ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released the text of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which includes a $5.4 million increase for Perkins! Though the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee voted to advance the bill to the full committee in June, no further action on the funding measure has been announced. Moreover, the House has held no markups and produced no funding bill so far. ACTE has called on Congress to complete its work on this bill and approve the increase in Perkins funding without further delay.
However, the House and Senate are preparing leave town for a for a five-week recess scheduled to last through September 6. During the annual August recess, senators and representatives return home to put in some face-to-face time with constituents. Unfortunately, in a busy election year with a limited number of legislative days left on the calendar, congressional action on funding Perkins and other important federal education and workforce training programs is being left unfinished.
With so much uncertainty about the future of funding for CTE, this is a great time to reach out to your Members of Congress. To assist in your advocacy efforts, ACTE has developed a Congressional Recess Packet that is filled with information and tips on promoting the important work being done by CTE programs across the country. Let your Members of Congress know that building our investment in CTE can’t wait! Here are a few activities that you can use to advocate for CTE funding during this August recess.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/31/2014 at 05:28 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
The Department of Education published a blog post on Monday, July 28, about its new public-private partnership to increase access to the middle class through job training, which it has dubbed "upskilling." The initiative was motivated by Vice President Joe Biden's review of job training programs that was requested by President Obama during his 2014 State of the Union address and reported on by ACTE's Policy Watch blog here.
The post broadly describes a few of the steps that the Administration hopes to take under the initiative, including federal investment in an online skills center that will offer open online courses and opportunities for students to earn credentials at accredited institutions, as well as the development of partnerships between public and private sector organizations to create job training opportunities for low-wage and entry-level workers.
The Obama administration has often expressed its commitment to increasing economic mobility in America, and has cited this commitment as its motivation for the upskilling initiative. The post states that "[The administration's] goal is to get 24 million low-wage, hard working Americans the training that puts them on pathways to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies employers have right now in mid-skill, better paying jobs."
ACTE has worked continuously to build support for CTE programs in opportunities for professionals to obtain continued education opportunities, including those that will provide them with increased earning potential and career advancement. To learn more about ACTE's work on these topics, please visit our CTE Prepares the Qualified Workforce page and read our Worker Retraining Issue Sheet. We will continue to monitor the initiative as additional information becomes available, and keep our members informed through the CTE Policy Watch blog.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 07/29/2014 at 09:00 AM in Executive Branch, In the News | Permalink
A more transparent approach to student data is at the basis of new U.S. Department of Education guidance for schools and districts on better informing parents and students about how data is collected and used.
Issued by the Department's Privacy Technical Assistance Center, the guidance encourages proactive communication about student data, such as making student data policies available on the school or district's public website and having answers ready to common questions:
A new companion site, http://familypolicy.ed.gov, was developed to help parents, students and school officials better understand student privacy issues and to enable schools and districts to share templates and best practices.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 07/28/2014 at 01:56 PM in Data and Research, Executive Branch | Permalink
The data point above highlights the low proportion of women who are employed in STEM occupations. For instance, only 14 percent and 26 percent of women are engineers or computer professionals, respectively.[ii]
Research has demonstrated that women drop out of the STEM pipeline at various points. Fewer women pursue STEM education-for instance, women earn only 18 percent of all computer science degrees.[iii] In addition, women who study STEM are less likely to work in STEM occupations.[iv] The situation is even worse for women of color.[v] Women who do work in STEM reap significant rewards; those with STEM jobs earn one-third more than women employed in other fields.[vi]
CTE helps bring young women into STEM fields by exposing them to a wide-range of STEM skills and occupations. When sharing this data with policymakers, parents and students, and career guidance professionals, highlight young women in your school or district who have gone on to further STEM education or excelled in the STEM workplace.
Learn more about CTE-relevant data with ACTE Fact Sheets.
