Go here for some personal remarks by our president, Libby Livings-Eassa.

Jeannie Justice

Worried about security on your mobile device? Go here for the latest on security apps.

Go here for a national snapshot of how things stand in Perkins reauthorization.

Go here for the latest on programs, publications, and tools of interest to our members and affiliates.


Debbie Mills, Director, NCPN

We are moving along nicely with the NCPN restructure. As you will recall, NCPN is restructuring to better serve its members and the Career Pathways community and to streamline and strengthen the Career Pathways message to the field (across the nation and abroad). The new NCPN structure will have a more inclusive focus (secondary and postsecondary education, workforce development, economic development, military, adult education, workforce investment boards, correctional education, alternative education, community-based organizations, and employers) and will include regional divisions that match the national economic development regions. (Read)


A student-centered two-year college providing high-quality educational opportunities responsive to community needs

Great Falls College MSU's welding program prepares students to take AWS and CWB welding certification tests. Recently, the college expanded the Welding Technology CAS program to meet the demands of international industry growth in our community. This expansion will create three cohort groups in the program, accommodating sixty students a day in welding. One of those cohorts is reserved for high school welding students in the Great Falls Public Schools. (Read)


Kali Wicks, High School to College Pathways Program Manager

In 2013, it became apparent that the Montana Big Sky Pathways program was in need of revitalization. Staff turnover, lack of buy-in at multiple levels, and lack of agreed upon processes resulted in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) and Office of Public (OPI) Instruction taking stock of the program and agreeing to work together to both prioritize and improve current practices. High-level staff from both OCHE and OPI began meeting on a weekly basis, strategically planning program goals, working to incorporate dual enrollment and industry-recognized credentials within pathways, and organizing resources that might be used to increase awareness of pathways and their incentives to students, teachers, and adult learners. (Read)


Kali Wicks

In recent years, you have probably heard the term "soft skills" more than a few times. You may have even uttered the words yourself a time or two, telling your spouse or a co-worker, "I wish I could hire more staff members with decent soft-skills." If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. In fact, it turns out many of Montana's employers would agree with you! In the fall of 2013, twenty-eight members of Montana's State CTE (Career and Technical Education) Advisory Board met in Helena. (The purpose of the board is to assist the Montana Carl D. Perkins Program at the Office of Public Instruction and Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.) Several of those in attendance, among whom were representatives from each of the 16 National Career Clusters, voiced the importance of soft skills as a part of career readiness. (Read)


Renee Harris, MT Office of Public Instruction-Health Science Education Specialist

For the state of Montana, Health Science is a relatively new program in Career and Technical Education (CTE). Initial program planning was funded by a Workforce Investment Act grant from June 2004 to June 2006. At that time, funds were provided to pilot schools to hire health professionals to teach health science curriculum. Health professionals could apply for CTE class B or C endorsements to teach, but they were required to take additional coursework in classroom management. Once this grant period ended, few schools had the resources to continue funding this position and the state was already impacted by a health care workforce shortage, yet the need for health science programs was clear. (Read)


Renee Harris

Montana may be vast geographically, but our small population (1 M) necessitates collaboration between schools, businesses, and our State Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to deliver ongoing career exploration for students K through 12. The state AHEC office runs a plethora of programs related to health care, but their role in leading the MT Health Care Workforce Advisory Council provides the data necessary to plan for future workforce needs. The following list of "pipeline" activities is distributed to medical facilities throughout the state. Our health care providers stress the importance of "growing our own" health care workforce for rural areas. Here are some of the activities we are engaged in. (Read)


OCTAE – Office of Career Technical and Adult Education

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE, formerly OVAE) identified ten components of a rigorous program of study (RPOS). Montana, one of six states selected by OCTAE to demonstrate the value of an RPOS, combined two components, technical skill assessment and credit transfer agreements, to create an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit for what they learned in high school. Known as "high school for college credit," the program enables high school students taking classes in the construction pathway to demonstrate their mastery of construction knowledge and skills by taking the NOCTI Fundamentals of Construction written and performance assessments. Students who exceed the cut score on both the written and the performance assessments earn three college construction credits at any of the six Montana colleges teaching the fundamentals class. (Read)


Donna Bakke, Missoula College

In western Montana, Missoula County Public Schools and Missoula College have collaborated for years on a variety of projects from building homes to teaching middle school students about eating healthy. When Missoula College received funding to strengthen its Career Pathways work, we decided to try an approach that would bring together educators from both postsecondary and secondary levels with business and industry to discuss industry needs and student outcomes. Workshop planners Vida Wilkinson and Donna Bakke targeted specific programs within Missoula College that would benefit from the interaction with secondary CTE teachers and business/industry representatives. The result of this approach was a workshop titled "From Education to Industry." (Read)


The CTE blueprint is out—and Perkins V is just around the corner.

CORD is partnering with Divergent Consulting to deliver an unparalleled national expert-led professional development program designed to align your school, district, and state with the future of CTE funding. This program—a comprehensive self-assessment and onsite evaluative process aligned with the Programs of Study Design Framework and Administration's Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education—provides an analysis of the current status of your CTE/career pathways programs and the information needed to build capacity in anticipation of Perkins Reauthorization. (Go here for a print-ready flyer.)

© 2014 CORD. Connections is distributed to members of the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) as a benefit of membership. To become a member, visit ncpn.info. NCPN, an organization of CORD (cord.org), assists its members in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving workforce education programs. Questions? Mark Whitney, 254-741-8315, mwhitney@cord.org