Wanted: Skilled Tradespeople

We believe there is more than one pathway to a successful career, and we’re thrilled to see so many states taking steps to support and fund Career and Technical Education. There is a true need and a high demand for skilled tradespeople in the U.S., and we think California is right on the money in the direction they’re heading.

From PBS Newshour:

“FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.

Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages.

It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.

Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it.

“It’s a cultural rebuild,” said Randy Emery, a welding instructor at the College of the Sequoias in California’s Central Valley.

Standing in a cavernous teaching lab full of industrial equipment on the college’s Tulare campus, Emery said the decades-long national push for high school graduates to get bachelor’s degrees left vocational programs with an image problem, and the nation’s factories with far fewer skilled workers than needed.”

To read more, click here.

Bi-Partisan Action for CTE

From Forbes contributor Nish Acharya:

“Sometimes, when we aren’t looking, things can actually get done in Washington, DC.  In late June, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – a law critical to our education and workforce development programs.   Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Republican Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) were the chief co-sponsors of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353).

Preparing the American workforce for the growth industries of tomorrow is widely considered to be one of the most important challenges facing our society today.  Technology is advancing at an incredible pace – with rapid advancements in information technology, the Internet, life sciences, Big Data and countless other fields.  On the other hand, it takes universities and training programs years to understand industry trends, develop education programs and attract students.  And companies don’t do enough to assist the curriculum developers in a timely manner.  In a famous example, Sun Microsystems once gave multiple grants to education organizations in the early 2000’s to develop high-school level curriculum to teach Java programming.  By the time its partners had completed the curriculum and rolled it out to pilot sites, Sun had announced that it was offshoring thousands of Java programming jobs abroad.

One of the most important tenets of the current legislation is that it provides flexibility to states to design their career and technical training programs to be regionally-relevant.  Western agrarian states don’t have to use their funds in the same way as a New England life-sciences driven economy.  In addition, the legislation connects training programs more closely to new sectors of the economy that are currently in demand by American companies and employers.  And the legislation allows for greater flexibility in measurement, the use of innovative practices and flexibility for students.”

To read more about the steps our politicians are making in placing importance on CTE, click here.

Reframing How We Talk About CTE

For so long, Career and Technical Education (CTE) has labored under the stigma of being a “lesser” path to a successful career… We loved the fair-minded approach David Etzwiler, the CEO of Siemens Foundation took in this article!

From Huffpost:

As the White House shines a spotlight on workforce development to address the skills gap, the German model of apprenticeships has been appropriately offered as the gold standard from which the United States can learn. Every year in Germany, close to a million students participate in the nation’s dual system of education. Programs combine classroom with on-the-job training and a clear pathway to higher education and a quality job, contributing to Germany’s low youth unemployment rate and its leadership in advanced manufacturing.

But even if the United States could create our own version of the dual system today, we would still be at a relative disadvantage due to something much more fundamental: the stigma attached to vocational education, or what the U.S. calls career technical education (CTE). That is the first hurdle to address.

America’s CTE system provides many students with similar benefits to that of the German program. It enables students to enhance their core high school academic courses with technical, real world skills that prepare them for the future. In other words, CTE is a powerful tool already addressing the skills gap. It can open millions more doors into the middle class and is an important part of the prescription to what ails us today.

But one disadvantage CTE has compared to the dual system is that it isn’t fully embraced by students and parents, or they simply aren’t aware of it. In Germany, the dual system is as prestigious as university. In the U.S., CTE is often mischaracterized as an inferior educational pathway to college prep. For some time now, CTE enrollment rates have been flat.

To read more, click here.

Silver Star of Excellence: Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT).

This year, the NTHS chapter at CAVIT participated in the “Run, Hide, Fight Community Service Project.”

CAVIT’s local newspapers The Florence Reminder and the Blade Tribune report:

“The NTHS chapter partnered with our Medical Assistant program, instructed by Jeffrey Wooley and West Elementary School to provide ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ education,” Martinez said. “These eight visits to Diane Self-Thompson’s fourth grade class focused on lessons in childhood obesity, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, cleanliness, healthcare prevention, and bullying.”

The lessons were aligned to Self-Thompson’s fourth grade curriculum, making the partnership a win-win situation for all.

 “CAVIT students traveled to West Elementary weekly to present the lessons, along with activities such as making a fun, healthy snack, playing a soccer game, and more,” Martinez said. “The partnership ended with Ms. Self-Thompson’s class visiting CAVIT to take a ‘final test’ and to tour the campus.”

Martinez explained it is “truly an honor to earn the Silver Star of Excellence award, since CAVIT does strive to provide quality community service through our clinics and other activities.”

CAVIT staff saw partnering with Self-Thompson’s class as a natural fit – a sentiment Wooley echoed.

“The location is close, but even more so these fourth graders get to learn valuable health information from a high school role model,” Wooley said.

Thank you for making such an amazing difference in your community!

Silver Star of Excellence: St. Clair County Technical Education Center

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at St. Clair County Technical Education Center.

Apparently St. Clair TEC is pretty well known in their community, not only for their workforce skills, but also their commitment to helping others in their community. Throughout the year, they’ve held numerous fund raisers and food and clothing drives, including a “Polar Bear Plunge,” where they raised over $4,500 for children in need by taking a dip into the 40 degree waters of Lake Huron this past December. We are so very proud of their creativity and compassion! Take a look at their story:

 

Silver Star of Excellence: South Georgia Technical College

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at South Georgia Technical College.

