Giving Good Guidance: Best Practices in College and Career Counseling


STEVE: Hello, and welcome to today’s webinar. You have joined Giving Good Guidance: Best Practices in College and Career Counseling by the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest at the American Institutes for Research. I’m your moderator, Steve Plank. I’m a managing researcher at the American Institutes for Research and at REL Midwest. And today, we have four presenters. I’ll introduce them to you briefly now. First, James Rosenbaum, Professor of Sociology, Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Secondly, Amy Vybiral from the Iowa Department of Education and their Division of Community Colleges. Third, we have with us today, Brandy Johnson, Executive Director at the Michigan College Access Network, known as MCAN, and also a member of REL Midwest’s College and Career Success Research Alliance. Finally, we have Chaney Mosley from AIR, a Senior College and Career Readiness Specialist, and also a specialist in career and technical education. Chaney was previously Director of Career and Technical Education for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. We want you to know that this webinar is intended to be interactive. Please ask questions of the experts throughout their presentations using the chat function. We will compile the questions and comments you submit and pose these to the presenters after their presentations have concluded. The chat box is your way to communicate with the presenters. Type your message or questions in the chat box in the menu bar on the right side of your screen. And do hit return or the enter key to post your message. Our agenda is just this: after this welcome and introductions, we will hear from Jim Rosenbaum on the research base; From Amy Vybiral on an Iowa context; Brandy Johnson will share a Michigan College Access Network Example; and then Chaney Mosley with discussing career and technical education instructors as advisors. We’ll then share – save at least 10 minutes for questions and answers. Before we get into the presentation, just a few quick words about REL Midwest. REL Midwest is a part of this network of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the US Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences. Each REL serves a designated region of the country, and focuses on the national priority of helping states and districts use data and analysis to address important policy and practice issues with the goal of improving student outcomes. We encourage you to visit our website and various online resources to see how REL Midwest can be a partner to you in your work. Now, REL Midwest operates eight research alliances. They’re listed on your screen. And today’s webinar is brought to you facilitated by the College and Career Success Research Alliance. With that, I want to introduce our first presenter. Jim Rosenbaum will speak to us about Career Guidance for the New College Reality. And over to you, Jim. JIM: Thank you, Steve. Good to be here today. I want to talk to you about a new college reality. It’s really amazing the way American society can change so quickly. And it leaves us who want to help students somewhat dismayed to keep up with. We really do have a new reality, and impressively, we’ve – a great deal has been accomplished. Society has come a long way towards what its goal of college for all. 90% of high school graduates enter college in the eight years after high school. 90%. However, many students drop out of college, and almost half of community college students leave college with no credential. Moreover, college students who get no credential get no financial payoffs. They have the same earnings as high school graduates who did not enroll. The question comes up: are we sending too many students to college who have no chance to benefit? The answer I will give is, no, that’s not the case. But only if we fully understand the options that are being offered. We did studies of various sorts, and two are in particular for this talk. One was a national survey of high school graduates in the class of 2004. And we examined their education and job outcomes eight years later. We also – a reform in Florida, which illustrates some of the common shortcomings of reforms, and also some frequently unnoticed opportunities. Next slide, slide two. The Florida reform had a goal to improve college and career readiness. However, Florida teachers saw the reform as focused only on college readiness for BA degrees. It did not provide career readiness if students had low academic achievement that was far below college level skills. Teachers were disappointed in this reform, that a reform that called itself college and career readiness did not provide good career options for all their students, even students with low achievement. Next slide. So, we asked, are BA degrees the only valuable college credential? Occupational certificates and associate degrees have increased in number and in value just in recent years. As you see on the graph, between the year 2000 and the year 2012, BA graduates increased by 44%, but certificate graduates increased almost twice that. And associate degree also were fairly comparable in growth. Turning to earnings, the earnings payoffs in 1999 – sorry. The earnings payoffs in 1999 were 22% for BAs, and negligible for certificates and associate degrees. 