[i] Beede et al., Women in STEM: A Gender Gap in Innovation, U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, 2011.[ii] U.S. Census Bureau, Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations, 2014.[iii] National Science Foundation, 2012, as cited in Scott and Martin, "Diversity Data Shows Need to Focus on Women of Color," Huffington Post, July 10, 2014.[iv] Beede et al.[v] Ibid.[vi] Ibid.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 07/28/2014 at 01:28 PM in Data and Research, STEM | Permalink
On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee finally released the text of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which includes a $5.4 million increase for Perkins! As we reported in June, the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee voted to advance the bill to the full committee, however that markup was indefinitely postponed and the text of the bill was not made public. Though it is now available on the committee’s website, no further action on the funding measure has been announced.
The bill seeks to increase the Perkins Basic State Grant to $1.123 billion (up from $1.118 billion in FY 2014), with no additional funds for CTE National Programs. The subcommittee also rejected a proposal by the Administration to set aside $100 million from the state grant program for a new competitive CTE innovation fund; ensuring funds continue to flow to states under the current formula. Additionally, they recommended a $13 million increase for the Adult Education State Grant, as well as a combined $36 million increase for the adult, dislocated worker and youth training grants to states under the Workforce Investment Act.
ACTE has called on Senate appropriators to complete their work on this bill and approve the increase in Perkins funding without further delay. Let your Members of Congress know that building our investment in CTE can’t wait!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/25/2014 at 05:15 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
In a briefing on the workforce needs of the automotive industry, CTE programs and the Perkins Act took center stage as critical to ensuring a healthy, skilled workforce for the auto industry and advanced manufacturing. Hosted by the Senate Auto Caucus and its co-chairs, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sander Levin (D-MI), the briefing featured a panel of auto industry experts from Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda and the United Auto Workers.
Dispelling the misconception of good STEM jobs being only those at the engineer or doctorate level, the industry panelists utilized this forum to emphasize that the skills gap for STEM jobs is largest at the technician level. With technician-level STEM careers offering family-sustaining wages, federal policy should be designed to reduce the stigma on these education and career paths.
Additionally, the panelists stressed the importance of strong partnerships between CTE programs and business and industry to ensure credentials and curriculum are aligned with industry standards.
Sen. Portman, who is also co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, gave brief remarks at the start of the briefing on his work to support education pathways outside of the traditional four-year university model. In doing so he touted the need for supporting rigorous CTE programs with links between secondary and postsecondary education, encouraging more students to enroll in CTE and eliminating the negative perceptions of skills education. The Senator recently introduced CTE legislation with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, to support these goals.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 07/25/2014 at 03:50 PM in Perkins, STEM | Permalink
It was a busy week for higher education policy on Capitol Hill.
The House of Representatives passed three bills this week which would reauthorize portions of the Higher Education Act. As we previously reported, these bills would impact institutional transparency, student financial counseling and competency-based education programs. Of note is that the bills were passed on large bipartisan votes.
The House also passed the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393) a higher education tax benefit program. Originally introduced in October 2013, the legislation would make permanent and consolidate four existing tax benefits into a single “American Opportunity Tax Credit.”
Additionally, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on July 24th on the states’ role in higher education. While the hearing did address the state topic, with witnesses testifying to the importance of incentivizing state support for higher education institutions, witnesses and committee members also took the opportunity to discuss other federal policy needs. The majority of time was spent discussing various reforms to the student financial aid system including reinstating summer Pell grants, student loan refinancing and simplifying the aid application.
Testifying before the HELP committee were:
The full hearing and witness testimony are available on the HELP committee’s website.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 07/25/2014 at 03:50 PM in HEA, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
The majority of STEM bachelor's degree holders--about 75 percent--don't work in STEM fields, according to the Census Bureau. However, those who studied engineering, computing, math or statistics were more likely to be employed in STEM, while physical and social science majors were less likely to go into the STEM workforce.
