Tech Talk: OPT May Be Partial Answer to Talent Needs

Those in the talent attraction business – and who isn’t these days – probably know about the H-1B visa program and the cap challenges that come with it. Less well known in general, but surging in popularity among foreign students, is the Optional Practice Training (OPT) program.

OPT allows foreign graduates to seek temporary work anywhere in the country that is directly related to their field of study. According to the State Science & Technology Institute, foreign STEM graduates participating in OPT grew by 400% from 2008 to 2016. In recent years, OPT approvals outpaced H-1B visas.

The leading regions retaining foreign students graduating from local colleges are New York (85%), Seattle (84%) and Honolulu (83%). The metro areas with the largest share of foreign graduates coming from other metros are San Jose (71%), Kansas City (69%) and Peoria, Illinois (66%).

An in-depth story from the Pew Research Center explains it all. Below are a few excerpts.

More than half (53%) of the foreign graduates approved for employment specialized in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data.

Foreign students obtaining authorization to remain and work in the U.S. after graduation come from all corners of the globe, but the majority of them hold citizenship in Asia. Students from India, China and South Korea made up 57% of all OPT participants between 2004 and 2016.

While both programs give foreign workers temporary employment authorization in the U.S., they are different in a number of ways. For instance, only foreign students on an F-1 visa with a higher education degree from a U.S. college or university are eligible for the OPT program, whereas any foreign worker with a degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher is permitted to apply for the H-1B visa.

Also, unlike the H-1B visa program, which imposes an annual cap of 65,000 visas to private companies sponsoring foreign workers, there is no cap on the number of approvals available under the OPT program; all F-1 visa holders are eligible to apply. Furthermore, foreign students do not require employer sponsorship to apply for OPT, while the H-1B visa program requires employers to directly sponsor the foreign workers they intend to hire.

Tech Talk: Resources to Keep Your Business on Fast Track

Technology and innovation might be driving growth, but a successful organization can’t ignore several business necessities. The Indiana Chamber offers three valuable partner programs for members, the most recent announced this week and addressing the top challenge – workforce – for many companies no matter their industry.

We encourage Chamber members to take advantage of the following. If your company is not a member, reach out to Brett Hulse at (317) 264-6858 to learn more about all the Chamber benefits.

Achieve Your Degree: This program from Ivy Tech Community College makes the employee education and training process seamless. Chamber members receive a 5% discount on existing or future tuition assistance programs. Deferred payments and direct assistance from Ivy Tech on admission, financial aid, tutoring and more are part of the mix.


ChamberCare Solutions: Health care options in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to meet your needs, including a PEO offering (ChamberCare Business Resources) that allows you to offer competitive benefits with expert assistance from a partner that focuses on that mission each day. This allows you to concentrate on continued business growth.

Staples Business Advantage: It’s not just office supplies, but furniture, print capabilities, promotional products, facility needs and more. A group purchasing programs allows you to save as much as 30% on products you are already using or new items.

Check out other Chamber member benefits!

VIDEO: May-June BizVoice is Live

Capping off the excitement of smashing several records in one night at the Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration last week, the new edition of BizVoice magazine is live with in-depth coverage of many of the honored companies.

Oh, and those records I mentioned? Here they are:

  • A record 125 companies made the list in 2018
  • It was the largest crowd in the 13 years of the program, with nearly 1,400 attendees at the Indiana Convention Center
  • According to Peter Burke, president of the Best Companies Group (which runs the Best Places to Work program in Indiana and 29 other states), Indiana’s Best Places to Work event is the largest in the country

Tom Schuman, senior vice president of communications and operations, takes a two-minute peek into the May-June 2018 edition, which includes another in our yearlong Road Trip Treasures series, this time focusing on Fort Wayne.

Also included is a look at some legislative disappointments from the Indiana General Assembly session, particularly on three policies important to the state’s business and economic future. And find an update on the Attractive Business Climate driver of our long-range economic development plan, Indiana Vision 2025, including a progress report on the commercial court pilot project.

Check it out:

In addition to the new BizVoice web site that debuted last week, we’ve got a special offer for small organizations with fewer than 50 employees as part of our Small Business Showcase. BizVoice is offering a buy one, get one free quarter-page advertising special for its two summer issues. The quarter-page investment (just $1,020) includes the print and digital versions of both issues.

“While the number of businesses advertising in BizVoice continues to grow each year, we want to make sure companies of all sizes have the ability to reach our influential audiences,” states Tim Brewer, BizVoice Advertising Director. “Helping businesses grow has been at the core of the Indiana Chamber’s mission throughout its history.”

To take advantage of this offer, please contact Brewer – tbrewer@indianachamber.com, (317) 496-0704 – by Friday, May 25. The July/August issue ad will be invoiced in July for $1,020, and the September/October issue is free.

Connect your small business with the Indiana Chamber audience!

What Do You Know About GDPR?

I recently attended a lecture by a former FBI special agent on the topic of cybersecurity. Sounds cool, right? (It was!)

I’ve been paying close attention to the topic that is now top of mind for many since last summer, when I wrote this story for BizVoice® on fraud and cybersecurity issues, including what businesses should be doing to help prevent potential cyberattacks.

While I sat in a small room with 20 or so people who seemed genuinely surprised by much of what the former agent was saying, not much of it came as news to me (and I’m not bragging – I just went through my shocked phase last year when researching my story). But one thing I’d never heard before was something known as GDPR, an acronym for General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR was passed in the European Union (EU) and takes effect in late May. It expands the rights of individuals under the regulation with regard to data privacy and places new burdens on companies or businesses that handle private data. And you might be thinking, “I’m in Indiana, not the EU.” And that’s true, this regulation primarily impacts users in the EU. But it also impacts any businesses or organizations that operate in the EU.

Indianapolis-based DemandJump recently posted a blog focusing on GDPR and how it impacts companies here in the United States, with links and a video to help others learn more about the potential impact:

From an internet user standpoint, this policy only affects those people located within the jurisdiction of the EU. However, companies that do business in the EU – regardless of where they are located – must also abide by the same rules, which has left many in the global technology industry reeling to meet these strict privacy standards by the May 25th deadline.

The GDPR is one of the first major legislative acts of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last. The question is not whether the United States and others will pass a similar bill, but when.

At DemandJump, we have always believed in and respected the privacy of internet users, and we hold ourselves accountable for individuals’ rights to privacy and security. We also understand there is some sensitivity around data right now, and, well … we love data.

The truth is, data can be an amazing asset when used and handled responsibly, helping to automate, expand, speed up, and generally improve the world we live in. But those improvements should not come at the risk of individuals’ privacy.

Luckily for everyone, they don’t need to.

What is Data Privacy?

Check out this video from our very own Brad Wilson, Director of Engineering and Data Protection Officer at DemandJump about data privacy and GDPR.

In the context of GDPR – and the broader discussion about data privacy – the main goal is to put control over personal data back into the hands of individuals. This means that if any individual does not want to be recognized or known by a data consumer, they have the ability to instruct any system to “forget me”. This would trigger a string of technical actions which would anonymize their information, making it very difficult for any person, business or technology system to identify that person individually.

Fundamentally, this movement is not so much about restricting the usage of personal data as it is about giving control back to individuals. It’s about companies being open and transparent about what personal data they have on individuals, and about the way they handle that data.

For 10+ years there has been a lot of fuzziness and disparate regulation around data privacy and transparency. The EU is saying “no more”, and it’s highly likely that other regulatory bodies will follow suit.

Cybersecurity and data privacy experts will come together for the Indiana Chamber’s inaugural Cybersecurity Conference (in partnership with the Indiana attorney general’s office) on May 1-2. There’s still time to register for the two-day conference held in downtown Indianapolis, with focuses on responding to litigation following a data breach, vendor management, lessons from the defense industry and much more.

Walorski Shares Feedback From Hoosier Businesses Impacted by Tariffs at Ways and Means Hearing

Last week, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) shared feedback from Hoosier businesses affected by steel and aluminum tariffs at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the impact of tariffs on the U.S. economy and jobs.

“Historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms have revived America’s economy, but I am constantly hearing from businesses in northern Indiana that steel and aluminum tariffs are driving up costs and making it more difficult for them to grow and create jobs,” Walorski said after the hearing.

“The administration has taken steps to narrow these tariffs to better target unfair trade, but more must be done to protect businesses and jobs here at home. I will continue listening to Hoosier manufacturers, farmers and workers, and making sure their voices are heard so we can keep our economic momentum going.”

Video of Walorski sharing local businesses’ feedback at the hearing:

She read the following quotes from Hoosier job creators in a wide range of industries:

• (We’ve seen) a 50% increase (in the price of steel), mostly since the tariffs were announced. Additionally, there is a shortage of steel. We are furloughing the production line in (one facility) today and will probably have to furlough some of the guys in (our main facility) later in the week due to lack of availability of material. We have raised prices to our customers but because (our product is) a low margin item – the combination of the increase and the lack of availability is affecting sales.”

• “We cannot switch to a U.S. source, and it would take 1 to 2 years for us to get approval from our customers if there was a U.S. source. We will continue to import steel and will pay the duties. So far we have incurred about $15,000 in tariff costs with a potential of another $240,000 based upon the orders we have already booked with (our) Japanese steel supplier. We are moving forward with our exclusion requests; so far the cost has been close to 100 hours to complete these exemption forms along with some legal costs for review and advice.”

• “We have rolling shortages of steel and we are on allocation (from our supplier in Utah) … Prices had already gone up 25% and 30% respectively (on aluminum and steel) because of speculation. Now we are seeing a trend past 30-35% each. Of course, I am livid.”

• “We observed steel prices starting to move up in early 2017 on just the talk of potential steel tariffs and a sharp escalation in steel prices in the last 3 months as the tariffs started to become a reality. This has resulted in a 15% to 29% increase in the cost of our steel. To put this in perspective, our increase in steel cost is larger than the entire cost of providing health insurance to our workforce.”

• “We are the sole manufacturer left in the United States that manufactures this type of product. Our competitors import all or most of their finished product from either Mexico, China, Vietnam, etc., therefore avoiding any impact of this tariff…The bottom line is this, if you raise our steel and aluminum prices, our prices will have to increase in order to cover the cost. Our foreign competitors will not be affected. … We currently purchase all our steel and aluminum from domestic sources.”

• “We are in the process of trying to build a 147,000-square-foot warehouse. (The company building the warehouse) gets their steel from Canada, a country exempted from the steel tariff. However, we are unable to get a firm quote even out of Canada, because prices are beginning to rise there with so much demand shifted to Canada. It is not on hold – we have to build it – so we are at the mercy of a volatile market.”

• “When purchasing raw materials, we give preference to domestic steel mills wherever possible. We enjoy long, outstanding relationships with many domestic mills. We want them to thrive. … The actual dynamics of the entire metalworking market have evolved in the last 40 years. … In some cases, we find that domestic mills cannot meet the quality standards required by our customers; or they cannot meet the quality standards at a competitive cost. In those cases, we will buy foreign material. … Why put a tariff on these items?”

Much at Stake in U.S. Supreme Court Online Sales Tax Case

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear oral arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair. Wayfair Inc., Overstock.com and another online retailer challenged a South Dakota law that calls for them to collect South Dakota’s sales tax on their sales to South Dakota residents, even though the companies have no physical operations or physical presence in the state.

The online retailers’ position is supported by precedent. Over 50 years ago in National Bellas Hess Inc. v. Department of Revenue of Illinois (1967), SCOTUS found, based on Commerce Clause protections, that Illinois could not require an out-of-state business to collect its sales tax unless the business had a “physical presence” in Illinois.
This “physical presence” test was affirmed in Quill v. North Dakota (1992) when the Court ruled that North Dakota could not require a mail order company to collect its sales tax, again citing the requirement as an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. But the Court’s opinion seemed to acknowledge that different circumstances could yield different results.

And much has changed since 1992. Most notably, the internet was only in its infancy then and online retailers were unheard of. The application of Quill to a transaction and industry that barely existed when the opinion was issued has generated growing debate over the last 10 to 15 years. Pressure to overturn Quill has steadily grown as internet sales swallow up a larger market share each year, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers see their profits decline, states see their revenues decline and the “burden” associated with collecting the taxes has been steadily lessened by technological advances.

