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EasyC makes a strong showing at VEX Regional Championship

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Excitement is building for the VEX Robotics World Championship in April, with over 9600 VEX teams around the world participating in over 700 events this season already!

This past weekend marked the wrap-up of the State and Regional Championships, in which teams qualify for the World Championship. The New England HS Regional Championship for New England (MA, RI, NH, VT) was held in Worcester, MA on March 1st and 2nd, 2014.

The champions:

  • Team 40A – Canned Ham Trinity Robotics – Manchester, NH
  • Team 40F – Déjà vu – Trinity Robotics – Manchester, NH
  • Team 44 – Green Egg Robotics – Oakham, MA

All three champions possessed one common attribute: they used EasyC to program their robots! In addition, Team 44 Green Egg Robotics pulled in the Excellence award and the Robot Skills award!

Congratulations to all competitors – and see you at Worlds!


CTE Social Media Advocacy Day

CTE Social Media Advocacy Day

ACTE has deemed Thursday, February 27 CTE Social Media Advocacy Day in an effort to increase understanding and awareness about the importance of career and technical education.

2014_CTE_Month

This year, the theme of CTE Month is “Celebrate CTE Superheroes,” and it’s centered on students who are passionate about career and technical education. We especially recognize those who have made local and national strides in CTE through tireless effort, hard work, and creativity. Across the United States, CTE programs are showcasing their accomplishments and exhibiting their dedication to helping students become better prepared and more equipped to enter the workforce. In the coming months Intelitek will join in showcasing the creative efforts of CTE students – stay tuned for more info!

CTE Month takes place just before the 2014 ACTE National Policy Seminar on March 3, where attendees will take part in discussions about how to best shape the future of CTE, both in the short term and in the long run.

In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, President Obama declared career and workforce training a priority for the upcoming year, and we are inspired to make this a reality. We are thoroughly excited about the goals we’re working to accomplish this year in terms of career and technical education advancements. So whether you’re a CTE student, leader, educator, or simply someone who is passionate about closing the skills gap and seeing a better-educated America, speak up today on CTE Social Media Advocacy Day.


US Senate Announces CTE Caucus

US Senate Announces CTE Caucus

On January 30, senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Tim Kaine of Virginia announced the formation and launching of the bipartisan U.S. Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which will center on the advancement of CTE and will work to ensure that all students are better prepared for college and, subsequently, for the workforce through access to rigorous and superior career and technical education.

CTE-caucus

In a letter to their Senate colleagues asking for their support and membership, Kaine and Portman discuss how CTE is a “proven solution for creating jobs, retraining workers with the skills they need to fill open position in the job market, and ensuring students of all ages and walks of life are career and college ready.” The letter continues, “It is critical that students have the opportunity to acquire the education and skills that will help them find employment and live productive, successful lives.”

Though a CTE Caucus currently exists in the House of Representatives, the Senate counterpart will enhance advocacy for this important cause and will provide the opportunity for Senators to vote on CTE matters as a united voice, one that is genuinely concerned with the overall welfare and expansion of career and technical education.

The Senate CTE Caucus will also make efforts to ensure that unemployed or displaced workers have better access to training which will equip them with skills deemed highly relevant to the job market. More and more Americans are finding that they lack the skills required by high-paying jobs or that the skills that they do possess are increasingly less germane to the jobs available where they live. In order to get higher numbers of Americans back into the workforce, it is essential that these individuals have access to vocational and educational resources; this way, they can earn the certifications and credentials that they need.

With stronger and more widely available CTE programs, all students—whether secondary, postsecondary, or adult—will easily be able to receive training in areas of personal interest and will consequently be more passionate about the material that they are learning. Greater numbers of impassioned students leads to an influx of qualified job candidates and increasing numbers of filled positions. The Senate CTE Caucus is an exciting step in the right direction to helping Americans gain employment with ease, thanks to the attainment of more desirable skills.


Advantages of Hybrid Learning in Post-Secondary Classrooms

Philip Przybyszewski, Project Coordinator for the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Manchester Community College talks about the advantages of Intelitek curriculum.

With funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant, the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) began creating training programs across NH to develop the workforce of the future for advanced manufacturing.

Philip Przybyszewski, Project Coordinator for the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Manchester Community College (MCC), led the effort to build a program that would deliver the relevant skills for New Hampshire’s workforce. That included suitable equipment and curriculum that could serve entrants from various backgrounds. To meet the demands of the grant, the program would also have to be accessible for trainees with a wide range of schedules.

The resulting certificate and associate degree programs implement a hybrid learning approach featuring Intelitek solutions. In the video below, Phil talks about the advantages hybrid learning brings to the unique challenges of the post-secondary classroom.

Hear Phil


The CTSO Model for STEM Programs

SkillsUSA AMT Competition

The Role of Career and Technical Student Organizations in Providing STEM Skills

Last week the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) released CTE Is Your STEM Strategy, a study of the value of CTE programs as the foundation for an overall STEM strategy.

One specific element the study highlights is Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). As the report mentions:

“CTSOs, such as SkillsUSA provide skills-based competitions for students…based largely on students’ abilities to work individually or in teams to solve problems and present projects to judges from industry and education. …They clearly support student mastery of the “STEM competencies,” as many problem- or project-based learning experiences do.”

In this way, CTSOs deliver some of the most important elements for successful STEM programs: engaging industry to guide the delivery of relevant skills and offering “true contextualized learning within the context of a specific industry or career pathway”.

As Julie Kantor of STEMConnector wrote recently in the Huffington Post: “The conference is filled also with corporations smart enough to get in the door early and meet the best and brightest of our country. These kids all come out of high school with a TANGIBLE SKILL.”

One example of success came in the 2013 SkillsUSA competition. Girls from Spaulding High School in Rochester, New Hampshire clinched gold at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Missouri, earning the title as the first all-female team to win the competition. The trio competed against high school students from all 49 other U.S. states to take home the medal in Automated Manufacturing Technology contest, which evaluates teams for employment in the integrated manufacturing technology fields of computer aided drafting/design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerical controlled machining (CNC). Team member Jackie McNally constructed the parts’ geometry in CAD, while Naomie Clark, the CAM operator, generated the tool paths and Ali Trueworthy was responsible for CNC set-up and machining.

The Rochester girls spent two years in STEM classes at the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center under teacher and adviser David Foote. This academic program combined with the experiences in SkillsUSA helped the succeed in this year’s national competition. They insist that the key to their success is not just the technical skills, but collaboration — working together rather than as separate contributors.

All three girls are now pursuing engineering degrees – an excellent outcome that any STEM program would be proud to achieve!

This is just one example among the 5,900 students who competed in the 2013 SkillsUSA nationals! All of these participants no doubt obtained an enhanced educational experience.

Many new STEM initiatives are gaining momentum and funding, but lacking guidance at the implementation stage. Proven and successful CTSOs like SKillsUSA provide an excellent model to follow. Participation bolsters interest in STEM, while delivering relevant technical skills as well as leadership and problem-solving skills so valuable in any career field!


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