Since we’ll be spending the day together, it will be helpful to know who is here today and where we are from. Please turn to your neighbor and introduce yourself by providing your name, where you are from and whether you represent middle or high school or both. Finally, tell your new friend about one challenge you face in your school or community that affects students’ interest and participation in CTE. An example of a challenge may be that “ teachers in my school do not know what CTE is”. Each of you will have one minute to introduce yourself. I’ll prompt you after one minute so you can switch.
And your new friend will be introducing you to the group so you may want to take a note or two.
During Introductions—record challenges on a flip chart, labelled, “Challenges”
So we have a nice long list of various challenges. This workshop will facilitate much discussion to strategize on how school counselors can address these identified challenges and potentially other challenges that may surface throughout the day.
I believe Sticker
We now use this definition for CTE—it’s an option that prepares students for both college and careers. Note the key words in this definition—purpose to learning—real world skills and career focus. It is not about “training” students and preparing them for work. This is the shift
Work-based learning experiences offer students opportunities to reinforce and deepen their classroom learning, explore future career fields and demonstrate their skills in an authentic setting. It can take on many forms, depending on the design of the experience and the population being served. Many people are familiar with the formerly popular “co-op” model where students went to class for half day and then worked for part of their day. Work-based learning is much more than that one specific model. There are many strategies for providing students opportunities to gain real-world skills.
These co-curricular organizations provide experiential learning and opportunities to network with the business community through competitions, leadership opportunities and business partnerships. There are local, state and national competitive events that provide students “real-world” learning.
CTE Delivery System. West-mec.org
The Value and Promise of CTE: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students, has provided much insight into the attitudes of students and parents about CTE and their satisfaction with their education experience. This report is what prompted the next steps about focusing on school counselors.
Add source to slide
We are all aware that there is certainly limited awareness of what CTE is. No matter where one is in the country there still exist outdated perceptions about CTE based on the old vocational education model. While we were hearing more and more about the many benefits, we were not seeing any major growth in CTE programs across the country. At the same time, business and industry need a more highly skilled workforce and have significant gaps in filling their needs. They recognized CTE as a solution to this incredible workforce need and wanted to address this perception challenge.
We learned that school counselors and teachers are the most trusted source of information about CTE for students and parents. Yet it seemed that school counselors did not necessarily know how to speak about CTE and how to message this to students and parents..
Let’s look at new short video that provides an overview of CTE today
It’s clear that there have been dramatic changes from vocational to CTE over the past several decades. It is not a program focused solely on high school students who are not going to college; rather CTE links secondary and postsecondary. It is broader than a few program areas of the past beyond the “traditional trades”, expanding to 16 career clusters. CTE clearly does not culminate at high school –it is lifelong learning with a continuous need to stay current with industry.
Data points to the value of CTE in advancing higher graduation rates. Moreover, more than 75% of students who concentrate in CTE –which means taking more than one single course- are enrolling in postsecondary education immediately after high school and are participating in many dual enrollment opportunities in high school.
Students in CTE have opportunities to learn broadly about a career pathway through job shadowing, mentoring and other opportunities to engage with business and industry experts. It should not be equated to on-the job training for specific skills only. Hands-on training and real-world learning are key values of CTE.
In the past, vocational education was often referred to as the “dumping ground”– a place to send students as an alternative to college preparation. This meant there would often be higher representation of students of lower socio-economic and students with disabilities. This has changed with over 90% of all high school students now taking some form of CTE. It is especially noteworthy, and we will hear more about this during this workshop, that 91% of parents of CTE students believe that their children have a leg up on deciding their future careers due to their CTE experience.
CTE includes academic skills within the context of the technical skills—this can be through reinforcing the requisite mathematics embedded in the technical skills as well as the literacy skills required to read often complex technical manuals.
High-quality CTE should be responsive to workforce needs and tied to labor market information. It is important that CTE programs are indeed preparing students for current and emerging careers and not preparing students for careers of the past or careers with limited career mobility. School counselors must also have familiarity with understanding these workforce needs and how to access labor market information in order to guide students and families.
A growing gap between the skills workers possess today and the skills businesses say they need
53% of all careers in US today require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree
Many in technical fields such as health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing
Only 43% of workers have these skills
Is the college degree outdated? How small-bite credentials may trump college learning. Laura Pappano. Higher Education. (Story also appears in the Atlantic) April 27, 2017. http://hechingerreport.org/college-degree-outdated/
U.S. Education Needs to Move Past Its “fixation on the Bachelor’s Degree.” Catherine Gewertz. Education Week. October 29, 2017
See the work of Skillful. Launched in 2016, Skillful seeks to facilitate a shift toward skills-based screening by mining extensive data on job, education experience and job-seekers gathered by LinkedIn and identifying the true skills needed for each position.
Some have interesting models like paying for them after the fact with a percentage of your income. MissionU takes 15% of your income for three years once they hit $50,000 20 community colleges are engaged in credentialing innovations through Right Signals Initiative, a pilot project to break up learning into smaller pieces that earn students “short term credentials.”
