15 Fast Facts about the Swiss Apprenticeship Program

This morning, the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Commerce joined the Swiss government in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on apprenticeships. This agreement will build upon ongoing collaboration between the United States and Switzerland to encourage businesses and stakeholders to promote the value of apprenticeship programs and develop effective strategies to increase awareness of and access to work-based learning.

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National Apprenticeship Week: The Time to Rethink Apprenticeships is Now

In June of 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled, “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” This order called for the creation of a special Task Force to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships in the United States. To meet this challenge, Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta brought together representatives from companies, labor unions, trade associations, educational institutions and public agencies. On May 10, the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion submitted a report to the President that provided a strategy to create more apprenticeships in the United States through an Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship model.

The centerpiece of the proposal is to build on the traditional registered apprenticeship concept by creating a pathway to new, industry-recognized apprenticeships. The final report lays out that proposal as the first step toward the goal of expanding apprenticeships broadly over the next five years. Secretary DeVos helped lead the Task Force, saying, “Apprenticeships give students proven and meaningful ways to gain skills and kickstart fulfilling careers…We must continue our efforts to strengthen workforce readiness and increase the number of pathways available to students after high school.”

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Educate Comprehensively — From Calculus to Carpentry; East Syracuse Minoa Schools’ Message at the U.S. Department of Education

The East Syracuse Minoa Central School District prides itself on educating the whole student — every student.  Its educators say this dedication to excellence through cross-disciplinary and inquiry-based learning forms the core of its identity and values.

Fifty-three of the district’s high school students and eight faculty members and parents traveled to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in Washington, D.C., recently to showcase the district’s comprehensive education — one with broad offerings that include art, physics, music, English composition, computer programming and automotive technology.  As evidence of this integration, the group opened its 105-piece K–12 student art exhibit and showed a student-made film on all of its career and technical education classes to myriad D.C.-area arts educators, leaders and advocates, one of their Congresspersons’ staff members and ED staff.

“We have students who take AP [Advanced Placement] art in the morning and go to auto tech in the afternoon,” said Matthew Cincotta, chair of the high school’s art department.  He described a class in which students merged information from art and biology to inspect a dissected cat.  “We talked about connective tissue,” Cincotta explained. “You have to understand anatomy to understand how to draw hand and body parts.”

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Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act Signed into Law

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century (Perkins V) Act  was signed into law this week and brings changes to the $1.2 billion annual federal investment in career and technical education (CTE).  The U.S. Department of Education is looking forward to working with states to implement the new legislation which goes into effect on July 1, 2019 and replaces the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins IV) Act of 2006.

“The law creates new opportunities to improve CTE and enables more flexibility for states to meet the unique needs of their learners, educators, and employers,” said Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Visits the Netherlands

In a photo, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stands among a group from the IMC Weekendschool Ambassadors. There are six women to the right of the Secretary in the photo and three women and one man on the left. They are standing in front of an American flag and an image of an old map hangs on the wall behind them.

Secretary DeVos and IMC Weekend School Ambassadors

[Note: This post originally appeared on the website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands.]

A photo of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos inspecting a wooden device. The Secretary is holding the top of a long wooden pole that is connected to three smaller poles, two of which are tied to a red chair. Three young students and a gentleman in a suit look on.

Secretary DeVos with students in Rotterdam

The U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, travelled to the Netherlands for an official program on June 11-12, as the second stop on a three country trip to Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, to explore the vocational education, decentralized school systems, and apprenticeship programs within Europe.

Her visit to the Netherlands, planned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, focused on vocational education, school choice, and advancing education options to prepare students for the modern economy. Secretary DeVos started her trip by meeting with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, and the Ministry helped to plan her visits. She viewed how Imelda Primary School in Rotterdam has incorporated arts into the school to advance student understanding of abstract concepts and to encourage problem solving.  She spoke with students at Edith Stein College in The Hague about the Dutch educational system and challenges faced by students.  She also visited students [at] Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts in Amsterdam, where students were preparing performances for their end of year productions.

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Betsy’s Blog – What America Can Learn from Switzerland’s Apprenticeships

A photo of a student in an apprenticeship program describing his work to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They are standing next to a table with equipment, including robotic elements. Other students are working in the background.There’s a lot we as Americans can learn from other countries and how they set their students up for successful lives and careers. That’s why as part of my first trip abroad as Secretary I chose to visit Switzerland and witness their innovative approach to apprenticeships. There this sort of educational opportunity is not only the norm, it is highly coveted by students!

In Switzerland, the education sector partners closely with businesses to provide apprenticeships for students in a variety of professions. Two-thirds of current Swiss students pursue their education through one of the 250 types of government-recognized apprenticeships. Meanwhile, only 17 percent of U.S. students have worked in an internship or apprenticeship related to their career goals.

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Apprenticeship Program Helps Students Find And Fund Their Passions

Ask anyone in America what they would expect to see when walking through an American high school, and the last thing they’d probably say is a group of students building a house! Yet that’s exactly what goes on each and every day at the Academy of Construction and Design (ACAD), located at the Integrated Design & Electronics Academy (IDEA) Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor were privileged to visit this school. During the visit, several high level officials had the opportunity to see this innovative high school apprenticeship program in action.

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Police Week: Appreciating Our Peace Officers and the Role of Career and Technical Education

 

President John F. Kennedy, in 1962, proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as Police Week.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is proud to once again celebrate Police Week and to especially thank the police who help keep schools safe. In addition, ED recognizes the important role that career and technical education (CTE) plays in preparing people for a law enforcement career.

CTE, which is led in ED by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, is a program that combines technical and academic knowledge. Today’s – and tomorrow’s – law enforcement professional must know physics, mathematics and computer science as well as technical problem-solving.

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Cleveland’s Project Lead the Way Is Making a Real World Impact

In the coming decades students will join a workforce that is creative and innovative; many of them will use computers and technology to solve real-world problems. Students will need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to help them take risks, collaborate and devise solutions—proficiencies they need for college and careers.

Recognizing the importance of developing these tools for life, the open enrollment Cleveland Metropolitan Public School (CMSD) District, led by CEO (Superintendent) Eric Gordon, gives students in eight District high schools the opportunity to participate in Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW, a program from a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers, was highlighted by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as “a great example of how [local education agencies] are leveraging federal, state and local funds to best serve children.”

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California’s Career Technical Education: The Best of Two Worlds

There’s an old joke. A plumber goes to a house call to repair a leak. The plumber fixes the problem and tells the homeowner, “That will be $300.” The homeowner says, “I’m a doctor, and I don’t make $300 for a house call.” The plumber replies, “I didn’t make $300 for a house call, either, when I was a doctor.” Career technical education (CTE) is for real.

The key to CTE is the combination of technical and academic knowledge. In the 20th century, a boy or girl would be asked to choose between going to college or learning an occupational trade. After all, how much science did you have to know to manually weld machine parts or sew an apron? But today you have to know physics, mathematics, and technical problem-solving, just to repair your car or design a new fashion.

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