12 years later, in 2011, the earnings payoffs for BAs had gone up to 34%, but more dramatic was the fact that associate degrees and certificates now had significant impacts. Associate degrees had a 22% payoff, and certificates – a one year certificate – had a 13% earnings payoff. Moreover, 25% of certificate holders go on to get higher degrees. And that proportion is even higher for associate degree graduates. Next slide. Do students need college-level academic skills to succeed in college? Many occupational college faculty who we interviewed reported that the sub-baccalaureate programs, the certificates and associate degrees, only require 8th to 10th grade academic skills. We also found in the national study support for this. Students in the bottom third of test scores often complete college credentials. For low test students – that is to say, students in the bottom third who are in community colleges, only 11% manage to get a BA – in the next eight years. But another 15% get associate degrees, and 22% get certificates. More – in other words, the sub-baccalaureate credentials vastly expand the opportunities for getting credentials. Are important in reducing completion rates for BAs, as the – as everyone knows. But what’s not noticed is, they do not reduce completion for certificates, and even associate degrees. So, sub-baccalaureate credentials do not require high test scores. In addition, low test scores reduce earnings for people who get BAs. The BAs that get – that have high test scores get better earnings. But that is not the case for certificate and associate degrees where high test scores are not needed in order to get high earnings. Next slide. We analyzed what job rewards are associated with job satisfaction, because so much of the literature is focused on earnings, and we wanted to see whether there are other things that might be more important for individuals’ satisfaction. Analyzing a national sample of young adults, we found that young adults get less job satisfaction in high pay jobs than they do in jobs with non-monetary job rewards; such things as job autonomy and career relevance. In other words, as students are making choices, they should look at something more – because as young adults working, they are going to find those more rewarding. We next – next slide. We next looked at what credentials lead to such job rewards – such non-monetary job rewards, and we found that certificates offer many of the same non-monetary job rewards as BA degrees. And associate degrees offer nearly all of the same job rewards, sometimes at comparable magnitude. Next slide. We usually assume that college improves jobs by increasing individual skills. We focus a lot on skills. But is there anything else colleges can do to improve job outcomes? In our study of colleges, we found that private occupational colleges often devote a lot of resources to giving job placement help. They create effective resumes. They help students develop professional letters of inquiry. They help them develop job interview techniques. They help them search for appropriate jobs that will well use their skills, and to choose jobs with the best career future for them. Public colleges, in contrast, have very limited resources, and very little discretion to devote resources to job placement help. Community college graduates as a result often make mistakes in choosing the wrong job after they get a credential. Education is wasted when students – jobs that don’t use their skill. And indeed, society is harmed when students don’t take the jobs that use their skills. In other words, we should be devoting resources to community colleges to let them have support for job placement. Slide eight. We then looked at whether college scorecards could help students make career plans. President Obama has proposed that college scorecards would give information about graduates’ outcomes so that students would know what they were likely to get from a particular degree at a particular college. We found that, in the state of Florida, besides the reform that we talked about earlier, that they also had a college scorecard. And they had a very good one. And so, it’s – for understanding what could be learned from such a scorecard. Next slide. The Florida scorecard gives a good idea of what states can do. This scorecard indicates many good jobs for associate degrees and college certificate programs. Go on to the next slide, please. Good. This is hard to read, but it – I will tell you the important lessons here, and it’s – it really is fascinating. The college scorecard indicates that individuals with associate degrees, that’s the top category, and even people with college certificates that don’t have college credits in the middle category, and then, the last category is college credits certificate programs. All three of these groups have high employment rates, relatively high wages, and go on to good – their education. In fact, even in career certificate programs, the middle category, that often do not require remedial courses, do not require college-level academic skills, graduates can get good salaries, often over $30,000 a year, and they often have good employment rates, often over 80%. And some go on to further education. Up to 25% do that. Unfortunately, many teachers and students are not aware of certificate options that don’t require passing the college placement exam. Instead, they focus on pushing students into college readiness, regardless of their preparation for mastering that. Community colleges should be informing students about career readiness or certificate programs. Florida’s not alone here. We saw the same thing in California and Illinois and some other states. Certificates are a new, valuable option, and students should be informed that they can benefit from college, even if they don’t attain college-level academic skills. So, the question, are we sending too many students to college who have no chance to benefit? No. But they do need information about career certificates which provide access to good jobs, rarely require college-level academic skills, and can provide quick access – success – way to higher degrees. We need to inform students about these opportunities. Thank you. I want to go on to the next slide question – a quick poll, and you can answer this: what would you define as the most important post-secondary outcome? Thank you very much. And I want to introduce next Amy Vybiral, who will be speaking next. Thank you. AMY: My apologies. I’m having webcam issues all morning. Okay. Well, thank you, Dr. Rosenbaum. That was the perfect segue into my presentation. I’m going to talk a little bit about how college and career readiness have changed in Iowa over the last about 10 years, and how Iowa has moved from a task-based checklist to – hopefully into some high-quality career exploration planning and having a quality career decision making experience. Dr. Rosenbaum mentioned focusing on college and career and the benefits of earning a certificate. And that’ll be part of our discussion later. My name is Amy Vybiral. I work for the Iowa Department of Education. I’m in the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. And I’m a counselor by training. I have both – had both, I haven’t kept it up – school