ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently launched a competition aiming to spur the development of new “educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills.” The competition, dubbed the “EdSim Challenge,” asks software developers and technology companies to “submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century.”
Simulated digital learning has already begun to show promise in CTE. In fact, I recently tried my hand on a virtual welding program at Williston State College in North Dakota (we won’t discuss the results), and last week I observed students at the Arlington Career Center in Virginia using a virtual automotive spray paint simulation.
Simulated digital learning is an example of the type of innovative approach to education that provides educators with new opportunities and tools to prepare students for their futures. According to a press release from ED, “students who participate in digital learning simulations for [STEM] learning had a 23 percent higher achievement rating than those who do not.”
The press release also stated that ED is looking for simulations that merge the fun and engaging nature of commercial games with educational content that prepares students for learning and careers. Those interested in participating in the challenge can learn more here, sign up for an informational webinar on the competition here, or submit concepts here. Submissions are due by 5PM on January 17. The grand prize winner will be awarded $430,000, and five finalists will each receive $50,000.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 11/04/2016 at 11:53 AM in Career Readiness, In the News, STEM | Permalink
competition, CTE, Department of Education, digital simulated learning, ED
Did you know that job opportunities are predicted to increase by more than 13 percent in the next few years for writers, multimedia and graphic designers, and audiovisual equipment technicians?
ACTE’s latest Sector Sheet explores CTE’s role in developing a skilled, adaptable workforce in media and entertainment. This one-pager describes projections for the workforce in media and entertainment, and details how CTE prepares high school, postsecondary and adult students for careers in this sector through CTE courses, career and technical student organizations, work-based learning experiences and more.
With this new publication, our Sector Sheet series has grown to include 13 publications on CTE and its role in developing various 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 10/07/2016 at 09:00 AM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
With 16 Career Clusters® and more than 75 different career pathways, today’s CTE offers students a wide variety of professions to pursue. Career pathways cover nearly every sector of today’s economy—and it’s no wonder why. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the five fastest growing occupations, all five require an associate degree or less. From agriculture to health care, CTE is a critical component to building an American talent pipeline that will meet 21st century workforce demands. However, for students looking to enroll in CTE programs, navigating the many different options can be overwhelming.
Last October, Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education partnered to launch the Reach Higher Career App Challenge. The Challenge encouraged mobile app developers to build software to help students navigate the many different career and education paths available to them. Today, the First Lady announced the winner of the Challenge, ThinkZone Games, developer of “Hats & Ladders,” an app geared to assist secondary students navigating their career and education options.
The app includes an interactive self-assessment tool, mini-challenges, and other engaging activities to allow students to explore their many opportunities. Hats & Ladders is a good example of the new and innovative thinking in the CTE arena brought about by strong collaborations between policymakers, industry stakeholders, educators, parents and students.
As the First Lady said, “[Hats & Ladders] is a cool, new, exciting app that will open up a whole new world for young people.” ACTE congratulates ThinkZone Games and the other app submission finalists for their commitment to CTE and the next generation of American workers.
Note: Hats & Ladders will be available for beta testing in the spring of 2017. Click here to learn more and sign up to participate.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 08/24/2016 at 02:50 PM in Career Readiness, Educator Development, Executive Branch | Permalink
Did you know that more than 5.7 million workers will be needed through 2020 in non-residential construction, while occupations dedicated to legal and protective services are expected to grow by 14 percent by 2018?
There’s no industry sector that’s not relevant to career and technical education. Our latest Sector Sheets look at CTE’s role in developing a skilled, adaptable workforce in law, public safety, corrections and security as well as construction and architecture.
Each Sector Sheet explores projections for the workforce in that industry sector and describes how CTE prepares high school, postsecondary and adult students for careers in that sector through CTE courses, career and technical student organizations, work-based learning and more. Each one-pager also includes profiles of exemplary or emerging programs that are leading to student success.
With these new publications, our Sector Sheet series has grown to include 12 publications on CTE and its role in developing various 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.
You can also delve more deeply into construction career pathways with our latest online seminar with experts from NCCER.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 08/24/2016 at 10:00 AM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
Advance CTE (formerly the National Association of State Directors of CTE) has launched a new online resource center with publications and tools on CTE and career readiness.
The resource center houses a variety of resources —research reports, case studies, state policies, guides and tools—organized around key topics such as Access and Equity, Work-based Learning, Credentials and Assessments, Employer Engagement, Instructor and Leader Quality, and Graduation Requirements.
This project came out of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership between Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Education Strategy Group, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 06/21/2016 at 03:36 PM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
More states are counting career readiness than in 2014, according to this year’s update of Making Career Readiness Count.
