school, district, and state. 

Matt’s had years of experience with these types of informative conversations. “Many administrators might not even realize what CTE encompasses. I’ve had conversations with school leaders before where they say, ‘I don’t know that we have many CTE classes at my school.’ They start talking about the programs they’re offering, and they mention robotics, entrepreneurship, and hospitality and tourism, for example. Those are all CTE programs! As professionals in the CTE sphere, it’s so important that we make sure everybody understands the breadth and depth of CTE; it’s all these different avenues that CTE offers to today’s students.”

With the large breadth of programs that CTE offers, there’s a place for everyone. Learners can discover their passions, and that’s something we can all get behind. 

Help Students Find Their Passions

When students find their passion, they’re more engaged. We know well that student engagement is the gateway to true learning. Gallup has conducted millions of surveys of K12 students and has revealed some key characteristics of engaged students. Learners who strongly agreed that their school supported the strengths of each student and had at least one teacher who helped them feel excited for the future were 30 times as likely to be engaged in class than those who strongly disagreed. Learners need caring adults who recognize their strengths, potential, and goals. 

Today’s CTE programs help learners find topics that are connected to their strengths and interests. Whether they want to be an entrepreneur or an IT professional, there are CTE pathways that help learners stay engaged in the classroom and learn the skills they need to get there. 

“By leveraging CTE programs, students see a clear pathway to their goals. Students need to know that the path they take to their career, whether through a four-year university, a technical college, and/or apprenticeship program, is celebrated and supported by the adults in their lives.” 

Establish Business Partnerships

The pathway to the workforce is only complete when employers are ready to hire these skilled learners. By engaging with businesses in the community, educators understand what career opportunities are available in their areas. Employers benefit as well. By sharing the skills they need in future employees, they influence curriculum and graduation requirements. Advisory boards allow schools and districts to incorporate feedback from employers across industries. And that doesn’t even cover the impact of potential internship or apprenticeship opportunities these employers have for learners. 

Florida’s already seeing the cyclical benefit of business partnerships. Matt recently took a trip down to Miami to see the benefits firsthand. “Miami-Dade College has partnered with Tesla. There’s a Tesla training center right on the Miami-Dade campus,” Matt said. “Students enroll in the Tesla Academy program and get work experience at either a Tesla dealership or service center here in South Florida. After completing the program, they get hired as a full-time technician.” By connecting with learners before they graduate, companies like Tesla can bridge the skills gap and find the talent they need to fill crucial job roles.

Matt continued, “To me, this really speaks to the power of CTE. There are dual benefits to investing in this type of education. It benefits the learner, and it benefits the community. When you upskill people in your community, they can make more money, and that money ends up staying in the community. It only makes sense to expand programs like Tesla’s moving forward.” 

Prepare your learners to hit the ground running after graduation. Give them the skills they need to establish a successful and engaging career. Learn more from Matt on the CERTIFIED Educator Podcast here.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Diamond Sponsor iCEV | Five Challenges Facing CTE Data Management and How to Solve Them

April 25th, 2024

The views, opinions, services, and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products, or services not mentioned.

As a State CTE leader, you’re responsible for ensuring that essential information is properly collected, stored, and communicated to relevant agencies. However, many educators find data management difficult and time-consuming.

Below, you’ll discover five of the most common problems associated with CTE data management.

When left unaddressed, these issues can become overwhelming. But with the right system in place, you can overcome these challenges and put CTE at the Forefront.

1. Manual Data Entry 

Tracking data manually comes with a high chance of error. When you enter data by hand, you may end up double-checking your work and even entering the same data multiple times!

This inefficient process costs time and often leads to inaccurate reports.

 2. Difficulty Managing Spreadsheet Data

Properly dealing with spreadsheet data is easier said than done. Using spreadsheets requires correctly setting up different fields and conditional formats. Without proper formatting, even the best-designed spreadsheet can become a confusing mess.

Importing and exporting data can lead to more issues, making data analysis difficult.

Finally, different team members may have separate documents, challenging your efforts to keep a clean data set.

