ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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Staff members of the House of Representatives toured Arlington Career Center in Arlington, VA today to see a real CTE school in action as they work to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The visit was organized by ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of CTE (NASDCTEc).
A panel of Arlington Career Center faculty, administrators, students, a business partner and a representative from the Virginia Office of Career and Technical Education shared with Hill staff the opportunities available to students through CTE, such as dual enrollment and industry credentials, and performance data for students attending the career center. Visiting staff also had an opportunity to tour the classrooms and laboratories for the school’s automotive technology, broadcasting, EMT, physical therapy and animal science programs.
Site visits such as this provide staff with insight into how CTE works on the local level and the benefits it provides students that cannot be learned by staying on Capitol Hill. As the reauthorization process for the Perkins Act moves forward, it is extremely important for Members of Congress to attend program visits to develop a personal connection to CTE.
If you are interested in organizing a program visit, contact your Senators and Representative and check out the information on ACTE’s website on arranging a school visit.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 11/22/2013 at 02:42 PM in In the News | Permalink
Recently, NDD United, which is a national coalition of organizations representing a broad range of fields like medical research, healthcare, housing, education and job training, released a new report, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure. The report highlights the many real-world effects of cuts in federal discretionary funding that have resulted from sequestration and budget austerity. ACTE has worked in conjunction with the NDD United coalition, the Committee for Education Funding and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce to help raise awareness about the real impact of sequestration. We have reported that federal funding for Perkins was cut by 5.2 percent in FY 2013 due to sequestration. This resulted in a $58 million reduction in the support for CTE in the 2013-14 school year. Even before sequestration, CTE funding has been cut by over $140 million since Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 because of reductions in discretionary funding by Congress.
This NDD United report tells the stories of many individual programs that are being affected by cuts. In addition to stories about infrastructure, medical research and education efforts from across the country, the report examines workforce training programs like the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board (SWORWIB). SWORWIB oversees the public workforce system in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, including a Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-funded SuperJobs Center. Despite providing services to more than 5,000 jobseekers and more than 250 employers, the SuperJobs Center saw a 26 percent budget cut as a result of sequestration. Additionally, limited WIA Youth funds have resulted in the closure of the summer youth employment program throughout Hamilton County.
In Congress, the budget conference committee is currently working to develop a compromise budget proposal that will affect funding for education and workforce training programs nationwide. It is important that they find a balanced approach that ends sequestration and avoids further reduction in federal support for CTE. Tell Congress that we can’t cut our way to a 21st century workforce!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/22/2013 at 01:58 PM in Advocacy Resources, Data and Research, Federal Funding, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Recently, ACTE sent a letter to the chairs of the budget conference committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), urging them to work toward strengthening our nation’s investment in CTE by replacing the harmful sequestration cuts in the FY 2014 budget proposal currently being developed by the committee. As we previously reported, the agreement that ended the protracted government shutdown in October included the creation a conference committee of members of the House and Senate who are tasked with creating a finalized budget plan and setting overall funding levels for FY 2014. The committee will also attempt to tackle long-term budgetary issues like entitlement spending, tax reform and sequestration.
The government is currently operating on a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), which will expire on January 15, 2014. Funds for federal programs, including Perkins, will remain at FY 2013 levels for the duration of the CR. Perkins funding was cut by 5.2 percent in FY 2013 due to sequestration, which resulted in a $58 million reduction in the federal support for CTE in the 2013-14 school year.
“Perkins-funded CTE programs are working to help fill positions that are available today, while preparing a qualified workforce for the careers of tomorrow,” wrote ACTE Deputy Director Steve DeWitt in the letter to the committee chairs. “A strong investment in CTE is essential to addressing this “skills gap,” and ensuring that more Americans can find rewarding careers.” He also urged the committee to work to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to CTE.
The conference committee has been given until December 13, to create a budget plan. The appropriations committees will then have a limited amount of time to write FY 2014 funding bills, including a bill to fund Perkins, before the CR expires in January. Tell your Members of Congress that it is time to end sequestration and make investing in CTE a top priority.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/21/2013 at 09:56 AM in Action Alerts, Federal Funding | Permalink
Yesterday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held its second hearing on reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. While the first hearing back in September offered a general overview of how current law is working for states and local school districts, yesterday’s hearing focused on more specific areas of reform.
Testifying before the committee were:
Throughout the hearing, members of the Committee were especially interested in aspects of the U.S. Department of Education’s blueprint for reauthorizing the Perkins Act, including the impact of competitive funding on low-income and rural district accessibility of Perkins funds. Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) raised concerns that turning Perkins funding from a formula distribution to a competition would cause schools and districts with promising programs to lose their funding and students in those programs to lose access to high-quality CTE.
