One of the world's three 'sustainable manufacturing' degree programs is in California's backyardPosted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on May 9, 2013
Manufacturing got technical over the last few decades. It got harder. It's paying more. It's more innovative. It's "advanced", and In California it has to be tremendously efficient to compete. It must constantly improve and account for the end-of-life of its products.
California State University at Chico has answered the state's call by providing one of only three programs in the world that offers a four-year degree in "Sustainable Manufacturing". This program is in part filling a massive and growing California void of industrially trained students that can go from the production floor to management soon after graduating from college.
The Chico program has a whopping 100 percent job placement success rate and 15 percent of their graduates are women. The average initial pay is $54,000 and sometimes starts as high as $76,000.
No, these students don't often put on a tie and go look important in a cubicle. They have real knowledge and skills. They go on to make the highly innovative products that California has been famous for engineering and producing. They create solutions to real-world problems and tend to the evolution of those solutions within companies with lots of employees. They often end up in high managerial positions for extremely successful manufacturers.
Specifically the "Sustainable Manufacturing" program at Chico is an integrated field of study that combines technical feasibility with environmental responsibility and economic viability. You might think the word "sustainable" is just another packaging of the buzz term "green" but it's not. The degree focuses on making sure the students understand business viability for the manufacturing of a product. That means keeping the business operating, growing and competitive, as well as focusing on successful end-of-life dynamics for a product. The program is both lecture-based as well as hands-on in laboratories with industrial grade machinery.
The leader of the program, Daren Otten said, "with this program we are addressing California manufacturing workforce needs with technically educated Californians who understand the challenges and opportunities associated with doing business in the state."
While Chico is doing great things, the shortage of hands-on education in California is systemic at the University level and even more importantly at the high school level. Less than 30 percent of our high school students ever get to take a hands-on course. Exposure to these skills and real-world learning in the teen years could drive a larger movement of success and interest among our future workers and provide colleges like Chico with students who are willing to dive into the opportunities that manufacturing provides. If more universities offered programs like the one at Chico, our high-wage manufacturers would have access to a larger pool of talent to grow their efficient production facilities in California.
CMTA tips its collective hat to Cal State Chico in developing a program that could be the leading edge of future manufacturing training programs.
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Finance reform without accountability could devastate career techPosted by Jack Stewart, President on June 4, 2012
Cross-posted on June 3, 2012 at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation
Under the current K-12 public education system in California, programs that are not required, measured, or explicitly funded by the state will disappear from our schools. Elective courses are becoming victims of educational policy that only recognizes “success” as defined by scores on standardized tests in courses mandated for graduation or college admission. Since that’s all that is really measured, that’s all that will really matter.
The ongoing state budget deficit and the lack of financial incentives to support programs outside of the mandated core academics will undoubtedly force districts to abandon such electives with impunity. This is our concern with the “Weighted Student Formula” (WSF) proposal. Because the latest version of education finance reform doesn’t alter the current approach to accountability, we fear WSF will accelerate an already alarming narrowing of the curriculum.
In areas like career technical education (CTE), the impact of this well-intended reform could be devastating. Without incentives provided to districts to support these elective programs, there is simply no reason for them to do so. If you doubt that scenario, just examine the impact of the “flexibility” provisions granted to districts for programs like ROPs, Adult Education, and others since 2009 under the state budget. Given the unfettered authority to “flex” the use of these funds for any purpose, districts have obliterated Adult Ed throughout the state, and have put undue pressure on the vast majority of ROPs to survive on a starvation diet. Without appropriate educational policies that hold districts accountable for truly meeting the needs of all students, this scenario will hold true for programs outside of the “required” or “measured” mandate. That’s not a recipe for success.
From a purely budgetary perspective, distributing CTE dollars without any vocational accountability upon schools makes little sense either. The three CTE-related categoricals most at risk under WSF leverage every dollar the state invests. The Ag Incentive Grant requires local districts to match each state dollar (requiring districts to provide an extensive, annual report on the use of those precious state dollars). Apprenticeships are largely funded by contractors and unions, thereby stretching each state dollar invested in these “learn while you earn” programs. And Partnership Academies require both a local and industry match for each state dollar, magnifying the state’s investment threefold. Simply sending out these dollars on an per-student basis without any vocational strings 0r leveraged match requirements will cause more harm to education under any calculation.
We hope the governor and the Legislature take the time necessary to develop solutions to protect career technical education programs while also achieving education finance reform. Given the challenges facing these programs at the local level, we know our schools will not continue to support career technical education without the incentives to do so.
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Educating for careers goes beyond math and englishPosted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Oct. 9, 2009
Race to the Top' (RTTT) grant funds for education reforms and innovation in the classroom to lead to preparation for college and careers.
Appropriately California is doing its part to compete by holding a special legislative session to address this issue and make its case for these funds. So far, the "career" component of California's response to RTTT is deficient. High school administered career education enrollments are at an all time low in California (29 percent) and nothing has been done to identify or change that within our application and overall efforts. How can we argue that we are better preparing our students for success in actual careers with this glaring deficiency?
CMTA president Jack Stewart and the State Building and Construction Trades Council president Bob Balgenorth signed and sent this Get REAL coalition letter to the Governor yesterday urging "real and necessary changes to our education policies to create the conditions for innovation to occur in our schools, allowing for rigorous and relevant career education programs to grow and prosper in our K-12 system."
Identifying the ultimate problem, committing to innovative career building courses and asking for help in doing so should be a majority of California's focus in our 'Race to the Top' application process.
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Career tech education gets big support after more declines in enrollmentPosted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Aug. 18, 2009
opined today that vocational skills could get a big and needed boost from SB 381, a bill that will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee tomorrow. The bill simply asks that any high school requiring those courses approved by the UC and required for admissions to both UC and CSU campuses for graduation also provides career tech options for its students.
SB 381 protects curricular pathways for all students by saying 'no' to districts who wish to force a one-track "A-G" system on all students without providing career-preparatory coursework, too.
Take a look at this video of soundbytes from technical education students (and a teacher or two) who were recognized yesterday in the legislature. These students show the passion and success these courses produce, as well as the impediments to real-world technical education opportunities. Every Legislator should watch this.
Notwithstanding the students in the video above, California's recently released enrollment data shows the 22nd straight annual decline in CTE enrollments. These declines are a result of the continued slashing of CTE programs, despite dropout rates that grow above 30 percent statewide. Policy and political writer Thomas Elias said it best in a column last week,"make no mistake, what's happening is a tragedy of epic proportions. Its human consequences dwarf those of the budget and water crises, serious as they are."
While Walters was spot-on in the need for the bill and CTE alternatives, he did get two important pieces wrong. First, he said that Los Angeles Unified would have to provide CTE options and second, that "A-G school districts" would have to provide dual tracks. LAUSD does provide for a CTE opt-out of their A-G mandate, but the bill would not apply to LAUSD since they adopted their policy prior to June 30, 2009. Also, SB 381 would require all future districts that mandate students take college-prep coursework must also include at least 3 CTE courses in such a graduation requirement to maintain curricular balance. This will remind districts of their legal obligation to prepare kids for the world of work before they adopt a college-only graduation mandate.
Pay attention to the Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing (and their words) tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.. Sen. Rod Wright miraculously got SB 381 through the last two committees. High wage and technical employers, students, parents, and the 400-member Get REAL (Relevance in Education and Learning) coalition are hoping for a third miracle tomorrow.
Tags: career technical education CTE Get REAL (Relevance in Education and Learning) Rod Wright SB 381
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Sen. Rod Wright scores one for equal respect for all students' dreamsPosted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on May 26, 2009
how we have devalued working with our hands. The two items together represent a growing shift back to education reality and the fulfillment of all our students' dreams.
Crawford summed up how, over time, our country has begun to view our children's success:
"A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive. There is a pervasive anxiety among parents that there is only one track to success for their children."
The fact that SB 381 passed so overwhelmingly shows that we might be reaching the tipping point for a more balanced educational system that provides more than the traditional access to a resume of academic credentials, but options for technical skills and careers.
SB 381 calls for curricular balance in school districts that adopt the UC/CSU course admission requirements (known as "a-g") as a high school graduation requirement, by also requiring those districts adopt alternative graduation coursework that includes the core academics currently mandated by the state, along with a series of at least three career technical education classes.
We must not forget also, that this bill is a simple and clear reminder to districts of their legal obligation to maintain curricular equity and balance, as outlined in Education Code Sections 51224 and 51228:
51224. The governing board of any school district maintaining a high school shall prescribe courses of study designed to provide the skills and knowledge required for adult life for pupils attending the schools within its school district. The governing board shall prescribe separate courses of study, including, but not limited to, a course of study designed to prepare prospective pupils for admission to state colleges and universities and a course of study for career technical training.More 51228
California's manufacturers offer high paying but very technical careers to our workforce. These jobs play an important role in our society and pay, on average, $20,000 more than service sector wages for our hard working families. At the very least, students should have the choice of exposure to these skills and this particular pathway. SB 381 takes a big step toward equality for all students' dreams and, after weeks of internal legislative squabbling, garnered almost unanimous support. SB 381 now moves to the Assembly. Stay tuned.
Here's some video from the floor debate that's worth your time:
SB 381 Author, Sen. Rod Wright's, closing speech (4:41)
Sen. Mark Wyland on SB 381 (6:31)
Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on SB 381 (4:46)
Sen. Bob Dutton, on SB 381 (1:08)
Tags: Bob Dutton career technical education CTE Darrell Steinberg Get REAL Mark Wyland Rod Wright SB 381
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