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Helpful information about STEM education and CTE programs

Common Career Technical Core – It’s What America’s Students NEED!

by Admin 31. October 2014 04:48

This article was first published in EdNET Insight on October 24, 2014

After all of the kerfuffle surrounding Common Core State Standards (CCSC)- we're reporting today on a widely supported - by educators and employers - initiative that is helping students become the best that they can be.

For at least the last two decades Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs have too often been marginalized because of the misguided belief that all students should be encouraged to pursue a university degree. The statistics demonstrate that "University for All Students" delivers a terrible disservice to America's youth - please refer to some of the statistical facts in our previous article from this publication - There is Another Bubble Burst Coming and it Needs To Happen Soon.

Despite the current push for all students to gain a bachelor's degree, the facts do not support that goal. Consider these relevant facts:

  • Less than 22% of the USA population will actually need a 4-year degree according to the US Department of Labor.
  • 65% will need some form of postsecondary or on-the-job skills training
  • 71% of the skilled labor workforce is expected to retire in the next 15 years
  • Currently, about 3 million skilled positions are unfilled that pay $29K-$74K per year
  • The skilled trades are consistently the hardest jobs to fill according to Manpower Group's annual survey of employers, along with IT staff, nurses, and drivers; all "middle skills" jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.
  • Or, put another way, middle skills jobs account for 54 percent of the U.S. labor market, but only 44 percent of the country's workers are trained at that level.

For the last several years, the Common Core for academic subjects has dominated the national media on education, but what you may not have heard about is the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC). We need much more media coverage of CCTC in order to inform educators, parents, politicians, and the general population about the opportunity they present.

The CCTC is a set of rigorous, high-quality standards for CTE, developed for and by states, and organized by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). The CCTC include student performance expectations for each of the 16 Career Clusters® and their corresponding Career Pathways that define what students should know and be able to do after completing instruction in a Program of Study. The CCTC also includes an overarching set of Career Ready Practices (CRP). These 12 CRP statements define the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are universally needed as students enter the work force regardless of the type of work the students are doing. In view of the adage "hire for skills and fire for behaviors" employers are very encouraged by the inclusion of these CRPs.

The CCTC are not just another set of course-level or curricular standards. Rather, they identify the competencies and skills students should master after completing a sequence of courses that likely includes secondary and postsecondary experiences, consistent with the Program of Study model. This unique focus on End-of-Program of Study expectations means the CCTC can serve as an anchor for the wide assortment of national, state, local and industry expectations currently in use in classrooms around the country, and help build a bridge between secondary and postsecondary courses and programs. Never before have states had a common benchmark for what students should know and be able to do after completing a Program of Study, making the CCTC the first of its kind. See what your state is doing in CTE.

Paxton/Patterson is supporting CCTC by fully integrating CCTC in all of our learning systems for STEM, Construction, Health Science, and Life Skills - Career Clusters and Career Pathways now provide the assurance of excellence in our learning systems. We work with school districts all over the USA to create rigorous Programs of Study using our learning systems. All our learning systems utilize the Paxton Cloud Learning Management System so students can learn Anywhere, Anytime and on Any Device. We use a mastery-based system which provides students with immediate feedback and remediation for exactly those areas it is needed.

WHY CCTC is important for Students – Today far too many students fail to discover their true interests and aptitudes while in secondary education because they are not engaged in rigorous CTE programs that educate students about the wide range of careers options. Students with the advantage of much broader knowledge about what it takes to be successful in many careers make much more informed Career Pathway decisions. CCTC provides the framework to ensure all students are Career & College Ready.

WHY CCTC is important for the Economy - The CCTC is a state-led initiative, with 42 states and the District of Columbia participating in the development stage. Business and industry representatives have helped guide the development of the CCTC from beginning to end to ensure CTE students will have the knowledge and skills to thrive in a global economy. And, the CCTC identify both industry-specific expectations as well as those equally important 21st century skills and competencies critical in any career field.

What Can YOU do?

  • Contact the leadership of your local school districts to determine how they are using CCTC within their CTE programs. If they are not adequately integrating CCTC, encourage them to do so.
  • Contact local media to get coverage of outstanding CTE programs using CCTC.
  • Get the CCTC message out to other business leaders.
  • Contact state legislators to express your support for CCTC and to bring it to a top-of-mind position for funding support.
  • Learn more at

We look forward to hearing about your successes in promoting CCTC.

Bud Johnson Vice President, Sales & Marketing Paxton/Patterson

Bud has been passionate about improving Career & Technical education for the past 34 years with Paxton/Patterson. He has authored several articles and delivered presentations at numerous state and national conferences.

Kimberly A. Green Executive Director

Kimberly works directly with the Board of Directors to oversee the accomplishment of the NASDCTEc and National Career Technical Education Foundation (NCTEF) vision/mission and goals. Working with the Board, she helps set the direction of the organizations, execute the strategic plan and ensure the integrity and vitality of the organizations.

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