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Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education

Career TEchnical AND Adult Education News

  • January 03, 2020 6:44 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the next online application period for TechCred will be open throughout the month of January. TechCred connects businesses with the talent they need and gives employees the ability to earn industry-recognized, technology-focused credentials, better preparing them for a job in today’s advanced, technology-infused economy.

    “TechCred’s first application period demonstrated the value Ohio businesses see in upskilling their existing workforce,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Based on feedback we received from businesses, we expanded the credentials eligible for funding, and I encourage Ohio employers to connect with us and learn more through TechCred.Ohio.Gov.”

    TechCred allows businesses to identify the specific qualifications they need and employees they want to upskill toward a more advanced position. Then, in partnership with a training provider, the employer can apply online at and the state will reimburse up to $2,000 of training upon completion of a credential.

    “Businesses are looking for workers with the skills needed to compete in the global marketplace,” said Ohio Economic Development Director Lydia Mihalik. “TechCred will help upskill workers with up-to-date credentials to advance their careers.”

    Following the first round of TechCred, applications were approved for 234 Ohio employers, resulting in 1,576 credentials that will help upskill Ohio workers. Over 200 additional technology-focused credentials were also approved for inclusion and potential funding through the TechCred program, as requested by Ohio businesses.

    Businesses wishing to apply can visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov.
  • December 31, 2019 6:50 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)


    Ohio ACTE leadership and staff work hard all year round to represent the interests of career-technical and adult education in front of Ohio’s legislators, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), and the Governor’s Office.  As we look back on 2019, we celebrate milestones and achievements, and we look to 2020 to continue to advance career-technical and adult education statewide.

    Notable Events

    Our advocacy activities this past year began with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner, ODHE Senior Vice Chancellor Mike Duffey, and Senate Majority Leader Matt Huffman joining us in January 2019 at the Ohio ACTE annual Legislative Seminar, following the November 2018 election cycle.  Subsequently, on March 7, 2019, more than 100 students shared their career-tech programs via displays at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium during our annual Student Showcase.  And in recognition of career-tech’s importance to the state’s workforce development endeavors, Christine Gardner, Ohio ACTE Executive Director, was appointed to the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board.

    Perhaps most importantly, all throughout the year career-technical schools across Ohio hosted their state legislators and Federal members of Congress on tours so that policymakers could get a first-hand look at career-tech in action.

    An Evolving Political Environment

                Overall, 2019 was a significant year of change in Ohio’s political and legislative environment.  Working with newly elected Governor Mike DeWine's Administration, the 133rd Ohio General Assembly passed some significant pieces of legislation, including the state's $69 billion operating budget bill. Enhancing education / workforce development continued to be a policy priority for the DeWine-Husted Administration and legislature, with career-technical and adult education taking center-stage like never before.  Early on, Lt. Governor Husted took the lead in reestablishing the Office of Workforce Transformation, serving as its Director. The OWT has a renewed focus on addressing the ever-changing workplace environment and filling the in demand, technology-related “jobs of tomorrow.”

                Governor DeWine appointed former state senator Randy Gardner as Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).  Former state representative Mike Duffey was also selected as Senior Vice Chancellor.  Both are long-time supporters of CTE and have made sure career-technical schools and administrators are “at the table” in relevant higher education policy discussions. Paolo DeMaria maintained his position as the state superintendent of public instruction and continues to lead the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

                The beginning of the year also saw an unprecedented battle for the Ohio House speakership, with Glenford Republican representative Larry Householder defeating incumbent Ryan Smith for the top spot.  As a result, both parties in the House have formed new leadership teams and instituted a number of reforms, including live-streaming all committee hearings, encouraging bi-partisan legislation, and working to ensure an open and fair amendment process during committee deliberations.  

