Raising the Bar: State Strategies for Developing and Approving High-Quality Career Pathways

This report from Advance CTE examines successes in Tennessee, New Jersey and Delaware to demonstrate how states can use the career pathways approval process to raise the level of quality across the board.

Examples of strong programs of study — and career pathways, more broadly — exist in every state. Yet all too often these career pathways are islands of excellence, setting the bar for quality, but requiring further state action to ensure all students can benefit from strong career pathways. While the approach to developing career pathways varies across the nation, state leaders can play a role in promoting quality by leveraging policy, programs and resources to ensure all career pathways meet minimum standards.

 

Raising The Bar

"Going Pro" in Michigan. State Agency's Join Resources to Promote CTE and Fill the Skills Gap

“Going PRO” is a Michigan campaign designed to elevate the perception of professional trades and to showcase opportunities in a variety of rewarding careers.

A sizable professional trades shortage exists in Michigan and is expected to continue through 2024. Professional trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in the Michigan economy, and approximately 15,000 new job openings are expected annually in the state during that time.

Wages for professional trades occupations is 45 percent higher than other occupations – $51,000 is the median annual salary for these jobs!

Opportunities exist in a variety of emerging industries including IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction and automotive. And many of the career fields do not require a four-year degree.

Go Pro Michigan

Work in the Automation Age: Sustainable Careers Today and Into the Future

80% of manufacturers report a shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production positions, and the shortage could cost U.S. manufacturers 11% of their annual earnings. Manufacturing executives reported an average of 94 days to recruit engineering and research employees and 70 days to recruit skilled production workers. The skills gap is driving up what are already above average wages and benefits in U.S. manufacturing. Studies show an increasing skills gap with as many as two million jobs going unfilled in the manufacturing industry alone in the next decade.

The Association for Advancing Automation (http://www.a3automate.org) (A3) explores the impact of automation on the ever-evolving job market and the growing shortage of skilled employees with experience and training in advanced technologies. A3 examines the types of jobs that are going unfilled and reviews workforce development initiatives, including education, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training that will fill labor shortages and support ongoing economic growth and productivity. http://www.a3automate.org/work-in-the-automation-age-white-paper/

Working in the Automation Age

Makin' the MAKERSPACE

There is tremendous buzz lately about setting up a makerspace. Thankfully, educators, policy makers (for some reason they are not always one and the same?) administrators and the education community in general are realizing that in order to really cultivate metacognition and real-world skills, we need hands-on, project-based learning. Object-based learning is making a comeback, and teachers are connecting lessons back to the industry, creating a more vocational education. A big part of this movement towards active learning and STEM is creating a makerspace in the classroom.

Gittel Grant

States Want More Career and Technical Training, but Struggle to Find Teachers

Many Minnesota employers say they can’t find skilled workers with the right career training. Meanwhile, high schools are cutting career and technical education courses because they can’t find qualified teachers. “The jobs are there, and we’re not preparing our kids well enough to get into those jobs because the system has not allowed us to,” said Stephen Jones, the superintendent of schools in Little Falls, Minnesota. His district hasn’t had to cancel any courses for lack of instructors, but he says smaller districts in the state have.

Two-thirds of states are currently reporting a shortage of CTE teachers in at least one specialty, according to a Stateline analysis of federal data. Many states, such as Minnesota and South Dakota, have had a shortage of CTE teachers for a decade. Some states, such as Maine, Maryland and New York, have had a shortage for almost 20 years.

A Letter From Students: "Make STEM Education Count"

As juniors in high school, we are concerned about our future. Since we have started high school, we have taken on challenging classes in an effort to prepare ourselves for higher education. We all started taking high school level classes in middle school in preparation to take college classes that we are currently enrolled in as high school students.

Our high school requires more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses to graduate than what Idaho currently requires for graduation. We have spent hours preparing for and taking standardized tests including ISATs, civics exam, biology EOC (End of Course) assessment, and college entrance exams. In addition to all of our academic endeavors, we have all participated in community service activities and extracurriculars. Our class dreams big, and we are not afraid to put forth the extra effort to achieve those dreams.


"Confronting the CTE Stigma" Report from RCU at MSU

“Confronting the CTE Stigma” is a new report developed from statewide surveys conducted by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State. Julie Jordan, director of the RCU, said studies indicate that Mississippi students in CTE programs graduate from high school at higher rates than their non-CTE peers. Additionally, CTE prepares students for middle skill-level jobs, “an employment niche where growth is projected to outpace both high- and low-skill occupations.”

In the first phase of the RCU’s study, slightly more than 400 Mississippi adults were interviewed about their attitudes toward CTE. Of that group:

—45 percent were unable to name a single CTE program offered by local schools;

—44 percent said students who were disadvantaged in some way—not college-bound, residing in poverty or having poor grades—would benefit most from CTE participation; and

—48 percent agreed CTE could benefit the college-bound.


Academic Test Mandates Hurt the Need to Train Future Tradesmen

Requiring that high school students spend more hours in classrooms to meet “academic standards” sacrifices, and has clearly impacted, the dire need to give students more opportunities to learn a trade. We’re talking producing more carpenters, welders, plumbers, electricians, masons, mechanics, woodworkers, and other skilled craftsmen.

And while we’re encouraged by state and federal legislation to enhance career and technical education — formerly known as vocational-technical education, or vo-tech — it’s also clear that nothing will change unless the powers-that-be at the state and U.S. Departments of Education accede to the change and stop forcing local school districts to adhere to their “academics first” policies or else.

Lifelong Educational Advantage Program - L.E.A.P.

Made available through Siemens Cooperates with Education, the effort is designed to give high school and technical school graduates a basic-to-advanced machine tool knowledge that will benefit them in their future careers as CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinists. L.E.A.P. starts with Sinutrain, a PC-based, control-identical training system. This software turns any PC screen into an exact representation of the Sinumerik Operate graphical user interface. The numeric kernel (NC) that drives Sinutrain also powers the Sinumerik 828D and 840D sl controls. Comprehensive knowledge doesn’t require investing in a machine, as all courses can be taught on a PC.


Manufacturing Jobs in Reading Pennsylvania

In a lab at Reading Area Community College, Benjamin Eckenrode stands in front of a blue wall rigged with pistons, pumps and gauges. It’s a pneumatic troubleshooting system, designed to teach students how to identify and solve problems with manufacturing equipment.Eckenrode’s assignment is to figure out why the piston isn’t moving. The high school senior is taking this college class as part of a program to prepare more young people for careers in the technical trades.

It’s still possible to get an entry-level factory job with just a diploma paying maybe $17 an hour, said Bonnie Spayd, executive director of the Schmidt Technology and Training Center at the college. But with a little extra training, her students can make $20 to $30 an hour, plus benefits

Reading Area Community College

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