Credentials serve as a signal for what individuals know and can do, making it easier for employers to find the right candidates for the job. Credentials come in all shapes and sizes, each differing by field of study, the amount of training and education required, and value to employers. Some of these credentials may be earned in high school.
“After half a century of intensive reform efforts, only 36% of Americans aged 25 to 29 have earned a bachelor’s degree—add in an associate degrees, and the total still reaches only 46%. The share attaining a BA by age 25 has not risen for two generations.”
Many of the skills that employers are looking for may be acquired through other kinds of colleges. Community and technical colleges are both colleges that award postsecondary credentials. Apprenticeship programs are increasingly providing postsecondary credentials to individuals.
As we gather information about occupations and careers in our states and region, the purpose is certainly not to discourage attainment of a BA degree; rather it is to be sure that we are considering all options for students and introducing them to opportunities that provide career trajectories. Often, parents and families may be guided by what they know in the past. It is important that students understand how to explore opportunities and the actual labor market information available to them for decision making.
This is an example of stackable credentials in Fire Science in Peoria Unified School District in Arizona. Students can begin to earn credentials in high school that offer them opportunities- CPR and first aid while also taking dual enrollment courses. They continue to earn certifications along the way to an Associate’s degree and ultimately can earn a Bachelors degree
The studies on dual enrollment have highlighted the positive effect that it can have in so many areas. Completing a college level course and receiving college credits can be a life altering experience for students, bolstering their confidence and empowering them to continue on the journey. For first generation college seekers, this is incredibly valuable in launching them on a pathway. Many of our underserved students have never been to a college campus, nonetheless completed a college-level course. Dual enrollment can also cut the length of time to a degree and the costs for learners, too.
As a school counselor, we need to look at how we marry the students interests and skills with where there are opportunities. The skills they have or want to have may be applied across multiple career areas. We need to be familiar with trends in our states while also recognizing that things change quickly.
This morning we spent time learning about high-quality CTE and how CTE programs need to be responsive to workforce trends. All counselors engage students in specific strategies for career advisement that help them understand more about the world of work and career possibilities. We are going to dive deeper into exploring these strategies in this next segment.
A theory of change regarding ILPs is that the establishment of career and life goals is the change mechanism that leads to improved academic outcomes and postsecondary completion rates Research on goal-setting has suggested that developing self-defined career and life goals is an important mechanism that enables youth to have choices and results in their proactively seeking out their own learning pathways as they pursue those choices.
Quality ILP implementation from a caring and encouraging adult Learners establish career and life goals Education becomes perceived as more meaningful and relevant to helping them achieve those goals Learners pursue more rigorous education and work-based learning opportunities Increased academic performance, postsecondary completion rates, higher wage earnings, and overall life satisfaction
That leads us back to you.. As critical messengers, we want to be sure that you’re communicating about the value and promise of high-quality CTE to all learners.
This leads us to a discussion of the core messages for CTE
Here are some examples of how we can speak about CTE. Word choice matters. We should use college AND career; fin your passion; leadership, always emphasizing the “real-world” skills, options and experiences afforded through CTE.
And we want to be sure that we do not position this as either/or. Students can have the opportunity to take CTE courses while also planning to attend college. They can still have a well-rounded high school experience that includes CTE. Including employers in your communication is also incredibly valuable.
Then you need to think about how you can reach this audience.
Now we are going to have each of you delve into the development of an strategic actions for your school or community when you return home. Remember that all participants agreed to commit to developing and implementing actions following this workshop, Here is what you need to consider. Refer to page 21 in your workbook.
Think about your community and what you have learned today. What is the challenge you want to address? Which stakeholder groups do you need to reach?
Consider all you learned today about messaging and what information needs to be shared and how you may be able to do this within the next few months.
Empowering Students to Pursue Their Career Goals
Empowering Students to
Pursue their Career Goals
ACTEAZ/ACOVA Mid Winter Conference
February 7, 2020
Director of Student Services
School Counselor Specialist
Arizona Department of Education
• What school are you at?
• One major challenge you face in your
school/community that affects students’ interest
and participation in Career Technical Education?
Vision: Develop Arizona’s competitive
workforce through the power of
Career and Technical Education.
Mission: Career and Technical
Education will engage Arizona
learners in relevant experiences
leading to purposeful and
economically viable careers.
CTE Prepares Students for
Careers of Their Choice
Career Technical Education is an educational option that
provides learners with the knowledge, experiences and
skills they need to be prepared for college and careers.
CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world
skills and practical knowledge within a selected career
focus. Students in CTE pathways take specialized courses,
in addition to required core courses, at the secondary
and postsecondary/adult levels.
“The Value and
Promise of CTE: Results
from a National Survey
of Parents and
Reasons for National Survey
• Limited Awareness of CTE
• Outdated Perceptions of CTE
• Enrollment in CTE stagnant
• Demand soars for skilled employees
E-mail school/principal (23%);
A school assembly (22%);
Social media (21%)
High school career fair (40%);
Brochure/pamphlet mailed (40%)
Educational website (46%);
Open house at CTE school /program (44%)
of prospects want to hear information
about CTE from their school counselor
CTE students or…
How much do you trust each
for learning more
information about CTE?