3. Lack of Data Transparency and Insight 

Especially when records are kept in various places, it’s common for CTE teams not to have an authoritative database to make critical decisions. Without data transparency, administrators are forced to fill in gaps or even resort to guesswork.

When you don’t have a full picture of what is going on in your CTE program, the insight you can gain from analyzing data is limited. Programs that lack confidence in their data risk falling behind in obtaining funding and complying with regulations. 

4. Inability to Track Performance Across Multiple Schools

States with a large volume of CTE offerings often struggle with tracking performance across multiple schools. When each school measures data differently, it’s up to CTE directors to reconcile these differences.

Often, the solution that works best is a data management system that ensures every school is using the same measurements to quantify success. 

 5. Your Data Is Not Focused on CTE

Finally, many administrators use data management solutions engineered toward the traditional classroom experience that don’t show the complete picture of a CTE program.

But a CTE-specific solution can track completers, CTSOs, certifications, and more. This gives you a full picture of the value of a program to learners and communities.

The Importance of Quality CTE Data Management

In ensuring learners have an ideal CTE experience, quality data management makes all the difference. When you have an effective system in place, state and local CTE leaders will be able to use program data to make key program decisions benefiting everyone, expanding program offerings and providing certification opportunities that will open doors for learners in the future.

Solve Your CTE Data Management Problems 

Each of these data-related complications can challenge CTE directors and administrators and leave with only part of the story. But when you adopt a CTE-specific data management solution like Eduthings, you can track and report on program performance and put CTE at the Forefront.

Visit the iCEV booth during the Advance CTE Spring Conference to learn how Eduthings can be your CTE command center and improve your data management with a custom solution.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Diamond Sponsor Kuder | Your Ultimate Guide to Work-Based Learning Programming Strategy & Implementation

April 22nd, 2024

The views, opinions, services, and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products, or services not mentioned.

Work-based learning (WBL) programs play a pivotal role in preparing learners for successful careers by integrating hands-on skills training into their educational experience. Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders can enhance the effectiveness of these programs by sharing fundamental strategies to identify key areas of opportunity for advancement, and leveraging proven tools like Kuder Connect 2 Business® to bring additional efficiencies to statewide and district efforts. Visit Kuder’s website to access the newly released Work-Based Learning Playbook.

There are six ways states can lead in providing consistent standards of quality in WBL including:

Provide Inclusive Opportunities

WBL experiences must be accessible to every student regardless of their race, identity, ability, or socio-economic background.

Promote Learner Choice and Autonomy

Encourage learners to take ownership in their career preparation and training to create more engaging and effective learning experiences.

Create Collaborative WBL Ecosystems

WBL programs require consistent collaboration between learners, educators, and employers to produce meaningful outcomes. 

Provide Quality, Sustainable WBL Opportunities

Learners need to be able to gain relevant, hands-on experience from their WBL activities while in a safe and regulated environment.

Have Clearly Defined & Tracked Measurements

There should be complete clarity and consistency on the goals, expectations, and procedures of each WBL opportunity.

Help Participants Develop Transferable Skills

Providing a quality WBL experience means reinforcing academic concepts with real, applicable skills that can be utilized within numerous personal or professional situations.

Next Level WBL Success

These critical concepts are just the start of developing a high-quality WBL for every learner in your state. Even if you’ve got a clear plan for how you want to revolutionize your local, district, or state-level WBL design, it will require a significant commitment from you and your staff to implement. 

“Kuder’s responsiveness and commitment to ensuring we’re supported for WBL completion and ICAP reporting has been outstanding,” said Brent Haken, CareerTech State Director in Oklahoma. “Working in partnership with OSDE, C2B will expand WBL in the state and strengthen education and business partnerships.”

To streamline WBL, you can leverage Kuder Connect 2 Business’ proven WBL tools to streamline the entire process with real-time reporting, business profile management capabilities, and more!

Visit with Connor Harrington, CEO of Kuder, Inc. and John Milroy, Vice President of Partner Solutions at the Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn more about elevating work-based learning and career readiness in your state.

Learn more at www.kuder.com.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Diamond Sponsor YouScience | YouScience leads the way in aptitude-enabled education

April 19th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

In the constantly evolving education landscape, YouScience® is revolutionizing how students discover their best-fit postsecondary education and career pathways with YouScience® Brightpath and aptitude-enabled education.

