This Week in CTE

September 11th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.



McAllen Independent School District in Texas is gearing up for recruitment week for one of their Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). Check out the fun activities planned to bring in new Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members next week!


Cass Career Center, a public technical school located in Missouri, published their September newsletter this week. Read how the culture at the technical center has shifted to, “learn by unlearning.” The newsletter also shares how learners and the technical center staff are doing their parts to keep the campus safe during the pandemic.


The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) and the Level Up coalition published Unlocking Potential: A State Policy Roadmap for Equity and Quality in College in High School Programs. State CTE leaders can leverage this resource as they design and implement policies that drive meaningful change in access, equity, and quality for college in high school programs. CHSA newly released three state profiles of recommended policies already in place in Colorado, Indiana, and Washington. View the state profiles here


Co-Chair of the House CTE Caucus Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) published an article about how the pandemic underscores the demand for CTE. In this op-ed, Representative Thompson discussed the need to support CTE learners, and the role that CTE has in economic resiliency.  


In 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the Finish Line Grants program, a wraparound program to help learners in North Carolina navigate financial emergencies. The program was designed to improve credential attainment rates by limiting unexpected financial burdens that may prevent a student from completing a postsecondary degree or credential. 

View a full profile on this policy in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

This Week in CTE

September 4th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


Postsecondary institutions in Kentucky have reported an increase in dual-enrollment over the past five years. Other notable gains include higher grades for enrolled secondary learners and a higher rate of continuance on to postsecondary education.


New Mexico CTE students delivered COVID-19 (coronavirus) care packages to first responders in their community to complete their service hours for their certification program. The Community Health Workers program offered to these students is the result of a partnership between the New Mexico Public Education Department, Forward NM National Network of Area Health Education Centers and Western New Mexico University.  Read more in this article published by Silver City Sun News.



Wisconsin CTE hosted a CTE Back-to-School Webinar Series, featuring CTE leaders from across the state. Topics discussed included, but not limited to, standards-aligned and integrated curriculum, student assessment, access and equity, prepared and effective program staff, and business partnerships. The webinar recordings are now available and can be accessed here


Despite increased interest in CTE by students and businesses, states and school districts are struggling to maintain or expand CTE programs due to limited federal, state and local funding. Area technical centers are an especially viable option for districts wanting to provide students with high-quality CTE in a cost-effective way.

Area CTE Centers: Conquering the Skills Gap through Business and Industry Collaboration provides information on the history, benefits and cost effectiveness of area technical centers. Several examples of best practices are highlighted including from Ohio and Oklahoma.

View this resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

CTE’s Vital Role in the Economic Recovery: Leaving No American Behind

September 2nd, 2020

The Great Recession of 2008 had the greatest impact on workers without a postsecondary credential. This group of workers experienced the most job losses as a result of the financial crisis and benefited the least from the economic recovery that followed, leaving millions of Americans behind. America is once again experiencing a major economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 (coronavirus). However, history does not have to repeat itself. Significant investments must be made in Career Technical Education (CTE) to help ensure all Americans can be a part of the post-coronavirus economic recovery. 

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has documented the impact of the Great Recession in a 2016 report America’s Divided Recovery. According to the report, the Great Recession claimed 7.2 million jobs, more than three-fourths of which belonged to workers with only a high school diploma or less. As the economy rebounded to near-record low unemployment in the decade that followed, those same workers without any postsecondary credentials were unable to reap the benefits, regaining only 80,000 — or less than one percent — of all jobs lost. The report cites structural changes in the U.S. economy over decades, including a significant decline in the production economy coinciding with an ever-evolving knowledge economy, as underlying root causes to the inequitable economic impact of the Great Recession. Additionally, the industries hardest hit by the Great Recession were jobs that workers without postsecondary credentials relied on most, such as construction, manufacturing, and office and administrative support. Another factor cited in the report is that the industries that traditionally employed large numbers of workers without a postsecondary credential are increasingly turning to workers with more than just a high school diploma. 

America’s Divided Recovery demonstrates the importance of postsecondary credential attainment in an economic recovery. A 2019 report by New America, Estimating the Impact of the Nation’s Largest Single Investment in Community Colleges, also underscores the point and illustrates the important role that CTE — provided by community colleges, technical colleges and career centers across the United States — play in reskilling and upskilling the workforce. The report presents the results of a meta-analysis of quasi-experimental evaluation studies designed to estimate the impact of Trade Adjustment Act Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants on student completion, credential attainment, post-training employment and pre- to post-training wage changes. 

