This Week in CTE

January 18th, 2019



Senate Releases Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently released the Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The report provides key details on legislative intent, a section-by-section analysis and shows how the new law made changes to Perkins IV. Read our blog to learn more.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!


In this video, you get an inside look at what class looks like for learners in the Animal Science program of study at Wichita Southeast High School in Kansas. The instructor gives an overview of the program while learners showcase hands-on experiences happening right on campus.

Watch the video here:


Improving Skills Through America’s Workforce Development System

There is a skills gap across the country for jobs that require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree. In a new report, Improving Skills Through America’s Workforce Development System, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), explores what is behind the skills gap, how Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is structured to address this and what challenges continue to exist.

The report makes seven recommendations to improve the workforce development system at the federal level through WIOA implementation:

  • Clarify services offered by the workforce development system;
  • Enhance coordination between higher education financial aid officers and WIOA caseworkers;
  • Reduce or modify reporting requirements on outcomes if the tools are not provided to deliver the reports;
  • Consider new ways to prioritize training at american job centers;
  • Help WIOA participants use other available federal and state funding;
  • Encourage private businesses to offer training to nonemployees, especially in high-demand occupations; and
  • Expand reciprocity agreements between states.

Read the full report here:


Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship  Accepting Applications for New Grants

Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is inviting applications for their new grants– four to eight grants valued at approximately $200,000 each. Advance CTE is proud to support PAYA in announcing the first-ever joint, national philanthropic investment focused on developing high-quality youth apprenticeship programs. These grants aim to support employers, community partners and policy leaders who are working together to build high-quality youth apprenticeship programs that will meet local economic needs.

PAYA is inviting proposals from public-private partnerships with innovative strategies and established relationships that can deliver high-quality implementation. Successful bids include organizations that have leadership and support from a wide range of sectors including business and industry, the K-12 system, postsecondary institutions and government bodies.

Submissions for the open application must be completed online by 11:59 p.m. PST on Friday, March 8. You can also register to participate in an informational webinar about the application and selection process on Thursday, January 24th at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Perkins V: How can states expand work-based learning?

January 17th, 2019

This new bi-monthly blog series will highlight key Perkins V questions and topics and link them to relevant Advance CTE reports, guides and policy profiles featuring research, promising practices and examples of state policies.

Work-based Learning and Perkins V

Work-based learning is an increasingly popular strategy for learners to reinforce and deepen their classroom learning, explore future career fields and demonstrate their skills in an authentic setting. In addition, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) features a formal definition of work-based learning and references it throughout the law, including in the state plan and local application sections. Perkins V also includes participation in work-based learning as one option for states as they select their accountability indicators. As states set their vision for Career Technical Education (CTE) and develop Perkins V plans that expand access to high-quality CTE programs of study, how can they increase access to work-based learning opportunities, chart a new course or scale efforts already underway? Check out the resources below to learn more.

GUIDE: Connecting the Classroom to Careers: A Comprehensive Guide to the State’s Role in Work-based Learning: This guide provides key considerations and guiding questions to walk states through the steps of building and scaling a high-quality work-based learning system, drawing on state examples to highlight innovative solutions to common challenges.

REPORT: Opportunities for Connecting Secondary Career and Technical Education Students and Apprenticeship Programs: This report profiles eight secondary apprenticeship programs to identify strategies to connect CTE with apprenticeship program and outlines key takeaways and recommendations for program design, program effectiveness, student-parent engagement and communications, financing, and equity and access. Watch a related webinar here.

GUIDE: CTE on the Frontier: Connecting Rural Learners with the World of Work: This brief on rural CTE access and quality, explores how states have identified ways to bring the physical experience of work-based learning and employer engagement directly to learners through simulated workplace experiences, innovative satellite campuses and mobile labs.


The next blog in this series will include accountability resources and in the meantime, please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

2019 Spring Meeting Registration is Now Open!

January 17th, 2019










Join state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country April 8-10 in Washington, D.C. for a three-day professional development conference that will explore the latest issues and challenges influencing CTE today.

