Posted by: Tom Ross | December 19, 2013

Holiday CTE Reading List

In the last few weeks there has been a flurry of new reports relating to CTE. Here is a reading list to help fill the time during the holidays.


Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). This five-part series dedicates an issue brief to each of NASDCTEc’s core principles for CTE:

NASDCTEc also released The State of CTE: An Analysis of State Standards, a state-by-state study of the CTE benchmarks standards. And CTE is Your STEM Strategy, which suggests that “STEM must not be viewed as a separate enterprise from CTE. While a state’s CTE programs may not encompass everything within a state’s STEM strategy, high-quality CTE programs can provide a strong foundation for and serve as a delivery system of STEM competencies and skills for a broader range of students.”

christmas_Bulb_Green_lightThe Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s presents their findings in the international Survey of Adult Skills, summarized on the DOE’s blog site.

Are You Competent? Prove it. The New York Times, Education Life section by Anya Kamenetz (who has authored many other interesting articles as well) writes about a movement to award college degrees based on demonstrable evidence of learning rather than credit hours. “College leaders say that by focusing on what people learn, not how or when they learn it, and by taking advantage of the latest technology, they can save students time and lower costs.”

christmas_Bulb_Red_lightThe Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research contributed 21st Century Educators: Developing and Supporting Great Career and Technical Education Teachers, a new special issue brief “focusing on the human capital management policies impacting CTE educators: certification, performance evaluation and professional learning opportunities.”

The Center on Education Policy issued Career Readiness Assessments across States: A Summary of Survey Findings, the result of a survey of 46 State CTE Directors on the range of assessments used in their states to measure students’ career readiness and how those assessments are used, which NASDCTEc.

The College Board in conjunction with Phi Delta Kappan published Toward a Common Model of Career-Technical Education,which “highlights the positive impact CTE programs had on three students who each took different pathways to academic and professional success. It later expands on their individual experiences and argues that these success stories are increasingly becoming the norm for students who choose to enroll in CTE programs— an encouraging trend considering 94% of all high school students in the U.S. take at least one CTE course.”

Christmas_firbranchA Fresh Look at Student Engagement from the National Survey of Student Engagement finds that “just 40 percent of college students say they turn to their adviser as their primary source of academic advice. About one-third of freshmen and 18 percent of seniors said they went to friends or family first for academic advice, and another 18 percent of seniors turned to faculty members for guidance.” This reliance on sources other than academic advisers is concerning given the importance advising plays in student learning and success, the report concludes.

Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Rick Hess at EdWeek states that it “is well-worth reading. It’s smart, thorough, and brings a sensible practitioner’s perspective to the whole question of how we might give teachers opportunities for growth, impact, and professional responsibility…”

christmas_Bulb_Yellow_lightA new report out of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research by Tamar Jacoby, President and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA calls on the private sector to engage in Career Technical Education. Vocational Education 2.0: Employers Hold the Key to Better Career Training makes the case that “CTE can provide reliably effective pathways to skilled and well-paying careers, but only with strong engagement and support from the business community.” The policy paper “explores the role CTE is playing as more attention is put on middle-skill jobs, or those that require some education and training beyond high school, but less than a four-year degree.”

 The College & Career Readiness & Success Center at the American Institutes for Research has developed the CCRS Interactive State Map, which provides snapshots of each state’s key college and career readiness initiatives, including CTE programs of study, dual enrollment and early college high schools, progress on state longitudinal data system and many others.

The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance recently released Career Pathways: Catalog of Toolkits, an “online compendium of free resources available for use in planning a Career Pathways initiative. In an effort to better coordinate efforts by the Departments of Education, Labor, and HHS, the catalog seeks to serve as a directory for model Career Pathways programs and details strategies for implementation. Users are able to browse toolkits and filter results based on the indented audience, target population, career pathway element, industry, and publisher.”

christmas_Bulb_Purple_lightAnd finally, This is Not your Dad’s Vocational School, from the National Journal and Dalton High School in Georgia. “Seventy-four percent of Dalton High’s students are enrolled in career, technical, and agricultural courses. But this isn’t your father’s vocational ed. Here, training for particular careers is considered part of a well-rounded college-preparatory education.”

charlie-brown-christmas-tree-wallpapercharlie-brown-christmas-hd-wallpapers--1600x1200px--indiwall-h6soqwnzHappy Holidays from the CTE Central Blog Staff.

Posted by: Tom Ross | November 20, 2013

Ender’s Game

[Click on the title above to view on the CTE Central Blog website.]