School Counselors Are
Vocational Education (The Past) Career Technical Education
High School Focused Links Secondary, Postsecondary and
6 to 7 Program Areas 16 Career Clusters with 79 Career
In Lieu of Academics Supports and Reinforces Academic
Tracked Fully Integrated
Terminal Continuous, Lifelong Learning
CTE: From Past to Present
Myth vs. Fact
Only non-college bound
students take CTE classes
CTE Provides a seamless pathway
to postsecondary education
• 78% of CTE concentrators enroll in postsecondary education full-time
immediately after graduating
• CTE students have many opportunities to earn college credit in high
school through dual and concurrent enrollment
Myth vs. Fact
CTE is jobs training
CTE empowers learners to
explore multiple career options
• CTE programs of study start broad before providing career
pathway specific knowledge and skills
• CTE provides hands-on training mentoring and internships
to expand professional networks
• Students understand real-world value CTE provides
Myth vs. Fact
CTE serves only
• 92% of high school students take some form of CTE
• 33% of students in the highest socio-economic status quartile took
three or more CTE credits
• 91% of parents of CTE students were satisfied with the way CTE helps
their children get a leg up on future careers
CTE is for all learners
Myth vs. Fact
CTE doesn’t build academic
CTE blends academic and
technical skills to enhance
the learning experience
CTE programs, technical coursework reinforce core academics,
enabling learners to strengthen their academic studies with
● A few different questions with four possible answers will
● Find and stand by the sign with the letter - A, B, C or D -
that matches your selected answer.
● A topic/question will be posed for your group to discuss.
• A. 65 Ford Mustang
• B. Volkswagen Bug
• C. Pickup Truck
• D. Ferrari
Why do you think that counselors
are the most trusted CTE
A credential is a signal for what individuals know and can do.
Credentials can be earned in secondary or postsecondary and
precise definitions may vary across states. Types of credentials
• Industry-Recognized Credentials
College is Broader than
• Community college and technical college are both
• Institutions that award postsecondary credentials or
• Apprentices are increasingly earning postsecondary
credits and community/technical colleges serving as
education providers for industry partners
It’s Not About Discouraging a BA
• Lifelong learning
• Careers that have career trajectory
• CNA LPN RN BSN Advance Practice
• Stackable Information Technology credentials
• Occupations are growing and/or declining based
Value of Early
• Helps students realize that they can handle college-level
• Studies found that dual enrollment programs have
positive effects on postsecondary degree attainment,
college access and enrollment, credit accumulation, high
school completion and academic achievement.
• Especially relevant for underserved populations, including
first generation college seekers.
• Saves students time and money
School Counselor Role
• Connect personal interests and skills to
• Articulate the transferability of skills across multiple
• Be aware of the industries and occupations that are
growing in your community
ECAP’S are an effective
career advising tool
ECAP’S can be used more effectively by:
• Beginning them in middle school
• Including them as part of a wider conversation and process
with teachers, students and parents
• Being clear and strategic about connections made to career
pathways and CTE opportunities
How Not to
Communicate About CTE
• DON’T position CTE and college as an “either/or” – Remember to talk about CTE as a
pathway to college and a wide range of post-high school options, and reinforce that
students can earn college credits, scholarships, certifications and more through CTE. Don’t
frame CTE as the “non-college” option, since that directly conflicts with parent and
• DON’T put down high school – Having a traditional high school experience is important to
parents and students.
• DON’T leave out all the other great high school experiences students can have while
participating in CTE – CTE is a part of high school and doesn’t take away from students’
opportunities to participate in other activities they enjoy, such as sports
• DON’T forget to include employers in the conversation – Students want the leg up CTE
can give them and highly value the opportunity for mentors, internships and networking
with local employers. When describing your programs, talk about these experiences and
the specific businesses that are involved.
Strategic Next Steps
Getting Strategic &
What Strategic Actions Can Be
• To further engage school counselors, administrators and teachers: Provide a
presentation at a staff meeting that addresses some specific aspect of CTE
and/or share CTE programs and student outcomes in their community.
• To engage parents and families: Host a series of career events that include
parents and families along with students that describes various career pathway
options available in your school and/or community.
• To engage students: Provide information about in demand careers and related
CTE programs in your community and invite employers to speak to students
• To inform school counselors of resources: Coordinate an in-service training for
school counselors on the importance of labor market information and include
your local workforce member and/or labor market specialist from your state or
How Can You Reach
• One-on one meeting
• School communication and/or social media
• School assemblies
• Teacher in-service
• Student ambassadors
• After school programs
• What is a challenge for CTE that you want to
address at your school/district?
• Which stakeholder groups do you need to
communicate with to address the challenge?
• What facts, data, stories and messages do you need
• What information/resources do you still need to
address this challenge?