Education

New standards could improve career technical education

High School students participate in an emergency services class at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology on Friday, January 6, 2017. Matthew Caldana gives two breaths of air as Makayla Dreibelbis prepares to start more chest compressions and James Ard watches the AED.
High School students participate in an emergency services class at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology on Friday, January 6, 2017. Matthew Caldana gives two breaths of air as Makayla Dreibelbis prepares to start more chest compressions and James Ard watches the AED. adrey@centredaily.com

Administrators at CPI said they’re always looking to be on the forefront of providing the real world with career-ready employees.

That’s why they’re going to review a set of proposed enhanced standards with their board, committee members and stakeholders to make sure the recommendations are met in a way that benefits the student and the employer.

It was sparked in late November when two state representatives announced they have been working on a set of standards to help improve career technical education and job preparedness.

Seth Grove, Pat Harkins are two state reps who drafted a new set of standards they hope will pass through the General Assembly to improve CTE

It’s a way to “better develop future generations for the workforce, which will serve to improve Pennsylvania’s economy,” state Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said.

Grove and state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, prepared a report for the House Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness from a culmination of seven hearings the subcommittee held during the 2015-16 legislative sessions.

It came with testimony from more than 60 business and education leaders, according to a report from the House of Representatives.

The report will be reviewed no later than this spring by the Occupational and Local advisory committees at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, and will likely also disseminate to some stakeholder groups, school President Richard Makin said.

CPI to review those standards to make sure they’re giving the best quality of CTE education for students, and prepared workers for employers

CPI’s Local Advisory Committee’s goal is to strengthen the career and technical education program of a school or college. The main purpose of the Occupational Advisory Committee is to strengthen the career and technical education program by making recommendations for program improvement and providing technical assistance to assure the most up-to-date curriculum content and appropriate applications of technology.

Both are a link between the career and technical education program and business and industry.

Makin said the report will serve as guidance for the committees.

What’s important right now is that the report presents a unique opportunity for us to look in the mirror

Richard Makin, CPI president

“These recommendations are being made to the General Assembly and it remains to be seen which (and) if any are followed through on. In the meantime, they provide us with food for thought,” he said. “What’s important right now is that the report presents a unique opportunity for us to look in the mirror,” Makin said.

One of the goals for CPI, Makin said, is to “reflect” by taking the time to discuss and formulate actions.

As an example, recommendation five of the report is “confront misperceptions regarding CTE,” of which “there are many,” Makin said.

“Are we doing enough to educate our sending school counselors (with) the opportunities in CTE and exposing them sufficiently to our programs?” Makin said. “A second example is the notion of making information available to students, parents and the public. We do catalogs, newsletters and a program guide. What else could we do? What ideas might our LAC and OAC have for getting the word out and confronting misperceptions?”

Makin said the report reinforces to him that CPI is “generally headed in the right direction” but will help with goals for the future.

“The report will help us sharpen our focus and gives us an opportunity to formulate and take actions that will enable us to do better for our students and their families,” he said.

98 percent of 2014-15 graduates tested advanced or competent on the NOCTI exam

During the secondary 2014-15 school year, 98 percent of CPI’s graduating class tested advanced or competent on the annual NOCTI exam, which evaluates job readiness for students in technical schools, Makin said.

Most other years, about 90 percent test advanced or competent, he added.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

CTE Improvement Categories

▪ continue legislative oversight of CDE initiatives;

▪ address business and industry demands;

▪ strengthen partnerships with business and industry;

▪ increase access to career and technical and education programs;

▪ and confront misperceptions regarding career and technical education.

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