Congress has the authority to legislatively overturn Quill but countervailing political forces have impeded it from remedying the situation. Consequently, states have legislated an array of their own remedies, in the form of imaginative and constitutionally suspect laws. As part of a concerted effort across the country, advocates for overturning Quill began a campaign designed to present a new basis for testing the Quill holding.

It encouraged states to impose laws they knew would be challenged, in order to get a fresh case before the Supreme Court and give them the opportunity to argue Quill’s legal obsolescence. The laws would purport to establish legal nexus based on the level of sales that online businesses conduct in their state. This concept is referred to as “economic nexus”.

In comes South Dakota – the first state to pass legislation imposing the collection requirement based on a defined economic nexus. If an online seller has more than $100,000 in sales or more than 200 separate sales to South Dakota residents, then that retailer must collect the sales tax in those transactions. The South Dakota law served as the model as a few other states passed nearly identical legislation, including Indiana (in 2017). South Dakota fast-tracked the litigation and here we are with a potential landmark case before SCOTUS.

Will Quill be overturned? It seems very possible. First, the Court took the case which could be interpreted as a recognition that the issue needs to be revisited. Second, three justices have questioned the application of the Quill case. And many stakeholders have presented legal arguments to support and encourage the Court to reach an updated result. Forty amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs have been filed since the Court decided to hear the case in January.

These include briefs filed on behalf of: various retail business associations, 41 states collectively, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, four U.S. Senators (two Republicans, two Democrats) and the Solicitor General of the United States.

Numerous other organizations filed briefs, including: the Multistate Tax Commission, Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board and Tax Foundation. One was filed on behalf of “professors of tax law and economics at universities across the United States”. All these can be viewed here. Some taxpayer advocates argued against giving states the authority to require collection. But a majority favor overturning Quill. Typical is the argument of the Solicitor General, stating in its brief:

“In light of internet retailers’ pervasive and continuous virtual presence in the states where their web sites are accessible, the states have ample authority to require those retailers to collect state sales taxes owed by their customers. Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), should not be read to bar that result, both because the Quill Court did not and could not anticipate the development of modern e-commerce and because Quill’s analysis was deeply flawed.”

The Tax Foundation, whose brief does not directly support either party, made some important points. It recognizes that the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause prohibits states from unduly burdening or unfairly taxing interstate commerce. But it also recognizes that the current hodge-podge of state laws is untenable. The Tax Foundation maintains that the South Dakota law is constitutional because it minimizes the burden on commerce by adhering to uniform and standard administration. Its brief sums it up saying:

“The Court’s guidance is needed before the states subject interstate commerce to death by a thousand cuts. (And it asks that) the Court reverse the decision of the Court below and uphold the South Dakota statute, but also resolve an almost universal lack of clarity about the proper scope of state sales taxation of out-of-state entities.”

The outcome of this case, 50 years in the making, will have a significant impact on many people. States and local governments care about this case because there is around $20 billion of state tax revenues at stake. (Estimates range from $13 billion to $26 billion and the number will only get larger as time goes by.) Indiana’s share would probably be in the $200 million range, so the state’s budget makers care.

Brick-and mortar retail businesses in Indiana care because they must compete with online retailers and having to charge their customers the 7% Indiana sales tax puts them at a price disadvantage to the online sellers who don’t collect it. Indiana businesses that sell online to customers in other states care because they must comply with the expanding spectrum of varying state laws. Taxpayers should care because they are legally already obligated to pay use tax on their online purchase, whether they presently do or not, and because dwindling/unrealized revenues can spur tax increases elsewhere.

SCOTUS hearings are not broadcast. However, a recording of the oral argument will be made available the Friday following the hearing.

The Court’s decision will be made sometime before the end of June when its current term expires.

Chamber Adds Cybersecurity Conference

People are most familiar with the Indiana Chamber as an advocacy organization. After all, that has been a primary concentration for 96 years.

But business information – in the form of employee training and regulatory compliance publications – has been an important and growing part of the mission for more than a quarter of a century. Many of those offerings have focused on human resources and safety topics, with a more recent emphasis on skill development.

A new addition in 2018 is a partnership with the Indiana attorney general for the inaugural Cybersecurity Conference (May 1-2 at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center). It’s a good sign that the topic is a timely one when the conference expands to a full two days before it even kicks off.

Cybersecurity needs in today’s business world are robust; potential solutions are complex. Business, government and legal viewpoints and conversations will take place.

Among the key topics:

  • Governor Holcomb’s Executive Council on Cybersecurity
  • Cyber threats: The No.1 risk to small businesses
  • Fighting the security battle
  • Responding to litigation and enforcement actions following a data breach
  • The dark web
  • Best practices you can implement now
  • Cyber insurance
  • Legal consideration in the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • How will General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) be enforced?
  • Ransomware: Wire transfer fraud and phishing are hitting Indiana businesses

Check out additional information, the full agenda and sponsorship opportunities. Register to attend here. Our thanks to presenting sponsor Ice Miller and additional sponsors: University of Southern Indiana Romain College of Business, WGU Indiana, Qumulus Solutions, Matrix Integration and Purdue University.

Tech Talk: A great IDEA in South Bend Region

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg participated recently in the granddaddy of idea-sharing events – South by Southwest, now more popularly known as SXSW, in Austin, Texas. Later this month, people will come to the South Bend-Elkhart region for a similar-themed showcase in IDEA Week 2018.

The IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame is the lead organizer with a wide variety of partners. Between April 20-29, more than 30 activities (programs and entertainment) will take place. Innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization are the primary themes.

A few of the highlights:

  • National presenters such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Shark Tank’s Daymond John and Tony Award winner Patti LuPone
  • Venture competition, TEDx program and start-up showcase
  • Entertainment in the form of concerts (The Chainsmokers), comedians (Gabriel Iglesias) and more

Various Notre Dame venues, as well as sites throughout the region, will serve as hosts. That is important as regional cooperation has been taken to a new level in recent years.

The mission of IDEA Week 2018 is twofold: Celebrate ongoing/developing successes (Notre Dame, technology park developments, recreational vehicle industry prowess to list just a few) and provide knowledge and inspiration for entrepreneurs, students and others in the community to build the next big thing.

Rich Carlton of Data Realty touched on the momentum in the region during this recent EchoChamber podcast. We’ve shared more than a few business success stories from the area in BizVoice® magazine: sidebar on Ignition Park here and focus on Goshen as 2017 Community of the Year to name two.

Kudos to all involved in developing this first-time event. Telling our story, in northern Indiana and throughout the state, is critical.

Partnership Brings Bikes to Indiana Children

The idiom “it’s just like riding a bike” is meant to imply something is so simple and natural that if you haven’t done it in a while, you should be able to pick it back up with no problem.

But what if you never rode the bike to begin with? And this is not a metaphorical question; many children at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired have not experienced the opportunity of bicycling.

However, a partnership between Regions Bank and Nine13sports has opened up a new world to some children at the school who have never been on a bike.

Thanks to the partnership, “it’s just like riding a bike” means a whole lot more to those students.

Here’s the story from Regions:

Sitting on a bike, the second grader wears a pink outfit and a determined look.

“Riding a bike makes me a brave girl,” Kiarra said. “Here. I’ll show you.”

The bike is stationary, but the feat is unique. It’s not the first time for Kiarra and most of her fellow students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They were recently introduced to the joy and freedom of pedaling.

The bikes are there thanks to Indianapolis-based Nine13sports, a nonprofit that uses technology to bring bike riding to students across Indiana, giving an exercise outlet to many who’ve never had the opportunity before.

Tom Hanley is the Founder and CEO of Nine13sports. He’s a four-time USA Cycling National Champion. He’s also a survivor. In 2010, Hanley was one of 15 people injured in a horrific commercial vehicle crash, which killed his best friend. Hanley suffered serious injuries, including broken vertebrae and a brain injury ending his career as a competitive cyclist.

Now he shares his love for cycling with students.

“The core value of Nine13sports is that the bicycle is the ultimate equalizer. It allows us to take kids of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities and connect with them in a way that’s on a level playing field,” Hanley said.

In just five years, the Nine13sports phenomenon has exploded. At one point, Nine13 worked with close to 10,000 students at 40 schools in a year. By the end of 2017, the program expanded to 40,000 students at 160 schools.

On this day, Hanley explains how the bikes and a simulator work. “It’s going to put you in the middle of a big video game. So all you have to do is pedal across the screen.”