The annual Spring Meeting will equip you with the resources and knowledge you need to be innovative and bold as you begin to implement the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and help you develop a clear vision to guide CTE in your state. Our agenda features breakout sessions featuring promising practices, roundtable discussions for peer-to-peer learning and panels led by CTE experts.

This meeting is more important than ever as it will be Advance CTE’s only public conference this year while we support state efforts to implement Perkins V.

Register today here

April 8-10, 2019
Omni Shoreham
2500 Calvert St NW
Washington, DC 20008

Deadline to register: March 15, 2019

Deadline to reserve a hotel room: March 18, 2019

Advance CTE Report Describes How State Leaders Can Build Trust with Historically Marginalized Communities

January 15th, 2019

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. To help state leaders recognize these historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE launched a series of policy briefs titled Making Good on the Promise. The first briefs in the series explored the history of inequities in CTE and highlighted promising practices from states that are using data to identify and address access and achievement gaps by different learner populations.

Building off these briefs, the third brief in the series, Making Good on the Promise: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE, maps out steps state leaders can take to rebuild trust in marginalized communities that CTE historically failed to serve equitably. The brief outlines five steps state leaders can take to build trust in communities that do not view CTE as a viable mechanism to help them achieve their college and career goals:

  • Acknowledge that inequity is a problem;
  • Promote a culture that values equity and diversity within the state agency and instructor workforce;
  • Commit to transparency and advancing only high-quality CTE programs of study;
  • Implement strategies to gain buy-in from communities and stakeholders; and
  • Celebrate, lift up and replicate successful programs of study and practices.

To helps states with these steps, the brief features state examples from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Idaho and Nebraska and draws on messaging data from Advance CTE’s The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students:

  • In Oklahoma, the Department of Career and Technology Education created an equity and diversity specialist position in 2016 to provide diversity training to agency staff, teachers and administrators to promote equity through the secondary and postsecondary systems.
  • In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work Group to promote equity in WTCS.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

116th Congress Kicks Off, Administration to Begin Negotiated Rulemaking on Higher Ed

January 11th, 2019

With the 116th Congress sworn in on January 3, there is a lot of news coming out of Washington, D.C. this week! Read below to learn more about new reports, Congressional leadership, and updates from the Administration on the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Senate Releases Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently released the Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The report provides key details on legislative intent, a section-by-section analysis and shows how the new law made changes to Perkins IV.

Committee Assignments and Changes in the 116th Congress

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Leahy (D-VT) announced that Chairman Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) will remain as the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The House Appropriations Committee leadership has shifted: the new Chairwoman of the Committee is Rep. Lowey (D-NY) and the new Ranking Member is Rep. Granger (R-TX). Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) will serve as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

For the Senate HELP Committee, Sen. Alexander (R-TN) will remain the Chairman and Sen. Murray (D-WA) will remain the Ranking Member. The membership for the Committee shifted slightly: Sen. Young (R-IN) and Sen. Bennet (D-CO) will move off the Committee and Sen. Hatch (R-UT) retired in 2018. Sen. Romney (R-UT), Sen. Braun (R-IN) and Sen. Rosen (D-NV) will be joining the Committee. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is now renamed the House Committee on Education and Labor, as has been past practice when Democrats are in the majority in the House. Rep. Scott (D-VA) is serving as the Committee’s Chairman and Rep. Foxx (R-NC) is serving as the Committee’s Ranking Member. Looking to see when the House and Senate are in session this year? Check out the new calendars here.

2019 Negotiated Rulemaking Proposals Released

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education released recommendations to make significant changes to a variety of higher education regulations. The Committee on Accreditation and Innovation, Subcommittee on Distance Learning and Educational Innovation, Subcommittee on TEACH Grants and Subcommittee on Faith-Based Entities, all comprised of stakeholders, will begin negotiating the proposals starting on January 14 and attempt to reach consensus. If the committee and subcommittees do not reach consensus, the Department of Education will determine whether or not to move forward with regulations.

Additional information on committee and subcommittee members, a schedule of hearings and the proposed regulations can be found here. More information on the negotiated rulemaking process can be found here.

Office of the Inspector General to Look Into ESSA Accountability, Oversight of Title IV

The U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) internal watchdog agency, the Office of the Inspector General, released its 2019 agenda. On the list of priorities for investigation, which is influenced by members of Congress and other officials, is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into how states are operating their statewide accountability systems. According to an Advance CTE and ESG report released last year, more than 30 states are measuring career readiness in their accountability systems. Also on the Inspector General’s list is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into states’ use of Student Success and Academic Enrichment grants, a $1.1 billion grant program that can be used to support well-rounded educational activities, which includes Career Technical Education (CTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate and Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

This Week in CTE

January 11th, 2019



New STEM Professional Development Modules and Tools Pilot

The Center for Global Education at Asia Society has partnered with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE to create online professional development modules that support educators to teach Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) through global content via active, project-based learning. These 10 new online, 15-minute modules will help educators understand how to make global connections to local STEM issues; create high-quality global STEM projects; assess global workforce readiness skills; connect with classrooms abroad to complete collaborative projects; and teach students to be project managers so they are more successful in completing their projects. The modules, together with sample curriculum and other tools and resources, are currently being piloted and you can participate!

Learn more here


Get an inside look at Career Technical Education (CTE) in action! Little Elm Independent School District is a public school district in Texas that takes you into their Health Science Technology classroom to showcase how hands-on, real-world experiences makes learning relevant for learners. You will hear from participants as they share their career aspirations.

Watch the video here

You can find more Little Elm ISD CTE videos here.


Better Together: How Adult Education/CTE Collaborations Benefit Workers and Business

The National Skills Coalition’s new policy brief, Better Together, explains how collaborations between adult education and CTE benefit both businesses and workers. It includes an example from the Socorro Independent School District (ISD) using opportunities under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to improve alignment between the adult education and CTE systems.

Read the full report here


ACTE Accepting Applications for New Postsecondary Leadership Success Program

ACTE is now accepting applications for their new Postsecondary Leadership Success Program,Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. This is a yearlong professional development experience for postsecondary CTE professionals and includes a variety of opportunities

and benefits, including a $4,000 stipend, access to focused workshops and online seminars, and much more! The deadline to apply is February 3, 2019.

Learn more here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 

Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, Veterinary Science Program

January 9th, 2019

For all learners to experience success, the systems and stakeholders that surround them must work together. To accomplish this, there should be alignment across secondary and postsecondary education, workforce, community-based organizations, and business and industry. An example of what can be achieved when this cross-sector collaboration occurs is the 2018 Excellence in Action Award winner in the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster®, the Veterinary Science Program housed at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, in Spring, Texas.

“The students, school district personnel and business partners have worked tirelessly to make the Veterinary Science Program one that produces students who are educated, informed, prepared, and equipped with the knowledge and skills to begin their career in the field of veterinary medicine and/or agriculture or pursue postsecondary education,” said Jessica Graham, M.Ed., LVT, Veterinary Science Teacher. Recently, she received the Outstanding Early Career Alumni award from Texas A&M University.

This four-year program offers a rigorous sequence of academic and technical courses. The established partnerships create opportunities for learners to graduate with college credits and state-recognized certifications. For example, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University is one of the postsecondary partners offering a direct pathway from high school into a degree program. Additionally, the Veterinary Science Program offers 17 Advanced Placement courses, which articulate up to 30 dual credits at the Lone Star College System. Learners who are on track to earn an associate degree in veterinary technology can complete nearly half their coursework toward their degree before graduating high school.

To be prepared for this industry, learners need to obtain real-world skills. The Veterinary Science Program also offers numerous work-based learning experiences with industry partners, such as the Northwest Animal Hospital, Spring Independent School District Police Department K9 Units, Critter Fixer, Aldine Animal and My Family Vet. Northwest Animal Hospital in Houston, TX, allows learners to observe and participate in small animal live surgical demonstrations in the veterinary surgical suite at the pet clinic located on the high school campus.