A partnership between Achieve and Advance CTE (formerly the National Association of State Directors of CTE Consortium), this publication explores how states are using career readiness indicators. Thirty-four states publicly report and/or include career-ready indicators in their accountability systems, up from 29 states in 2014.
According to the brief, public-facing report cards and similar tools most typically include data on CTE participation (11 states) and concentrator/completer status (8 states). In addition, five states report WorkKeys/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) results, while four states report attainment of industry credentials. Four states report placement beyond two- and four-year college enrollment, such as employment, military service and other training.
In accountability systems, states are most likely to include measures of dual enrollment (14 states) and industry certification attainment (11 states). Seven states include data on the completion of a program of study or pathway, and five states factor in performance on workplace readiness exams.
Challenges in accessing and validating career readiness data are addressed in the brief, and several states are profiled for their innovative use of career-ready measures: Louisiana, Connecticut, Ohio and South Carolina.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/31/2016 at 02:17 PM in Career Readiness, Data and Research, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Postsecondary CTE opportunities are uniquely positioned to serve returning veterans by teaching them to apply their skills in the context of a traditional workplace and ensuring they have the necessary credentials to enter the labor market.
In many states, these important programs are offered at career and technical education centers – public, non-profit, non-degree granting institutions that award certificates to students demonstrating their technical competency. A key strategy to serve these non-traditional students is offering programs that will accommodate their circumstances, including offering distance learning and online components. However, the current Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act prohibits non-degree granting institutions from eligibility for consideration of veteran’s benefits if the associated program includes any form of independent study, including online learning.
ACTE has advocated for legislation that would allow for these innovative programs to prepare our veterans for career success through credential-granting programs, which boost graduates’ earnings by an average of 20 percent according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and James Lankford (R-OK) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, April 28, requesting comment and clarification on the issue, and are hopeful they can find a path forward to resolve this important issue.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 05/03/2016 at 05:18 PM in Career Readiness, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
American Public Media's Marketplace recently aired a new segment about how CTE programs are preparing students for high-wage, high-demand careers. The story, which originally aired on NPR’s Atlanta-based affiliate station WABE, told some of the stories from Carroll County College and Career Academy about how students are gaining the academic, technical and employability skills they will need for their future in their CTE classrooms.
Carroll County’s CTE programs teach students a wide variety of skills, from auto mechanics and welding to communications and health care. The key theme, however, is integrating in-depth academic coursework with applied career skills to ensure that the more than 1,000 students participating in these programs are ready for college- and career-success.
The story also emphasizes the importance of overcoming outdated stereotypes about which students “should” enroll in CTE programs. As communities have become more aware of the opportunities available in CTE classrooms, more students are thinking of the ways CTE can fit into their education – regardless of where their postsecondary plans will take them.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 03/25/2016 at 01:28 PM in Career Readiness, In the News | Permalink
A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics will raise concerns about U.S. workers’ global competitiveness. As reported in Education Week here, supplementary data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) collected in 2013-2014 indicate that U.S. adults “scored about average in literacy, near the bottom in numeracy and dead last in digital problem solving, or as the OECD calls it, problem solving in technology rich environments.”
This new information echoes the previous PIAAC results released in 2012 and other surveys of U.S. skills as compared to our global competitors. The data reinforces the need for policymakers to identify opportunities to strengthen Americans’ workplace competencies in all three areas to remain competitive as employers become increasingly able to look abroad for qualified workers.
Evidence shows that CTE provides students with applied learning opportunities that can integrate with academic content to enhance student outcomes. Furthermore, technical literacy and creative problem solving are fundamentally embedded in CTE programs.
ACTE will continue to advocate for a strong emphasis on CTE to prepare all students with the skills they need to compete in today’s globalized environment.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 03/21/2016 at 03:33 PM in Career Readiness, Data and Research, In the News | Permalink
Data has long supported attainment of a postsecondary two- or four-year degree or credential as a means to boost earnings in the labor market. However, new information tracked by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office indicates that students who participated in just one or two CTE courses experienced a median wage increase of $4,300.
Many education advocates and researchers have expressed concerns about low community college completion rates, as measured by traditional benchmarks including degrees and certificates. However, many students enroll in just a few community college courses to gain a new competency or skill that will assist them in their career. California’s move to recognize these “skills builders” is intended to provide more information on the outcomes of postsecondary education for all enrollees, rather than labeling skill-seeking students as non-completers.
Community College Daily published a report on the change, which noted the implications California’s move may have for the national conversation about postsecondary education. Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, stated in the article that:
“...The work on skill builders — the identification of how course clusters bring significant value to individuals and the state — is forcing a pause and reset in how we think about college dropouts by revealing that many students have figured out how to effectively engage the postsecondary system at low cost with high returns.”
Posted by Sean Lynch on 03/14/2016 at 01:57 PM in Career Readiness, In the News, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
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