Jeannie Justice

What is a "backchannel"—and why do I need to know? Go here to find out from NCPN's technology specialist.

Go here for CTE news from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.


Debbie Mills, Director, NCPN

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay
My oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay

That was one of the Disney songs performed at our opening ceremony at the 2014 NCPN conference in Orlando. I can't seem to get the lyrics out of my head. It is such an upbeat song, and the conference was too! If you missed the conference, you missed a fantastic opportunity to hear from some really innovative practices across the country and a chance to learn from the best. (Read)


Mark Whitney, Manager of Publication Services, CORD

Many thanks to our sponsors—Kuder, the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program, and the Florida Career Pathways Network—along with members of the conference planning committee and many others who labored throughout the year in preparation for the event. We are grateful to Mark Mitsui, Sharon Miller, and Robin Utz from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), who presented up-to-date information on Perkins reauthorization, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and current and planned initiatives of OCTAE's Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE). (Read)


Michael Armbruster

"The times, they are a changin'." These words, written and sung by Bob Dylan in 1964, ring true today when talking about the perception of career and technical education (CTE) in the American education system. For many years, the national paradigm has been driven by the idea that the college and university path is considered the steak option and the CTE path is considered the hamburger. What is changing today is that, while the college and university path is still the steak, CTE is now the lobster. (Read)


Shelli Sowles and Erick Lehet

Shelli Sowles and Erick Lehet gave NCPN attendees a "Reality Check" during an interactive breakout session this October. The Reality Check event is based on Minnesota's career, education, and job resource website and LIFE, the board game we all grew up playing as kids. The Minnesota model is unique in that federal Perkins grant money is allocated from the state to a collaborative consortium. Minnesota has 26 consortia. Each contains at least one postsecondary institution and surrounding secondary institutions. The grant is spent through the collaborative efforts of secondary and postsecondary coordinators, who must work together to create a plan and fund projects that incorporate rigorous Programs of Study and advisory committee input. Through this partnership, the local community and technical college, Century College, has been able to work with multiple secondary CTE teachers to offer students a clear pathway into programs and often a dual credit option. (Read)


Upskill America: ED Launches the Career Pathways Exchange!

There has been a storm of activity following the passage of WIOA and the release of the Vice President's Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity report. The national effort to advance economic opportunity through career pathways is more important than ever.

NCPN was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a partner in its three-year career pathways initiative: Moving Pathways Forward: Supporting Career Pathways Integration. Throughout the next two years, we will contribute to the project's free information service—the Career Pathways Exchange. The Exchange consolidates and distributes career pathways-related resources, events, and information from federal and state agencies and partner organizations. Subscribers can select to receive email digests on their topics of interest, including: Building Cross-Agency Partnerships, Identifying Industry Sectors and Engaging Employers, Designing Education and Training Programs, Identifying Funding Needs and Sources, Aligning Policies and Programs, and Measuring System Change and Performance.

You can also find and follow the Exchange on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay current on career pathways events and resources.


Claudia Maness, CORD Communications, Inc.

Learning mathematics can be both fun and memorable. Participants found that out recently in a presentation at NCPN in Orlando. They played Rock-Paper-Scissors to compare theoretical and experimental probabilities. (Go here for a PDF of the activity.) Using a double elimination bracket, participants played multiple tournaments to gather data on who won the tournament and whether or not that person had any losses before he or she won. The groups combined their data and compared this experimental probability to the theoretical. They quickly realized that the more tournaments they played and the more data they collected the closer they would get to the theoretical probability.

The participants had a lot of fun playing the tournaments. They were looking forward to using the activity in their classrooms when they returned home.

© 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, an organization of CORD (, assists its members in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving workforce education programs. Questions? Mark Whitney, 254-741-8315,