How do we measure the success of community college students? Traditionally, it is a student who earns a degree or certificate or who transfers to a four-year college. This is called completion, and increasingly policy makers are making the completion stakes higher—including linking completion to financial aid or funding formulas.

But what if an individual comes to a community college just to take course or a sequence of courses to enhance or update a work skill? What if that student is employed and sent by his employer for this purpose? Or what if this student is seeking employment in an area that is new to him and wants to gain a skill to get his foot in the door of this industry?

Barstow2aWorking toward a welding certificate at Barstow Community College

And what if he succeeds? What if he returns to work with a certificate of achievement and gets a promotion and a raise? Or takes the new skill he has learned to local industry—one he knows usually hires from within—and begins his career this way?

If a student succeeds but no one notices it, is it still a success?

Two researchers are listening to these successes and documenting the results. Kathy Booth, a researcher at WestEd and Peter Riley Bahr, associate professor at the University of Michigan, are collecting data on these students. They have named them “skills-builders.”

The definition is “a student who is outside the completion framework, i.e., students who take a variety of noncredit and non-completion directed job-training programs, such as apprenticeship programs, courses that prepare students to earn an industry certification or professional license as well as contract education programs that enable employees to upgrade their skills in fields such as public safety or technology.  Some students take only the few courses that they need to secure a new job or advance in an existing one.”

The result for skills-builders? For many, significant and measurable wage gain.


From “The Missing Piece: Quantifying Non-Completion Pathways to Success” by Kathy Booth and Peter Bahr

As more states seek to link funding to student outcomes, Booth and Bahr feel that colleges need ways to measure and evaluate non-completion successes in order to make informed decisions, including:

  • External credentials, such as industry certifications and state licenses, which may hold greater value in the workplace than a community college credential
  • Improvements to working conditions, such as finding a job in their field of study or transitioning from part-time to full-time work
  • Job retention that is dependent on periodic recertification in specific skills or bodies of knowledge
  • Earnings gains that clarify how much earnings increased relative to wages before college and whether these increases help students secure a family-sustaining wage

Dr. Bahr sums it up thus: “Expanding the measurements of success to include non-completion outcomes like earnings can help give a more accurate and well-rounded picture of how community college courses are helping student achieve their goals.”

We will update you on the skills-builders research as it comes in. For more information, see these resources:

Posted by: Tom Ross | October 22, 2013

A Skilled and Prepared Workforce

Did you know that according to a Business Roundtable (BRT) survey of its members, 95 percent of CEOs indicate that their companies suffer from skills shortages? BRT is an association of chief executive officers in more than 200 leading U.S. companies who represent more than 16 million employees as well as the diverse business perspectives and voices of America’s top CEOs.


This is what BRT believes:

“A skilled, prepared workforce is the cornerstone of economic competitiveness.”

“A nation’s capacity to develop a skilled, prepared workforce is inextricably linked to the quality of its education system.”

“We believe that building America’s capacity to effectively develop “homegrown” talent is one of the most important challenges of our time, [and] that achieving larger, faster improvements in U.S. education and talent development is not only possible, but also urgent and imperative.”

For their new report, Taking Action on Education and Workforce Preparedness,” BRT spoke with “more than 30 recognized experts in the fields of education and workforce development regarding what policymakers, business executives, school administrators, teachers, parents and other key stakeholders can do to ensure that all Americans are ready to work and prepared to succeed.”

Using these unique perspectives as well as those of member CEOs, Business Roundtable identified and expands extensively upon five priorities for building a skilled and prepared workforce:

  • Fully adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards;
  • Encourage students to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields;
  • Develop more effective teachers;
  • Expand access to high-quality early learning programs; and
  • Ensure that postsecondary education and workforce training programs align with employer needs.

Why finds that “the report offers a wide range of policy solutions for each of these priorities and includes recommendations for the CTE community. For instance, the report is supportive of competency-based learning models as a way for students to better demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge. It also promotes skills-based assessments, and incentives for completing credentials that are industry-recognized and valued by prospective employers.”

Eric Spiegel, President & CEO, Siemens Corporation Vice Chair, Business Roundtable Education and Workforce, put it this way: “Building skills begins with training…and until we put the burden on those who train rather than on those who need to be trained, we’ll never solve the problem threatening U.S. competitiveness today.”

BRT acknowledges that “institutions and policies can be slow to change.” They recommend incremental, short-term solutions that will move the system forward and systemic, as well as long-term solutions that will gradually transform the way in which we teach and learn.