TAACCCT, which was enacted in 2009, was described by New America as an unprecedented federal investment in postsecondary education and workforce training, with nearly $2 billion in grants committed to 729 colleges and universities — including 630 community colleges. Recipients of the grants were tasked with updating or implementing new programs of study “using evidence-based innovations and strategies to increase the capacity of colleges to deliver more and better integrated postsecondary education and workforce training.” The meta-analysis found that, on average, TAACCCT grants had statistically significant and positive effects on participants who participated in the renewed or newly-created programs. Positive outcomes included increased credential attainment and employment outcomes and, to a lesser extent, pre- to post-program wages. Ultimately, TAACCCT benefitted over 500,000 students who enrolled in nearly 2,700 new or redesigned programs and earned more than 350,000 credentials. The most popular career pathways were manufacturing and healthcare, followed by energy, information technology, transportation and logistics, green technology and agriculture. 

The present economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus is similarly having a detrimental impact on workers without postsecondary credentials.  Since the crisis began in early March 2020, unemployment for U.S. workers with less than a high school diploma peaked at a staggering 21.2 percent before leveling off at 15.4 percent according to the July 2020 Bureau of Labor and Statistics data. Those with only a high school diploma fared somewhat better, peaking at 17.3 percent unemployment before leveling off at 10.8 percent. Meanwhile, workers with postsecondary credentials less than a bachelor’s degree and those with a bachelor’s degree or greater peaked at 15 percent unemployment and 8.4 percent respectively. 

Once again, the importance of postsecondary credentials is apparent as the workers who had some formal education beyond high school were impacted the least by the coronavirus-driven economic crisis and are rebounding the fastest. Any post-coronavirus economic recovery must include significant investments in postsecondary CTE and credential attainment so that no American is left behind.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

K-12 School Reopening Plans: Exemplars for CTE

August 26th, 2020

As schools begin to reopen and learners begin their classwork nationwide both virtually and in-person, the health and safety of students remains at the forefront of educators’ and administrators’ minds. Throughout the summer, state educational agencies (SEAs) published school reopening guidance to help schools make informed decisions about the best course of action for their students and school community while maintaining safe practices. Whether continuing to educate virtually or in-person, these guidelines are as varied as the local plans that implement them. 

Considering the varied nature of these plans and the special circumstances that often underlie the logistics of implementing Career Technical Education (CTE) for a school district or throughout a region, Advance CTE tracked school reopening plans for each state and analyzed how they implicated CTE. The tracker that resulted can be found here. As of writing, 33 states’ reopening plans mention CTE in any way, including cursory mentions or health- or sanitation-specific guidance (see figure 1). Of those 33, 12 have robust CTE-specific guidance either embedded in their state reopening plan or as a separately published document. While each of these warrants viewing and merits discussion, we have chosen four plans to highlight due to their breadth or depth or because they have an innovative element that distinguishes their plan from others. While these highlighted plans are not the only examples of strong CTE-specific guidance, they can serve as models for other state agencies looking to further develop guidance of their own as schools continue to reopen and local education agencies (LEAs) continue their transition to in-person education.









Figure 1. (Last updated 8/24)


Minnesota’s state reopening guidance (last updated 8/21; CTE guidance on pages 95-101) provides comprehensive information about CTE throughout the state including guidance for classroom/laboratory instruction, work-based learning, career development and advising and career and technical student organizations (CTSOs). It also provides links to dozens of resources that are program-specific or unique to a particular program.

New York

New York’s state reopening guidance (last updated 7/16; CTE guidance on pages 103-108) provides similarly robust information across a variety of CTE topics. Beyond content and delivery and CTSO guidelines, this reopening plan also includes information about industry partnerships, guidelines for students with disabilities and standards for program approval, Perkins V and other data reporting. 


Nebraska’s CTE-specific guidance (published 8/4) provides guidance and guidelines for special classroom settings unique to CTE as well as general CTE guidance. They utilize “Guiding Principles of Nebraska CTE” (included within) to inform the document. Further, the setting-specific guidelines are delineated based on the reopening status of the state, which provides for flexibility across time. 


Tennessee’s CTE-specific guidance (published 7/15) provides in-depth guidelines not only for all areas of CTE, but also for how content is delivered (in-person, hybrid or virtual). Their plan draws from the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE)’s High-quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19-Impacted School Year (published in June), which asks guiding questions to ensure all considerations are discussed when undertaking school reopening at the local levels.

Finally, Advance CTE has its own guiding questions in the workbook Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 that can be utilized by those at the state level to help employ quality and equity principles throughout reopening strategy. Additional resources can be found on our COVID-19 resources page.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

August 21st, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

Advance CTE welcomes Paul McConnell as the new CTE Coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Paul is excited to determine equitable ways to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in his state, and to consider ways to better serve both learners and communities. Welcome Paul! 

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has launched ACTE Cares, showing appreciation and honor for our educators. Complete these surveys to let ACTE know how your needs have changed and what your self-care routines are! Survey completers will be entered into a drawing for a gift card! 

