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Career Technical Education

IHELP has worked to call attention to the important role community colleges play in educating our nation's workforce and boosting the economy. With a large share of projected job openings requiring education of less than a bachelor's degree, the nation's community colleges can make a huge contributions toward a competitive national workforce.

Community colleges offer a broad array of career-oriented certificates and associate degrees, or career-technical edcuation. There is great potential for CTE to contribute to the college completion agend and the nation's economy.

Below are summaries and links to the Institute's series of reports and presentations on career technical education.

Publications

Presentations

Policy Brief - Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Parts I and II (summarized)
This new 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 new 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.

Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part 1: 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.

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.

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.

 

How Does Policy Affect the Operation of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges?
Presented to the Vocational Research and Accountability Committee, May 4, 2012

Community College Student Success: Challenges and New Priorities
Presented to the California Collaborative on District Reform, March 26, 2012

California Community College Career Technical Education and the Student Success Agenda
Presented at the California Community College Association for Occupational Education Spring Conference, March 21, 2012

California Community College Career Technical Education Programs and the College Completion Agenda
Presented to Vocational Research and Accountability Committee, February 3, 2012

California Community College Career Technical Education Programs and the College Completion Agenda
Presented at UC/ACCORD Pathways to Postsecondary Success Convening, January 26, 2012

Priority of Community College Career Technical Education Programs
Presented at the PACE Seminar for Educaton Policymakers and Scholars, October 7, 2011

Technical Difficulties: Meeting California’s Workforce Needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fields. Presented at the 2009 Regional Briefing Series, San Diego, November 13, 2009