Business and industry involvement in CTE programs and industry-recognized credentials were also a major point of focus during the hearing. Dr. Albrecht, a former ACTE president, testified about the business partnerships that Gateway Technical College has fostered under the current law and how those partnerships have allowed programs to rapidly respond to the needs of employers and have helped students earn relevant, industry-recognized credentials.
Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, expressed his disappointment with the Obama Administration’s announcement of the new $100 million competitive Youth Connect grant program. He took issue with the Administration’s failure to consult with Congress before going forward with the program and argued that another competitive program would “further muddle” the CTE system and the committee’s reauthorization efforts.
Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier was pressed by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) about the delay in the release of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education, which the department was supposed to submit to Congress in 2011. Rep. Foxx argued that without the results of the assessment, the department lacked objective evidence to support the policy proposals put forward in the blueprint. Dann-Messier asserted that the initial data and information from the assessment was used to inform the department’s recommendations and she indicated that the final report will be available in the spring of 2014.
Citing several CTE school visits he’s been on where programs have strong partnerships with business and industry and are preparing students for careers in in-demand fields, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) urged his fellow Committee members to visit local CTE schools in their home districts.
ACTE has organized a school visit this Friday, November 22, to Arlington Career Center in Arlington, VA for congressional staff to see a real CTE program in action. This is also a great time for all ACTE members to contact their Senators and Representative to arrange a school visit during the upcoming congressional recesses.
An archive of the hearing video is available here.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 11/20/2013 at 02:45 PM in In the News, Perkins | Permalink
According to an analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), CTE coursetaking was on the decline from 1990 to 2009, while academic coursetaking increased. In addition, CTE coursetaking patterns shifted.
The primary decline was in what NCES classifies as general labor market preparation courses and Family and Consumer Sciences courses (NCES differentiates between these and occupational courses). Within occupational CTE:
The most recent data cited is from 2009, so we might expect some differences if we were to take a snapshot of CTE coursetaking today.
Another recent analysis of coursetaking patterns from the late 20th century through the early 2000s pointed to a decrease in CTE credits, as well as an increase in the percentage of students taking CTE at low concentrations and across multiple occupational fields. The researchers concluded that CTE is not a vocational track for students unequipped for college but is rather "an exploratory program for an increasing proportion of both academic and general curriculum graduates."
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/19/2013 at 11:50 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
Today, President Obama announced a new, $100 million competitive grant opportunity named "Youth CareerConnect." The funds will be awarded from the Department of Labor's revenues from the H-1B visa program and the grants will also be administered by the Department of Labor.
Reportedly, 25-40 grants will be awarded to partnerships of at minimum, a local education agency, a local workforce investment system entity, an employer, and an institution of higher education. Grants will range from $2 million to $7 million, and the lead fiscal agent must be a public or non-profit local workforce entity, a local education agency, or a non-profit entity with program model experience. Applicants are required to provide a match of 25 percent of the grant award through case or in-kind contributions.
Applications must incorporate small learning communities, and be designed around six core elements:
Applications are due on January 27, 2014, and grants are expected to be awarded in early 2014. The complete application is available at http://www.doleta.gov/ycc/pdf/Youth_Career_Connect_SGA_13-01.pdf.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 11/19/2013 at 10:28 AM in Executive Branch, Federal Funding | Permalink
Eric Seleznow, Employment and Training Administration Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided a few remarks on November 18 at a New America Foundation event titled "A Natural Fit?: Community Colleges and Competency-Based Education." The comments addressed both the topic of competency-based education (CBE) and broader issues and initiatives at the Department.
Seleznow said DOL is trying to zero in on the unemployment rate related to the recent downturn in the economy, particularly with respect to the long-term unemployed. He said that the Department is interested in regional approaches focused on skills training and noted the importance of listening to and including employers related to essential (employability) and occupational skills, which he said are the most important according to business and industry.
The Assistant Secretary discussed competency-based education (CBE) as a good way to address the skills issue and noted that several studies underscore the importance of high school diplomas and basic education for low wage, low skilled workers to move them forward in the economy, a message often cited by the Obama Administration.
According to the Assistant Secretary, DOL would like to propel the CBE approaches and is interested in hearing more about effective strategies. He indicated DOL is using the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants competition as a way to drive some of the CBE work and said there will be one additional TAACCCT grant round at the beginning of 2014. Seleznow indicated that CBE approaches and those which incorporate Community Based Organizations and Workforce Investment Boards will be looked upon favorably.
The Assistant Secretary referenced the sequester in his remarks, noting the impact on the budget of the Department of Labor and local workforce development centers and that fewer people are getting skills as a result of those cuts.