Brightpath is the only aptitude-based guidance platform that leverages data and artificial intelligence to help individuals identify their aptitudes, validate their skills, and get matched with educational and career pathways.

Brightpath is used in all 50 states and is offered as a state-wide contract in several. Here are five reasons educators and state CTE leaders should evaluate Brightpath:

  • Accelerate deployment without headcount: Brightpath makes it easy to scale state-wide programs with consistency and speed without adding headcount.
  • Improve quality of results: Educators report improvements in CTE participation and love how easy it is to use Brightpath to achieve their goals. 
  • Access all products with a single sign-on: Access one or all of our core products with a single sign-on. This includes: Aptitude & Career Discovery, Education & Career Planning (including Course Planner and Resume Builder), Work-Based Experiences, Industry Certifications, and more. 
  • Support education and career initiatives: Join other educators at the state or local level who choose Brightpath for delivering value to students, educators, and employers. 
  • Utilize best-in-class data and analytics: Access custom or standardized reports that help you show what’s working, gain access to funding, and advance legislative priorities.

Aptitudes: The key to unlocking potential

Aptitudes are an individual’s natural ability to learn or perform skills regardless of environment. Knowing aptitudes is one of the most powerful accelerators to help empower individuals to leverage their natural gifts and find success. They expand a student’s understanding of what’s possible beyond what they know and have been exposed to. By understanding their aptitudes, students gain invaluable insight into the paths that align with their interests and abilities.

How does Brightpath work? Students engage with a series of timed brain game exercises that are designed to reveal their aptitudes and interests while also identifying careers and educational opportunities that align with both.

Why interest-only career guidance falls short

Interests are self-reported activities someone wants to know or learn about. While interests are important, for career guidance they are limiting and have proven to reinforce biases and stereotypes because having an interest in a particular career relies heavily on a student’s direct exposure to that particular career field.

Collaborative planning: Empowering students for success

Empowering students goes beyond individual assessments; it involves collaborative planning among families, educators, and counselors. Together, they guide students in applying their aptitude knowledge to course planning, participation in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, and obtaining industry-recognized certifications. With this support system in place, students can confidently navigate the workforce transition or pursue postsecondary education tailored to their aptitudes and interests.

Interdisciplinary education: Creating personalized pathways

Interdisciplinary education takes aptitude-enabled learning to new heights by fostering collaboration among schools and districts. By viewing education through the lens of relevant Career Clusters, educators can create personalized pathways and integrated programs. This holistic approach not only enhances students’ academic experiences but also prepares them for the demands of the modern workforce.

YouScience: Leading the charge

The comprehensive Brightpath platform empowers students to discover their aptitudes and interests and provides them with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their future. By integrating collaborative planning and interdisciplinary education, YouScience ensures that students are well-prepared to embark on their chosen pathways with confidence through aptitude-enabled education.

To learn more about Brightpath, visit  www.youscience.com/brightpath.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Gold Sponsor SkillsUSA | The Skills Gap May be Wider Than You Think… But We’ll Close It Together

April 17th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

As a state Career Technical Education (CTE) leader, you’ve likely heard the phrase “skills gap” many times. We hear it often at SkillsUSA, too, especially from our current and prospective industry partners looking to secure their future workforce. At more than 400,000 student and teacher members, SkillsUSA is the largest Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) in the U.S. devoted to the skilled trades, and that’s one of the reasons we describe ourselves as “the #1 workforce development organization for students.” Another reason is our approach to closing the skills gap, one that focuses on the development of more than technical skills alone.

Yes, most discussions around the skills gap center around the need for hands-on technical skills, and understandably so. After all, the manufacturing industry alone forecasts more than 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, and other industries offer their own daunting predictions. In fact, according to a recent report from McKinsey and Company, 87% of companies worldwide claim to either be experiencing a skills gap now or expecting to experience one in the next few years. Viewing the skills gap as mainly a shortage of technical skills is so pervasive because that shortage is such a clear and present threat to our global economy.