What does unbridled fun look like? This.

With teachers and other students urging them on, the competition kicks in. While progress toward the finish line is tracked on a screen, students receive updates and encouragement.

“This is the exact same equipment, same program, and same staff we bring in,” Hanley said. “There are only a few minor modifications we’ve had to make, with being more verbal with the students knowing they have different abilities and different levels of eyesight.

Jim Durst, the Superintendent for the school, takes it all in with pride.

“The reality of it is, with the appropriate accommodations and opportunities, our kids can pretty much do anything their sighted counterparts can,” Durst said.

A few feet away, Kim Borges watches in amazement. The Indiana Area Marketing Manager for Regions also works with Nine13sports at other schools. But today is different.

“The message around this program is independence, and about what’s possible,” Borges said. “These kids are absolutely amazing and inspiring. They love the program. They’re excited about the program. They ask each week when we are coming back.”

Hanley is in the middle of it all. He’s sharing his passion and opening a new world to the students. And the realization of it all is emotional.

“Seeing them achieving that, it moves me to tears every time,” Hanley said.

Leslie Carter-Prall, Regions’ Indiana Area President, loves the impact of the program.

“I’m so proud of Regions and our commitment to communities – in particular the ways we can impact lives,” Carter-Prall said. “This is just another example of us doing more.”

Durst sees the same sense of accomplishment.

“We’ve really been blessed with Regions Bank and their willingness to collaborate and make a difference in our school,” Durst said. “I think working and collaborating with Nine13, what we’ve witnessed is the difference it makes for kids. When you see those kids on the bicycle, it really is an equalizer.”

A Path to CTE Success

Massachusetts has long been recognized as a K-12 education leader. (In the most recent Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card unveiled in 2017, it ranked in the top five in all the most significant education categories at the K-12 and postsecondary levels). It is now receiving high praise for its work in the career and technical education (CTE) area.

Laws and policies are certainly a starting point. The Alliance for Vocational Technical Education (AVTE) offers the following guidance for states seeking similar results:

Access and equity

It’s important that all students, regardless of their background or needs, have the opportunity to enroll in high-quality CTE programs. A necessary condition of that is providing students and parents with quality information about their options. And in terms of equity, states should make sure that admission policies and procedures aren’t biased in favor of certain students or certain populations.      

Infrastructure

Without the proper infrastructure in place, CTE programs can’t serve students well, let alone contribute to closing achievement gaps. AVTE points to a few key aspects of good infrastructure, namely employing effective teachers and staff, updated facilities and access to appropriate equipment. Perhaps the most important lesson is that high-quality CTE sectors need reliable and adequate funding. Modernized buildings, proper equipment, and highly qualified staff cost money, and states that want the benefits of excellent career and technical education must be ready to fund them.

Curriculum, instruction and assessment

In the past, CTE has been labeled as “blue-collar stuff” best left for kids who aren’t on a college path. Many of today’s programs, however, are just the opposite. Students earn industry-recognized credentials that will place them in good-paying jobs, but they also earn associate and bachelor’s degrees. This transformation has a lot to do with the curriculum, instruction and assessments used by the programs.

For starters, high expectations must be non-negotiable. CTE students should never be held to lower standards than their peers in traditional academic programs. And curricula should be aligned to state academic standards, as well as national benchmarks and local employer needs. States should also carefully consider how to license and train their CTE teachers; AVTE recommends using nationally validated teacher competency testing. As for assessments, AVTE recommends utilizing pre- and post-technical tests to measure exactly what students know and are able to do.

Career readiness

The primary goal of CTE programs is to prepare students for careers. To this end, AVTE recommends collaborating with recognized industry credential providers like NOCTI to develop state-customized credentials that accurately measure readiness. Similar to the way a good ACT or SAT score demonstrates college readiness, earning an externally validated credential can give CTE students solid proof of their readiness and skills. AVTE also emphasizes the importance of meaningful partnerships between CTE programs, businesses and community members.

Data and outcomes

There’s no way to determine whether programs are effective without measurable outcomes, such as rates of graduation, dropout, job placement, and college-going and persistence. States should make these data easily accessible to the public so that students and their families can make well-informed choices.