These findings indicate that the skills imparted by STEM education programs have a broad appeal. It is not clear from this data if students with STEM education not working in STEM fields are earning wages commensurate to the high wages typically associated with STEM jobs.
In addition, this analysis found that men continue to be overrepresented in STEM fields, particularly engineering. Approximately 14 percent of engineers and 26 percent of computer professionals were women. Higher percentages of women were found among mathematicians and statisticians (45 percent), life scientists (47 percent) and social scientists (63 percent).
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 07/25/2014 at 01:27 PM in Data and Research, STEM | Permalink
The U.S. is ranked near the bottom in a new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report measuring innovation in education. However, the U.S. is innovating in areas related to assessment and to key workplace skills.
This research analyzed hundreds of innovations at the classroom, institutional and agency levels across OECD nations and identified the top five innovations in each of two categories, pedagogic practices and organizational practices, between 2003 and 2011. The top 5 innovations in the U.S. related to organizational practices are clustered around assessment:
U.S. innovations related to pedagogical practice emphasize students explaining their work and applying it to the real world:
Internationally, the report found that the education sector is reasonably innovative in comparison to other sectors, with more innovation evident in higher education than in lower levels of education. Innovation has been particularly prevalent globally in areas such as applying lessons to real-world problems, teaching higher order skills, data and text interpretation and individualized teaching. In addition, teachers have innovated by using assessments and support resources for instruction while institutions and agencies have innovated by focusing on special education, professional learning communities for teachers, partnerships with external stakeholders and evaluation.
As noted by the lead author in an interview for Education Week, innovation is not necessarily a sign of superiority; some nations that are rated as more innovative may be making extensive changes to dramatically improve their education systems.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 07/23/2014 at 01:26 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
Following his announcement in his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama issued a presidential order in January instructing Vice President Biden to oversee a review of federal job training programs. The vice president’s charge was to work in consultation with the heads of other executive agencies, including the secretaries of labor and education, to develop an action plan with key policy recommendations. Today, the White House released the “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity” report that outlines the wide-ranging findings and recommendations of the vice president’s review.
One important development highlighted throughout the report is the new job-driven checklist, which includes seven features that have been identified as essential components of job-driven training. The checklist was developed to help guide the Administration’s actions in implementing and overseeing federal training programs. Starting October 1, 2014, all applicants for 25 annual competitive training grant programs across federal agencies will be required to incorporate and follow the new checklist.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law by the president earlier today, will require states to develop unified plans across all WIOA authorized programs. The Departments of Labor and Education will ask states to incorporate the job-driven checklist into the new unified plan. Under WIOA, states are also required to collect information on the employment and earnings outcomes of all students from eligible training providers. The Administration will no longer issue waivers for these requirements, as it has in the past, and will begin developing a new scorecard that training providers will use to display and disseminate their performance outcomes.
Other CTE-related initiatives highlighted in the report include the creation of an online skills academy, to be launched by the Department of Labor, which will offer open online courses of study that create free or low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates and other employer-recognized credentials. The Administration will competitively award $25 million in funds to a consortium to develop the project in 2015.
The Department of Education plans to issue regulatory waivers for “experimental sites” that will provide greater flexibility in the use of federal student aid for programs that utilize competency-based education models. The department also plans to expand existing pilot projects that allow for the use of Pell grants to aid students in short-term training programs that address critical local workforce needs.
In addition, the Department of Education will launch the Career Pathways Exchange, an online information dissemination service that will give all states and interested stakeholders access to resources and guidance to develop, expand and strengthen their career pathways systems. Additionally, the department is committing to invest in up to 10 states to further integrate CTE into broader career pathways system development at the state and local levels.
The report cites a number of the Administration’s initiatives that have previously been announced or are already underway, including the American Apprenticeship Grant, Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), Pathways to Careers for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project and Training Paraprofessionals for the Health Workforce Grants, among others.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/22/2014 at 05:11 PM in Executive Branch, WIOA | Permalink
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