Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

Reporting Back: Committee Discussion

Ideas and information from committee members from August meeting needed to develop recommendations around the charges to the Task Force.

Decision-making Help

• Parenting and career guidance…. Parental information

• How do we help promote options to parents and kids the range of opportunities – point we need a lot of help to communicate it and leverage it

• Counseling K-12 / High school offering with communication

• How to lead your child to a future – many parents need information to lead

• That is the grey area how do we educate the parents to be ahead of the game – what do we do to prepare for college?

• Conversations talking about value of high school diploma

• We dropped programs at career colleges but the high school counselors tell them one thing – to “get a degree.” Need to get information to advisors about job growth and high wage/high skill set.

• We communicate that the more education you get the more money you get.

• Parental expectations – just want the kid to graduate. It’s not an issue of PSEO or online, they just want classes to be rigorous. How do you convince parents that four-year college preparation is not the only option, but career preparation is just as important? Don’t just tell the kids, we need to connect with the parents.

Policy Issues

• Barriers – credit transfer and guidance

• Policy structure in place that gets us there somehow.

• Administrative structure within various agencies that can create the environment

• One part of system achievement gap – we need to look at policies at face value. We know a lot of kids can excel in applied learning with only simple accommodations or increased expectations that recognize “what kids can do.” We partner with postsecondary and businesses – we tell them what we need but we don’t say “how can we help you” – what kind of resume do you want to see?

• Include ABE and other pathways to college to make it transparent. Do we understand why students are not completing? Is problem financial, social, or lack of preparation?

• Timeline where careers have gone in three decades and not consistent some policy changes that may guide that direction

• Do we have the data system for the outcomes

o Is this our focus or do we have a narrower outcome.

Information Needs

• We should look at partnerships in other states that have adopted a 21st century skill set.

• Who do we need to bring to the table? Bring students as part of a panel and then the other thing – teacher prep programs if we indeed need teachers to be aware externships would be a key thing. Teacher prep programs and require that when individuals student teach that they do something with businesses. We need to hire more counselors and perspective and how do we get information to all students in a unified manner and advising. Are there different ways to advise our student’s than counseling.

• Jump Start plan – look at norms – average debt verses where will you be in four years. Return on investment for a degree – money piece is a huge concept – what school you go to, state college or private institution. We need to hear from HESO

• Workforce development representatives from the trades or service industry, technology – non-profit groups, RISE and service industry, and fast-track program. A center for excellence – 360 does a good job marketing and overselling the salary issue.

• Data pieces do we want – completion rates; job market information; review of policies that are in statute right now; deeper understanding of credit transfer; update on Perkins

• FAFSA completion. What do you want out of SLEDS? PS enrollment rate and also how many students take development classes, postsecondary stay in program and get two-year degree in more than two years, etc.

Other Issues

• We are talking about encouraging kids. Our challenge is the people teaching them are all graduates of four-year programs – how do we get teachers prepared in other ways so that they can help students consider non-traditional degrees/certifications.

• One piece is state aid to enhance our partnership with business and industry – leverage equipment cost. Business has to pony up and we have no counseling programs available at the community college.

• Graduation rate going up – others things otherwise

• By ethnic group or poverty or what is basis (subgroups) – student engagement what causes to stay or drop out

• Technical skills need to engage the high end kid as well

• Very beginning of a glacial thought shift in our country that a four-year degree is not the path to prosperity and we need to be patient.

• Social readiness and now PSEO is for 10, 11 and 12. We need parents to help students understand if they ready for PSEO and how much do we want K-12 teachers to do postsecondary education?

Comment sent in by member after the meeting: My concern is with employers expecting more experience and/or degrees for less pay because they can in this economy.  Time and time again, I was faced with trying to place graduates into their field and the push back from employers was that they required more experience even over a degree. This makes it difficult for postsecondary graduates to gain employment and earn a livable wage and the conundrum of repaying debt, especially for those students that are in more of a liberal arts degree program, and some technical fields (STEM). So should we try focusing on developing secondary student internships that are more rigorous partnering with employers/colleges on a career track into that field?  We are doing a lot of work on the front end to get students into careers with or without degrees, but what happens when we put the muscle behind our efforts and there are no qualifying jobs?