Posts Tagged ‘CTE: Learning that Works for America’

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year: Union County Academy for Performing Arts

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

This summer was one of progress and change at the Union County Academy for Performing Arts (APA), with program administrator Scott Rubin moving on to East Hanover School District and supervisor Kelly Douglas-Jackson taking over in his place. In spite of turnover at the top of this innovative program, Ms. Douglas-Jackson reported that APA has only gotten stronger from last year, when it earned our Excellence in Action award for the Arts, A/V Technology and Communications Career Cluster®.

Deepening its partnership with Kean University, which sees APA students spend their entire senior year attending college courses while earning full credit toward their high school diploma, APA students amassed over 1,500 credit hours at Kean with 3.4 collective GPA. APA was also ranked as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek.

APA also has set a course for expansion, inviting more industry professionals to the school to teach master classes and will add a Technical Theatre program including, scenic design, lighting design, sound design, and costume design. The new major will coincide with another bump in enrollment putting the program at its highest enrollment in its six-year history.

Continuing with their tradition of extremely high postsecondary placement, APA recorded a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100% postsecondary placement rate in the 2013-2014 school year. Check out all the details of APA’s Excellence in Action award here. Also, keep an eye on the Learning that Works Blog for the opening of Excellence in Action application period this fall!

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CTE Month Special: Celebrating CTE Superheroes

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Continuing with our CTE Month series on CTE Superheroes with our partners at the National Technical Honor Society, this week we have the privilege to highlight CTE students getting out into the field to get hands on experience and improve their community.

A group of NTHS students from Maryland’s Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center put their CTE experience to the test, coming together across a number of areas of expertise to construct an oyster habitat on the St. Mary’s River. Their hard work paid off; by the time the students left, they had constructed a column in the oyster sanctuary and helped to place 3,000 oysters.

Efforts to protect and grow the oyster population were carried out in partnership with Marylanders Grow Oysters, a local conservation group. NTHS’s full profile of the students’ efforts and their implications for oysters in the St. Mary’s can be found here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

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CTE Month Special: What Do the State of the States Mean for CTE? (Part II)

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

mapYesterday, we released a summary of several state of the state addresses, focusing on their implications for CTE in the year ahead. Below is the second installment in this CTE Month special series, highlighting more governors who took time out of their state of the state address to endorse programs for high-quality CTE in their state.

During the State of the State Address in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy embraced “hands-on learning,” committing his administration to working with private-sector partners and educators to provide for early college and dual enrollment initiatives. He also commended the P-Tech program, a collaboration between IBM and a number of New York City high schools that guides students through high school and provides for an additional two years of instruction. Graduating students complete the P-Tech program with advanced credentials and Governor Malloy expressed his desire to emulate this in Connecticut by offering a comprehensive, skill-centered pathway for students to credentials above and beyond a high school diploma.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal touted the state’s High Demand Career Initiative, designed to bring together leaders of the University System of Georgia, technical colleges and schools, and state industry leaders to understand labor market needs, as well as a $10M loan program for students attending technical colleges.

In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence outlined his desire to make CTE an option for every Hoosier student. He encouraged not only the development of programs to allow secondary students an easier path into postsecondary CTE programs, but also for adult education that would allow professionals to seek retraining to improve their skills and competencies making them more competitive in today’s labor market.

Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa promoted his Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act, entailing a number of initiatives to increase student access to apprenticeships by tripling funding for apprenticeships under the state’s 260F worker training program.  He also cited his state’s recent success expanding STEM education, anticipating 60,000 or more students will have access to STEM programs in the state as a result of the efforts of the STEM Advisory Council, an initiative led by Vermeer CEO Mary Andringa and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas touted a 75 percent increase in enrollment in CTE since the state launched its Career Technical Education Initiative. The sweeping plan from 2012 included $8.75 million for CTE programs, covering tuition for students taking postsecondary CTE courses, $1.5 million to high schools that encourage students to earn industry recognized credentials and allotting funds to spread the word about job opportunities for CTE graduates.

In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley announced his desire for every high school student in Maryland to graduate with a modern technical skill and a year of college credit already earned.