counselor endorsement and community counseling endorsement. And I’ve worked on – at Iowa State University for two years, and then at a community college for three or four years. So, when I came to the Department of Education and started working in Perkins, the state model was a single source of truth, which was I Have A Plan Iowa. It was a product that used to be called Choices. And that was a state-designated career information system. That was based on 32 components in grades 8, to actually get started, through 12. And that seems to be the general model, or people are still using that extensively – different states are. That was passed as an unfunded mandate in 2007, and that first five year cohort came out of ’08 through ’13. What those 32 components, they were developmentally appropriate career experiences, for example, for 8th graders to have. And the spirit of the law was that students would be choosing a pathway forward that would be visited every year. And they would be selecting coursework that reflected their post-secondary experience. I would say that their post-secondary experience usually meant a four year baccalaureate experience. That has evolved substantially to include anything beyond high school, including degrees, diplomas, certificates and so forth. So, I was really glad to hear what Dr. Rosenbaum was saying about the 78.8% increase and the 13% increase in earnings, because those are important numbers to recognize for diplomas and for certificates. What we – we ended up having quite a few users – sorry, Megan. So, after the first I believe it was six years, we had over 164,000 students enrolled. Iowa’s total population is 3.2 million, so we’re a pretty small state. But we made this available for everybody. So, for example, adult – adults could use it, parents could check into it, middle school, high school. Students started in 8th grade and prepared their course plan. And we required a parent signature so that we had parent engagement. Again, the spirit of the law – the intent was parent engagement, and as we all know now, one of our unintended consequences was that signature doesn’t necessarily imply parent engagement. And I certainly understand that as a busy parent myself. So, what we learned is, there was one state-designated system, and that was the I Have A Plan Iowa. And it was a very large and comprehensive program. What we knew in Iowa at the time was that some schools were engaged in quality career programming – you know, pre-K-12. Others were doing very little about it. And I would guess that most states see that kind of implementation statewide; where there is a school counselor who is passionate about career counseling, they have a wonderful career counseling program. Where that doesn’t hold true and other things are valued from the counselor’s point of view, career counseling is not implemented in the same way as it might be elsewhere. But the size of the options for the programming for IHAPI were enormous, and it was an overwhelming task to – just to do the professional development with that. It was actually funded by Iowa College Student Aid Commission, and they put about, you know, it was close to – it was close to $9 or 10 million for the state. So, schools did not have to pay for that system. But we lost the funding to that in the ’15 academic year, and the Department of Ed funded it this year. June 30th, it will go away. Some other unintended consequences: like I said, IHAPI was inflexible. So, for example, you had to go in sequential order. And as you know, most of you know, you’re teaching to a multi-level – multi-level classroom, and what works for some 8th graders doesn’t work for other 8th graders and so forth. Others implemented it beautifully and had quality career programming going. I think the most important lesson we learned is, allow counselors to – and trust them to use their training and use good sense when providing career counseling. Our new direction with this – I’ll try to keep up with my own slides. Our new direction really came when the legislature mandated HF604, that required that Career and Technical Education – create a task force to look at CTE in Iowa. And so, when – there were several groups that came together looking at things like career academies. They will be looking at work-based learning, maybe. But career guidance fell into that realm. And so, we had a career guidance task force members subgroup task force work groups. And then out of that came changed legislation that the governor signed that altered our Iowa code for that. What we eventually did, as well, is we put together a career standards group. Let me go back and just explain, I guess, a couple of things that changed. So, in it, we required – in the spirit, I guess, of the law, but adding some flexibility – so, the revision law requires that all students in grades 8 through 12 have an academic plan that is updated annually, and post-secondary refers to everything. Dr. Rosenbaum, again, I’m glad he spoke to this. But it includes college, career, military, training; so many different things. My time is coming short, and it required a tool. It required a local team. So, the – the sum and substance – I need to wrap this up – is that Iowa will be moving forward so that districts do choose their own vendor and will be required to report utilization statistics to Iowa. But I guess the implementation will be monitored by some regional partnerships that were set up. It’ll be 9 to 12 different partnership that will bring together several different themes and resources within the community. I already talked about the tool and the team. And now, I will transition over to Brandy Johnson. She’s with MCAM, the Michigan Career Access Network. BRANDY: Oh, there we go. Thanks. We’re going to start with a poll. So, if you could pull that up, Megan. So, this is a personal question. So, thinking back to when you were in high school, how helpful was your school counselor in helping you in terms of your post-secondary planning? So, you can see the choices there. We’ll give it like, 30 seconds to vote. And then, I think Megan’s going to pull up the results. FEMALE VOICE: You guys still voting? BRANDY: Great. FEMALE VOICE: You’ve got 10 more seconds to vote. BRANDY: Awesome. So, it sounds like the largest response we got back was I’m not sure