Dallas, Texas CTE students at Allen High School operate a community restaurant on their high school campus as part of their CTE learning experience. As a result of the pandemic, this semester the culinary learners are now preparing to-go meals for their customers. Meals are placed online, prepared by the culinary students on campus, packaged and picked up by the customer. Read more in this article by Dallas News.


Space is predicted to be a trillion-dollar industry in the future, which leads us to believe that careers will be in-demand. In response, The U.S. Department of Education launched CTE Mission: CubeSat. This national challenge inspires students to exercise technical skills for a career in space and beyond. CTE Mission: CubeSat is open to high school students from across the country. 

For more information on CTE Mission: CubeSat and eligibility requirements click here. Mission proposal submissions are due by October 16, 2020. There will be a virtual information session on September 1, 2020. 


SkillsUSA’s Diversity in Manufacturing video series continues this week with an episode featuring Daniel Pena from Santiago High School located in California. Learn more about Daniel’s career choice and how his CTE pathway contributes to his future.

In a time of economic uncertainty, CTE is an absolute must. The need for ongoing investment is imperative. This week, Advance CTE releases resources for states to make the case for CTE during the economic recovery. Resources include a video, fact sheets and talking points. View all resources here.

This Week in CTE

July 10th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


Advance CTE hosted a webinar with the Aspen Institute to provide state and local leaders with support in their recruitment and communication strategies for diverse student populations. Questions were addressed around access and equity for CTE postsecondary opportunities at the state and local levels.

View the recording here, and sign up for our next webinar, 2020 Elections Landscape: Implications for Career Technical Education on July 30! 


South Carolina graduate of Bonds Career Center, Josiah Wright, will soon begin his apprenticeship. Josiah will become a full-time employee and student at Greenville Tech, will learn and earn from industry professionals and become certified as an industrial electrician. 

Congratulations Josiah! 


This week, the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies introduced their Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill. The bill proposes a 1.4% increase for CTE, bringing the funding level to about $1.3 billion. The full House Appropriations Committee will vote on this bill on Monday at 1:00pmEST, you can watch here.


The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) hosted a twitter chat on Tuesday, July 7,  highlighting the importance of increasing federal education funding right before the House Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee went into their mark-up for the FY 2021 funding bill. Follow the #HearOurEdStories hashtag on Twitter to read responses on why education funding matters.


The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) has launched a national campaign to help states recruit and maintain females and underrepresented student populations in the field of manufacturing. Download free resources and learn more about the Making The Future, Connecting Girls to Manufacturing Campaign here.


To expand access to CTE and advanced coursework more generally, the Idaho legislature authorized Idaho Career & Technical Education to work with Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA), a fully-accredited online school serving students in all of the state’s 115 districts, to develop CTE Digital. Through IDLA, Idaho students all over the state can access online CTE coursework. 

Check out the Idaho CTE Digital policy profile in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Welcome Dan Hinderliter to Advance CTE!

July 7th, 2020

Hi there, I’m Dan and I’m excited to be the newest policy associate for Advance CTE. I started working with the team at the beginning of June and, since then, have jumped in with both feet to a number of different projects; I’m involved with JPMorgan Chase’s Global Career Readiness Initiative, the updating of The National Career Clusters® Framework, a project on area technical centers supported by the Lumina Foundation, and the tracking of state policy throughout the year. 

I’ve always had a passion for education, working at summer camps as a teenager. Pursuing this passion professionally, I earned my undergraduate degrees in middle grades education and communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. After receiving my teaching certificates, I moved to rural Appalachian Ohio, where I ran academic enrichment programs and facilitated federal grants for a local school district. A large part of this job was working with students on a different career path than my own and exposing them to the wide variety of career and technical opportunities that they could benefit from. I decided to support these students from a different level, moving to DC to pursue my masters in education policy from The George Washington University. For the last few years, I’ve been working with undergraduate students doing career and workforce advising work. I’m excited to continue this path toward helping learners of all levels find fulfilling careers and growth opportunities through my work with Advance CTE!

Outside of work, I am passionate about local and community politics. I also enjoy games and puzzles of all kinds, live music, the outdoors, and cheering on my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s go Birds!

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

July 3rd, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

State CTE Director of the Week

Welcome Craig Statucki to Advance CTE! In his new role as State CTE Director, Craig is excited to lean on his experience building relationships between state and local CTE stakeholders to lead Nevada through change. Read more about Craig on our blog

CTE Completers of the Week

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recognized eight North Carolina CTE high school graduates as Advanced Career (AC) STEM Pathway completers or scholars. The AC program of study has prepared these graduates for college and career opportunities in a high-demand STEM field critical to the nation’s economy. You can learn more about the qualifications these learners met to be recognized here.

Learners were recognized at their school’s graduation ceremony and received the distinguished SREB Advanced Career STEM Pathway Academy certificate of completion, AC Scholar recognition and graduation chords specially made for this unique honor.

