OVAE Connection - Issue 136

OVAE Connection

                                                             February 7, 2013 - Issue 136

Fostering CTE (Connections to Excellence) Through CTE (Career and Technical Education)

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month—a time to celebrate the contribution that CTE makes to prepare our nation’s students for the 21st century workplace.

President Obama has said, “…education is the surest path to the middle class and a competitive economy.” To educate our way to a better economy, educators, public officials, and policymakers must ensure that every student in our country graduates from high school prepared for college and a job that leads to a successful career. Yet that is not enough. If America is to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the end of the decade, our goal should be to improve access to affordable higher education or postsecondary training for every American.

At its best, high-quality CTE provides youths and adult students with the academic knowledge, technical skills, and work experience they need to succeed in college and careers. In doing so, CTE is a critical approach to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future for our nation.

As we celebrate CTE Month, I want to thank the thousands of teachers, local and state administrators, business and community leaders, parents, and other key stakeholders who work hard each and every day to develop and implement high-quality CTE programs that align with college and career readiness standards as well as with the needs of employers and industry. You are making a lasting difference in preparing for America’s future.



OVAE Welcomes Darcy Walsh Hardy

Darcy Walsh Hardy, assistant vice provost for technology education initiatives at the University of Texas (UT) at San Antonio, has just begun an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) appointment with OVAE. She will provide support and research assistance for OVAE’s work in competency-based education in the U.S. Her expertise will also guide OVAE’s work in the area of online higher education including the opportunity it provides to low-skilled and other adult workers. Hardy recently completed a two-year IPA at the Department of Labor, where she worked on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program and the use of online and technology-enhanced education to reach adults and the workforce. She will continue her work on the TAACCCT program with DOL.

Prior to her position with UT San Antonio, Hardy served as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs in the UT system and executive director of the UT TeleCampus from 2000 to 2010. The TeleCampus partnered with all 15 UT universities and health institutions to offer over 30 fully online programs in which approximately 20,000 students enrolled.

Hardy received a doctorate in instructional technology from UT Austin in 1992. Currently, she serves as chair emerita with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), where she is a member of the board of directors and has served as president. She is the founder of the USDLA-sponsored International Forum for Women in E-Learning, which focuses on issues faced by women in the industry, and on networking and mentoring women leaders for tomorrow.

Hardy has been inducted into the USDLA Hall of Fame and in the Texas Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame. She received the Mildred and Charles Wedemeyer Outstanding Distance Learning Practitioner Award, a national award presented at the annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also received the WCET Richard Jonsen Award for having made a significant contribution to the e-learning community and WCET during her career. WCET is the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

Hardy continues to serve on various editorial and advisory boards and has delivered hundreds of presentations and keynotes on distance education, online learning and leadership. She and her husband have two daughters, both of whom recently graduated from UT Austin. Hardy, her husband, and their dogs reside permanently in the Texas Hill Country city of San Marcos.

Get Your Job Search and Training Tools via Your Mobile Browser

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has a variety of online tools to help individuals search for employment or access new skills from training providers in their local communities. During the past year, over 40 million individuals across the country have accessed these tools from their desktops. However, with advances and increases in the use of technology, more people are using mobile phone-based browsers to conduct their Web searches. ETA has responded to this rapid technological shift by making several of its most popular online tools available as mobile-optimized websites, giving smart phone or tablet users quick access to key job search and training resources. These include locating American Job Centers, conducting a Job Search, performing a Veterans Job Search, browsing Salary Finder, accessing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and searching Training Finder. These recent changes are a component of ETA’s ongoing efforts to offer job seekers in communities throughout the country, especially those needing them most, a wider range of tools to access workforce resources through devices they use the most.