New America Foundation leaders noted that, despite the great attention being paid to CBE approaches today, those at community colleges have received little attention, despite its close fit with the more career-focused programs at two-year institutions.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 11/18/2013 at 03:01 PM in Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
This week, the bipartisan Congressional CTE Caucus held a briefing for congressional staffers to discuss Perkins reauthorization from the perspective of different CTE stakeholders. As the House moves forward with reauthorizing the Perkins CTE Act, ACTE and NASDCTEc are working closely with the Caucus to better inform Members of Congress on the importance of Perkins and CTE through in-person meetings, schools visits, policy recommendations and informational briefings like this one. The panelists included:
The panelists each emphasized the important role CTE plays in preparing students to be college-and career-ready after high school and helping more postsecondary students successfully complete their programs. Additionally, each highlighted areas they thought could be improved and strengthened through reauthorization.
Dr. Uvin discussed the role Programs of Study (POS) have played in increasing the rigor of CTE programs in high schools across the country and emphasized the importance of expanding the use of POS at the state and local levels to give students a clear path toward their goals. He also talked about the importance of improving the connections between secondary schools, postsecondary institutions, and business and industry.
Also highlighting the importance of business and industry partnerships, Mr. Gearhart argued that business advisory councils, established at the local level, have a direct impact on programs and curriculum, helping them stay up to date with current industry needs.
Ms. Green centered her remarks on the NASDCTEc Perkins reauthorization principles, which echo the Perkins reauthorization priorities and guiding principles developed by ACTE. She noted that a majority of states have implemented more than the minimum required number of POS and that furthering their implementation is important during reauthorization. She also highlighted issues around improving CTE delivery at the postsecondary level, including the accreditation process.
There are a couple of other notable events in Perkins reauthorization that will be coming in the next few weeks. ACTE has organized a CTE school visit for congressional staff later this month at the Arlington Career Center in Arlington, VA. These schools visits allow policymakers to see CTE teachers and students in action. This is a great time for all ACTE members to contact their Senators and Representative to arrange a school visit during the upcoming congressional recesses. Additionally, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold its second reauthorization hearing on Tuesday, November 19, as a follow up to the successful hearing in September. Check the CTE Policy Watch blog for more Perkins updates.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 11/14/2013 at 02:51 PM in CTE Caucus, Perkins | Permalink
Recently, key thought leaders in the education and workforce development arena released a new paper outlining the benefits of a high-quality CTE system. The paper, "The Promise of High-quality Career and Technical Education: Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy," was authored by:
The paper describes the benefits of high-quality CTE, elements the authors believe are essential for such benefits to occur, and suggests federal and state policies that would support the expansion of high-quality CTE.
The paper outlines a strong economic case for CTE, including research on the value of postsecondary credentials and the need to ensure more students move through the educational pipeline to meet the needs of the labor market. The authors state, "Accordingly, what we need in the U.S. are alternative mechanisms or pathways through which American workers can gain the skills sought and well-rewarded by employers."
The paper goes on to outline eight system-level characteristics of a high-quality CTE program:
In order to ensure such programs can be developed, replicated and scaled, the authors of the paper suggest several policy recommendations at both the state and federal level, including increased resources; a focus on expanding the most promising innovative models; development and implementation of evaluations, assessments and accountability systems; the use of HEA funding to generate more consistent quality assurances; and the use of a broad range of state and federal policies to break down siloes within the education and workforce systems.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/10/2013 at 12:04 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
We’re expanding the ACTE Sector Sheet series with two new releases, CTE:The Key to Economic Development in Health Care and CTE: The Key to Economic Development in Energy. The Sector Sheets describe CTE’s role in growing the qualified workforce in these crucial and expanding industry sectors.
The health care Sector Sheet explores projections for the health care workforce: Professional and technical health care occupations are predicted to grow the fastest of all occupations in the United States through 2020, by 31 percent. Jobs in the health care industry are not solely medical: 11 percent of health care jobs are found in marketing, sales and service; business, management and administration; and education and training. CTE prepares high school, postsecondary and adult students for health care careers through a variety of courses in the health science Career Cluster®, as well as other Clusters and pathways; through work-based learning experiences such as hospital-based classrooms, laboratory facilities and clinical internships; and through other opportunities such as career and technical student organization events. Students also have opportunities to earn stackable certificates, degrees and industry-recognized certifications through such programs as the Health eWorkforce Consortium.
The energy Sector Sheet documents upcoming workforce shortages in the sector and shares that many of these jobs pay a median wage 13 percent higher than the national median wage. Careers in this growing sector include engineers, utility technicians and construction managers, among others. Students develop the academic, technical and employability skills to excel in energy careers through courses in the manufacturing, STEM and architecture and construction Clusters, as well as an energy Cluster in certain states; through business-education partnerships that support a powerful combination of education and work-based learning, such as the Power Plant Technology Institute at Indian River State College; and through opportunities to earn valued credentials.
You can expect more Sector Sheets next year for additional high-growth, high-demand industry sectors. We encourage you to share these advocacy tools with business, policymakers, education leaders and the public to illustrate how CTE supports specific industries and prepares students for in-demand careers.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/08/2013 at 11:37 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
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