Senate Approves FY19 Appropriations Bill that Includes Key Education and Workforce Programs

September 19th, 2018

As Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) winds down for the government, Congress is working to advance FY19 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about the path forward for the FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill and the U.S. Department of Education’s back to school tour.

Senate Votes 93-7 to Advance FY19 Appropriations Bill 

On September 13, the conference committee (comprised of members of both the House and Senate that was formed to negotiate the FY19 appropriations bill for Labor-HHS-Ed) released their agreement. The bill includes appropriations for education and workforce programs. On September 18, the Senate voted 93-7 to approve the bill, which is bundled with the Defense appropriations bill, as well as a continuing resolution that would run through December 7 to extend current funding levels for other government agencies without final appropriations bills in place by October 1. The bill heads to House for a vote next week and if passed, will go to the President for his signature.

We were excited to see that the bill passed by the Senate includes a $70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants. Other notable increases included additional support for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Apprenticeship grants and a $100 increase in the maximum award for Pell grants (but this draws down the Pell reserve, the unobligated funds for the program that have been previously appropriated by Congress). You can find the bill’s specific levels of investment in key U.S. Department of Education programs in this table from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and in key U.S. Department of Labor programs in this table from National Skills Coalition.

The bill also contains that language about the proposed consolidation of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and the Office of Postsecondary Education into one Office of Postsecondary and Lifelong Learning, noting that, “In particular, the conferees recognize the value of the Office of English Language Acquisition and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and are concerned that the elimination or consolidation of either office will undermine the ability of the Department to fulfill not only its mission, but also congressional directives to implement relevant programs and purposes. Further, the conferees note that OCTAE is authorized expressly in statute and cannot be consolidated or reorganized except by specific authority granted by Congress.”

Assistant Secretary Stump Goes on Back to School Tour

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education began its back to school tour with travel across the country under the guiding theme of “Rethink School,” emphasizing innovative programs in education. On Tuesday, September 11, as part of this tour, Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education, traveled to the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His tour featured the Center’s 40 CTE programs, small business incubator and college preparatory career academies. On Wednesday, September 12, Assistant Secretary Stump spent time in Wichita, Kansas at the National Center for Aviation Training, where high school students are able to achieve a technical certification in aviation production and maintenance that leads to a career in aviation.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Excellence in Action Spotlighting: A&M Consolidated High School, Information Technology Program

September 18th, 2018

Imagine how you would complete your work each day without technology. Today is a good day to thank the people who keep those systems running smoothly. It’s Information Technology (IT) professionals day or #ITProDay! The third Tuesday in September is a day to celebrate system administrators, network engineers, information security professionals, developers, IT support technicians and more. To honor this day, we are highlighting the Information Technology program of study in College Station, Texas.

A&M Consolidated High School has provided IT Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for nearly four decades. It began as a computer programming course and has transformed into a robust IT program of study designed to provide students with a rigorous academic foundation. Learners gain skills in areas including computer hardware, software, coding, networking and cybersecurity.

This year, the program received the annual Excellence in Action award in the Information Technology Career Cluster®. The program was one of 11 recognized for providing clear pathways into college and careers, rigorous academic and technical coursework, strong industry partnerships, and effective work-based learning experiences that offer opportunities for career exploration and subject-matter mastery.

Over the summer break, learners competed in the 53rd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Students in their chapter were awarded first place in the Career Pathway Showcase in Information Technology and second place in Cyber Security Demonstration. Read more about all of their accomplishments at this event here.

In addition to winning competitions, learners spend a significant amount of time giving back to their community. The program was awarded a $25,000 grant to work with industry partners to install a network and security infrastructure in an elementary school converted to temporary housing for homeless families. They have even earned recognition from the President of the United States for their commitment to volunteer service by completing a minimum of 1,000 hours of service over a 12-month time period.

In addition to a strong commitment to community service, learners also host events such as video game tournaments where students apply their skills in systems networking, live stream technology, cybersecurity and customer service.