Governor of New Hampshire Maggie Hassan embraced developing STEM education in the Granite State as a response to the needs of the state’s high-tech industry. Governor Hassan cited restoring previously cut funds to New Hampshire higher education as a strategy to entice business to the state, and indicated that a well-trained and career-ready workforce was key to economic development in the granite state.

In the Oklahoma State of the State Address, Governor Mary Fallin called education beyond high school “the new minimum” for Oklahomans entering the workforce, and expressed her desire to increase the number of graduates seeking qualifications beyond a high school diploma “…either by attending college or a career technology center.” She also cited increasing numbers of Oklahomans seeking degrees or certificates as a result of collaboration with CareerTech in the Complete College America initiative.

In South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard focused heavily on CTE, which he labeled “…the intersection of education and economic development.” In a series of proposals to enhance CTE and draw more students into technical fields the governor advocated for $5 million in Governor’s Grants for CTE to improve collaboration between secondary schools offering CTE courses, along with $3.8 million in Future Fund grants to technical institutes for workplace priority areas and extra funds for scholarships for students in high need fields.  He also touted Building South Dakota, the economic development fund that incorporates infrastructure, housing, and development funds along with CTE funding.

Continuing with his year-old Drive to 55 initiative, (a program to ensuring 55 percent of his state’s citizens possess credentials above a high school diploma by 2022), Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee voiced his support for expanded CTE and career readiness programs. Adding onto Drive to 55’s expanded dual enrollment, workforce readiness and curriculum alignment initiatives, Governor Haslam announced the “Tennessee Promise” program. Tennessee Promise will provide Tennessee secondary graduates with the opportunity to go to two years of community college or college of applied technology education free of charge. Continuing his push for expanded educational opportunity, Governor Haslam included in his address further funding for college expansion and renovation across the state, including $65 million for expanding two of the largest community colleges in Tennessee.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By admin in Legislation, News
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CTE Month Special: What Do the State of the States Mean for CTE?

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Over the last month, governors around the country have gone before their state legislatures and constituents to deliver a state of the state address. A great number of this year’s state of the state addresses included proposals to expand CTE, career-readiness and expanded choices in postsecondary education. Below is the first installment of our special CTE Month roundup of state of the states as they impact CTE.

In Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced his support for the plans laid by the Governor’s Career Ready Task Force, emphasizing the need for business and industry leaders to contribute to the conversation about what constitutes career-readiness. He advocated expanding Alabama’s dual enrollment programs and providing for more career coaches.

Governor Sean Parnell of Alaska also endorsed CTE, including proposals to expand dual enrollment programs and more CTE pathways. He commended CTE as a strategy to raise graduation rates, noting that in the Northwest Arctic Borough, introducing CTE programs led to an 11 percent increase in graduation rates.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell proposed an expansive strategy to expand CTE, beginning with a two-year comprehensive manufacturing CTE program for juniors and seniors that focuses on engineering and would lead to nationally recognized manufacturing certificates. Linked to that program, he also announced his desire to promote public-private partnerships to offer students real-world experience as part of a career-ready curriculum, and partnerships between schools and private industry to identify the programs that will best serve graduates as they enter the workforce. He touted Delaware’s JobLink program, a database designed to help employers search for jobseekers by their skills. Like Governors Bentley and Parnell, Markell also pushed for expanded dual-enrollment programs for secondary students, enabling them to earn post-secondary credit over the course of their studies.

Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, touted his state’s investment in STEM initiatives, singling out the Thirty Meter Telescope, which features a STEM training partnership with the Institute for Astronomy’s Akamai Workforce Initiative to train postsecondary students in STEM and robotics.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear lauded the state’s progress in CTE. He cited “…a new model of secondary career and technical education to make it more accessible to students at an earlier age, more rigorous academically and better aligned with both postsecondary requirements and employer needs…We are fitting the pieces together to create a seamless, cradle-to-career education system that is better preparing our students for this complex world.”

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory outlined the importance of ensuring that secondary and postsecondary pathways for success include all types of postsecondary credential—certificates, associates degrees and professional certification—as well as four-year degrees. Governor McRory also conveyed his support for helping private sector professionals transition into teaching, opening the door for experts in technical fields to begin careers as CTE teachers.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia expressed his belief that CTE can be a critical tool for students who wish to pursue STEM at the postsecondary level. He cited West Virginia’s work to bring math and language arts teachers into career and technical schools, thereby minimizing the need to bus students to and from CTE and comprehensive schools. Governor Tomblin also highlighted the Advanced Careers Program (ACP), pointing out five CTE sites that have instituted career courses as a result of the ACP program, and stated that the program would help 32 sites to implement high quality CTE programs by 2016.

These governors proposed action to unlock CTE’s potential to help students, improve workforce quality and boost economic development. Be sure to visit the links above for the full text of each governor’s address. Don’t see your state? Keep an eye on the CTE Blog for part two of our state of the states roundup!

– Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By admin in Legislation, News
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President Visits Career Academy in Nashville, Talks CTE, Opportunity Agenda

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Following the State of the Union Address, President Obama spent two days last week touring the country to promote his “Opportunity Agenda,” a program designed to prepare the American workforce for the evolving needs of our economy.  On Thursday, McGavock High School, the largest of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, played host to the President.

“It was an incredible event that validated the work of so many people here in the city of Nashville,” said Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele.

Seizing on the President’s assertion that Career Technical Education (CTE) “makes words on a page exciting, real, and tangible” for students, Steele emphasized that the district’s academies are designed to enhance and augment, not supplant, general education. “While CTE is the anchor of the program, core gen ed. courses come alive and become more relevant.”

Dr. Danielle Mezera, Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education CTE, described MNPS as an “excellent example” of CTE blending with core academic classes to enrich students’ experience.

“Since we came in a couple of years ago, we have really wanted to supply truth in advertising [for state CTE programs,]” Mezera said. “One of our main goals has been to provide the support and flexibility to allow districts to focus on aligning secondary and postsecondary studies with their practical application and with career opportunities. Programs like teacher externships and business partnerships have been key. [MNPS] has done an excellent job taking advantage of them.”

Even before the Obama Administration announced the visit, MNPS was on the President’s radar. Early in January, the President cited MNPS for overhauling its structure and boosting graduation rates 22 percent.

Yet, MNPS’s place as an exemplar didn’t happen overnight. Rather it took years of sustained effort.

Several years ago, MNPS audited its CTE programs and discovered that they were not as effective as they could be.  MNPS teamed up with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce to comb through workforce data to identify the area’s most in-demand jobs in Nashville. Then, working with the Ford Next Generation Learning Project, Alignment Nashville, the PENCIL Foundation, and local stakeholders, MNPS decided to shift to the career academy model.

The new format promised students the chance to select particular academies of interest (the CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication or the US Community Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance at McGavock, for instance) in 10th grade. Pairing core academic classes with CTE, students combine what they learn in science, math and language arts with courses teaching career-specific skills.

Speaking about the process, Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning Cheryl Carrier said, “You have to have all of the key stakeholders at the table. School districts, business partners, and government have to be at the table together and work towards a common aligned vision. MNPS and the Nashville community were able to create a five-year plan that looked at all aspects of the academy’s development, and it took off.”

That development led to an innovative CTE program that incorporates all 16 Career Clusters. Seven years into the project, MNPS now also serves as a model for the Ford PAS program, with hundreds of visitors coming each year to observe the academies and devise ways to implement similar models in their districts.

“As the President said, it’s a simple but powerful idea,” Steele said. “It doesn’t require that you change as much as some might think, but it requires you to change the way you think about education.”

In his remarks during the visit, the President emphasized changing the conversation surrounding education with a similar shift in perspective. “Young people are going to do better when they’re excited about learning, and they’re going to be more excited if they see a connection between what they’re doing in the classroom and how it is applied…Schools like this one teach you everything you need to know in college, but, because of that hands-on experience, schools like this one are able to create pathways so that folks, if they choose not to go to a four-year institution, can get a job sooner.”

The President’s citation of MNPS and Tennessee’s successful pathways was particularly gratifying for Patrice Watson, Program Manager for Tennessee’s Office of Postsecondary Coordination and Alignment. “Being there and having [the President] talk about giving students different pathways, getting the community involved in the schools, and making [reform] a community effort made it clear that he understands what we’re trying to do here in Tennessee,” she said.

CTE Student Success Career Clusters Consultant Bethany Wilkes agreed that the President’s remarks are an encouraging sign for CTE. “It was incredibly gratifying,” she said. “[The President] focused on how we can develop critical thinking skills and engage the students—that’s what we do every day.”

The President’s visit to McGavock High came on the same day that the Administration released a fact sheet going more in-depth on its Opportunity for All Agenda. That document, available here, endorses improving alignment between apprenticeships, training programs, and schools, as well as consultation with industry leaders, educators and policymakers to create job-driven training and education. In endorsing McGavock’s CTE-based programs, the President opened the door to making CTE a key component of those efforts.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

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Education Talk Radio Spotlights CTE: Learning that works for America â„¢ Initiative

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Education Talk Radio shined a light on NASDCTEc’s CTE: Learning that works for America ™ campaign initiative on a recent show this week.  The show’s focus on the campaign provided opportunities for CTE advocates to not only address the awareness campaign, but the CTE issues related to college and career readiness, consistent quality programs and economic vitality.

NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green noted that the campaign is about more than communicating the value of CTE. The campaign, she said, is a communication of the CTE community’s commitment to cultivating clear and high standards for quality programs.

Lolita Hall, State Director at Office of Career and Technical Education Services Virginia Department of Education, is supporting the national initiative by leading the campaign in Virginia. She said the messaging of CTE:  Learning that works for America ™ resonates across all audiences.

“CTE is new and is transforming and we have solutions to help people get back to work,” Hall said. “We know that is something on everyone’s mind.”

“We see a need to elevate the value of CTE with our local school districts across the state, our citizens, our parents, our student, [and] with everyone.”

Download the 39-minute radio show; share it with others or post it on your Web site.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager.

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Fall Meeting: States Spearhead Local Branding Initiatives

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The CTE: Learning that works for America ™ branding initiative is gaining traction across the nation.  States have made significant strides in implementing the new brand by using national and state resources, reported State Directors at the recent Fall Meeting in Baltimore.

Find examples of states' CTE: Learning that works for America branding initiatives on NASDCTEc's Members-Only section of the Web site.

At the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting, an annual event in which CTE leaders convene, State Directors presented on their state-led efforts to launch the new brand. Their work involved the kick off of roll-out events, adoption of the new logo, re-design of their Web pages, re-branding resources, and more.  States such as Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Minnesota and

New Jersey have made significant headway in introducing the new brand in

to their state and dedicating strategies to serving as true stewards of the brand.

While the CTE: Learning that works for America â„¢ campaign can only be a true national effort if all states take on their role to support the brand.

These states’ best practices items can be found exclusively in NASDCTEc’s Web site’s Members-Only section as a resource for members:

-          Log on to the members-only section of our Web site.

-          Select Member Resources

-          On the menu located at the toolbar on the right, click on CTE Brand Initiative

-          Then click on State Brand Initiatives

-          Explore all the great branding tools that states have created.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager


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Calling on the CTE Community to Work

Friday, September 16th, 2011

NASDCTEc and the entire CTE community must work and advocate for CTE, said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director, in a recent Techniques Magazine edition dedicated to advocacy.

The September edition of Techniques , Now Is the Time to Advocate for CTE, highlights the need for the CTE community to raise its voice and get involved and fight for CTE during these tough economic times. In the article, The Community Must Work for CTE, Green stressed the urgent need to mobilize and speak with one voice through the CTE: Learning that Works for America â„¢ campaign. The campaign is a tool to let the public know that CTE is committed to quality programs that helps students and ultimately the nation succeed in the global economy.

Global competition and a weak economy are game changers in terms of how policymakers perceive the value of CTE and education overall. The CTE community has work to do; they must convince policymakers that CTE has been able to evolve to meet the new demands of the economy, she said in the article.

“Expressing our commitment to CTE in a consistent voice is critical to ensuring that we provide the impact that is needed to garner the support for CTE,” Green said.

“We urge you to affirm your commitment to the CTE: Learning that works for America ™ campaign. The time for leadership and commitment to CTE has never been greater.”

Erin Uy, Communication and Marketing Manager

By admin in News, Public Policy
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2011-2012 NASDCTEc Officers Take Helm Amid Budget Cuts, Challenges, New Initiatives

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Officers of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) commenced their one-year term this month. The officers take the helm at a significant time as tough economic circumstances threaten career technical education (CTE) funding, the U.S. Secretary of Education challenges the CTE community to provide proof of positive outcomes in its programs, and NASDCTEc launches a national initiative to re-brand CTE.

“The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium faces great challenges, yet great opportunities as well,” said Dr. Patrick Ainsworth, NASDCTEc President and Assistant Superintendent and Director; Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Division; California Department of Education.

“Our nation is clamoring for aid in improving the outcomes of our students, the competitiveness of workforce and the overall health of our national economy. While funding constraints will certainly offer challenges, I am confident that we can demonstrate how CTE can be a significant resource in helping our nation recover and succeed. NASDCTEc officers will help spearhead that effort to showcase the incredible value of CTE and advocate for investment in what works.”

In the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – the primary federal source of funding for CTE — was cut by $140.2 million (11 percent), bringing the total appropriations to $1.1 billion. For FY 2012, the President proposed cuts to Perkins that would bring the total FY12 appropriations to $1 billion.

The funding cuts have fanned the flames behind NASDCTEc’s recently-launched CTE: Learning that Works for America ™ campaign. The campaign puts in a clear voice a unified message about the success CTE programs across the nation have demonstrated through low high school dropout rates, above-average college-going rates and evidence of return on investment, and more. NASDCTEc aims to help mobilize and strengthen the CTE community with this campaign to address funding threats and the investment in quality CTE programs that align to the brand.

NASDCTEc officers include:
• President Dr. Patrick Ainsworth, Ed. D., Assistant Superintendent and Director; Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Division; California Department of Education
• Vice President, Marie Barry, New Jersey Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education
• Secretary/Treasurer, Division Administrator, Career Development and Preparation, Illinois State Board of Education, Mark Williams
• Immediate President Dr. Phil Berkenbile, State Director of Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

President: Dr. Patrick Ainsworth –Dr. Ainsworth oversees secondary education, adult education, college preparation and postsecondary relations, career and technical education, and workforce preparation programs. He also serves as the Superintendent’s Designee on the California Workforce Investment Board, Joint Boards Advisory Committee, Community College Economic Development Policy Advisory Council, and other groups.

Secretary-Treasurer Mark Williams: Mr. Williams is a former high school teacher and administrator who has served for six years as Illinois State Director of Career and Technical Education. During his tenure, he has been a founding member of the Coalition for Illinois High Schools, a member of several Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Taskforces devoted to addressing the critical skills shortages of Illinois. Most recently, he has focused on the Illinois Curriculum Revitalization Project as well as the development of STEM Learning Exchanges in Illinois.

Vice President Marie Barry: Ms. Barry administers all activities and plans related to Perkins serves as the state director for career and technical education for secondary and postsecondary CTE programs. She is also a member of the department’s cross-divisional team addressing secondary education transformation, and, specifically, provides leadership for the pilot program on the development of personalized student learning plans.

Immediate Past President Dr. Phil Berkenbile: Dr. Berkenbile is a former agricultural education instructor, Mr. Berkenbile serves on the Governor’s Taskforce on Aerospace and Information Security, the Governor’s Taskforce on Healthcare, the Oklahoma Manufacturers Alliance Board, the State Insurance Advisory Council, and the State Workforce Development Board. Mr. Berkenbile also serves on the CareerTech Administrative Council and is a member of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education.

By admin in Advance CTE State Director, News
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