my counselor knew my name. A couple of people said we didn’t have a school counselor, which was – which is really common in more rural communities I see in Michigan. And then, you know, a big chunk said that they were somewhat helpful. So, a very small minority said that their school counselor was, you know, very helpful in terms of post-secondary planning. I personal – I – so, that’s very reminiscent of what I see when I ask this question in Michigan. I have a really different experience. My school counselor was incredibly instrumental in helping me make the transition from secondary to post-secondary. I’m a first-generation college-going student. And so, it was her encouragement and support, especially around financial aid, that helped make the difference. And if it wasn’t for Ms. Raydell, my school counselor at Mountainview High School in Mesa, Arizona, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. And I think that really drives a lot of the passion that we have at MCAN, in terms of helping school counselors. So, just a quick background about the Michigan College Access Network. Our mission is, we’re an intermediary organization. We’re positioned as a non-profit organization, but we really help to mobilize a movement in Michigan to increase college readiness, enrollment and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color. We have four value statements that you’ll see here. The first is that college is post-secondary education. So, to the point that was made by the other speakers, we use the word college as an umbrella term that refers to post-secondary educational attainment, from certificate, all the way to bachelor’s degrees and beyond. We think college is a really positive word and we should embrace it. We shouldn’t reject the word college. We think we need to reframe the word college to be more inclusive than just four year degrees. Secondly, that college is a necessity. Again, in a 21st Century economy, a high school diploma is not enough to cut it. Some sort – something beyond high school is necessary to compete in our economy. Third, that college is for everyone. And this is our recognition that the attainment rates between subgroups of students is – the gaps are very large, and they’re unacceptable. And so, we need to make sure that we’re encouraging everyone to pursue post-secondary education, especially low-income students, and students of color, and students whose families didn’t go to college. And then finally, that college is a public good. Just as much – just as much as college is a private good, we also need to make sure that it’s recognized as something that’s helping our economy and communities. So, we have five strategies at MCAN that you can see here. And you can learn more on our website, but I wanted to zero in on professional development here, specifically for school counselors. In Michigan, we know that students need to have access to very well-trained, knowledgeable, effective, strategic school counselors who are really empowered to be the leaders in their building for college access. But that’s not what we had. Looking at survey data from school counselors, both nationally and here in Michigan, school counselors were telling us and policymakers that they didn’t have adequate pre-service training or access to in-service professional development as it relates to college and career readiness counseling. They were ready in spades in terms of personal and social emotional counseling, and even academic and career counseling, but in terms of the transition to post-secondary education and fulfillment of their career goals, they felt like they were not properly trained. This is a slide from the 2012 National Survey of School Counselors that was published by College Board. And it reports – it’s sort of a busy slide, but it shows you that counselors, you know, generally feel that – in many of these elements, that this was inadequately covered or not covered at all, especially if you look at the bottom two, in terms of college and career admissions processes and college affordability planning. So, MCAN developed a couple of strategies to attack this need. First was a pre-service strategy. Michigan has nine school counseling master’s degree programs, so grad programs that train school counselors to be school counselors. We reached out to them, and offered some small – really small, modest incentive grants to these graduate programs to develop, offer and require a dedicated course in college counseling for pre-service school counselors. At the time, only one even offered a course. And so, the vast majority didn’t offer a course at all. So, five institutions took us up on that offer, and now two of them today have dedicated coursework that every school counselor student needs to take in order to complete their master’s degree. And a third is about to launch their course next year in 2017. At the same time we were working on the pre-service strategy, we also realized that we needed to work on the, you know, more than a thousand school counselors in Michigan that were currently in service. So, we partnered with the Southern Regional Education Board and their program called the Go Alliance Academy, which is a curriculum for school counselors. We purchased a license to the curriculum, but then modified it in Michigan to offer it as an actual course for in-service school counselors to take. So, in its most basic form, the course is for high school counselors. It includes 60 hours of content that’s taught over eight months in a hybrid format – so half online, half in person. And the facilitators for the course are experts, many of whom – most of whom are veteran school counselors. We also were able to make the school counselor course free thanks to some philanthropic investments and some foundation funds that we raised. We collaborated – the Kresge Foundation was a huge funder, but we collaborated with the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Virtual University, which is an education provider, as well as our Scholarship office in Michigan, our Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and our NACAC affiliate in Michigan. And so, I’m really – let me just say one more thing about what is covered in the course. So, college affordability planning, admissions processes, college and career assessments, academic planning for college readiness – to Dr. Rosenbaum’s point, how to build college aspirations and create a college-going culture, and really helping students make that transition from high school to college enrollment. We launched the course in 2014, hoping that school counselors would voluntarily want to take the course. We had a hundred school counselors enroll, and 82 of those hundred finished the full 60 hour course. We ran the course again in 2014-15, again in 15-16. And we just opened enrollment in 16-17. Over the course of the last three years, we’ve graduated about 350 school counselors in this course. The feedback has been really positive, and just a couple weeks ago, we launched thinking that we had saturated the market and there can’t be more school counselors out there that actually want to take the course. But within the first two weeks of registration, we had 103 school counselors register for the course. So, the school counselors gave us really great feedback about how beneficial the course was. They want more training; they recommended it to other counselors; and they felt better prepared. They also got 60 hours of school counselor – or continuing education hours, and got an endorsement from MCAN. And so, I’ll just close up here by mentioning what I think really worked for us. We really embraced and emphasized the important value of the school counselor in a high school building. We did it as a hybrid, both in person and online, to help school counselors in terms of their busy schedules. MCAN ran the course, and we have a good reputation for providing quality professional development, but we used expert instructors to teach the course. We recognize that this PD opportunity wasn’t isolated, so we also surrounded it with other programs that MCAN runs. And we used existing school counselors as instructors. So, that’s a little bit about MCAN’s PD for school counselors in this college and career guidance space. And I’m now going to turn it over to Chaney to talk about CTE instructors as advisors. CHANEY: Thanks, Brandy. I appreciate that introduction. We’re also going to start off this presentation with a quick poll. So, we’ll launch that poll now and take a look at the results. This question asks, how would you define the difference between career counseling and career advising? And three simple options. They sound the same to me, counseling equals are you failing, and advising equals here are your choices. Or, counseling equals what’s available, and advising equals finding the best fit. Please respond in the next 10 seconds, and we’ll take a look at the results. FEMALE VOICE: People are still rapidly voting, so about 10 more seconds. CHANEY: So, we have responses in all categories. That’s great. About 38% feel they sound the same. 7% says counseling is are you failing, advising is here are your choices. And then, the majority of us feel that counseling equals what’s available, and advising equals finding the best fit. As we continue over the next few minutes, we’ll dig a little deeper into this question. Good morning, good afternoon, depending on what time zone you’re in. I’m Chaney Mosley, and I’m a Senior College and Career Readiness Specialist at American Institutes for Research. Let’s see if I can get the slide back up. There we go. It gets a little confusing as we switch back and forth between presenters. Prior to coming to American Institutes for Research, I was the Career and Technical Education Director for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for about four years. And before that, I worked at the Tennessee Department of Education. And before all that, I spent seven years in the classroom as a high school career and technical education teacher. Often, I’m asked the question, what is career and technical education? We know that there’s a stigma sometimes associated with the phrase, career and tech ed, or CTE, often referred to as vocational education. And when I hear that, I cringe a bit and think of my father, who did complete a vocational education program when he was in high school and earned his masonry certificate. And through that, he was prepared for a job, to be a block layer or lay brick, apply mortar. And that job, ideally, would carry him throughout his life. Unfortunately, that job did not provide opportunities for growth or career advancement, and this is the difference between vocational and career and technical education. The purpose of CTE really is to provide students with both academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in post-secondary education and future careers. And they do this by introducing learners to the workplace competencies, and they make academic content accessible to students by providing instruction through a hands-on learning context. Across the country, career and technical education is divided or organized into 16 national career clusters. And we’ll get into all of those. I’m sure each state has a different delivery model. So, with that in mind, we’ll go back to the question we were first asked, what is career counseling? We see that the National Career Development Association defines career counseling as assisting in the development of a life-career with focus on the definition of the worker role and how that role interacts with other life roles. This is in contrast to career advising, which is helping students understand how personal interests, abilities and values might predict success in academic and career fields they are considering, and how to form academic and career goals accordingly. So, with those two definitions, we asked the question, how are career and technical education instructors positioned as career counselors and/or career advisors? And so, it’s an interesting question to consider. As a career and technical education teacher, our charge really is to augment the learning that occurs for students in their general education content classes, such as English, math, science, social studies, and demonstrate the real world application of those by preparing them in tandem for post-secondary education or immediate entry into the workforce. So, we think about a career, because that’s the foundational word in the phrase career and technical education. A career is an occupation that’s undertaken for a significant period of time, or a long period of a