Learn more about the Information Technology program at A&M Consolidated High School and our 2018 award winners.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Excelencia in Education Report Explores 2018 Hispanic Serving Institutions and Workforce Survey

September 17th, 2018

Excelencia in Education (Excelencia), in partnership with Gallup and with support from Strada Education Network, explored the services and practices of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and the accompanying outcomes of the graduating students. An institution is categorized as an HSI if at least 25 percent of the full time undergraduate students are Latino. As of the 2016-2017 school year, HSIs include 65 percent of Latino undergraduate students and 15 percent of colleges and universities across the country, and these number are only expected to increase. It is more important than ever to understand the role that HSIs play.

The findings are based on the 12 HSIs that were or currently are part of Excelencia’s national “network of institutions that leverage their collective expertise and resources to accelerate Latino student success.” The main findings include:

  • “Excelencia network graduates believe their alma mater is creating an inclusive environment for the success of all students;
  • Excelencia network graduates indicate they had strong support systems at college;
  • There are areas of opportunity that could further support graduates in finding jobs and learning skills that carry over into the workplace;
  • 27 percent of Excelencia network graduates strongly agree that they were prepared well for life outside of college; and”
  • “Excelencia network graduates are more likely than college graduates nationally to be fulfilled in their work and to have higher levels of well-being.”

The full findings and analysis can be found in Excelencia and Gallup’s report, Examining Life Outcomes Among Graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Last week, Excelencia and Gallup hosted a briefing to share the results of the survey and key findings of the report. The briefing featured presentations from the following experts:

  • Brandon Busteed- Senior Partner and Global Head for Public Sector, Gallup; and
  • Deborah A. Santiago- CEO, Excelencia in Education

In addition to providing background information on the survey and report, the presenters underscored the importance understanding the collected data and taking action in response to the results. The point was made that higher education systems and institutions are most successful when leaders are intentional about meeting the needs of their students. When making decisions, one must consider student values, along with data.

A panel, moderated by Sarita E. Brown, President of Excelencia in Education included:

  • Lisette Garcia- Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR);
  • Anne Prisco- President, Felician University and President for Latino Student Success; and
  • Erin White- Senior Director, Product Development and Research, STEMconnector

The panel discussed topics such as the importance of intentionality in increasing Latino representation in higher education institutions and in the workplace, the need to pay attention to the full pipeline from secondary education through the workforce and what it will take to close both the opportunity and access gaps. There was also a call to action to bring more employers and learners together. In doing this, the students have the opportunity to learn about career paths, and industry leaders benefit from interacting with and better understanding those who will be joining the workforce. Additionally, the role of HSIs was reinforced as pivotal to students. For example, less than 10 percent of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics degree holders are Latino, and the majority of these individuals come from HSIs.

You can check out the full recording of the briefing to hear more about the topics covered.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

September 14th, 2018



$70 Million Proposed Increase for Career Technical Education

Last week, a conference committee comprised of members of both the House and Senate was formed to negotiate the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) final appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education). As we reported, the Senate passed their FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill on August 23. The conference committee has released final bill text with a proposed $70 million increase for Career Technical Education (CTE).  The bill has to be voted on by both the Senate and the House and then the President must sign it for it to go into effect.

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!


CareerTech Delivers – Conversations with Dr. Marcie Mack

Dr. Marcie Mack, the State CTE Director of Oklahoma talks with Jennifer Moines, the Executive Director of Oklahoma Achieves about the importance of creating CTE classroom instruction that emulates the workforce this includes qualified instructors.


Data Matters: Using Chronic Absence to Accelerate Action for Student Success by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center

According to the latest federal chronic absence data nearly 8 million students in the nation were chronically absent in the 2015-16 school year. The definition of chronic absence refers to missing 15 or more days each year. Along with a report an interactive data map was developed by The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. It provides you with the ability to explore chronic absence rates at the school, district and state level.

Key Findings Include:

  • Chronic absence levels are much higher, regardless of locale, in schools where a majority (75 percent or more) of students live in poverty.
  • Chronic absence disproportionately affects special populations such as Native American, Hispanic, African-American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander learners.
  • 15 percent of students are chronically absent.

Recommendations for State Departments of Education:

  • Develop and implement a state plan to reduce chronic absence.
  • Use chronic absence data as a factor in determining the allocation of related grant funding and technical assistance, as well as in conjunction with other performance indicators in order to identify broader issues.
  • Ensure that school report cards are easy to understand.

Learn more here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 

Advance CTE Highlights Additional Promising Postsecondary Policies

September 12th, 2018

While many may think of Career Technical Education (CTE) as operating only at the K-12 level, postsecondary-level CTE programs and pathways are serving millions of learners at institutions across the nation. With the majority of “good jobs” that pay a family-sustaining wage requiring at least some college education — such as a technical certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or another credential of value — postsecondary CTE is more important than ever before in preparing learners for high-skill, high-wage and high-demand careers.

However, for CTE to fully meet its promise for learners and communities, it is critical that all CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence, as affirmed in Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. Specifically, a high-quality CTE program of study should span secondary and postsecondary, include an industry-validated and state-approved course sequence and standards, lead to a credential of value, and be aligned with labor market demand.

To support states and postsecondary systems in their goals for high-quality postsecondary CTE, Advance CTE added six new postseconday-focused policy profiles to the Learning that Works Resource Center. These highlight effective practices at the state and institutional levels.

States and postsecondary systems and institutions face unique challenges and opportunities in the quest to ensure program quality and relevance. These challenges include navigating a variety of governance and delivery models, state and federal requirements, and multiple layers of program approval through regional and occupation-specific accreditors. At the same time, states, systems and institutions also have meaningful opportunities to support and fund those programs that are best serving learners and their communities’ workforce needs.

The new Advance CTE profiles explore the following topics and related state or institution examples:

  • Career Advisement: San Jacinto College joined the Pathways Project (coordinated by the AACC) and through this initiative planned out a trajectory for each degree and certificate program that will lead the student through educational attainment to career opportunities after graduation.
  • Credentials and Assessments: Oklahoma’s statewide initiative, Launch Oklahoma, supports the goal of 70 percent of Oklahomans between the ages of 25-64 attaining a postsecondary degree, certificate or credential by 2025.
  • Data and Accountability: Middle Tennessee State University utilizes the student success management system technology, which helps with analysis of student data over time. This analysis provides predictive scores so that faculty can identify the students who are at risk of not completing a degree and intervene.
  • Dual Enrollment, Articulation and Transfer: Washington State created Direct Transfers Agreements (DTAs) across all public colleges. This guarantees that a student who obtains a DTA associate degree from a public community or technical college will have completed the core requirements of a public four-year institution.
  • Instructor and Leader Quality: The Community College Petrochemical Initiative in Texas, with funding from ExxonMobil, addresses workforce development in the Texas Gulf Coast. One piece of this initiative is community college faculty externships with industry employees.
  • Work-Based Learning: Iowa’s Work-based Learning Intermediary Network aligns career interests of secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary postsecondary experiences for that career. The program offers work-based learning opportunities in order to prepare students for the workforce.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Contact Your Member of Congress Now to Support a $102 Million Increase for Perkins

September 10th, 2018

As we get closer to October 1, the start of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) for the government, Congress is ramping up their activity on appropriations bills. Read below to find out more about the path forward for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY19 appropriations bill and how you can support an increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants.

Appropriations Bill for Key Education and Workforce Programs Moves to Conference Committee

Last week, a conference committee comprised of members of both the House and Senate was formed to negotiate the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) final appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education). As we reported, the Senate passed their FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill on August 23. The Senate bill includes level funding at the amount provided in FY18 for the Perkins Basic State Grants (you can find additional details about funding levels for other key programs here). The House Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies passed their FY19 appropriations bill out of Committee over the summer, which included a $102 million increase above the amount provided in FY18 for Perkins Basic State Grants. Now, the conference committee will determine whether or not to include this increase in the final FY19 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (along with resolving other differences between the two bills). Read below to learn more about how to contact your Member of Congress to support a $102 million increase for Perkins.

