Strong Support for Gov. Herbert’s Focus on CTE

SALTLAKE CITY (January 25, 2018) – As part of his 2018 State of the State message, Gov. Gary Herbert declared 2018 the Year of Technical Education, naming it his second-highest legislative priority. In response, a broad group of 17 business associations has issued a joint letter applauding the governor’s commitment to Utah students and the state economy, pledging to support the effort themselves.

“The one issue we still need to address to make our booming state economy even stronger is the challenge businesses face finding qualified, skilled workers,” said Edson Barton, president and CEO of  Precision Exams, the Utah-based business that administers career and technical education [CTE] exams and certifications across Utah schools. “The better we help students see how the skills they learn in a CTE class can lead to an exciting career, the more motivated they are to learn and the more likely they are to connect with businesses that really need people with these skills to help their organizations grow.”

In the letter sent to the governor, business associations pledged to support the state’s efforts by engaging directly with CTE students across the state to provide a more authentic and appreciable understanding of careers that can result from CTE pathways, to provide endorsement and recognition of career and technical education programs from industry, and to highlight CTE careers, challenging the idea that these are inferior career options.

“It’s unfortunate that we still have to fight some misperceptions about the kinds of careers available to students who excel in CTE courses and who pursue CTE pathways,” said Todd Bingham, president and CEO of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “If you take a kid into a manufacturing facility today they will likely be surprised by just how high-tech and exciting the industry really is. And there’s a great deal of opportunity there, as well. We applaud the governor for making this a priority.”

The coalition consists of the following organizations:

  • Associated General Contractors of Utah

  • BioUtah

  • Davis Chamber of Commerce

  • Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce

  • Precision Exams

  • Salt Lake Board of Realtors

  • Salt Lake Chamber

  • Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Utah Food Industry Association

  • Utah Hospital Association

  • Utah Manufacturers Association

  • Utah Mining Association

  • Utah Petroleum Association

  • Utah Restaurant Association

  • Utah Retail Merchants Association

  • Utah Technology Council

  • Utah Trucking Association

  • Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce

Make it Happen

Businesses are looking for employees with the skills their businesses need to grow. Schools want to prepare students to succeed in their chosen career fields. Both sides get what they want when they collaborate to ensure what is being taught is what the marketplace is looking for.

“Employers are looking at workforce development differently today,” says Todd Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association.  He says there is currently a talent shortage among the 1,100-plus manufacturing companies his organization represents within the state of Utah. “Many companies that used to just rely on the education system to get their future employees ready to enter the workforce are now looking for ways to get involved to ensure that those candidates are prepared with the right knowledge and skills.”

Many businesses don’t have the resources to invest in large-scale workforce development and training programs. Most employers, however, are eager to participate in existing programs that result in better prepared candidates for employment. Innovation is commonly equated to invention, or being the first to market with a new idea. Some of the best innovations, however, are simply enhancements and modifications to already sound ideas and concepts. This coalition is formed around the concept of engaging with students where they are, and supporting existing Career and Technical Education efforts to prepare students for career and post-secondary pathway opportunities that lead to a better prepared workforce.

The Impressive Impact of CTE 

The CTE Career Skills Certification program has proven very successful largely because industry partners provide feedback on the standards that guide teacher instruction and then engage students who earn certifications as interns or employees because they have the skills the businesses need.

Graduation rates among students who engage in CTE courses are, on average, 12 percent higher than their counterparts who don’t. The reason is relatively simple: students have a better understanding of where the skills they are learning will lead them on their career path. Essentially, CTE answers the question students have asked in frustration for decades: “When am I ever going to use this?”

According to Career Tech, the national association of state leadership on all things CTE, there are sixteen national Career Clusters:”

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Architecture & Construction
Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
Business Management & Administration
Education & Training
Finance
Government & Public Administration
Health Science
Hospitality & Tourism
Human Services
Information Technology
Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Manufacturing
Marketing
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Teachers provide their students with the most current instruction based on Industry Recognized Standards. These standards are shaped based on input from industry and education subject matter experts.

“Industry talent needs change so quickly; how else would teachers know what to teach to best prepare the kids in middle school and high school if we didn’t collaborate with the existing education system?” asks Cahlan Sharp, CEO and Founder at DevMountain

The Benefit to Employers

David Halls, vice president and general manager at Amcor Masonry Products in North Salt Lake says one of their most pressing needs revolve around hiring the right people. As the leading architectural masonry, hardscape and retaining wall producer in Utah, Amcor already has challenges like every other large manufacturer in hiring and retaining qualified talent.

“With the addition of a new plant set to be completed by the end of the year, we will double our capacity in anticipation of current demand and future growth,” says Halls. “Working with the state to connect with the right students provides us with a vehicle to identify candidates that have demonstrated the aptitude and desire to succeed in our specific work environment.”

Get Involved

There are multiple ways employers get involved, some provide work-based learning and internship opportunities that lead directly to jobs for students. Some of the most simple and meaningful ways employers can engage, however, only take a few minutes to give feedback on the skills, knowledge and aptitude that are most important to each employer in their respective industries.

The Career and Technical Education department of the Utah State Board of Education is constantly striving to deliver and administer programs that provide tangible value to our students, says Thalea Longhurst, Utah State Career and Technical Education director at the Utah State Board of Education. “The Career Skills Assessment program, administered through Precision Exams, is one that provides us with valuable outcomes and data and is fully embedded within the Career and Technical Education program statewide. By adding local industry input and recognition, we believe these certificates carry even more value as the knowledge and skills earned by students when earning a certificate will provide them with a clear pathway into high-demand roles with local employers, and your involvement ensures this local recognition of earned competencies.”

The industry engagement program has been created to provide maximum flexibility for participating employers, that yields meaningful results to employers and students alike.

It’s Easier to Complain About Education

It’s Easier to Complain

Have you noticed that we live in a world where it is much easier to tear down, complain, and point fingers than it is to participate in becoming part of the solution? Of course you have, it’s impossible not to notice that this epidemic of finger pointing permeates key areas of concern such as politics, law enforcement, economics, foreign policy and education.

Might I present you with a very small opportunity to become a contributing partner in providing a solution to an education issue that desperately calls for expert input from industry professionals like yourself?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the high schools provide relevant training and education on most all things career related. According to Career Tech, the national association of state leadership on all things CTE, there are sixteen national “career clusters:”

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education & Training
  • Finance
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

https://careertech.org/career-clusters

Teachers provide their students with the most current instruction based on Industry Recognized Standards. Here’s where you come in as an industry professional. Why not contribute your knowledge and experience and spend a few minutes rating these Industry Recognized Standards? At Precision Exams we have administered over 6 million assessments and offer over 160 certifications across these career clusters to schools in 47 states, and we welcome input from professionals like yourself. In fact, we’ve made it so easy for you to participate that it’s about the same process as giving feedback on Netflix or Amazon. Click here https://rating.precisionexams.com/app/, register (we need to make sure the feedback is really coming from you, a reliable source), and take five minutes to rate the standards and give some feedback. We’ll take it from there and ensure your feedback is part of the annual review process on each assessment.

Your contribution is appreciated, and timely. Students who engage in CTE courses graduate on average 12% higher than their counterparts who don’t. CTE answers the question, “When am I ever going to use this?” So your feedback, as a professional in the field, is extremely valuable. We thank you for being a part of the solution.

Brock Smith is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Precision Exams and is the administrator of the Career Skills Assessment Pathway to Industry initiative. Brock has led and consulted teams in the training and education space for over twenty years and holds degrees in marketing, an MBA, and a Masters in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design from Utah State University. To learn more on how you and your company can get involved in the Pathway to Industry project email Brock at bsmith@precisionexams.com, or call 801-850-9180.

Strong Support for Gov. Herbert’s Focus on CTE

SALT LAKE CITY (January 25, 2018) – As part of his 2018 State of the State message, Gov. Gary Herbert declared 2018 the Year of Technical Education, naming it his second-highest legislative priority. In response, a broad group of 17 business associations has issued a joint letter applauding the governor’s commitment to Utah students and the state economy, pledging to support the effort themselves.

“The one issue we still need to address to make our booming state economy even stronger is the challenge businesses face finding qualified, skilled workers,” said Edson Barton, president and CEO of  Precision Exams, the Utah-based business that administers career and technical education [CTE] exams and certifications across Utah schools. “The better we help students see how the skills they learn in a CTE class can lead to an exciting career, the more motivated they are to learn and the more likely they are to connect with businesses that really need people with these skills to help their organizations grow.”

In the letter sent to the governor, business associations pledged to support the state’s efforts by engaging directly with CTE students across the state to provide a more authentic and appreciable understanding of careers that can result from CTE pathways, to provide endorsement and recognition of career and technical education programs from industry, and to highlight CTE careers, challenging the idea that these are inferior career options.

“It’s unfortunate that we still have to fight some misperceptions about the kinds of careers available to students who excel in CTE courses and who pursue CTE pathways,” said Todd Bingham, president and CEO of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “If you take a kid into a manufacturing facility today they will likely be surprised by just how high-tech and exciting the industry really is. And there’s a great deal of opportunity there, as well. We applaud the governor for making this a priority.”

The coalition consists of the following organizations:

  • Associated General Contractors of Utah

  • BioUtah

  • Davis Chamber of Commerce

  • Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce

  • Precision Exams

  • Salt Lake Board of Realtors

  • Salt Lake Chamber

  • Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Utah Food Industry Association

  • Utah Hospital Association

  • Utah Manufacturers Association

  • Utah Mining Association

  • Utah Petroleum Association

  • Utah Restaurant Association

  • Utah Retail Merchants Association

  • Utah Technology Council

  • Utah Trucking Association

  • Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce

http://www.precisionexams.com/press-release/strong-support-for-gov-herberts-focus-on-cte/

Why does Governor Gary Herbert view industry engagement with career and technical education pathways as such a high priority?

Based on an analysis of CTE participation in Utah and a comparison with national figures, the trends in CTE participation, graduation, certificates earned, completer status, job placement, and work-based learning participation is positive trending. The graduation rates for CTE concentrators is at 96.6% overall compared to 85% statewide. With even greater gains in underserved and minority populations. Percent increases in minority and at-risk populations are listed below, with the actual graduation rates for CTE concentrators and non-concentrators by disaggregated group.

22% – African Americans (95/73%)

22% – Native Americans (92/70%)

21% – Latinos (95/74%)

13% – Pacific Islanders (97/84%)

19% – Economically Disadvantaged (94/75%)

25% – English Learners (90/65%)

Concentrator numbers have grown by over 10 percent per year in Utah over each of the last four years. The number of CTE Skill Certificates and industry recognized certificates earned totals 124,703. With 158,677 students enrolled in CTE courses, that’s a 79% certification rate per enrolled CTE course. With 27 percent of students completing a CTE pathway, and 2,930 students completing a work-based learning internship there is a good base of participation, but clearly opportunities remain to expand the industry engagement piece of CTE participation to more students. http://www.schools.utah.gov/CTE/main/DOCS/Flyers/AtAGlance.aspx

CTE participation answers the question that every student has, “When will I ever use this?!” When they can connect what they are learning to job and career opportunities, students engage. Utah does a great job with career and technical education, and with continued support from local employers, will continue to produce more home grown talent to meet current and relevant skills gap needs.

In addition to the great work that the CTE department of the Utah State Board of Education does to involve industry, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has targeted this as a key economic initiative through Talent Ready Utah http://talentreadyutah.com/. There are many simple ways companies can get involved, many that require no investment of money, and very little outlay of time or other resources. More often than not, an investment of your skills and expertise is much more meaningful than a check anyway! Most employers simply don’t know the role they can play in becoming part of the solution. Raise your hand, get involved.

Brock Smith is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Precision Exams and is the administrator of the Career Skills Assessment Pathway to Industry initiative. Brock has led and consulted teams in the training and education space for over twenty years and holds degrees in marketing, an MBA, and a Masters in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design from Utah State University. To learn more on how you and your company can get involved in the Pathway to Industry project email Brock at bsmith@precisionexams.com, or call 801-850-9180.