OVAE Connection -- January 26, 2011
Archived Information

Participation Up in CTE Fields of Communications, Health, and Public Services

There is evidence that public school students are increasing their participation in CTE fields that support critical sectors of the economy such as health, public services, and communications. Data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from 1990 to 2009 point to higher percentages of public high school graduates earning credits in communications and design (up from 18.4 to 29.6 percent), consumer and culinary services (up from 13.8 to 18.0 percent), health sciences (up from 3.2 to 10.3 percent), and public services (up from 3.8 to 9.6 percent).

Overall, however, the rate of participation in CTE dropped from 1990 to 2009 from 98 to 94.1 percent. This drop is due mainly to declining participation in non-occupational CTE (family and consumer sciences education and general labor market preparation), where the percentage of students who earned credits fell from 86.3 percent to 70.3 percent. In occupational CTE fields, the overall decline was from 88.2 to 84.9 percent of students. The decline in occupational fields overall was largely driven by those in business and manufacturing where the percentage of students earning credits declined by about 40 percent (from 51.7 to 32.5 percent in business and from 22.4 to 12.9 percent in manufacturing). There was also a decline of about 20 percent in participation in engineering technologies, from 13.7 to 11.1 percent.

No significant measurable change was found in participation rates in agriculture and natural resources (9.1 to 10.7 percent earned credits), computer and information sciences (25.1 to 21.2 percent), construction and architecture (7.4 to 6.7 percent) marketing (8.5 percent for both years), and repair and transportation (10.1 to 8 percent).

The NCES data also show a decline in the average number of credits earned in CTE. They fell from 4.2 credits in 1990 to 3.6 credits in 2009, while the average number of academic credits earned by public high school graduates increased from 16.7 to 20.0 over the same period. As a result, the percentage of total credits earned by high school graduates included more academic and fewer CTE credits. In 1990, 18 percent of the credits earned by public high school graduates came from CTE courses, while 71 percent came from academic courses. By 2009, only 13 percent were from CTE courses and 74 percent from academic courses. The remaining credits were earned in “enrichment” courses, such as physical education.

Career Clusters Knowledge and Skills Validation Process Opens

In spring 2001, experts completed an online review of the National Career Cluster knowledge and skills statements as part of the National Career Technical Education Foundation (NCTEF) review and revision process for each of the 16 career clusters. A team synthesized the experts’ input and used a collection of industry certifications, state and association curriculum standards, and postsecondary expectations to revise and update the statements during fall 2011. These statements are now ready for final review. For six of the career clusters, supplemental standards relating to greenness and sustainability are also ready for final review. The results of this review process will be released at the National Career Clusters Institute in June 2012. These results will serve as the basis for the work to be done by collaborating states in the Common Career Technical Core initiative (CCTC).

Individuals and organizations desiring to participate in the review process are invited to do so online. To access the online system, view instructions and information about the process, and log in, visit Those who would like to participate in the review can create an account at that site. Those with questions about the review process should contact or visit Technical questions about the log-in process or questions about problems with the system should be referred to MetaLogic at

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Grant Competition to Help Former Offenders Gain Career Skills

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently announced the availability of $20.6 million in grant funds to provide ex-offenders who are returning to high-poverty, high-crime communities with pre- and post-release employment and support services. These grants represent the fifth generation of the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult Program. The U.S. Department of Labor expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.21 million each for 27 months to non-profit organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status. A solicitation for grant applications was published in the Jan. 13, 2012 edition of the Federal Register. The closing date for receipt of applications is March 13, 2012, at 4 p.m. EDT.

For detailed application information, eligibility requirements, review and selection procedures and other requirements of this application, we invite interested parties to review the full SGA. We particularly direct adult education applicants to Sections: (B.2) — Vocational training and educational interventions designed to improve the career pathways and earning potential of ex-offenders (Program Components such as continuing education to improve literacy and numeracy skills leading to a high school diploma earning a GED, or toward the attainment of an associate or bachelor degree); and (D) —Allowable uses of Grant Funds (such as activities that focus on pre- and post-release education and vocational training).

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Last Modified: 01/26/2012