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Career Technical Education

 

Workforce Investments: State Strategies to Preserve Higher-Cost Career Education Programs in Community and Technical Colleges
August 2013
Addressing the challenge of financing community college career and technical education programs is the focus of a new policy brief by IHELP. This brief examines finance policies and practices in 20 states and identifies five strategies that may help preserve higher-cost CTE/workforce programs: (1) separate technical colleges or system; (2) differential funding formula that takes program costs into account; (3) performance funding that rewards completions and various workforce-related outcomes; (4) differential tuition whereby students pay more for high-cost programs; and (5) differential course fees by which students pay for costs of lab operation and maintenance, specialized equipment, and supplies. This brief is intended as a resource for education leaders and policymakers in California as they work toward realizing the vast potential of the CTE mission.

Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda - Part IV: Aligning Policy with Mission for Better Outcomes
March 2013
This report is the culmination of a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. The project, funded by The James Irvine Foundation, is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support the CTE mission so that colleges can be more effective in helping students earn credentials of value in the workplace and helping employers and industries in their regions obtain a skilled workforce.  Based on a comprehensive analysis of potential barriers to more effective CTE, researchers offer a set of suggestions for policy changes intended as a resource for the community college system as it continues to work to improve student success. For the complete series on CTE please click here.

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: A Series of Working Papers
November 2012 - February 2013
IHELP has been engaged in a four-part research project on Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the California Community Colleges. The project is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support the CTE mission so that colleges can be more effective in helping students earn credentials of value in the workplace and helping employers and industries in their regions obtain a skilled workforce. As part of this project, we have identified a number of problems that we believe could be addressed with selective changes to state laws and regulations. We have explored these policies by various theme in five different working papers. In each paper, we identify several problems, examine laws and regulations related to those problems, and offer suggested policy changes to address them.

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: Program Offerings — a Working Paper

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: Accountability - a Working Paper

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: High School to Community College to Workplace Pathways - a Working Paper

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: Program Structure and Delivery - a Working Paper

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: Faculty Issues - a Working Paper

Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part III: Promising CTE Policies from Across the States
September 2012
This IHELP report is the third in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges with a goal of identifying necessary changes to state and system policies to improve CTE. This report examines policies in other states that might offer helpful lessons for shaping CTE in California to better meet student and employer needs. It provides examples in the following five policy areas: degree and certificate programs offered; curriculum structure and delivery; high school – community college – workplace pathways; financing CTE – college and student costs; and accountability. Researchers explain how each policy area relates to an effective CTE program and provide brief descriptions of relevant policies in place in other states with endnotes that provide references to further detail on the policies. For the complete series on CTE please click here.

Policy Brief - Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Parts I and II (summarized)
March 2012
This IHELP brief is a summary of the first two reports in a series titled Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda. The first report, titled, Part I Structure and Funding of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges, analyzes the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. The second report, Part II Inventory and Analysis of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges, examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered by the CCC. Researchers inventory and analyze CTE program offerings across the system as a basis for understanding how well CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. In each report, researchers identify key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges, and the entire project is guided by a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission.

Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda - Part II: Inventory and Analysis of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges
February 2012
This report is the second in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. This report examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered by the CCC. Researchers inventory and analyze CTE program offerings across the system as a basis for understanding how well the CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. Some of the report findings include: a total of 12,500 local certificate and associate degree programs in 142 fields of study, with an average of 113 programs offered per college; a high concentration of student enrollment and completions in a small portion of fields; an abundance of short-term certificates; and considerable inconsistency across similar programs (in name, credits, and course requirements). As in the first report, researchers evaluate their findings against a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges. For the complete series on CTE please click here.

Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part I: Structure and Funding of Career Technical Education in the California Community College
January 2012
This report is the first in a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. The project, funded by The James Irvine Foundation, is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support California’s community colleges in operating CTE programs that meet the needs of their students and regions. In this first report, researchers describe the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. Researchers also offer a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify five key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges. For the complete series on CTE please click here.

Sense of Direction: The Importance of Helping Community College Students Select and Enter a Program of Study
August 2011
This report examines the importance of declaring and entering an academic program of study for community college student success and completion. Researchers studied an entering cohort of more than 430,000 community college students and followed their progress over a six-year period through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a university. The study used student course patterns to identify those who entered a program of study in 21 program areas across the liberal arts and sciences and career technical education. Researchers found that entering a program of study is an important milestone on the path to college completion that only half of entering community colleges students reach, and that students who enter a program of study in their first year are twice as likely to complete a certificate, degree, or transfer as those who enter a program of study in the second year or later. (Click here for the appendix) Click here for the brief.

The Road Less Traveled: Realizing the Potential of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges
February 2011
This report funded by the James Irvine Foundation, examines four high-wage, high-need career pathways in the California Community Colleges as a basis for exploring the Career Technical Education mission and its role in the college completion agenda. The study found that the potential of CTE to help meet the state’s completion, workforce, and equity goals is not fully realized due to a lack of priority on awarding technical certificates and degrees and an absence of clear pathways for students to follow in pursuing those credentials. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the CTE function including: reexamining the structure and function of occupationally-oriented associate degrees; offering fewer, more consistent CTE programs that clearly meet regional needs; and having students formally declare a program of study, with colleges ensuring that students have access to the classes they need for those programs. (Click here for the appendix). 

Pathways to Success: Lessons from the Literature on Career Technical Education
December, 2009
This report is part of a project supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation to identify policies and practices that could increase student success in certain career pathways through the California community colleges. This literature review analyzes evidence on the effectiveness of career-oriented education in high schools and community colleges and discusses the factors that promote successful educational outcomes for students enrolled in career-technical programs. It finds the literature scarce on career-technical education (CTE) student success and suggests that further research would help us better understand and strengthen CTE student and program outcomes to better meet the needs of the workforce.

Technical Difficulties: Meeting California's Workforce Needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fields
June, 2009
This report draws attention to California’s looming shortage of educated workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the demand for such workers increases and the state is producing too few graduates to meet the demand. The report offers recommendations to meet workforce needs and maintain the economic benefits  that have resulted from the state’s historical strength in STEM employment. Click here for executive summary.