The clinic itself also demonstrates cross-sector collaboration. Community members can see Career Technical Education at work by bringing their own pets in for care, and learners gain real-world skills by providing affordable and quality pet care to the community. Services include basic grooming, vaccinations, monthly and yearly exams and a pet spa. There is also an outdoor area for cattle, horses, pigs and goats. The money earned through the clinic is used for student scholarships to cover the expense of their industry certification examination fees.

Learn more about the Veterinary Science Program at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School and our 2018 award winners.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

HEA in Practice: UVM’s TRIO Upward Bound Program

January 4th, 2019

The Higher Education Act (HEA) authorizes the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO), with the purpose of supporting learners at the secondary level in achieving a postsecondary education. TRIO encompasses six programs targeted for low-income learners, first generation college students and learners with disabilities to excel from middle school through postsecondary enrollment. One program included in TRIO is Upward Bound, which supports low-income and first generation high school students through high school graduation, college enrollment and college completion. In the fall of 2018, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance published a report that reviewed 200 Upward Bound programs across the country and came to the conclusion that such programs increase the number of colleges students applied to and led students to apply to more selective institutions.

Upward Bound has over 950 programs across the country. In Vermont, the University of Vermont’s (UVM) TRIO Upward Bound program (UVM Upward Bound) has found success. Through UVM Upward Bound, the university coordinates with Burlington High School and Winooski High School to support students in grades nine through twelve in progressing through secondary and postsecondary education. The program includes 63 students and works with the school counselors and teachers of both high schools to provide services such as college and career preparation. Additionally, the six-week summer program (held at the UVM campus) gives high school seniors the chance to plan for the college application process and write their application essays. The summer program also brings students to visit colleges outside of the state.

Recently, UVM Upward Bound was given a supplemental grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) opportunities for applicable students. In the summer of 2017, UVM joined 50 Upward Bound colleges in putting in place a three year STEM program called Teaching through Technology (T3). This new grant will further support STEM for Upward Bound students by allowing new technology to be acquired as well as hiring additional instructors.

Across Vermont, public colleges are coordinating with secondary schools through TRIO to support all learners in a pathway from secondary to postsecondary achievement.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

High School Senior, Brian Elvidge, Shares How CTE and SkillsUSA Helped Him Get Back in the Game

January 3rd, 2019

For any athlete an injury can throw off more than just your season. For Brian Elvidge, a senior at Durango High School in Colorado, injuring his knee as a sophomore brought his athletic season to a halt. He had to have surgery and his vision for the future was dimming daily including his overall interest in school. He did the minimum required to remain eligible to stay on the football team.

Elvidge’s friend and co-president of the Durango High School SkillsUSA chapter suggested he join SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit student organization that serves students enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) like SkillsUSA provide learners with the ability to hone their knowledge and technical skills and demonstrate them through regional, state and even national competitions. He decided to join.

“SkillsUSA got me out of a rough time and gave me hope,” said Elvidge when asked about his experience after joining his high school chapter. Durango high school is one of 13,000 school chapters in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

Over the next two years, Elvidge also enrolled in CTE courses starting with welding. He enjoys working with his hands and believes CTE coursework could be used in the future not only as preparation for his future career but in his life.

His junior year, he decided to try another CTE course — carpentry. He was aware that there was a woodshop on campus and thought he should utilize the opportunity to gain hands on learning in carpentry, electric and plumbing right on campus. Before enrolling, he did his own research by asking his peers about the course, and finding that they spoke highly of the instructor, Shaun Smith, who also serves as the SkillsUSA advisor.

