National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education
The National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education conducts research to expand the understanding, increase the effectiveness, and improve the implementation of career and technical education. Its multimedia website is designed to effectively disseminate research and engage diverse stakeholders.
Client: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Announced in 2012, the U.S. Department of Education established a new national center to assess the ways in which high-quality career and technical education programs can contribute to secondary and postsecondary instruction. The National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education (NCICTE) will perform scientifically based research and evaluation, disseminate information, and conduct training to expand the understanding, increase the effectiveness, and improve the implementation of career and technical education (CTE).
Center Vision and Priorities
NCICTE conducts research to improve the design, delivery, and outcomes of CTE services offered at the secondary and postsecondary education levels. A central feature of NCICTE's research agenda involves exploring how the principles of CTE instruction, which include contextualized learning and the real-world application of core academics, can help raise student engagement and achievement while promoting the interdisciplinary, critical thinking skills required in the modern workplace. NCICTE promotes better alignment among secondary, postsecondary, and adult education sectors in order to make it easier for students to navigate multiple pathways to careers. NCICTE also seeks to demonstrate more effective strategies for enabling and scaling employer involvement so young people may experience deep, systematic interaction with adult professionals as part of their career development.
There are four research areas that NCICTE prioritizes:
- Programs of study (POS)/career pathways—identifying strategies to strengthen the alignment of CTE programs offered at the secondary and postsecondary education levels, and both education levels and the labor market. This includes strategies for improving college and career readiness training, anchoring POS within broader state career pathways efforts, and identifying current and future marketplace needs.
- Curriculum integration—conducting scientifically based research and evaluation to assess the efficacy of academic and CTE curriculum integration, and identifying approaches or models for improving instructional outcomes of students
- Technology-enabled learning—assessing the prevalence and impact of technology-enabled learning on CTE to inform the field and policy makers of the prevalence and impact of such approaches on the outcomes of students
- Professional development—exploring new, more effective, evidence-based approaches for training new CTE instructors to enter the field and succeed, and to support existing educators in improving their skills
Recent Center Activities
- The NCICTE website launched in April 2013. In addition to offering new reports, training, and news, this site will contain a searchable database containing reports from the previous NRCCTE.
- NCICTE will collect original data on contemporary educational issues, such as the outcomes of CTE programs of study and the use of multiple pathways as a secondary instructional strategy. Researchers will also analyze federal databases maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics and collaborate with states to access secondary and postsecondary CTE data contained within statewide longitudinal data systems.
- Studies are underway to improve linkages between educational programming and the workplace. This includes developing tools to assess current and forecasted job openings across industry sectors, and crosswalk occupational skill needs to secondary and postsecondary educational training programs.
- NCICTE is exploring approaches for improving the dissemination of information using social media, and developing a series of on-line training courses and modules for use by CTE policy makers and practitioners. More information will be provided on the forthcoming website.
Center Team and Contacts
NCICTE consists of a team of diverse and experienced organizations, including RTI, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, FHI 360, Laurium Evaluation Group, Coverent, Workforce Enterprise Systems, Mercury Labs, and Windwalker Corporation.