person’s life, that does offer opportunities for progress. CTE instructors, then, are unique and can be career counselors and advisors because often, these instructors have experience in a career context, and they have a career-based expertise, as well. And it’s this experience and knowledge that allows them to provide the hands-on instruction that is so common to career and technical education. Through this instruction, students are able to make observations. And when the teachers provide this type of instruction and assessment, they’re able to determine the level of skill or technical proficiency that students have. There are also opportunities for CTE teachers to be career counselors or advisors through guiding students through participation in career and technical student organizations. We’ll talk a little bit more about that as we continue through. Ideally, when a student graduates high school, though, he or she has some knowledge of the direction they want to head. And maybe it is post-secondary education. I heard it referred to as college being any type of post-secondary education, from an industry credential moving through a four year degree earlier in the presentation. It may be immediate entry into the workforce. And it could be something such as the military, which provides both education and immediate entry into the workforce. So, this is how CTE teachers are positioned as both career counselors and career advisors. They do this quite often through providing experiential or work-based learning opportunities. Each state typically has their own policy guidance on what work-based learning is or what is characterized as experiential learning. And there are a few examples or models that I think are most common. In the classroom, CTE teachers provide simulated work environments. And this can be quite difficult or challenging, depending on the type of learning environment that the CTE teacher has. But this is where those employability skills can really be honed in by students, by treating students as if they are employees, and assessing them as if they are getting an on-the-job evaluation, for example. Or providing real world tasks for students to complete that mimic what happens in the world of work. Another example would be project-based teaching, which calls for authenticity in the development of a final product, and often involves using a public audience. It’s especially helpful if that public audience could be someone or a group of individuals who work in a career context. A few more include authentic assessments, which we’ve already talked about. Instead of the paper-based, multiple-choice test, or maybe having students write essays or short answers, or defining words – and those things are great as, I think, formative assessments to gather where students are throughout instruction, an authentic – assessment really gives a CTE teacher a good picture of where a student is on that learning spectrum. And they can also augment or provide experiential learning opportunities, augment the teaching, through bringing in guest speakers who are industry professionals and experts to talk about what happens in the real world. There are industry field trips that students can take on. They can also participate in job shadow opportunities. Internships and apprenticeships are certainly great opportunities for students. By the end of high school, students could complete a capstone project, or they could also engage in some type of service learning project that is specific to a career field. We talk about employability skills, and this is the employability skills framework that is provided to us from the Office of Career Technical and Adult Education. And you can see there are a variety of employability skills that we should be focusing on so that when our students leave high school, if they do go for immediate entry, they are prepared with interpersonal skills. They are aware of the personal qualities that make them competitive in a job market. They are proficient with using technology. And all the gamut around the employability skills framework. If you want more information on that, you can simply type it into a search engine and find this framework and take a deeper dive into that. And there are a lot of examples of promising practices. And I wanted to provide these to you. You’ll have access to this information at the completion of the webinar. You know, the Academies of Nashville is the context through which I was working prior to coming to AIR. Nashville Public Schools adopted the Career Academy model and went wall-to-wall where every student in our comprehensive high schools is a member of a career academy. This website, the MyAcademyBlog, provides excellent descriptions or examples of high quality career and technical education with samplings of the experiential learning that we just discussed. Skills USA is one example of a career and technical student organization, and every career and technical education area has an associated career and tech student organization. But visiting this website might expand our perspectives of what that offers. ConnectED is an organization out of California that focuses on linked learning and how to connect business and industry with education through those high quality partnership that facilitate learning. And again, Ford Next Generation Learning is a philanthropic arm from Ford Motor Company. And they provide a great framework for transforming the high school student experience through redesigning high schools, rethinking how we engage business and industry partners, and rethinking about the student high school experience. These four presentations have provided quite a bit of information around college and career readiness. And as we transition to the next slide, there is an opportunity for us to ask questions of any of the speakers. So, I’d now like to reintroduce my colleague, Steve Plank. STEVE: Thanks, Chaney. And some questions have been submitted. We really appreciate those. Jim Rosenbaum, I’m going to come to you with the first question. When you were presenting, Jim, you had a slide that said – it asked, do students need college academic skills to succeed in college? And low test scores were said to reduce BA completion, but not necessarily to reduce certificate or associate’s completion. Low test scores