    State Biennial Budget

                On July 17, 2019, the Ohio General Assembly passed the state’s biennial operating budget bill, HB 166 (the “Budget”)—which Governor DeWine executed shortly thereafter.  The Budget froze funding over the biennium (FY 2020-21) for all school districts at FY 2019 levels, with policymakers voicing a commitment to working on a revised school funding formula over the ensuing two years.  Nevertheless, the budget included various streams of supplemental education-related funding to achieve a handful of the DeWine-Husted Administration’s policy goals, including:

    • $675 million of “wellness and success” funding for schools to serve at-risk students.
    • $50 million directly (and as cost reimbursement) to schools whose students earn high school industry recognized credentials.
    • $30 million to supplement training costs associated with adult short term certificate programs, and to establish additional short term programs
    • $43 million to Ohio Technical Centers
    • $20.5 million for adult education programs
               The Budget also included revised high school graduation requirements, mandatory for the class of 2023 and optional for the classes of 2018-2022.   To qualify for a diploma under the new framework, a student must meet curriculum requirements (earn minimum high school credits set by the state / district), and do both of the following: 1) attain a “competency score” on both the algebra I and English language arts II end-of-course exams (or use an alternative demonstration of competency); and 2) attain at least two state diploma seals.

    School Funding Discussions

                Policymakers continued discussing ways to enhance the state’s school funding formula, ensuring it is equitable and fair to all students and schools statewide.  In particular, state representatives Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) continued working with Ohio’s education community and other stakeholders to develop a new funding method they have tilted the “Fair School Funding Plan.”  Although the DeWine-Husted Administration and lawmakers declined to adopt the proposal as part of the FY 20-21 state budget, Reps Cupp / Patterson have since introduced stand-alone legislation (HB 305) that contains their proposal.

                The future of HB 305 remains uncertain.  Policymakers have expressed various concerns about the bill, from its high price tag (estimated at $1 billion over several years), to its minimal impact on struggling, less affluent school districts. We expect the House Finance Committee to continue deliberations on that bill and other proposals in 2020.

    Senate Bill 89

                In the first few months of 2019, state senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) introduced legislation to help resolve several policy issues impacting the ability of career-technical schools, teachers, and administrators to efficiently deliver quality CTE to students.  Collaborating with the Senate, the DeWine-Husted Administration, ODE, and ODHE, the CTE Associations made a handful of improvements to SB 89 during the committee hearing process, and on October 23, 2019, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed the bill. 

                SB 89 is now under consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives and has received one sponsor hearing before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee.  We anticipate the bill will receive several additional hearings and are hopeful it will make it through the House in 2020, prior to summer recess.

     CTAG Workgroup

                In 2019, the CTE associations made it a priority to revisit the post-secondary credit transfer process for career-tech courses / students. In response to our advocacy, and in collaboration with ODHE, the legislature included language in the biennial budget bill (HB 166) to establish a workgroup to create a plan (by June of 2020) to modify the CTE post-secondary credit granting process.  Although the group—comprised of representatives from OACTS, Ohio ACTE, Ohio CCS, the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, the Ohio Association of Private and Independent Colleges, the Inter-University Council, ODE, and ODHE—has not yet settled on a definitive plan, it is making good progress and heading in the right direction after two productive meetings. The overarching goal recognized by all participants is to allow CTE post-secondary credit to be placed on a student’s college transcript immediately upon completion of a CTAG (or articulated) course. 

    Other Education-Related Legislation / Issues

                Several other education-related issues have been percolating throughout the year in the legislature.  Some have been resolved, and some will continue to be considered in 2020—the second year of this legislative biennium.