But there’s another aspect of the skills gap that’s just as big a threat. When we speak with industry, we hear repeatedly that entry-level employees also lack what are often called “employability” or “soft” skills. These are skills such as communication, teamwork, integrity, professionalism, and more that set employees apart as leaders, achievers, and difference-makers, which can foster success in any career… and in life itself.

Those are exactly the types of skills we work to develop in our SkillsUSA students as we accomplish our mission: to empower students to become skilled professionals, career-ready leaders, and responsible community members. When students combine those life skills with their hands-on skills, their potential is truly limitless.  

One of our teachers, Amanda McClure of Union Grove High School in McDonough, Georgia, says it best: “SkillsUSA transforms timid students into leaders, disinterested students into competitors and self-centered students into team players. I have seen the positive changes SkillsUSA makes in my students’ lives and witnessed their success in college and careers as a result of involvement.”

According to the recent “SkillsUSA Advantage Report,” released by the Student Research Foundation in 2022, SkillsUSA members consistently outperform their peers not enrolled in a CTSO in seven essential areas: earning a license or certification, meeting potential employers, being excited about their chosen career, gaining work experience, understanding the work environment, being excited about school, and connecting school to the real word. 

Those results are further proof that CTE is at its strongest and most impactful when it’s shaping the whole student into a confident, focused leader and contributor, one who’s uniquely skilled to succeed both personally and professionally. Showing the nation that CTE is unrivaled when it comes to setting students up for fulfilling, successful futures is how we put—and keep—“CTE at the Forefront” of workforce development discourse. In fact, many are already catching on about the amazing opportunities CTE programs provide. SkillsUSA’s membership numbers—the highest in our nearly 60-year history—are a testimony to that fact, and that’s thanks in large part to the life-changing work our state SkillsUSA directors perform each and every day on behalf of their student members. I know that same dedication is shared by all state CTE leaders, and as we commit ourselves to developing the whole student in all our programs, we make it clear—through the inspiring success of our students—what “CTE Without Limits” truly means.

Chelle Travis

Executive Director, SkillsUSA

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Gold Sponsor American Student Alliance | Using CTE to Create Innovative Career Exploration Programs That Prepare All Learners for Their Futures

April 11th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

In recent years, middle school career exploration has gained traction as a foundational element of Career Technical Education (CTE). As many State CTE Directors and leaders know, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), signed into law in July 2018, for the first time permitted Perkins funding to be used on career exploration programming as early as fifth grade. Here are four strategic actions that states can take to expand and enhance career exploration programs that prepare learners for postsecondary education and career success, based on a recent nationwide study of middle school career exploration programs, commissioned by American Student Assistance® (ASA).

Clearly define middle school career exploration and ensure a unified definition is adopted across relevant agencies and partners, including K-12, postsecondary, workforce, and relevant community-based organizations. A quality definition clearly defines middle school career exploration as a strategy that will help learners build their understanding of career interests and expand awareness and understanding of career opportunities, including through hands-on, applied experiences. 

Once a clear definition is established, coordinate related and supporting efforts across state leadership, including departments driving academics and instruction, school counseling, CTE, and workforce training. Establish routines for collaboration between programmatic leaders who should be working together to support an overall vision for learner success with elements from each of their programs.

Integrate career exploration into your accountability and data collection systems. The last two years of high school are insufficient for dramatically increasing learners’ readiness for postsecondary and career opportunities. States can leverage program quality indicators in Perkins V and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plans to formally set measurable goals for middle school career exploration, integrating them into existing college and career readiness (CCR) targets. States can also utilize their data collection systems to not only identify middle school career exploration participants and determine their positive placement within high school CTE programs, but also to ensure the quality of programming through evaluations or learner-based software platforms.

The report also highlights seven states that have distinguished themselves by instituting formal accountability mechanisms to influence district and school focus on meaningful career exploration. Although federal changes made through the reauthorization of ESSA allowed states to exercise flexibility in the indicators used to assess districts and schools, only two states—Pennsylvania and Georgia—have used this flexibility to include career exploration as a component in their federal accountability systems. Five additional states—Missouri, Kansas, Utah, South Carolina, and Michigan—have incorporated middle school career exploration into their state accountability mechanisms to assess the quality of delivery of career advisement services or activities.

Assess and address state policies that have the potential to limit learners’ ability to access different career exploration opportunities, including restricting CTE course enrollment by grade level or grade point average minimums. 

It’s important to provide innovative and comprehensive career exploration that includes CTE. Only 33 states facilitate exploration via a course or set of courses that can serve as an on-ramp to a CTE pathway, according to ASA’s report. In contrast, the study highlights Utah’s College & Career Awareness Program, which requires a course that enables learners in grades 7-8 to explore high school, college, and career options based on individual interests, abilities, and skills. A team of CTE teachers, school counselors, and work-based learning coordinators teach the course and provide instruction in career development. 

This well-rounded, effective approach equips all learners with the information they’ll need to understand their options and make informed, confident decisions about their futures.

Julie Lammers is Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility at American Student Assistance® (ASA), a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and prepare for their futures. Julie leads ASA’s philanthropic strategy as well as ASA’s advocacy efforts on both the federal and state level. Julie has been at ASA since March 2010.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Gold Sponsor Alliance for FCS | At the Forefront for Equipping Learners: Supporting CTE Performance Objectives Through Family and Consumer Sciences

April 10th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

Today states are working to address teacher shortages1, milling and baker shortages2, hospitality labor shortages3 and more. In the baking field alone, the industry is expected to have approximately 53,000 unfilled jobs by 2030. Since 2006, the Alliance for Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) has collaborated to provide career exploration resources, professional development opportunities, and industry-recognized credentials to equip Career Technical Education (CTE) learners to lead better lives, be work- and career-ready, and make meaningful contributions in their communities.   

State CTE Directors and their staff play an important role in helping to fill these shortages through the programs and pathways offered in their state. Family and Consumer Sciences programs ensure learners are prepared with the necessary academic, technical, and employability skills to be successful in any workplace and provide them with training in over eight content specialty areas, amplifying the effectiveness of FCS programs in putting learners into career paths directly from graduation. To review the range of specialties supported by Family and Consumer Sciences, visit the Alliance website.

The Alliance for Family & Consumer Sciences is a coalition of organizations representing academia, business and industry, professional associations, and honor societies leading family and consumer sciences efforts around the globe. Today, AAFCS serves as the managing partner of the Alliance.

The Alliance for FCS members are ideal partners for states seeking to set up programs and connect with business and industry and content experts to grow Family and Consumer Sciences education throughout the U.S. 

The Alliance for FCS provides research and resources in Family and Consumer Sciences content areas. One specific example is the resource page on Nutrition and Wellness which supports states seeking to prepare learners to enter industries suffering worker shortages such as culinary arts, milling and baking, food science and nutrition, and food-supporting industries. Lesson plans, safety tips, webinars, certification programs, and other programs offered by Alliance for FCS members are available to CTE directors and staff to enhance state educational programs, making them ideal sources of future employees for these industries. Visit the Alliance for FCS, Nutrition, and Wellness Resources today at https://www.aafcs.org/allianceforfcs/initiatives/nutrition-wellness 

To inquire about resources in the other Family and Consumer Sciences content areas or to join the Alliance, reach out to alliance@aafcs.org for more information. 

About the Alliance for FCS

The mission of the Alliance for Family & Consumer Sciences is to unify diverse organizations with a common purpose by advancing the value of family and consumer sciences globally. These efforts will enhance the visibility and viability of family and consumer sciences to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities in a diverse and global society.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Platinum Sponsor FCCLA | Family and Consumer Sciences is the Missing Piece: Empower Future Generations through FCS Education

April 10th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

The importance of comprehensive student career preparation for life’s modern challenges is increasingly apparent in the evolving landscape of education and workforce development. Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is a pivotal solution, bridging career preparation and employability skills for holistic student readiness across various career facets.

FCS leaders advocate for establishing a dedicated FCS Career Cluster within the National Career Clusters® Framework. This initiative acknowledges FCS’s critical role in developing interdisciplinary skills essential for success in today’s dynamic world, especially in careers facing workforce shortages, such as education, child care, and hospitality. The work “CTE Without Limits” by Advance CTE highlights FCS’s unique contribution to career preparation, underlining the importance of equitable recognition and integration into the career preparation ecosystem.

FCS encompasses essential topics like nutrition, family relations, child development, consumer education, and personal finance. Integrating these subjects into an FCS Career Cluster would emphasize their significance as academic disciplines and vital career skills, aligning with Career Technical Education (CTE) objectives to equip students with competencies for thriving in the workforce and society.

Moreover, the FCS Career Cluster addresses the growing demand for FCS professionals, underscoring the sector’s role in fostering well-being, sustainability, and economic growth. By formally recognizing FCS within the Career Cluster Framework, CTE will better articulate the value of these fields, promote greater investment in FCS education, and create new pathways for students interested in careers that have significant societal impact.

The proposal for an FCS Career Cluster is a forward-thinking response to the changing workforce and societal needs. It champions FCS education to prepare students for a broad range of careers, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives and make informed decisions that positively affect their families, communities, and the global society. This initiative is crucial for providing equitable support to build thriving communities and attract, support, and sustain industry partners experiencing workforce shortages. We seek support from all stakeholders to embrace FCS careers, transforming education and workforce development for future generations to possess the skills, knowledge, and values needed to navigate and succeed in an increasingly complex world.

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Gold Sponsor NOCTI | Why CTE Leaders Should Care About Assessment: Three Compelling Benefits to Learners and State Teams

April 9th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

In the ever-evolving landscape of workforce education and the development of tomorrow’s workforce, high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and prepared graduates remain indispensable. Positioned to enrich the nation’s workforce pipeline with highly skilled individuals, CTE systems are essential contributors to economic growth.

State CTE leaders set direction, make decisions aligned to their mission, and create value for learners and employers.  There is a unique opportunity to establish benchmarks for defining high-quality CTE systems and that involves a continuous commitment to assessing inputs and outputs, recognizing assessment’s role in ensuring quality outcomes.

For over 55 years, NOCTI/Nocti Business Solutions (NBS) has been dedicated to CTE by developing reliable processes, resources, and research support to strengthen the role of assessments in CTE programs. This commitment highlights the significance of third-party skills verification as a fundamental practice in high-quality CTE systems. Utilizing data-driven quality assessment promotes continuous improvement and boosts leaders’ confidence.

Here are three benefits of implementing quality assessment practices to propel CTE programs forward and assist CTE leaders in contributing economic value across their states.

Benefit #1: Gain confidence in preparing learners for workplace readiness.

State CTE leaders utilize data as feedback to continuously improve systems, celebrate high-quality programs, and target areas for improvement. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) utilizes NOCTI/NBS assessments and data for various purposes, including program evaluation, curriculum alignment, instructional improvement, professional development, and accountability. Learners meeting state-established benchmarks are eligible for the Pennsylvania Skills Certificate (PSC), recognizing individual advanced technical skill achievement.

Benefit #2: Engage industry partners through authentic approaches.

High-quality CTE systems involve business/industry partners in verifying skills, ensuring learner assessments accurately reflect expertise. This practice not only benefits learners but also provides industry employees with an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to CTE schools and programs. As one evaluator recently summarized, “I am always willing to set time aside to work with these learners and programs, as this is the future of my industry–one that I care about and want to impact.”

Benefit #3: Recognize CTE learners in ways that honor skill development.

Recognition of learning progress motivates learners, contributing to their confidence and expertise. NOCTI/NBS certifications offer third-party validated credentials aligned with industry standards. CTE teachers receive affirmation of their instructional impact on learners, validating program quality across various learning contexts. Continuous improvement and collaboration with industry partners enable CTE leaders to create meaningful opportunities for learners to thrive in their chosen fields.

CTE programs shape the future workforce, providing essential skills for success. Implementing NOCTI/NBS assessments ensures learners are prepared for workforce demands and their accomplishments are recognized. Contact NOCTI/NBS to learn more about national certifications and options to integrate NOCTI/NBS products and services into CTE state assessment systems. Join our Subject Matter Expert network! 

Kathleen McNally, NOCTI/NBS CEO

kathleen.mcnally@nocti.org

www.nocti.org

 

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