These guys have been involved pretty much all year long to better their community and the world around them, and we could honestly not be any prouder of them! Take a look at their story:

We are so thrilled and honored to share your story with the rest of the world! You guys really are what makes NTHS such an amazing, world-changing organization!

The 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars

We are absolutely ecstatic that two of our own NTHS family have received the honor of being accepted into the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program! Our heartfelt congratulations go out to  Helen J. Smith from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, GA, and Evan C. Welsh from Grand Forks Central High School in Grand Forks, ND!

Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students, and we’re so very proud that NTHS is being so well represented in the class of 2017!

From the U.S. Department of Education’s website:

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the 53rd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

“I congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars for their devotion to academic excellence and their parents and teachers who have guided them along the way,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  “Today’s Presidential Scholars are tomorrow’s leaders, and I am confident they will continue to be shining examples as they enter the next phase of their academic careers.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.5 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,100 candidates qualified for the 2017 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™competition.

The 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during an annual ceremony in Washington. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The 2017 ceremony will be held June 18, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

A complete list of 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars follows and is also available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.

Is it an Honor or a Scam?

We were thrilled to have been contacted a few weeks ago by a freelance writer working for ThoughtCo, an organization dedicated to reliable educational and informational content via the Web. We understand that sometimes it’s hard to decipher between  “vanity” honor societies, and legitimate honor societies in which one must qualify to be a member.

Our Executive Director, C. Allen Powell had a few thoughts on this, and was able to share them…

From ThoughtCo’s article:

“According to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), “honor societies exist primarily to recognize the attainment of scholarship of a superior quality.” In addition, the CAS notes “a few societies recognize the development of leadership qualities and commitment to service and excellence in research in addition to a strong scholarship record.”

 However, with so many organizations, students might not be able to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent college honor societies.

LEGIT OR NOT?

One way to evaluate the legitimacy of an honor society is to look at its history. “Legitimate honor societies have a long history and legacy that is easily recognizable,” according to Hannah Breaux, who is the communications director for Phi Kappa Phi. The honor society was founded at the University of Maine in 1897. Breaux tells ThoughtCo, “Today, we have chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines, and have initiated over 1.5 million members since our founding.”

According to C. Allen Powell, executive director and co-founder of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), “Students should find out if the organization is a registered, non-profit, educational organization or not.” He tells ThoughtCo this information should be prominently displayed on the society’s website.

 “For-profit honor societies should usually be avoided and tend to promise more services and benefits than they deliver,” Powell warns.

The organization’s structure should also be evaluated. Powell says students should determine, “Is it a school/college chapter-based organization or not?  Must a candidate be recommended by the school for membership, or can they join directly without school documentation?”

High academic achievement is usually another requirement. For example, eligibility for Phi Kappa Phi requires juniors to be ranked in the top 7.5% of their class, and seniors and graduate students must be ranked in the top 10% of their class. The members of the National Technical Honor Society may be in high school, tech college, or college; however, all students need to have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Powell also thinks it is a good idea to ask for references.  “A list of member schools and colleges should be found on the organization’s website – go to those member school web sites and get references.” Read more…

Where have all the skilled workers gone?

From the Houston Business Journal:

There was a time in this country when a college degree was considered the key to the American Dream. However, today, university education is synonymous with crippling student debt, frequent dropouts, underemployment or recent graduates working outside of their chosen fields.

What happened to the pathway leading to the American Dream? Supply and demand. Currently, there are an overwhelming amount of college graduates in the U.S. – the most there have ever been in the history of American education – and it’s not only affecting the supply and demand of industries; it’s creating immense competition within the workforce. More

college graduates are vying for jobs that require little to no education, pushing them further behind in their career progression. Meanwhile, employers in the automotive and home-repair industries, for example, cannot find the quality skilled workers they need. In its 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, ManpowerGroup ranked jobs in the skilled trades – think electricians, plumbers and auto technicians – as the hardest to fill. American businesses simply are not able to find applicants with the technical competencies they need; and this is something that is echoed by the employers in the Greater Houston area as well.

Our state, and the nation as a whole, faces another issue that threatens to stall our progress and slow our economy: a serious lack of skilled workers.

Changing America’s educational system

In today’s society, vocational careers are commonly perceived as inferior or too “blue collar.” Yet, a recent analysis of the federal College Scorecard data and U.S. labor market trends finds that students who attend an industry-aligned, quality postsecondary technical educational institute are earning more, on average, after 10 years than their peers from some of the nation’s liberal arts colleges and two-year community colleges. Given these realities, it is important that we as a community break down the stereotypes and barriers for students interested in pursuing careers in skilled labor industries. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 40 percent of students starting four-year colleges and 60-70 percent of students starting two-year colleges do not graduate. Created from the College Scorecard data, the report Preparing our Students for Career Success: What Parents Should Know analyzes how emerging and decades-old economic trends are affecting the American workforce. ” Read more…

It’s Your Time to Shine!

An interview is one of the most crucial moments in the hiring process, and it’s your chance to shine. Whether you’re studying to be in the hospitality industry or not, good tips on having a great job interview are ALWAYS welcome, right? We loved the recent video series Marriott produced on this subject, and we wanted to share!

“In this fun video, we show you how to prepare for your job interview at Marriott or any of our hotels. It’s your opportunity to tell your unique story and showcase your skills. We give you a preview of the types of information we want to learn about you and deliver some great tips for your readiness.”

For more great videos like this, you can visit the Marriott YouTube page.

And if you’d like even more resources on  mapping your career path, and finding job openings in various different fields, you can visit our partner, Express Employment Professionals Job Genius.