    HB 2 (TechCred):  Executed by Governor DeWine in December of 2019, HB 2 creates parameters surrounding the Budget’s “TechCred” program, and also establishes the new Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP). Depending on the microcredential, employers can receive up to $2,000 in reimbursements for training costs for both incumbent and prospective employees.  Training providers may seek up to $3,000 in reimbursements for educating individuals participating in IMAP, with a focus on helping low-income, underemployed or unemployed individuals.
    HB 367 (School Counselors): The House Education Committee has held three hearings on HB 367—legislation requiring the state to establish a job description for school counselors, and permitting public schools to consider / adopt said job description.  We anticipate additional hearings to take place throughout 2020.
    HB 322 (RESA): The House Education Committee has held three hearings on HB 322—legislation revising the Ohio Teacher Residency Program, and eliminating the RESA assessment for k-12 instructors.  Several educators and administrators have offered testimony in support of the bill.  We expect hearings to continue throughout 2020.
    HB 154 (Academic Distress Commissions): In May of 2019, the Ohio House passed HB 154—legislation that would repeal academic distress commissions and replace them with a more community-based model.  The Senate continues to deliberate on the bill, and differences appear to remain between the House, Senate, and Administration regarding the best pathway forward.  We expect HB 154 to be a priority in 2020.
    K-12 Report Card Committee: Representatives from public schools, teachers unions, and education reform groups convened in the final months of 2019 to discuss a new state report card system for traditional school districts, with most folks urging complete elimination of the A-F grading framework.   Meetings will continue into 2020.
    School Voucher Expansion: The expansion of eligibility for school voucher programs in 2019 has recently caused more and more school districts to lose funding and, as a result, policymakers have indicated an expedited fix may be in order for 2020. Eligibility for the main EdChoice voucher program has expanded for several reasons, including the end of a prior safe harbor period limiting the eligibility of additional school buildings and a Budget provision allowing students to receive vouchers even if they did not previously attend public schools.  In addition, over the last two years there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of schools deemed “under-performing” based on Report Card scores—further expanding voucher eligibility.  We anticipate the legislature to work to contain the expansion in early 2020 and minimize its impact on funding the state’s public school system.
    By Will Vorys, Dickinson Wright, Ohio ACTE Legislative Counsel
  • December 17, 2019 1:30 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Nominations are being accepted for Ohio ACTE Officers.  Positions open are Treasurer for a two-year term  and a President Elect who serves a three-year term (President Elect, President and Past President).   Terms begin Sept. 1, 2020 and election will take place at the Ohio ACTE Annual Connections to Education Conference or by mail ballot.

    For more information on expectations and time commitment, contact Ohio ACTE Executive Director Christine Gardner by email or phone at 614/890-ACTE.

    Letters of intent for Ohio ACTE officer positions are due  to Christine Gardner by April 15.
  • December 16, 2019 10:50 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    $34 Million Available Over Two Years

    The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Department of Education announced the list of industry-recognized credentials eligible for $34 million under the new Innovative Workforce Incentive Program. The announcement was made Dec. 16.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly developed the program to create more opportunities for students to earn in-demand, industry-recognized credentials.

    The program includes $9 million in the state’s two-year budget for grants to assist school districts, community schools, joint vocational schools, and STEM schools in establishing credential programs to prepare students for careers in priority industry sectors. Schools can begin applying for a share of the funding via the state’s Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan grant application process on December 19, 2019.

    School districts are also eligible to receive a share of $25 million over the current state budget to encourage the start of additional credential programs. Under this program, schools can receive $1,250 for each qualifying credential earned by students.

    “When Ohio students graduate high school, they should be college or career ready,” said Governor DeWine. “This program helps schools expand credentialing opportunities and ensures potential employers that students have the skills they need to succeed in high-wage, in-demand fields.”

    “We must prepare Ohio’s workforce to earn the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly tech-infused economy, and we need to seize the opportunity to do so before they graduate from high school. Today’s announcement reinforces the administration’s commitment to providing more opportunities for Ohioans to earn in-demand, industry-recognized credentials, offering a pathway to better paying and higher quality career options,” said Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.

    “Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce,” said Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction. “We are committed to supporting students in acquiring relevant, marketable skills that empower them to achieve success in Ohio’s emerging and priority industries. Innovative Workforce Incentive Program Funds will make it possible for schools to develop the programs students need to earn in-demand credentials.”

    The Innovative Workforce Incentive Program aligns with Ohio’s five-year strategic plan for education, Each Child, Our Future. The plan states that each child will see the relevance of his or her learning, be exposed to practical, real-world work settings, and begin defining his or her future during high school.

    Industry-recognized credentials are an innovative approach to ensuring that high school inspires students to identify paths to future success. Such credentials also offer students many ways to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed for high school graduation and beyond. Credentials also benefit employers by validating the knowledge and skills of potential employees.

    More information about the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program, including the qualifying industry-recognized credentials is available here.

    Find more information on high school industry-recognized credentials here.

  • December 16, 2019 10:09 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)


    Get your school involved in the 2020 #STEMdrivesOhio Design Challenge by officially registering at the new OSLN design challenge website. Registration will close on January 15! Please check the resources on the website before signing up. 

  • December 10, 2019 11:23 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, announced Dec. 6 that awards are being distributed following the first application period of the TechCred program.

    “TechCred gives Ohio employers the chance to help mold their future workforce and develop the talent they need in order to grow in the community,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Today’s announcement means that over 1,500 Ohioans will soon be better prepared for the next step in their career.”

    Applications were approved for 234 Ohio employers, resulting in 1,576 credentials that will help upskill Ohio workers.