Video Competition of the Week

JFF hosted the Horizons Virtual Conference a few weeks ago and announced the winner of their  “Why I Apprentice” national youth apprenticeship video competition. Congratulations Brenden Rohland of Wisconsin! View his video submission here.

“Why I Apprentice” is a national video series that celebrates the stories of youth apprentices. A compilation of all the video submissions from youth apprentices across the United States can be viewed here.

Legislative Update of the Week

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced this week the approval of the final wave of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans by the Department of Education. In this wave, we celebrate the approval of the following states and territories: Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. View all approved Perkins V state plans and resources here.

Resource of the Week

Enrollment in CTE programs has remained stagnant over the last decade while demand soars for skilled employees in today’s global economy. If we are to prepare all learners for success in the careers of their choice, more parents and students need to understand all that CTE has to offer them.

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, commissioned focus groups and a national survey to explore the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to better understand the promise and opportunity of CTE.  View the results here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Middle Grades CTE: Policy

June 30th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level. 

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this last entry in the blog series, we will examine effective middle grades CTE policy.

Policy actions often play a critical role in expanding access to high-quality middle grades CTE opportunities. Through effective policy actions, state CTE leaders can remove barriers that may prevent learners from accessing middle grades CTE opportunities, ensure there is adequate funding to support middle grades CTE, and create environments to incubate and scale middle grade CTE opportunities.

In 2014, H.B. 487 was enacted into law in Ohio, requiring schools to provide CTE courses in seventh and eighth grades by the 2015-16 school year. As a result, Ohio became one of the only states that requires the availability of CTE courses to middle school students at scale. Districts that do not want to offer middle school CTE must submit a public waiver to the Ohio Department of Education. Since the passage of the law, Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in access to CTE programs, with 21,551 students participating in middle grades CTE in 2015 and more than 73,728 students participating in middle grades CTE in 2017.

Similarly, In 2017, the Maine Legislature passed L.D. 1576, which updated the state’s definition of CTE to include language about middle school, effectively allowing middle school students in grades six through eight to participate in CTE. To expand access to middle grades CTE, the Maine Department of Education developed a Middle School CTE Pilot program, which allows institutions to apply for grants to pilot CTE opportunities that provide hands-on and interactive activities to middle grades students, as further described in an earlier entry in this blog series. 

Numerous states plan to leverage the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which allows states to use Perkins funding to support CTE as early as the fifth grade, to expand access to CTE opportunities for middle grades students. For instance, Massachusetts is awarding Perkins V reserve funds to eligible agencies to better integrate career planning from the middle school through the high school levels. In its Perkins V state plan, Florida provides guidance to include aligned middle grades CTE programs within programs of study and allow middle grades students to take high school-level CTE courses early. 

As state leaders reflect on effective middle grades CTE policy, they may consider the following questions:

  • What policy actions could be leveraged to remove barriers preventing learners from participating in high-quality middle grades CTE opportunities?
  • How does the state define CTE? Does the definition prohibit learners from participating in middle grades CTE?
  • What changes to teacher licensing laws, if any, need to be made to mitigate middle grades CTE teacher shortages?
  • What funding is needed to incubate and scale middle grades CTE opportunities? How can funds from Perkins V and other sources be braided to support middle grades CTE?
  • How can policy actions be leveraged to align middle grade CTE programs to high school CTE programs?
  • How can policy actions be leveraged to advance equity in middle grades CTE?

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup. To learn more about policy actions state leaders can take to advance middle grades CTE, read Expanding Middle School CTE to Promote Lifelong Learner Success

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

June 26th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


Nebraska Career and Technical Education (CTE) held a Virtual Symposium, which was the first of its kind for the state. There were more than 700 CTE district, state and national level attendees. Among them were Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

During the symposium, winners of the annual Nebraska Excellence in Career and Technical Education Awards and Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educators Awards were announced. Read more about the symposium and learn more about the award winners here


In Michigan, one student has shown great leadership by joining Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to Learn Council. Dominic Gonzalez is one of the district’s dual enrollment learners, which allows him to attend a local community college and earn college credit while still in high school. Dominic will be tasked with providing Governor Whitmer and the council a student perspective of what returning to school should look like in the fall. Read more in the article published by The Detroit News.


Texas CTE students did not let graduation or the pandemic stop them from completing one meaningful project. Engineering and veterinary science students developed a prosthetic paw for a local puppy who suffered complications at birth. View this video for highlights from the project, prototypes of the prosthetic paw and the student’s stories. 


The U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V): Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. 35 state plans are approved in total so far. Check out this chart to see which states have been approved, and links to the state plans.   


Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. The local investments from across the world – Innovation Sites – aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. Over the past year, Advance CTE has released a series of snapshots documenting the progress of the local investments. This week, Advance CTE released the final two snapshots featuring investments in the Greater Washington Region and Germany.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate