Magazine article Techniques

NPS Draws CTE Educators from around the Country

Magazine article Techniques

NPS Draws CTE Educators from around the Country

Article excerpt

NPS PROVIDED CTE PROFESSIONALS WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO KEEP ABREAST OF DEVELOPMENTS ON CAPITOL HILL WITH PRESENTATIONS FROM KEYNOTE PRESENTERS SUCH AS OFFICE OF VOCATIONAL AND ADULT EDUCATION CHIEF BRENDA DANN-MESSIER, AND THE EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION'S JANE OATES.

CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATORS DESCENDED ON ARLINGTON, Virginia, for the Association for Career and Technical Education's (ACTE) National Policy Seminar (NPS), March 8-10. The event provided career and technical education (CTE) professionals with an opportunity to keep abreast of developments on Capitol Hill with presentations from keynote presenters Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), and Jane Oates, assistant secretary, Employment and Training Administration. Other presenters included congressional staffers and representatives from organizations such as the National Governors Association (NGA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), and the National Education Association.

Jan Bray, ACTE's executive director, kicked off NPS by noting that CTE and the success of the American economy are inextricably linked.

"Everyone is looking to CTE to solve the problems of our country - Are we ready to respond?"

Bray said CTE needs to embrace a mindset of transformation. Part of this transformational thinking, she said, will be a greater focus on data and research to highlight the value of CTE by showing its outcomes. In addition, ACTE members need to continue providing anecdotal information to their legislators and communities about how CTE is making a significant contribution by providing students with real-world, hands-on learning that keeps them engaged in school; giving students opportunities to acquire technical skills and to explore careers; and fostering the learning of academics. CTE is also crucial in giving adults the skills and training they need to meet the demands of an ever-changing workforce, she added.

Bray said there is strength in numbers and the Association's membership needs to be increased to bolster its power. To that end she urged members to encourage their colleagues who are not members to join. With a larger membership, she said, ACTE will have an even bigger say in policymaking on Capitol Hill.

OVAE's Brenda Dann-Messier: CTE's Role in the Knowledgebased Economy

Today's jobseekers face realities such as globalization and technological advances that will impact their career prospects, said Brenda Dann-Messier. Giving the keynote address on March 10, DannMessier noted that employers want employees who have the right skills to succeed in what is a global economy. These include technical skills and the ability to problem solve, communicate effectively and to innovate.

Equally important are academic credentials; many of the fastest growing fields will require workers with a bachelor's degree, and the United States is falling behind its international counterparts in the number of graduates with this credential, she noted. The problem is particularly prevalent in minority populations where even fewer graduate from college. The good news is, though, that CTE is integral in reversing that trend because it positively affects student outcomes. DannMessier said more CTE students are going on to postsecondary education than ever before; in addition, CTE is providing students with technical skills that employers want - skills for jobs that can't be shipped overseas. The key, Dann-Messier said, is to ensure that CTE programs are rigorous and relevant across the board; utilize research to determine best practices; and are accountable through the use of data systems.

OVAE is undertaking a number of initiatives to improve worker skills and to provide job training opportunities. Among them is the funding of a technical assessment academy through the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education; helping states-such as Ohio and New Jersey - take their green programs to scale; improving rural schools and communities by the implementation of career clusters and STEM programming; working with other agencies such as the Labor Department to develop best practice initiatives and job training opportunities in expanding areas such as energy; and investing a proposed $12 billion in community colleges through the American Graduation Initiative to prepare workers in the fastest growing fields - such as green and information technology. …

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