Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

Recommendations not previously considered in small groups:

1. The legislature should eliminate application fees for Minnesota residents at the Minnesota State Colleges which have an open enrollment policy and provide appropriations to offset the lost revenues.
2. The legislature should make annual appropriations to cover the full cost of developmental education for students
3. Adopt a model of career fields/ pathways in MN to provide consistency in language and communication for all parties when partnering with one another as we help to prepare our youth for that larger thing called “life”.
4. I believe bold changes must be made to:
a. Close the achievement gap,
b. Utilize assessment tools to determine training needs that lead to jobs, career or college, and then,
c. Align partnerships within each district to ensure training to meet employer needs.

The way that I see it we must make systemic changes that will provoke how our guidance counselors meet with all students. These changes must be monitored and measured for effectiveness to include an aggressive approach in meeting minority placements (internships/jobs/career track/college.) This may mean that guidance counselors only work with students for career development and not as a counselor. Possibly changing the name from Guidance Counselor to Career Development Advisor and leave counseling to individuals with a background in behavioral sciences. These CDA’s will be the conduit to faculty/staff/post-secondary and continuing education and employers to introduce students to careers of interest. Similar to what is being done in colleges currently. As the CDA’s identify the needs of their individual school population (realizing that not all needs will be met, but possibly a majority OR based on the schools focus area,) the CDA’s will collaboratively work with post-secondary and DEED and bring employers to the table to discuss internship and job training programs.

I believe that changing this one area, assessing what Guidance Counselors actually do on a day-to-day basis, tearing it down and re-constructing their roles…then building policy to ensure a process that gets everyone at the table, will narrow our achievement gap and help employers understand what schools/DEED can help them with (which will help to build training where and when it’s needed.) I think you can see the cause and effect with the last statement.

Also, cultural training is strongly warranted. Many of our students are still not being taught by people of color when more indications of a diverse workforce is vastly approaching. I am not talking diversity training, I am speaking of specific culture training to help all of us understand the African American, African, Hmong, Somali, Hispanic culture. Why is this important?

Ex: Our continuing education department is providing cultural training currently for The City of Minneapolis, Regulatory Affairs Department in Chinese and Somali culture training. They have determined that knowing how to communicate effectively, and how to deal with conflict with this population will allow better partnership with residences and businesses and hopefully alleviate the need for conflict. The City is seeing value in this type of training within a department that is customer facing. Our school system must receive training and on-going training to be able to serve our diverse population more appropriately.

Lastly, I think we should only have one last brief panel. Possibly 30-45 minutes to hear what Guidance Counselors do (or a job description could suffice for review.) First generation students and teachers from rural and metro areas.

*** Added

I believe that if we are doing our part and can demonstrate that we are doing everything possible by demonstrating that we have met with each student on a consistent basis throughout their education then the parent involvement issues will become a moot point. Please don’t read this that I am saying that we should mitigate this practice – absolutely not – parents should be involved with their child’s education. What I am saying is that some parents are involved and others are not but the school system will continue to engage regardless!

5. Bring flexibility both ways if possible, increasing flexibility for qualified high school instructors, and to the high school level from postsecondary instruction.
a. Backmapping was mentioned, that is back-mapping required high school standards to what is taught through certification programs, that standards can be taught in multiple settings and strategies – what’s needed is showing that all standards are taught/learned.
b. Flipped instruction use was also mentioned – example: higher education faculty producing the digital content which is then delivered in the high school. Higher education faculty would also be responsible for “grading” student performance.
6. Industry certification: manufacturing if possible as well as office-type certifications (ie Microsoft).
7. Teacher preparation institutions need to require a career counseling course for all teachers, Kindergarten through Postsecondary.
8. We looked at extending PSEO funding to the summer time for students to open assess to this type of programming and be very useful in light of the youth issues with unemployment.
9. Programs should have the same standard by program discipline across two and four year courses that are equivalent.
10. Looking at a flipped model of instruction as an emerging PSEO/ concurrent model. Content developed by college faculty and facilitated learning by high school teacher. In some ways, maybe looking to fund graduate education courses for high school teachers to meet credentialing might also be advantageous, when you consider the funding MDE had for AP training/IB training- that type of funding for concurrent/ PSEO could have supported teachers in graduate education that also would benefit in step and salary and open opportunities for teachers to have dual enrollment employment options.
11. Finding ways to use the old early graduation funding incentive and putting it towards a college scholarship of their choice. I wonder how a concept like Power of You could have been scaled across the state, building access and capacity for the undeserved.
12. Look at Achieve's STEP UP campaign around summer internships as a way of scaling this statewide?
13. Review high school graduation requirements to move towards embedding more online education or encouraging all students to take a college course while in high school, through one of the multiple ways early college credit is garnered- a few states require students to take an online course- 20% of all higher education courses are conducted online.
14. Connect students to MOOCs (massively open online courses) as a free way to try out higher education without the risk of PSEO, maybe have the high school use their content and the high school help provide facilitation of the learning, but the MOOC credential the learning?
15. Put more effort into communication and marketing what already exists? How can we improve the communication to parents, students and community of the range of options to save time and money?
16. Using college level certificate programs, including industry recognized certificated, as part of the partnerships between districts and colleges as the emphasis to meeting local labor market need is critical and should be a priority coming from our work group. Maybe having the legislature help fund the development of these certificate programs would be attractive in the next biennial budget?