Contact Your Member of Congress Now to Support a $102 Million Increase for Perkins

With just a few days left in session before FY19 begins, now is the time to contact your Members of Congress using the CTE Action Center (provided by our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education) or by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Please let them know that a conference committee will soon consider the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill and be sure to ask them to support a $102 million increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant program in this bill bill, as proposed by the House! It is particularly important to contact Members of Congress on the conference committee, who are listed below:

House: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)

Senate: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

Webinar: The State’s Role in Communicating about CTE

September 10th, 2018

Join Advance CTE on Thursday, September 20 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET for Advance CTE’s webinar, The State’s Role in Communicating About Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE will feature Idaho Career and Technical Education and how they have transformed the way in which they communicate about CTE with all stakeholders. Caty Solace, Outreach and Communications Manager at the Idaho Workforce Development Council, will discuss how Idaho CTE created a statewide brand, introduced storytelling as a major component of their communications plan and the tactical strategies they used to better communicate about the value and promise of CTE across all audiences.


  • Caty Solace, Outreach & Communications Manager, Idaho Workforce Development Council
  • Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager, Advance CTE

Register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager 

This Week in CTE

September 7th, 2018



Colorado Career & Technical Education

“The soft skills that I developed through participating in CTE have helped make me feel confident in whatever challenge lies ahead of me because I know I have the skillset behind me to pave my way forward.” – EB Bollendock, Project Coordinator, Syncroness, CTE Alum

Watch this video and hear why students, instructors, and business leaders value career technical education in Colorado.


The Board of Regents unanimously passed the Nevada Foster Care Fee Waiver initiative

This initiative allows students who have aged out of the foster care system to register for credits without registration fees. It will begin in January and include a mentorship program for participants. Nevada is the 29th state to implement a foster care waiver.

Read more here.


Report: Apprenticeship and the Future of Nursing – An Equity-Based Strategy to Address the Bachelor’s Degree Gap

Registered nurses have grown to nearly three million workers in the U.S. today and healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries. However, the report notes that one-third of registered nurses do not have a bachelor’s degree. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine proclaimed a goal of having 80 percent of RNs with a bachelor’s degree by 2020. This report focuses on an apprenticeship program that is working to remove the barriers that prevent nurses from going back to school to pursue their bachelor’s degree. One barrier is being able to take classes and work full-time. Another barrier is the cost of tuition.

This report is offering apprenticeship programs focuses on the Fairview Health Services partnership with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Registered Apprenticeship program for nurses seeking to earn bachelor’s degrees. Benefits of this program include being employed throughout the program and being given time from work to attend classes.

One point made in the report is these programs help to create equity and that employer tuition reimbursement is not enough of a strategy to close attainment gaps.

The recommendations provided to increase high-quality nursing apprenticeships offered include:

  • Convene key stakeholders to discuss registered aprenticeships,
  • Create targeted grant programs,
  • Partner with institutions of higher education to ensure quality and drive down tuition

Read the full report here.

Nicole Howard, Communciations Associate

This Week in CTE

August 31st, 2018



Recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced more than $90 million in grants toward the Networks for School Improvement, groups of middle and high schools from around the country. The networks will be groups of schools to work directly with supporting organizations such as nonprofits, districts, charter management organizations, universities, or community-based organizations. They will work together to address barriers to student success. Overtime they will use data to assess their efforts. Learn more here.




Mississippi Construction Education Foundation Launches Statewide Awareness Campaign

We know that despite the many benefits of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) there are challenges with changing outdated perceptions of CTE programs. The Mississippi Construction Education Foundation understands this barrier to attracting learners to theses programs and is launching a statewide awareness campaign to help solve this problem.

In Mississippi there is a need for nearly 80,000 craft professionals in the construction and manufacturing industry. The initiative, called Trade Up will focus on learners seeking hands-on training and high-skill, high-wage and in-demand career opportunities that do not require a four-year college degree. The initiative is also focused on educating parents.

Watch this video to learn more.


Report: Taking the Long View: State Efforts to Solve Teacher Shortages by Strengthening the Profession

According to the report, states identified shortages of teachers in mathematics, special education, science, world languages, career and technical education, and teachers of English learners. The cause of these shortages include declining enrollments in teacher education. It also notes that teachers leave the profession for reasons such as a lack of adequate preparation and mentoring, pressures of test-based accountability, lack of administrative supports, low salaries, and poor teaching conditions.

