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

State Reentry Plans Prioritize Equity

June 25th, 2020

Many states are in the process of planning for learners to physically reenter school and college in the fall. However, the possibility of a “second peak” or “second wave” of COVID-19 (coronavirus) means that states are also preparing to provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners at a distance. States are preparing for an “accordion effect,” in which learners may spend some time in the classroom and some time engaging in distance learning. To help institutions prepare for different scenarios, state agencies have released guidance and plans for reentry. Specifically, many of the reentry plans call attention to the importance of advancing equity during the pandemic and ensuring that each learner has access to the supports needed to succeed.

In June, Arizona released a “Roadmap for Reopening Schools” that provides strategies and considerations for local education agencies as they prepare for reentry and periods of campus closures. Core to the guide is taking a learner centered approach through leveraging strategies related to leadership and instruction, such as strategies related to trauma-sensitive teaching and social emotional learning. The state recognizes that supporting learners during this time requires a community effort. To that end, the roadmap includes critical questions for institutions to consider as they build out their plans, such as “what partnerships are necessary to implement the plan (i.e., Tribal Nations, youth and community organizations, etc.)?” and “what can we do now to reduce the disparities in access to learning that will exist for vulnerable student populations if schools are forced to close?”  

Similarly, Kentucky released considerations for reopening schools. The resource includes key questions institutions should consider as they develop their plans, such as “how will schools and districts ensure students participate in and fulfill work-based learning placements?” and “how will schools and districts ensure the equity of instruction for students who are still choosing to learn from home or must remain at home due to safety restrictions?” State CTE leaders can leverage the key questions that are featured in states’ reentry plans to help inform what it means to provide high-quality work-based learning opportunities, access to industry-recognized credentials and access to other CTE opportunities during periods of remote learning.

In addition to questions for consideration, state reentry plans include strategies to advance equity during the pandemic. Virginia released “Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020,” which emphasizes the state’s commitment to ensuring equity and includes considerations, key steps and strategies to advance equity during coronavirus. Some key strategies include establishing processes and accountability levers to ensure that the implementation of reentry plans do not lead to disparate impacts and consequences and investing in equity. Specifically, the guide encourages institutions to prioritize funds, such as federal stimulus funding, to meet the needs of Enlgish language learners, students with disabilities, undocumented students and students living in proverty.

This is the first blog in a series that will examine state guidance and plans for reentry. To learn more about Advance CTE’s commitment to advancing equity in CTE, click here. To access resources related to equity and the coronavirus, click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

P-TECH High Schools: Bridging the School-to-Work Divide

June 18th, 2020

Traditionally, the secondary, postsecondary and workforce sectors have functioned largely in isolation from one another. All too often, learners are expected to navigate secondary education then transition to postsecondary education and subsequently transition into the workforce with little to no support. However, many education and workforce leaders have recently begun working collaboratively to better align these experiences and support learners to transition seamlessly along high-quality career pathways. 

MDRC recently evaluated one such example: the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) 9-14 education model in New York City. The P-TECH 9-14 education model was started as a partnership between IBM, seven New York City public high schools under the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York (CUNY), a network of 25 colleges. P-TECH 9-14 schools partner with local colleges, giving students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma within four years followed by a cost-free industry-recognized associate degree. During the six-year program, P-TECH 9-14 schools partner with employers to provide work-based learning experiences including internships, mentorships and job shadowing. All P-TECH 9-14 schools are Career Technical Education (CTE) focused. Students take accelerated high school coursework and New York State Regents exams, begin college coursework as early as their 10th grade year, and receive college/career transition support.

MDRC’s report examines the early impacts of the P-TECH 9-14 education model on student outcomes in their first three years of high school including course credit accumulation in both academic and CTE-related courses, Regents exam attempts and pass levels, and attendance. Because students in New York City are required to apply for high school using the New York City High School Application Processing System (HSAPS), the study takes advantage of the randomization created by HSAPS’ admission lotteries to compare admitted students to students who applied but were not admitted. The study found that:

  • Learners in P-TECH 9-14 schools earned significantly more total credits, largely in CTE and other non-academic subjects, by the end of both their second and third years of high school than peers who were not accepted through the lottery system. 
  • Learners in P-TECH 9-14 schools were much more likely to earn non-academic credits in work-based learning, technology, engineering and human service subjects than their peers.
  • Learners in P-TECH 9-14 students were more likely than their peers to attempt the Regents exam and pass the English Language Arts Regents exam with a score qualifying them for enrollment in CUNY coursework within the first three years of high school. This means more P-TECH 9-14 students were eligible for CUNY dual enrollment in earlier years than the comparison group.

These findings can have significant equity implications. The P-TECH 9-14 students in this study were mostly Black and Latinx, from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and underprepared for high school. These early findings suggest that P-TECH 9-14 schools are having success with students from historically marginalized populations. MDRC plans to issue additional reports from this study that recommend improvements in student outcomes related to high school graduation and college success.

Odds and Ends

NCES: The Condition of Education 2020

The National Center for Education Statistics has released the annual congressionally mandated report, The Condition of Education. Data in this report include enrollment levels, academic progress, educational attainment and

 financial status. The report indicators are organized into four sections: pre-primary, elementary and secondary; postsecondary; population characteristics and economic outcomes; and international comparisons. One highlight from the report is that the number of certificates conferred below the associate’s level by postsecondary institutions increased 87 percent from 553,000 to a peak of 1 million between 2000-2011. That figure has since decreased by 7 percent to 955,000 by the end of the 2018 academic year. 

The Urban Institute: Request for Information and Survey

The Urban Institute is seeking letters of inquiry for proposed research projects. Anyone seeking funding and/or research partners to support the implementation or evaluation of an intervention program or looking to suggest a promising approach for others to adopt or research can respond to this request. Potential respondents can include local, state and federal officials, service providers, employee groups, employers and employer associations, advocates and researchers.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

Navigating CTE During COVID-19: Equity Considerations for Re-entry

June 11th, 2020

For most learners, the academic year has ended. States are now in the process of planning for learners to re-enter school and college and how to best support learners who may not have had access to the resources and supports they needed to succeed during periods of remote learning. As state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders prepare for re-entry, there are key considerations they should take into account to promote equity and access in CTE.

Leverage Early Warning Systems to Address Equity Gaps

As learners return to their institutions of study, it will be important to identify supports that learners who experienced disrupted learning may need to succeed in CTE opportunities. An early warning system is one tool that can be leveraged to help with this. Specifically, state and district leaders can adapt and expand predictive indicators of early warning systems to identify which students may need additional supports. Early warning systems often examine attendance, behavior and course performance to identify “at-risk” learners. These indicators can be modified to reflect the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on learners’ ability to succeed in education and workforce programs. For instance, since the pandemic shifted the organization of learning experience to an individual/family effort, students’ participation in learning activities may be the most important “attendance” metric during the pandemic. Early warning systems provide a critical signal; however, states and districts’ responses to the early warning system indicators will need to be routinely analyzed and adjusted to ensure that the proper supports are provided to learners.

Provide Professional Development to Instructors and Staff

State agency staff and instructors are facing unprecedented circumstances. Educators were thrust into an environment that required them to use unfamiliar technology, reimagine their lesson plans and do full-scale distance learning instantly. Similarly, state agency staff had to develop creative solutions to support high-quality CTE programs during the pandemic. As institutions prepare for re-entry, it will be critical to provide professional development to instructors and staff to equip them with the skills and knowledge to close existing and new equity gaps that emerged because of the pandemic. Instructors and staff will need professional development on how to leverage tools, such as early warning systems, to identify and address equity gaps in virtual, blended and in-person environments. 

Apply an Asset Mindset to Planning

Core to advancing equity in CTE is constructing systems that support each learner. This means taking a learner-centered approach to developing systems and not placing the onus on learners to close equity gaps. More than a fifth of secondary learners did not participate in school during coronavirus closures, with larger truancy rates in high-poverty communities. The “COVID-slide” coupled with “summer melt” has the potential to place students at a learning “deficit” at the start of the new academic year; however, it’s critical that states take an asset mindset when planning how to support learners. An asset mindset focuses on the strengths and potential of a learner, rather than a learner’s “deficits.” While it’s important to acknowledge performance gaps, it’s essential that state and district leaders focus on the strengths of learners as well. State and local leaders at the secondary and postsecondary levels can work with learners and community organizations that represent the interests of different populations to identify the strengths and assets of learners to help them succeed during these unprecedented times. 

This is the third blog in a series of blogs that will map out how state leaders can continue to advance equity, quality and access during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the first and second blogs in the series here and here. To learn more about Advance CTE’s commitment to advancing equity in CTE, click here. To access resources related to equity and the coronavirus, click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Advance CTE Announces Initiative to Improve State Postsecondary CTE Data Quality

June 8th, 2020

State or system leaders are invited to apply for a new, multi-year initiative to advance Career Technical Education (CTE) data quality, funded by the ECMC Foundation. Selected states will conduct a needs assessment with support from Advance CTE and develop a two-year action plan to strengthen their postsecondary CTE data.

With support from Advance CTE, the selected cohort of states will explore how robust, state-level postsecondary data systems can assist postsecondary institutions in offering career pathways that meet student interests and are aligned to a good career. The initiative will also identify strategies and recommendations other states can leverage to improve the quality and use of their postsecondary CTE data.

As part of this work, Advance CTE is offering selected states tiered supports to ensure they can achieve their stated goals and objectives. These supports include planning and implementation grants totaling $80,000, ongoing virtual and in-person technical assistance, access to a peer support network and 50-state resources and tools.

The application window is open today, June 8, through July 17, 2020. Learn more about the application process and how to apply here. Interested participants are also encouraged to attend an informational webinar on Monday, June 15 at 3:00pm ET.

For questions, please contact Austin Estes at

Help us share:
Tweet: .@CTEWorks (w/ support from @ECMCfoundation) is convening a cohort of states to improve the quality and use of their postsecondary CTE data. Apply Today! #CTEWorks

Navigating CTE During COVID-19: Remote Learning-Delivering Postsecondary Education

June 1st, 2020

The spring of 2020 saw postsecondary institutions close out semesters remotely due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The transition to distance learning was quick, forcing postsecondary systems and colleges to shift lesson plans and instruction methods in real-time. As the spring semester comes to a close, many colleges are expecting that the summer and fall semesters (at a minimum) will be delivered remotely as well- either in entirety or in some kind of hybrid. 

An article by Inside Higher Ed explored methods and challenges for delivering culinary, arts and Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs remotely. One instructor shares that he is trying to make the most of the online instruction by teaching the fundamental skills that learners will need to master the hands-on elements later in the program. Colleges are experimenting with transitioning courses into research and reading-based rather than hands-on learning, to accommodate the switch to remote education. Others are recording videos of themselves doing the work that the students would have been replicating. Instead of requiring students to mimic a technique, they may be required to write about what they learned.  

Across the country, postsecondary systems are doing what they can to support colleges. The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) has a publicly available webpage with links to online Career Technical Education (CTE) resources to use during Coronavirus. The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) has been cognizant of the full support services higher education students need during this time. One large component of this is ensuring all students have access to reliable internet. WTCS colleges are doing everything from providing free WiFi on campus, to extending WiFi access to parking lots so that students with cars can study from their vehicles. WTCS colleges are also striving to continue campus services remotely- such as counseling. Colleges are also making use of the campus food supply that is no longer needed. One institution donated all food, while another set up a food pantry.  

As colleges prepare for the summer and fall semesters, there are many considerations of how to deliver high-quality programs remotely. A survey of over 800 higher education administrators and faculty across 600 institutions by Bay View Analytics found that 97 percent of surveyed faculty had never taught online before, and 56 percent were using new instruction methods. This means that shared resources and professional development are needed now more than ever. Sharing out promising practices and strategies through publicly accessible websites is one way that the CTE postsecondary community can support each other.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate