NOCTI’s Subject Matter Experts Connect CTE and Industry

07.20.2022 | Credentialing

Career and technical programs (CTE) occupies a unique place in the education world. In addition to a “hands-on” style of instruction, learning outcomes are tied directly to specific technical skills. Whether training to be a dental hygienist, an automotive technician or any other high demand technical career, CTE programs are a direct link between education and industry.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) play a critical role in the CTE ecosystem and are an essential part of NOCTI’s credential development and revision process. NOCTI’s development and revision teams include individuals representing business and industry and secondary and postsecondary education. SMEs are charged with reviewing NOCTI’s national, industry standards and competencies and credential content to ensure currency and that they are reflective of the skills important for our future workforce.

What Are the Responsibilities of NOCTI SMEs?

All SME development and revision teams are led by a trained NOCTI facilitator. SME responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing existing national, industry, and state standards to determine critical content
  • Revising and/or developing standards and competencies
  • Reviewing competencies affiliated with each standard and assigning weight by importance
  • Reviewing/revising items and performance jobs from the NOCTI item bank
  • Creating new items and performance jobs aligned to content measured
  • Developing performance jobs according to standards
  • Developing criteria for evaluating performance jobs
  • Providing graphics and resources as needed

Benefits of Being an SME

SMEs often describe the credential development and revision process as a rewarding experience, allowing them to connect with peers, stay current in their area of expertise, and have an opportunity to be a positive impact on the next generation workforce.

Connect with Industry Peers

SME teams are made up of individuals from across the country. Every member shares a common goal of ensuring credential content truly represents what’s expected in the industry. Team meetings often involve lively discussions on industry trends, best practices, and new technology.

Lawrence Binek, an engineer at Raytheon Technologies, served as an SME on the collaborative NOCTI/America Makes “Essentials of Additive Manufacturing” credential. He shared with us that serving as an SME “was a great experience and I really looked forward to each working session. It felt like hanging out with friends and talking about our hobbies. It sure didn’t seem like work. We were able to collaborate on the working material smoothly and having different opinions strengthened what we were doing.”

Eligio Marquez, who served as an SME for the Automotive Technician and Diesel Technology credentials said, “If you are considering being a NOCTI SME, this is an experience you will not regret. The team I worked with was very professional, and all the accumulated years of experience in the field made it easier to work on the project and meet our deadlines. Best of all, you get to know people like yourself that you can count on from other states and create opportunities to communicate on common interests and/or vehicle issues.”

Stay Current in Your Area of Expertise

Connecting with peers and sharing knowledge has helped many industry professionals sharpen their own skills and improve classroom instruction.

Glenda Algaze, an SME on the Nursing and Dental Assisting credentials and educator with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, shared that participating as an SME helped enhance the curriculum she used in the classroom. “I felt knowledgeable in the healthcare field and participating as an SME for NOCTI has given me the opportunity to stay current within the health care field, including technological advances. Becoming involved with NOCTI as an SME or with project development enables instructors to have input on the knowledge base of students entering their field of interest. I feel that the experience that I gained from involvement with NOCTI has enabled me to enhance my curriculum by staying focused on the key points that an entry-level employee should be able to know and do.”

Steve Dalton, a Criminal Justice instructor at Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center in Virginia highlighted that serving as an SME was a unique opportunity. “Instructors should absolutely contribute to the revision and development projects handled by NOCTI. This is an opportunity to ensure the industry credential truly represents what is expected in our industry. If you participate, ensure you bring the best resources to the table. Also, be open-minded and ready for some challenging and meaningful conversations with your peers from across the nation.”

Help Equip the Next Generation Workforce

One of CTE’s hallmarks is the work-based nature of instruction. Learners have the opportunity to hone industry-relevant skills and gain practical experience in specific career paths. This hands-on approach provides an advantage when entering the workforce or pursuing higher education.

According to Advance CTE, 86% of learners concentrating in CTE either continued their education or were employed within six months of completing their program. And among high school graduates who directly enter the workforce, CTE learners are more likely to be employed (and have benefits) than peers who did not complete a CTE pathway.

NOCTI SMEs have expressed how rewarding it is to know their work is helping to prepare the next generation for success outside the classroom. Eligio Marquez also shared that “being in the automotive industry has always been my passion. Helping students be successful in this career will always be my goal. Being able to create and share my knowledge of over 28 years in this industry to create tomorrow’s technicians will always bring satisfaction to me.”

Steve Dalton reflected on the unique opportunity to equip learners for future success. “I am always looking for opportunities to help build the next generation of criminal justice professionals. Helping develop the products for NOCTI as an SME was a unique way to have a broad impact on students across the nation.”

Chris Waterbury, an ASE Master Technician and a key member of the Automotive Technician revision team, was thankful for the opportunity to give back to the CTE community. “I was happy to be on the team at NOCTI because I felt it was my chance to give back to the vocational educational community that helped me find my path years ago.”

How to Become a NOCTI SME

Thank you to each of our SMEs for your willingness to participate and your commitment to CTE!

NOCTI is always looking for qualified individuals to become part of its prestigious SME network. SME development and revision meetings are usually web-based and scheduled in the evening hours to minimize interference with daytime schedules.

Contact us if you have questions about becoming an SME or get started with our online application form.