Based on my previous post, many of you may think that my ACTE experience so far has been negative. It hasn’t been because the sessions are awesome. Here is a summary of the individual sessions that I attended today. Please email or post a comment if you want my full notes.
Session 1: The Economic Vitality Formula of Success
This was a great session that as a teacher/community partnership coordinator was well above my pay grade, but at least I was in the room so I can share these ideas with those who have the right pay grade. I also game up with a great project for me to work on at school as well. The focus of this session is that the combination CTE and workforce development with local industry will equal economic vitality for the city. Students in Virginia Beach are working towards receiving industry credentialing as well as a workplace readiness skills test. The school district and the economic development board can showcase the skills that students are learning in the city when they go to recruit new businesses to the area. By focusing on the skills and talent that the city is producing locally, they are able to help persuade companies to move their business to the area because the workforce is educated and prepared with the skills those companies need. This gave some great ideas to bring back to Nevada to highlight what is happening in the career and technical academies as well as the schools that incorporating CTE programs of study.
Session 2: The New Middle Skilled US Employment Marketplace: The How and Why Higher Education Will be Changed Forever
This session focused on how employers are changing the way that they look for candidates and how candidates are changing to be prepared for careers. Frank Britt discussed how the paradigm in education needs to change to be focused on real learning and not necessarily seat time. The explosion of MOOCs are giving candidates a chance to focus on skills that they need for a career and are more competency-based. Mr. Britt explained that companies are now starting to push for more competency-based degrees and that higher education schools are becoming retailers of education. Students will not be able to afford the average annual increases in tuition forever and alternative methods to learn skills will are required to work in industry. Education needs to change their thought process in how they deliver content because there are so many options for students that prefer to learn digitally.
Session 3: Changing Student and Community Perceptions of Manufacturing
This session focused on methods to get students interested in the manufacturing industry. There is a large skills gap in manufacturing and that gap is going to get larger as baby boomers start retiring. The problem is that many students, parents, and educators perceive manufacturing as a low-wage, low-skill job or that all the manufacturing jobs are in China. The truth is that these manufacturing jobs require a high-skilled workforce and pay well. This presentation focused on what the Connecticut Community College System is doing to recruit students through camps, expos, tours, and internships to name a few. The system has shown success and hopefully other states can replicated it to meet the 600,000 manufacturing jobs that currently need to be filled.
I will post summaries of my sessions from day two tomorrow evening.