“A Career in a Year.” That’s the motto of Florida’s Public Technical Center System. Comprised of 47 public technical centers certified by the Council on Occupational Education, these institutions provide career and technical education (CTE), award postsecondary certificates and prepare students for industrial certification exams in dozens of such diverse fields as healthcare, firefighter science, automotive technology, architectural drafting, culinary arts, commercial photography and web design. The “Career in A Year” phrase references the accelerated pace of these programs, many of which ready students for certification or entry-level technical positions in just nine to fifteen months.

At the end of this month, Florida teachers, administrators, vendors and supporters of CTE will gather for three days in Wesley Chapel (Tampa Bay) for the 48th Annual FACTE Conference and Trade Show. The event is sponsored by the Florida Association of Career and Technical Educators (FACTE), a statewide professional association that has been serving CTE instructors and administrators since 1926. Beyond providing networking opportunities, the conference will also feature seminars addressing new trends in workforce education, innovative classroom techniques as well as local and federal legislative updates from the Florida Department of Education.

To register for the 48th Annual FACTE Conference and Trade show, click here. The summit takes place from July 28 to July 30 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Florida (approximately 22 miles north of Tampa in Pasco County).

US Dept. Of Ed Seeks to Build Partnerships between employers, CTE centers and local education agencies

Once known as “adult” or “vocational education,” CTE has attracted increased attention on the state and national educational landscape as a fast-track for students seeking to enter high-skilled careers and a pathway to more advanced credentials. Increasingly, education thought leaders are looking to redesign CTE as an integral part of a 21st century high school degree that prepares students for both college and the workforce. “The cause of strengthening CTE programs should never be an excuse for reducing rigor and tracking students away from pursuing a college degree. Students pursuing non-degree postsecondary credentials still need college-ready academic skills,” stated Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a speech addressing the new CTE. “Telecom workers and HVAC technicians may not need a four-year degree. But they do need higher-order math skills, including Algebra II.”

On the federal level, a law governing career and technical education in high schools is due for its first overhaul in over six years. Known as the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, the law currently allots over $1 billion in annual funding to CTE programs. It was first passed in 1984, renewed in 2006 and is due for reauthorization this year.

Among the changes the US Department of Education wants to include in the law’s reauthorization is a new model for distributing Perkins funding that encourages regional employers, high schools and postsecondary institutions to collaborate, establish measurable data benchmarks of success and create educational pathways that reflect local workforce needs. While not explicitly based on the collective impact framework, “collaboration through consortia” is one of their goals for a new Perkins reauthorization. In the 2012 report, Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education, the agency explains that its new funding formula would discourage “siloed” funding to single institutions. Instead, it would encourage alignments between local education agencies, postsecondary institutions and other partners such as regional employers, industry and labor organizations as well as public and private workforce entities.

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