were said to reduce BA earnings, but not necessarily to reduce certificate or associate’s degree earnings. As you were presenting this, an audience member asked, what is the upper limit when it comes to low test scores? And I think this means, when is a low test score creeping into that territory where it’s high enough that we give different advice? So, how are you defining low test scores? How does this guide the advice we give to students? JIM: Thank you, Steve. It’s a great question. I think the focus needs to be on telling students, there is something for nearly everyone in college. And students can make their own choices. We can advise those choices. But the most important lesson is not the one that we’re now giving. The one we’re now giving is that everybody needs 12th grade academic skills or higher. That is not the case for a lot of students. STEVE: Thanks, Jim. Here’s a question for the whole panel, but Brandy and Chaney, I’m going to start with you. An audience member was listening to the entire discussion and said, so, here we are, talking about defining beyond college as a heterogeneous set of options; many different pathways, and many different options. What assurances are we all giving so that the career option chosen immediately after high school does not become terminal, but is viewed as one step on a career pathway? Brandy, let me start with you, and then Chaney. BRANDY: Yeah, when we – so, the language that we use when talking about this is stackable. So, we don’t recommend, when school counselors or college advisors are advising students, we don’t advise them to go into, let’s say, sub-associate certificate programs that can’t be then built on with other, more advanced forms of education. And I think Chaney’s example of his dad was a beautiful example of that. And so, yeah, I mean, I think you can emphasize lifelong learning. But too many students don’t make just even that first step from a secondary education to a post-secondary education program, which is, you know, the worst of all options. CHANEY: Yeah, thanks, Brandy. And I’ll add to that. You know, we can’t guarantee that a choice that a student makes once he or she leaves high school and begins a job, we can’t guarantee that they will not be in that – that’s not a terminal decision. But what we can do is ensure that we are educating students about the continuum of career growth and career progressions, and communicate the multiple op – the opportunities for multiple entry and exit points. And the best practice of doing this at the local level, and I think that something should be done in all schools with all career and technical education programs of study, is clearly articulating what that continuum looks like and what those multiple entry and exit points are or might be for a specific career and tech ed program so that a student understands, when he or she graduates high school, what options are there for immediate entry into the local or regional workforce? What options are there to earn an industry-recognized certification or credentials? What technical college or training or certificate training program or two year community college options are available aligned with that program of study in the local or regional area? Or what four year colleges are aligned with that program of study in the four year area? And at each level, communicating possible career options that are realistic, that exist; not looking 500 miles away from the hometown, but something that’s actually accessible to the student. And demonstrating how a student might begin in a lower pay position that may have less responsibility, but clearly connecting how advanced education and increased certification promote that upward mobility throughout a career. And I feel very, very passionately that if we do not communicate this information to students, then we’re not doing our jobs as career and technical education professionals, and it’s a disservice to students. STEVE: Okay, thank you. JIM: Steve, it’s a great question you ask, because many – there are people that discover this. They discover the opportunities to go further. The problem is that not many people know about these opportunities. So, what Chaney’s saying is exactly what we should be saying is, look, there’s always more opportunities. And you can take advantage of it, just as other people do. STEVE: Right. Amy, I don’t see you on the webcam, but that’s fine. I’m going to presume we’re connected here. First, a clarification question – hi, Amy. A clarification question from the audience, and then I think I’ll ask you a second one. You used the phrase, high-quality career guidance. Perhaps it was part of your title, I’m not remembering. But when you say high-quality career guidance, what would be your bullet points on high quality? What are those essential elements? AMY: I would say, anything that’s useful for a counselor to begin a dialogue with the students. You know, the interest inventory, the career cluster inventory is only as good as the counselor makes it. So, it can be, you know, printed off and tossed in the curriculum file, never to be seen again. And hopefully Iowa is moving away from that. Another thing is continuing to revisit that plan and using the developmentally appropriate career components and infusing that within the curriculum. Obviously, the core curriculum, but even within the career and technical education curriculum, especially. There are so many opportunities, and we see this in quality career guidance from around the state. When the counselor’s passionate, when the career and technical education teachers are passionate, and you have a couple of passionate teachers teaching the core, and you have the kid coming to you and saying, you know what? I really do want to work for NASA. What do I have to do? Well, then, you take them to the physics teacher and you have a conversation. You take them to the ag science instructor and you talk about the drones you’re working on. You know, how do you get those conversations started? And you don’t sit them down and have them page through, you know, all the colleges that provide a degree that could get you into that position. You have a conversation. And we know that there are people who would sit a kid in front of a computer. And, you know, those tests have all the reliability and, you know, validity in the world. You work with a work card sorter and you go through the third card. That kid says, yeah, let’s talk. And you know when that connection’s been made. I don’t know if I answered your question. But Iowa’s – we’ve got a tough road ahead of us. STEVE: Yeah, thanks. I’m going to ask you another question, Amy. But first, do any panelists want to chime in? No. Amy, here comes another question. As I was listening to you talk, really enjoying your presentation, I was thinking about what a state department of education is doing and what districts are doing and trying to wrap my head around the partnership from business industry employers that you’re hungry for. I imagine some of this you’re making good headway in Iowa. And additionally, you probably have a wish list. So, talk about educators being in partnership with business industry and employers. AMY: Absolutely. I’m really glad you brought that up, because, you know, there’s no carrot, nor is there a stick for this Iowa code. And what’s going to work with this is what Iowa’s pulling together. It also came out of the House File 604: it was mandated that the current tech ed task force take a look at this. And so, there are regional partnerships – and there will either be 9 or 15. That’s what we have as far as community college districts go. That the school district is going to have to come up with a plan for each academic year and submit to those regional partners those partnerships for approval. And then, the regional partnerships will submit it to the department for the department approval. The reason that’s important is because regional partners will be a one stop shop everything. Business and community leaders, economic development, regional and urban planners, Iowa workforce development [quotes], career and technical education [quotes]. They’ll also be the career academy in the area where they’re doing concurrent enrollment. Iowa has a – I think Iowa has the highest rate in the nation of concurrent enrollment classes. So, these ki – not only are the districts compelled to be a part of these regional partnerships, they will also be seeing these kids all day every day. And part of this interaction with this team that has come forth out of the career standards team, is that that team – kids are surrounded by career and technical education professionals and everyone else all the time. Workforce development. Career counselors. There is an obvious difference between career counseling. But I hope I answered your question there. STEVE: You did, thanks. I just want – we only have time for one more question. I’m going to direct it to Brandy, Chaney, and anyone else. So, an audience member was interested in the stackable options, but wanted a concrete, real-life example. So, Brandy, as you’re talking about stackable options, be as concrete as you can. Describe to us what’s out there. BRANDY: Sure. So, I see it a lot in community colleges. Michigan’s blessed to have 28 community colleges that are really invested in this option. So, it might be a student that is starting off in a skilled trades field, let’s say in advanced mechanics. They might start with a certificate, get a job, but then decide they want to beef up and parlay that certificate into an associate degree, but they wouldn’t need to start over. They would have, you know, maybe 30 credits out of the way if it’s a one year certificate program. And then, they would add on another set of specific courses. They then may decide after they have an associate degree and have been working in that field for a couple of years that they want to actually venture into management of a mechanic shop or a company. So, they might then transfer that associate degree to a four year university to get a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in, you know, a manufacturing field or something like that. And then, you know, the sky’s the limit from there. So, it’s really about continuing your education without having to start over at ground zero. STEVE: Great. I’ll close out the webinar in just a moment. Chaney, do you have any thoughts about stackable options? I’m offering you the last 30 seconds. CHANEY: I love the discussion on stackable options. Health care exists in every community across the United States, and health care presents a very excellent example of what this looks like. A student in high school attains his or her certified nursing assistant certification, and immediately begins working in that field upon graduation while taking some classes part-time, maybe completes an associate’s degree and becomes a licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse, depending on your state, works in that field, and then realizes he or she wants to become a registered nurse and goes back to school and gets his or her RN. They work in that field for a bit, and maybe go pursue a bachelor’s degree if they want to and get that Bachelors of Nursing, and then say, you know what? I want to be a physician’s assistant. And so, it’s just another example like what Brandy just gave us of how one can stack those credentials. This example allows one to stay in the same field of health care where I think Brandy illustrated how one can start off in mechanics and end up in business management. So, they’re both good options. STEVE: To be respectful of our audience members, we’ll move forward. I want to thank all the presenters and the very engaged audience. Resources are on your screen. Please look at relmidwest.org. Please understand what these research alliances are doing, and especially our College and Career Success Research Alliance. You’ll see descriptions of who the members are, projects and resources. Amy Proger is the lead of that research alliance. There, you see her phone number and her e-mail address on the screen. We are featuring a feedback survey. I believe at the bottom middle of audience members’ screens you see a link. And in the follow-up email in the next one to two days, you’ll be invited to complete this survey. We really value your response. We want to hear from you. There’s a great conversation and a lot of great activity and action helping students be ready for careers and college. We thank the panelists. Go forth and do all that good work, everybody. Bye. JIM: Goodbye.

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