    TechCred logo

    "These tech credentials will add value to the workplace, increase job security, and lead to higher wages,” said Lydia Mihalik, Director of the state economic development agency. “This will be a catalyst for both businesses and workers to succeed in new ways.”

    TechCred asks employers to identify the specific qualifications they need and employees they want to upskill toward a more advanced position. Then, in partnership with a training provider, the employer can apply online at and the state will reimburse up to $2,000 of training upon completion of a credential.

    The next online application period opens on January 2, 2020.

    TechCred fulfills a commitment made by Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to fund the completion of 10,000 microdegrees each year in order to aid in closing the skills gap for growing technology jobs.

    Earlier this week, Lt. Governor Husted also announced that 219 additional technology-focused credentials have been approved for inclusion and potential funding through the TechCred program. You can learn more about the program at

    Click here for the list of approved credentials.

  • December 06, 2019 12:02 PM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Ohio educator and leader Thomas Applegate, former executive director of the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents and current executive director at National Council of Local Administrators was named the recipient of the 2020 National ACTE Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes CTE professionals for their leadership on behalf of ACTE, their innovations in CTE and their contributions to the field over an extended period of time.  Tom is pictured here with his wife Linda after receiving the award.

    Tom is a lifelong educator and workforce development professional having served as a high school CTE teacher (marketing education), adult education instructor, college instructor and college dean. Currently he serves as the Executive Director for the National Council of Local Administrators of Career and Technical Education (NCLA).

    Previously he has served in a variety of capacities, including as the Executive Director for the Ohio Association of Career and Technical Superintendents and as the Executive Dean at Austin Community College (ACC) in Texas. Applegate has also served as the Associate State Director for CTE in Ohio. His responsibilities included business/industrial training and development, adult basic and literacy education, the marketing of CTE and intra state agency linkages. Additionally, he has served in many leadership roles, including as the president of ACTE.

    A noted authority in workforce development issues and CTE, he has worked both within the U.S. and internationally, and has provided consulting services to numerous countries, states, colleges, universities and school districts.

    The Award was presented on December 4, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2019 in Anaheim, California.

  • November 27, 2019 7:10 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Members of the State Board of Education (ODE) Graduation Requirements and High School Redesign Task Force discussed where to set a new statutorily mandated “competency score” on state tests required for graduation at a Nov. 25 meeting, with members seeking to strike a balance between academic rigor and concerns surrounding student passage rates.

    Following up on the group’s October meeting, Superintendent Paolo DeMaria informed members that the Legislature mandated in the biennial budget, HB166 (Oelslager), that Ohio students must “demonstrate competency” on the state English II and Algebra I exams to qualify for a high school diploma. (See The Hannah Report, 11/26/19.)

    However, the current grading scale for state tests specifies five performance levels: limited, basic, proficient, accelerated and advanced. DeMaria said discussion has been focused on setting the “competent” level somewhere between the current “basic” and “proficient” thresholds, though he added that further discussion must take place within the task force and with external stakeholders in order to determine exactly where the score should be.

    DeMaria said considerations in setting the score should include the urgency with which the score must be set; the current student performance percentages on state tests; the fact that there is “no bright line” on where students' understanding of a topic translates to a given score; and the fact that students must earn competency scores on both tests.

    Discussion focused largely on the final point, with task force member Michelle Grimm, representing the Ohio School Counselor Association, encouraging members to take into consideration the “middle-of-the-road” kids and to remember ODE’s approach of educating the “whole child.”

    Member Julie Holderbaum, representing Minerva High School, presented competing concerns of the “troubling” idea of a student demonstrating competency through a minimal command of the material, versus the relatively low number of students currently meeting the “proficient” threshold on required state tests.

    “I don’t think it should be proficient, because just look at the numbers,” Holderbaum said. “What skills do they really need? Employers want someone who will show up on time, learn and follow directions.”

    DeMaria commented, “I struggled with that as well, and the way I resolved it in my mind was, this is Algebra I, and really, much of the everyday math we use is pre-algebra. At the level of ‘basic,’ you need to have strong mastery of some algebra skills. When you get into ‘proficient,’ there’s quite a bit of discussion about quadratic equations. … I’ve had discussions with business people saying they never use the quadratic equation.”

    He continued, “Think about what job an employer would use someone with a high school diploma for that isn’t a task-oriented job.”

    The superintendent encouraged members to send further thoughts on the subject via email.

    In a later discussion, committee members discussed the “guiding principles and themes” for redesigning the high school experience in the state, the results of which will be published in a report with recommendations.

    At the group’s previous meeting, members decided that phase one of the redesign would consist of gathering information through identifying promising practices already in place across the state, reviewing national research and conducting stakeholder focus groups.

    State Board of Education member Steve Dackin recommended that the task force establish some criteria for what constitutes “promising practices” across the state, either through student outcome data or design criteria, and he also suggested that task force members recognize that most high school students no longer go through a “standard” high school experience. Many high schoolers are taking college classes, starting high school early, or attending school at nontraditional times due to work, he said.

    Task force member Will Hampton, superintendent of Marietta City Schools, agreed, saying that 63 percent of his students leave the high school building at some point during the day.

    Heather Powell, representing Williamsburg High School, said that members should think of high school like a meal for students, to whom districts should provide an “a la carte menu.” Members supported the idea of allowing greater student choice.

    “Some kids are going to have a fabulous five-star meal, and some kids are going to have a wholesome lunch from the high school cafeteria, and that's just alright,” she said.

    Michael King, representing Berkshire High School, said his district underwent serious changes following a conversation among district leadership who decided “1955 has to go.” He said the district moved away from desks in rows and dusty technology, and transitioned to project-based learning and standards-based grading in grades K-12 that allowed students greater agency in determining their learning pathways. The district leadership’s shift in attitude paved the way for the passage of a levy, with the new programs becoming the centerpiece of the levy campaign.

    “Because we made it about their students and their future and we invited parents to come see it, the levy passed two-to-one. No kid has their chemistry exam on their refrigerator, but our kids are doing projects in school and out in the community that are going to stand the test of time,” King said. “The biggest question is to ask students, ‘What do you want to do?’ And we figure out the rest. It’s not right to force kids through four years of lecturing.”

    Greg Nickoli, of Pioneer Career & Technology Center in Richland County, said that students should learn more about what careers are available. He noted that in a recent junior class of medical technology students, 23 of 25 wanted to be nurses. But after those students were provided real-world experience of other careers in medical technology, they had more varied career choices in their senior year.

    “Lots of kids want to be nurses, but they can also be occupational therapists, physical therapists, radiologists, all the stuff you don’t see on TV or that mom or dad doesn’t do,” he said.

  • November 26, 2019 7:53 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our Nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the Program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the Nation's highest honors for high school students. The Scholars represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people. In honoring the U.S. Presidential Scholars, the President of the United States symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential.  Ohio's selections were made by the ODE Office of CTE staff.  Click here for more information.

    Ashley Mary Brickner - Vanguard Sentinel Career and Technology Center, Engineering Technologies and Robotic.  Instructor: Andy Brickner

    Martha Jane Leugers - Diamond Oaks Career Campus, Vet Assisting.  Instructor: Tamara Kuhel

    Maria Isabel Ramirez Porras - Auburn Career Center, Patient Care Technician. Instructor: Christine Tredent

    Megan Chantel Wallace - Great Oaks Career Campuses, Business Management.  Instructor: Angela Kovacs

    Angel Marie White - Buckeye Career Center, Teaching Professions. Instructor: Julie Brinkman

  • November 25, 2019 7:04 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Leah R. Amstutz has been named Director, ODE Office of CTE.  A strong advocate of hands-on, inquiry-based learning, she spent almost nine years in the classroom, teaching agricultural education. In 2011, she joined the Ohio Department of Education Office of CTE as a Program Specialist in the Agricultural and Environmental Systems career field.  She was promoted  to Assistant Director in the Office of Career-Technical Education in 2013 then became Associate Director, before serving as Interim Director, Office of Career-Technical Education since May 2019.  Through these roles, she promotes the expansion of career tech education in Ohio.  She became Director, Office of CTE  on Nov. 20.

    "The Ohio career-tech community of educators looks forward to working with Leah and her team in the ODE Office of CTE to continue to provide opportunities for CTE  to students," said Christine Gardner, Ohio ACTE Executive Director.  Career-tech educators are always willing to collaborate and work with our partners at the Ohio Department of Education to make sure we maintain our legacy of quality career-tech programming, she added.

Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education

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