This report focuses on six evidence-based policies that states are pursuing to address these shortages and how they are investing funding to create long-term solutions. These policies are:
• Service scholarships and loan forgiveness for teacher education
• High-retention pathways into teaching such as teacher residencies
• Mentoring and induction for new teachers
• Developing high-quality school principals
• Competitive compensation
• Recruitment strategies to expand the pool of qualified educators

States are looking to create a stable teaching profession for the future. The report notes specific programming and investments states are making to address this issue. Highlighted states include North Carolina, Nebraska, Indiana, Nevada, Iowa, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Colorado and more. The resources used for the report include submitted and approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plans, reviews of recent, relevant state legislation; publicly available program documents; and administrative data.

Read the full report here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Principal Tommy Welch Incorporated CTE Programming to Improve Student Success Outcomes

August 29th, 2018

Tommy T. Welch, Ph.D., Principal of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia, understands his students’ engagement relates to their ability to connect what they are learning in the classroom to their future goals. He was once a social studies teacher at the school and in 2011; he became the high school principal. Welch knew the high school was labeled as low performing and he would use his role as principal to change that.

Welch, who was named the Georgia School Principal of the Year in 2017-2018, has transformed Meadowcreek High School into a high performing school with impressive student outcomes. In seven years, the graduation rate has improved from 48.54 percent in 2011 to 75 percent in 2017 and SAT scores rose 40 percent. Welch credits adding Career Technical Education (CTE) courses as one of the key components of this improvement plan.

Meadowcreek has five college and career academies known as “The Schools of Meadowcreek U,” which includes the School of International Business, School of Communication and Arts, School of Information Technology, School of Health & Hospitality, and School of Science, Technology & Engineering. Each academy also features a school-based enterprise. Creating Meadowcreek U was made possible by a $3.3 million three-year federal School Improvement Grant.

Along with adding CTE courses to the high school, Welch built partnerships with the local community. These partnerships led to having Georgia’s first full-service bank in the school providing learners with invaluable work-based learning experiences. Last year the school also had a ribbon cutting ceremony with long-term partner Georgia-Tech celebrating the opening of a new makerspace for STEM related projects.

To determine the offerings leadership utilized labor market data to determine where the greatest need would be in 2020. Now, learners select an academy that relates to specific careers that align with industry demand. This strategy not only prepares learners with the skills they need for careers in their own community, but also gives students a better understanding of what they are learning, how it relates to their future careers, and increases overall student engagement and attendance.

Each academy also incorporates an after school component. For example, a learner can enroll in the School of Health & Hospitality and focus on the Culinary Arts program. Learners then have the opportunity to participate in the school-based enterprise, the Creek Catering company. Participation allows learners to gain work-based learning experience in the culinary field, building technical and employability skills, applying what they learn in the classroom, while also being paid. The money the organization earns funds instructional labs, field trips, competitive events and scholarships for secondary education. Paying students was a direct result of evaluating data, which revealed that the low participation in after-school programs was related to students need to help support their families financially. (Over 80 percent students receive free or reduced lunch.)

Welch attributes the following strategies to dramatically increasing student success:

  • Using data to make informed decisions. Students complete an annual student engagement inventory (SEI). The information collected helps to create a clear understanding of students’ needs and interests. For example, social workers, counselors and teachers meet to discuss students who have missed more than 10 days of school to determine the barrier for the student, and create an appropriate intervention.
  • Reduce negative perceptions of CTE. To address any false perception that CTE is for “lower performing” students, Meadowcreek offers advanced CTE classes, and ensures that all CTE courses integrate with core academics. To allow parents to see the value of CTE courses they create ways to highlight the projects and successes of CTE learners. For example, parents are invited to see their child t in action handling catering for a 400+ person event, where their gaining real-world skills in a real work environment.

The model for Meadowcreek High School is receiving national attention for its success in boosting student engagement, student participation in afterschool programs, a decrease in the dropout rate and increases in graduation rates. In fact, it’s so successful that the state has taken notice exploring duplicating this model with the opening of additional CTE-focused schools in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Health Sciences.

To learn more visit their website here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate