recommendation #10: develop statewide pathways to industry certification

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1 recommendation #10: develop statewide pathways to industry certification Massachusetts Career and Technical Education Programs Initiative Description and History...41 Costs and Funding Sources...41 Enabling Authority...41 Evidence of Success...41 Resources...41 Virginia s Path to Industry Certification Initiative Description and History...42 Costs and Funding Sources...42 Enabling Authority...42 Evidence of Success...42 Resources...42 Considerations for Implementing Recommendation #

2 recommendation #10

3 recommendation #10: develop statewide pathways to industry certification Rapid changes in technology and its pervasive influence in all industries demand continual upgrading of skills. Employers want to hire workers with strong certified skills, and then build on that basic foundation with short-term training specific to the industry, company, or changes in work processes or technology. Creating clear pathways for high school students to begin work toward an industry certification is a strategy that has not been widely implemented by states. It is, however, a promising one for increasing the educational attainment, earnings, and career prospects of high school students who don t plan to enroll immediately in a four-year college. Students who complete even one year of postsecondary education increase their lifetime earnings by 5 to 15 percent a year. If the pathways are designed well, students credit hours earned in for-credit certificate programs can be used to meet requirements for further postsecondary education, such as an associate s or bachelor s degree. Massachusetts Career and Technical Education Programs Initiative Description and History The Massachusetts Department of Education has begun to develop a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency (certificate). The purpose of the certificate is to improve student achievement, evaluate program effectiveness, and provide students with an industry-recognized credential. Students will earn the certificate by high school graduation after completing a state-approved vocational and technical education program in a particular occupational area and demonstrating competency of the knowledge and skills associated with the program. The training programs will consist of courses taken at vocational or technical high schools and student internships or externships. Committees composed of vocational and technical education teachers are currently developing a set of draft Vocational Technical Education Curriculum Frameworks. These frameworks will guide student learning and assessment, and are based on what teachers from at least three schools are teaching. Once the frameworks are complete, they will be validated by secondary and postsecondary educators and business and industry experts. The committees are working to develop frameworks in a wide variety of occupational clusters, including agriculture and natural resources, business and administrative services, construction, hospitality and tourism, and manufacturing, engineering and technology. The law that authorized the certificate didn t specify which fields it would cover, but the state currently has over 40 vocational education program areas and program staff are working to ensure that each area is represented by a certificate. Costs and Funding Sources The legislature has not yet approved funding, but $1.1 million is being budgeted for fiscal year Federal Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Applied Technology Education Act funds are supporting the development of the Vocational Technical Education Curriculum Frameworks. Enabling Authority The Certificate of Occupational Proficiency was established by the Education Reform Act, Massachusetts statute M.G.L.c.69 secton1d (iii), /legis/laws/mgl/69-1d.htm. Evidence of Success The Certificate of Occupational Proficiency currently is being developed and is therefore not possible to evaluate. Resources 1. Jeffrey Wheeler, Certificate of Occupational Proficiency Project Director, (781) , doe.mass.edu 2. Massachusetts Department of Education Web site, Career & Technical Education, Certificate of Occupational Proficiency Project Overview, mass.edu/cte/cop/overview.html 3. Betsy Brand, American Youth Policy Forum, (202) , 4. Jim Stone, University of Minnesota, (612) , 41

4 Virginia s Path to Industry Certification Initiative Description and History Virginia s Path to Industry Certification, a component of Governor Warner s Senior Year Plus initiative, was established in 2003 to improve the career preparation and increase the earning potential of high school students who don t plan to attend college immediately after graduation. In Virginia, 11,000 12,000 students a year graduate from high school with no technical training and no plans for further education. The Path to Industry Certification is designed to meet the needs of these students. Participating students and their parents sign a student compact stating that the student will complete high school and then enroll in a technical training program to acquire the appropriate skills and a recognized certification needed to begin a rewarding career. Training for a recognized industry certification begins during the student s senior year and culminates after three to nine months at a local community college or other career or technical education center. These students have the opportunity to work towards an industry certification in areas such as Auto Body and Collision Technician, Licensed Practical Nurse, Welding Certification, or Adobe Certified Expert. The program also provides technical training for high school teachers to increase the number of certified instructors available to teach courses required for industry certification. In exchange for agreeing to stay in school and completing the rigorous requirements for an industry certification, the state pays tuition for up to nine months of post-secondary training at a community college or other approved provider. Participating students have access to a free, online career planning system. The system enables students to complete skills and interest inventories and identifies career areas that fit their profile. School counselors then work with students to select certifications that match their career interests. Costs and Funding Sources For the biennium, Virginia appropriated $115,413 each year to administer the Path to Industry Certification component of Senior Year Plus. The Governor s introduced budget for fiscal year 2006 includes $1.1 million to support implementation of the Path to Industry Certification. In addition, the federal Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Applied Technology Education Act funds support the program. Enabling Authority The program is an initiative of Governor Warner s, and was designed in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Community College System. It was enacted without legislative or regulatory changes or an executive order. Evidence of Success Program staff is in the process of collecting follow-up data on program participants. The students in the 2004 pilot graduated from high school in 2004 and just finished community college technical training in December. These students are just beginning to take industry certification or state licensure exams. Of the 1,358 teachers who have participated in training academies since January 2004, 1,014 have received industry certification. Resources 1. Connie Williams, Virginia Department of Education, (804) , 2. Official Site of the Governor of Virginia, Senior Year Plus, ED4Life/SeniorYear.htm 3. Virginia Department of Education Web site, Path to Industry Certification, /VDOE/Instruction/CTE/certification/index.html 4. Anthony P. Carnevale and Donna Desrochers, Help Wanted... Credentials Required, research/dload/aacchelp.pdf getting it done 42

5 Considerations for Implementing Recommendation #10 While not a common statewide strategy, a number of vendors (e.g., Cisco) and professional, industry, and trade associations already work with states in fields such as the automotive industry, healthcare, and information technology. Governors may want to consider building statewide partnerships with these organizations or designing pathways based on their models. Clear pathways to industry-recognized certification requires aligning related policies so all interested students can move through a rigorous course of study and toward further education. For example, states can expand their dual enrollment and financial aid policies to include students working toward an industry credential or certification. In addition, individual high school graduation-plus plans can include the option of taking high-quality career and technical education courses that lead to a credential or certificate and to further postsecondary education. 43

6 getting it done 44

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