“By driving both incremental and systemic change,” BRT concludes, “the United States can increase educational achievement, improve college and career readiness, and expand the nation’s capacity to develop the homegrown talent that it needs to compete and win in the modern global economy.”

Posted by: Tom Ross | October 1, 2013

Braking Pad

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Manufacturing Day is almost upon us. This year it’s this Friday, October 4.

Manufacturing-Day-Logo-2013 What is Manufacturing Day? It’s the day manufacturers open their doors to the public for tours and career workshops in a coordinated effort to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the nation’s economy.  They seek to dispel outdated myths about the declining need for manufacturing and to share how their companies make an impact on how Americans live and work. “Manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”

In other words, it’s like your field trip in first grade to the potato chip factory, only expanded. Everything from Alcoa to Z-Azis, from beer to brake pads, from optics to bio-technology.

MFDgroup2012 MFGDay at McGregor Metalworking Company in Dayton, Ohio

Manufacturing Day began only last year when more than 240 manufacturing facilities opened their doors in 37 states. This year there are 760 events in all 48 of the contiguous states. Some manufacturers–like Mori Seiki in Davis, CA–are taking it a step farther by opening for a few days later in the year.

There are virtual tours as well—from Adept to Timbuk2.

Manufacturing Day is co-produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Industrial Strength Marketing (ISM), and the Manufacturing Institute (MI). The national media partner for the event is the Science Channel.

“Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity to shift Americans’ perception that it is not our grandfather’s manufacturing anymore and to showcase the tremendous career opportunities manufacturing has to offer,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “This day is an engaging way to attract young people and get them excited about pursuing a career in a technology-driven, innovative environment that will also provide a good-paying job. We encourage all manufacturers and manufacturing associations to get involved and share what we already know—manufacturing makes us strong.”

The MFG website offers resources and toolkits for manufacturers and visitors as well as faculty and students.

To locate the participating manufacturers nearest you, search by zip code, state, or company. From north to south examples include Agilent Technologies in Santa Rosa and Rough Draft Brewing Company in San Diego.

The last day for the Heisenberg Lab tour, however, was Sunday. (Not recommended anyway.)


Posted by: Tom Ross | September 17, 2013

The Biggest Loser (A Win For Everyone)

[Click on the title above to view on the CTE Central Blog website.]

5000 pounds would be ideal.

That isn’t the amount of sugar you eat in a lifetime (that’s 130 pounds a year for Americans or over 10,000 pounds). 5000 pounds is the ideal maximum amount of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) your life should add to the Earth’s atmosphere. That’s during your whole life, a little over 2 metric tons, according to the Architectural League of NY.

Current estimates put the American lifetime contribution of carbon to the atmosphere at 44,000 pounds. (It’s no wonder, what with all the sugar you’re consuming.)

NASA finds that human activities add a worldwide average of almost 1.4 metric tons of carbon per person per year to the atmosphereThat’s over 170,000 pounds in a lifetime (a metric ton being 2205 pounds). A far cry from a 5000 pound life.

One part of the solution to the problem of too much human-generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—which, as we all know, causes greenhouse warming—is to switch from carbon-based fuels to solar energy. And solarity begins at home.

The State of California is seeking to make Net-Zero Energy homes mandatory for all new home construction by 2020. New York, among other states, is wooing designers to build green as well.


On that note, the U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring an international competition to create moderately priced, solar-powered, green homes: It’s called the SOLAR DECATHLON.

The challenge is for “collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.”

The Decathlon takes place over two weekends next month at Orange County Great Park (OCGP), Irvine, CA.  Week One is October 3-6 and Week Two is October 10-13.  It includes the XPO, an energy exposition that features “visionary and innovative companies, products and educational opportunities.”

The university-led national and international teams have designed and built the competition’s solar-powered houses. To see the 20 teams competing in Solar Decathlon 2013 (and more about the XPO) go to the Decathlon Fact Sheet.

Self-guided tours of the Green Homes begin on October 12 at OCGP (check the site for their hours of operation).  And check out these impressive examples of solar home entries.

AustrianSolarHomeTeam Austria Solar Home 2013

“The competition trains students to become pioneers of clean energy technologies that can save consumers money on their energy bills, increase the comfort of their home, and ensure the United States continues to lead the world with the clean energy workforce of tomorrow,” says Richard King, Director of the event.

The issues are not only environmental sustainability and preparing students for jobs in green technology but saving the planet. One pound at a time.

See you at the Solar Decathlon.

Posted by: Tom Ross | September 10, 2013

Boots on the Ground

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Some people hit the ground running. This is one such success story.

From an early age Caitlin Morris knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to teach, preferably life sciences. “I had no idea how to begin,” she said. “I wasn’t even sure at what grade level.”

In high school she took a smart and lucky first step when she shadowed a kindergarten teacher, Renee Marshall. “I felt like I was on the right path,” Caitlin remembers. And Ms. Marshall, it turns out, was a good person to know.

In her first year at College of the Canyons (COC) Caitlin learned of a program called TEACH that is part of the CTE Teacher Preparation Pipeline at COC.

TEACH was developed in direct response to the strong need for teachers in the secondary and post-secondary levels of education to teach Career Technical Education Industry Sectors and Career Pathways. The program’s new director helped resurrect the TEACH Program after it was refunded and designed it to include workshops, professional development, and networking services.


And the new director was: Renee Marshall.

Caitlin says that the TEACH Program provided her with opportunities and the kinds of experience she could never have achieved on her own.

“In fact, during my time at COC,” she continued, “I was able to teach preschool at the COC Lab School as well as supervise a CTE based summer camp on campus called the COC Summer Institute where junior high and high school students attend for a week of CTE curriculum (welding, culinary arts, health science, etc).”

“As a student intern I took part in many events that the program coordinated: I led TEACH students/volunteers in a facilitated activity for Jr. high/high school students based on science and math. And I helped reach out to high school students in their schools to tell them about the TEACH Program and the benefits of teaching CTE-based subjects. After that I became more involved in student advisement as a TEACH program assistant where I helped plan and run events and workshops for students and community members. “

Caitlin eventually became Director Marshall’s assistant in the TEACH Program. “I worked part-time helping students and community members reach their career goals. The TEACH Program helps students by providing positions in the COC Summer Institute (facilitating placement in specific interests), coordinating multiple activities at large community events for early childhood education experience, and holding workshops on interview skills and resume articulation.”

Caitlin also assists with the Future Educators Club, which provides guidance for high school students, COC students, and community members. “I gained such confidence and experience from the TEACH Program,” she says.

Caitlin just recently changed positions at College of the Canyons: she is now a curriculum coordinator.

In this new position, she coordinates curriculum and instructors in local agencies such as the LAPD, LA County Fire Department, and LA County Sheriff’s Department through the college. “In a nutshell, we have agreements between agencies, colleges, and the state that allow us to offer public safety personnel units [to professionals] for the state training courses they are mandated to complete. I work with the VP of Academic Affairs to identify and write the curriculum as well as process instructors for each course—basically transform [the curricula] into legitimate college courses worth units under our state guidelines. So far, it’s been fantastic!”

Maitlin_ReneeCaitlin and Renee

“I’m still involved with the TEACH Program, however, and thank the Director every day. Without the experience she and the Program itself provided me, I never would have landed this position!”

Caitlin Pass (now married and with a new last name) is a clear example of how the CTE Teacher Prep Pipeline works.

For more on work-based learning, have a look at one of our previous blog posts.

Posted by: Tom Ross | August 30, 2013

Trumping the Brick & Mortar

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Dozens of colleges and universities—with the backing of top foundations—are trying something new: Massively Open Online Classes or MOOCs. It’s an innovative way of using technology to create and provide online classes at no charge.


In May Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on the role of MOOCs in higher education, saying they may help control costs, which are “crushing a lot of Americans.”

“I am very, very, very interested in MOOCs, not just on the higher Ed side, but in the high school space and maybe even in the middle school space,” Duncan said. “We just want quality.”

Quality, Secretary Duncan continued, would include making sure that course-completion and retention improve. “If you can deliver a high-quality college education for a fraction of the cost…it’s fascinating.”

He said it’s too early to judge how online learning will ultimately change the college experience. “It’s an emerging story.”


Two big sources for MOOCs today are Coursera and edX.


To date Coursera, a Silicon Valley company, is working together with 62 universities on several continents.

EdX was created by Harvard and MIT. Recently it partnered with the leading global institutions of the xConsortium (what the whole list of cooperating agencies is calling itself) including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and IIT Bombay.

EdX has also just started working with Aspiring Minds, which helps organizations evaluate new employees and improve employability through online education, mostly in India. The partnership will provide employability advice through their service called AMCAT, which will make this advice available to the whole MOOC world. If I go any deeper, I may never come back.

What other services can MOOCs provide the CTE community? Here are a few resources and news articles:

  • National University offers the CTE Teacher Pipeline an online CTE program for academic credit to help working professionals take their occupational skills and subject-matter expertise to the classroom.
  • Online learning, career prep gain popularity for high school students, from Scoop San Diego.
  • Gates, MOOCs and Remediation: Early returns show that massive open online courses (MOOCs) work best for motivated and academically prepared students. But could high-quality MOOCs benefit a broader range of learners, like those who get tripped up by remedial classes?
  • Harris Interactive did a study of adults completing a B.A. or an M.A. online at Western Governors University—a nonprofit and completely online university—and found that 2010-2012 graduates increased their annual salaries by $9000 and 2006-2009 graduates’ salaries by $18,600.

The pros seem obvious: it’s new and exciting, it’s affordable, it’s available anywhere to everyone, and it’s especially valuable to those who are not currently in school because of work or the prohibitive cost.

The cons from some professors include that there is no positive learning relationship between student and teacher and that [professors] are reduced to feeling like teaching assistants. And most college and university presidents don’t believe that MOOCS will transform student learning or reduce costs, according to a Gallup Poll conducted for Inside Higher Ed.  (Check out the other survey results here as well.)

Not to mention how easy it would seem to be to cheat on a MOOC. The good news is that new technologies may prove to be even better than real proctors. The bad news: you don’t even have to take the class— and, among others, will do it for you. But then there’s evidence that cheating hasn’t changed much at all.


New York Times, Education Life

Professor John Covach, who teaches the History of Rock Music at the University of Rochester as well as online through Coursera, comments in an article in Yahoo News that the comparison of MOOCs to traditional college courses perhaps shouldn’t even be made. “It really is something else and needs to be conceived as such from the first stages of planning,” Dr. Covach said.

“Thought of as an opportunity for colleges and universities to share some of the wealth of knowledge they preserve and generate, MOOCs are a fantastic way to give back to the world at large,” Dr. Covach continued. “And this is a mission that should be a central part of any institution of higher learning—not [only] to produce students who will get jobs, but to foster the pursuit of knowledge in general.”

I think Secretary Duncan would agree. What do you think?

Posted by: Tom Ross | August 22, 2013

New Engineering and Media Design Pathways on CTE Online

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CTE Online recently unveiled two new curriculum resources in Engineering and Media Design created by some of top minds in California. These projects are organized into sequenced pathways made up of nearly 100 new project-based units and 400 new lesson plans. They are cross-aligned to both the Math and ELA Common Core State Standards.

EngineeringEngineering Pathway & Project

The Engineering Pathway includes the STEM areas of Engineering Design I & II, Engineering Design III, Advanced CAD/CAM, and Advanced Robotics.

MediaMedia Design Pathway & Projects

The Media Design Pathway spans Media Design II & III, Video Production and Editing, and Advanced Animation Design.

“Cross-aligned to both the Math and ELA Common Core State Standards, these [pathways] represent real teachers’ Linked Learning projects and plans from the classroom in full detail for your use.”

CTE Online was established to help practitioners articulate a clear and deliberate relationship between academic achievement and Career and Technical Education through access to the following:

  • Professional Curriculum Development Tools
  • Professional Alignment and Instructional Strategies Resources
  • Standards Databases Cross-Referenced to STAR and CAHSEE

The site serves to help skilled educators in CTE share the work they are doing to support the balanced development of our youth both in their current academic challenges and future career interests equally. And it’s free.


CTE Online is maintained by The Center for the Advancement of Digital Resources in Education at the Butte County Office of Education in collaboration with the California Department of Education and the Regional Occupational Centers and Programs.

“CTE Online is much more than an incredible place to find and share educational curriculum and resources—it’s a collaboration point designed to bring together CTE programs and professionals.” The “Help” page will show you how to make the most of the site.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for your free account, then click on CTE Industries under Curriculum to see the resources available to you. If you happen to be looking for resources in Engineering or Media Design, this is your lucky day.

Posted by: Tom Ross | August 7, 2013

Under the Dome

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of Millennials—the generation born after 1980—lived at home last year. That’s more young adults living with their parents than in the last four decades—21.6 million. Other demographic patterns are interesting as well, including that males are significantly more likely than females to live at home (40% to 32%).

The recession of 2007-2009 is partly to blame. 63% of 18-31-year-olds held jobs last year, down from 70% in 2007. Also, only 25% of these young adults are married.


The rising cost of higher education has also inspired Millennials to return home. A new national survey by Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College 2012, found living at home was the top cost-saving strategy for college students.

The good news is that 66% of Millennials living at home were enrolled in college in 2012, up from 50% in 2007, according to the Pew report.

And since 1968, the number of 18 to 31-year-olds with some education beyond high school has doubled: 30% in 1968, 60% in 2012.


If there is an incentive to staying in college while living at home, it’s this: adults ages 30 to 34 who didn’t get a college degree are twice as likely still to be living at home than those who did—22% vs. 10%. Only 18% of those with a four-year college degree lived at home compared with 40% of those with only a high school education. (This is from another Pew study with the great name: The Boomerang Generation.)

The Sallie Mae study also found that in 2012, families continued the shift toward lower-cost community college, with 29 percent enrolled, compared to 23 percent two years ago. In fact, overall, families paid 5 percent less for college compared to one year ago.

The next issue for Millennials? Jobs. As seen in our last blog, the workforce requirements of the future are pretty clear.

For community colleges, the need is evident, the cry for help is clear, and the market is right in the neighborhood. Young adults living at home are looking for a way out. They know that some sort of post-secondary or higher education is the answer. And for practical/financial reasons, they will look locally.

It’s a good time to remind them of the advantages of attending a community college and help get them on their way and eventually out of the house, as summarized by FastWeb and US News & World Report. Recently in our blog we also explored how community college isn’t necessarily a stepping-stone to a 4-year college. But it can be, if that’s your goal.

At a community college you can:

  •       Save money on tuition: a state university costs triple;
  •       Get the general graduation requirements out of the way;
  •       Explore fields that interest you before committing to a major;
  •       Improve your grade point average (GPA) and your self-confidence;
  •       And, (dare I say it?) save money by living at home.

For further reading on the generations and Millennials:

Pew has been researching Millennials for a while. In 2010 they defined Millennials as “Confident. Connected. Open to Change.”  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds them to have a confidence bordering on entitlement.” (Sotto Voce)

Just how Millennial ARE Millennials? Pew even has a 14 item quiz to determine that.

Leaving the nest even with a college degree isn’t easy, according to an article last week in the LA Times.

More Millennials living at home, despite the end of the recession—but the good news is they are still taking classes at local community colleges.

Brazen Life, a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals, encourages Millennials to become entrepreneurs. The trick is to “understand their[Millennials] mindset.”


Posted by: Tom Ross | July 31, 2013

The New Normal

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The Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University recently published a follow-up report on job growth and educational requirements in the next decade. The previous report came out in 2010 and was titled Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Demand Through 2018.

The authors step into this research cautiously, pointing out that the average growth rate of jobs per month is about 160,000 which is not enough “to absorb both the existing pool of employed and the flow of new entrants into the workforce. But,” they continue, “we have recovered just under 6.1 million of the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession [of 2007]—though the jobs lost look nothing like the jobs we’ve gained.”

“The key survival tools for this new normal,” they conclude, “will be accurate and timely information on where the jobs are and which industries will continue to experience high growth.”


The report is titled RECOVERY, and it predicts the state of the American economy by the year 2020: the kinds of jobs that will be created or need filling due to the loss of baby boomers to retirement, and the amount and nature of education and training these jobs will require.

Here are some of their findings (summarized in the Executive Summary):

  • 55 million new jobs will be created by 2020—24 million new jobs and 31 million new openings due to retiring workers.
  • 80 percent of jobs in healthcare, information technology, and government will require more than a high school diploma.

•        6 million jobs will require a graduate degree.

•        13 million jobs will require a baccalaureate degree.

•        7 million jobs will require an associate’s degree.

•        5 million jobs will require a postsecondary certificate.

•        10 million jobs will require some college credit.

  • 65 percent of the job openings will require at least some postsecondary education or training:
  • Four out of five of the fastest growing occupations — professional and technical healthcare, STEM, education, and community services — will require high levels of postsecondary education.
  • We will fall short by 5 million workers with postsecondaryeducation if the current rate continues.

The study also found that for the upcoming jobs, the cognitive skills most valued and in demand are in leadership, communication, analytics, and administration.

Finally, the report shows which occupations are growing or declining within each state and what level of education state residents will need get those jobs of the future (see the State Report below).

“The fiscal cliff, sequestration, debt ceiling, domestic fiscal and monetary policy decisions, and international shocks,” the report reminds us, “are just a few of the myriad of events that could possibly affect the outcome of projections analysis.” (Not to mention Sharknado.)

For access to the Executive Summary and the full reports—as well as the methodology they used–see the links below.

The Executive Summary

Full Report

The State Report


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