Smith has over twenty years of teaching experience and received the additional training necessary to lead a new pre-apprenticeship program. This program incorporates the Home Builders Institute PACT curriculum. One hand on experience includes constructing a life sized and livable “Mini Home.” Throughout the build, learners gain employability and real-world skills, through a meaningful work-based learning opportunity that mirrors what they would be doing in the workplace. Elvidge, along with his classmates, can graduate high school with the Home Builders Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate. To date, he has already earned the home builder association basic knowledge and safety certificate.

After his knee healed, he returned to the football field. However, he didn’t stop his participation in SkillsUSA and at his first regional competition; he placed third in a carpentry competition.

Elvidge continued to challenge himself and applied to become the SkillsUSA state officer. “It gave me something to work for and I learned about being a leader,” said Elvidge.

Now in his senior year, he is a leader on and off the football field. “I know what I want to do with my life now and I can prepare for my future,” Elvidge shared. He understands that the skills and certificates he earns now can always be used toward his future in whichever path he decides to follow.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Incorporating Youth Apprenticeships in Career Technical Education Pathways

December 19th, 2018

This blog was originally published as part of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship Blog Series

By integrating classroom instruction and hands-on learning, both youth apprenticeships and Career Technical Education (CTE) can enhance a learner’s educational experience and better prepare them for future career success. Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE underscores the significance of coordinating high-quality youth apprenticeships and CTE, empowering learners through work-based learning and strong systems alignment anchored in learner success. Rather than isolating CTE as a separate educational strategy, an integrated approach to education and training can ensure that all learners have opportunities to succeed in a career of their choosing.

Advance CTE recently expanded our commitment to youth apprenticeship programs by joining the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship Initiative (PAYA). CTE can and should have a clear role in helping to achieve all five of the PAYA principles for high quality youth apprenticeships. In particular, the “Career-Oriented” PAYA principle that “learning is structured around knowledge, skills, and competencies that lead to careers with family-supporting wages” is supported by bringing together apprenticeship and CTE programs.

High-quality youth apprenticeships share the same core elements as CTE programs of study. For example, Advance CTE’s Policy Benchmark Tool identifies rigorous course standards and progressive, sequenced courses; secondary and postsecondary alignment and early postsecondary offerings; industry involvement; labor market demand; and high-quality instruction and experiential learning as necessary for a program to be considered high quality – all of which are reflected across the PAYA principles.

What This Looks Like in Practice

The Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) program showcases the opportunities that become available to students when instructional alignment and programmatic articulation are coordinated between CTE and youth apprenticeships. TRACK is a statewide program, overseen by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, that supports secondary students participating in registered youth apprenticeships. Employers and educators work together through TRACK to create youth pre-apprenticeships that match registered apprenticeships, as well as select a four-course CTE sequence and a coordinated industry certification.

TRACK first launched with a manufacturing pilot in thirteen high schools during the 2013 – 2014 school year. Since then the program has been scaled to include other schools and additional skilled trades. The program utilizes Kentucky’s existing CTE infrastructure to create a pipeline for students that begins in high school and culminates in an industry-recognized credential, paid work experience and, in many cases, advanced standing within a full Registered Apprenticeship.

Another example is the Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP), created as a new CTE program of study through a partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education and Department of Labor and Licensing Regulation. AMP students are able to participate in paid work based learning, enroll in applicable academic courses and spend time with a mentor from a relevant industry. One of the intentions of AMP is for students to understand the direct connection between their educational experience and the state’s workforce demands. Participants benefit from the chance to “earn and learn” with local businesses, while also getting credit toward high school graduation and earning a credential- underscoring the importance of combining academics and workforce skills.

Over the past two years, AMP was rolled out on a trial basis in two county public school systems. These pilot programs were so successful that AMP is now scaled in additional districts across the state. To create strong AMP sites, the state works with local businesses in addition to the local school system in order to provide students with a directly applicable learning experience.

For more examples of best practices, as well as common challenges, in linking CTE and apprenticeships, check out a report from Advance CTE in partnership with JFF, Vivayic and RTI International on Opportunities for Connecting Secondary CTE Students and Apprenticeships. This report was developed through a contract with the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, at the U.S. Department of Education.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate