Learning from CTE Research Partnerships: How Michigan Built Trust with Researchers to Better Understand State Data

January 21st, 2020

As part of our ongoing blog series aimed at increasing state research on career and technical education (CTE), Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate at Advance CTE, and Corinne Alfeld, Research Analyst at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), are conducting interviews with individuals who are part of successful CTE State Director research partnerships. The first interview was with Jill Kroll of the Michigan Department of Education and Dan Kreisman of Georgia State University (and Director of CTEx). [Note: this interview has been edited for length; you can find the full interview transcript here].

The first question we have is about the projects that you work on together: what were some of the research questions you came up with, and how did you come to settle on those research questions?

Jill – I first connected with Dan and with Brian Jacob at University of Michigan when I saw Brian present to our P-20 council about some research that he was doing connecting the wage record data for five community colleges. I was like “Gee, is there any way you can do something similar with the statewide secondary student data?” And he said it was possible. So I worked within our department procedures to find out how we could go about establishing a relationship that would allow this opportunity.

Dan – That led to a whole bunch of other discussions of things that we thought were interesting. So, to say that there is a set of research questions is not the way I view our relationship. We talk with folks in Jill’s office regularly to hear what questions are pressing for them, and then we try to help facilitate answering those and then see where those lead us. I think one of the important things is we try to think about where there are policy levers, so we want to say “If we answer this question, how can the state or the districts use that information to further their mission of providing CTE programming to students in Michigan?”

Jill – I’ve been really happy with the extent to which Dan and the research team have consistently focused on the “so what?” Rather than focusing on vague research questions of interest only to other researchers, they have emphasized their interest in doing research that has practical application, that can be used by educators in the field.

Could you share an example of how you’ve been able to use some of this evidence and research to change policy, or at least to shape your understanding on some decisions that you’re making at the state level?

Jill – When we were starting to work on our Perkins V [the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act] state plan, we had a short time to determine what we wanted to consider for our secondary indicator of program quality. Because Brian, Dan, and their students had been working with this data for so many years, they had the capacity to very quickly do the matching and come up with an approximation for us about what postsecondary credit attainment would look like, and what strengths and weaknesses they saw in the data. It would have been really difficult for our office, or even multiple state agencies, to have been able to work that quickly and give it the critical analysis that they did.

The other thing they did when we were making the decision for that indicator is look at the data that we had for work-based learning and tell us what could be done with it. What came out of that was that the data was not in any form that could be analyzed (text and PDFs). This was really revealing to our State Director Brian Pyles, and it led him to set a policy that we are going to build a consistent way of collecting data on work-based learning. So that is another piece where it influenced practice and policy. One of the most exciting and valuable things that I find about the partnership is that Dan and the other researchers have a lot more capacity to analyze the data in a way that we just don’t have the time to do. Sometimes we don’t have the expertise, and sometimes we just don’t look at the data in the same way.

Dan –And there’s a flip side that without their input, we often are looking at data and can’t make heads or tails of something. And we can get on the phone or write an email to someone over there and say “Hey we’re seeing this thing. Can you tell me what that means?” And they will come back with “Oh, the system changed” or “There was this one policy,” and “Here’s what you have to do to make it fit everything else.” And this happens all the time. We would be completely lost without this open channel that we have to their office.

I think it’s important not to dismiss the power of good descriptive work. Lots of times, the questions that states are grappling with can often be illuminated with some really careful and good descriptive work. You can say, “This is what we’re seeing, this is the big picture,” if you step back for a minute, and that information lots of times has been as valuable as the stuff we try to do that is more causally oriented in our research.

Jill – I agree, and I want to follow up on the whole issue of how important trust is. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to me that Dan and the other researchers come to us with those questions, that they check in with us. That’s absolutely critical. Anyone who works with any kind of data knows that it’s just so complex. If you link tables wrong, or misunderstand a data field, you can come to a completely wrong decision. So that communication and that interaction and trust are key to accurate outcomes.

As you’re both looking ahead, what’s next on the agenda? What are some of the research questions and priorities you have for this partnership?

Dan – Number one is tracking students into the labor market. That’s our biggest and most outstanding question. And the degree to which CTE programs are preparing students for college and the labor market and careers. In terms of other projects, one of the things we’re interested in is technical assessments. We’re also part of a consortium of several states – that’s the CTEx group. We meet annually together, and that allows us to harmonize things across states to see how trends are similar, how enrollment rates work, all sorts of different questions across multiple states.

Jill – One of the things we’re talking about right now is that we don’t have, in an accessible form, data on access to a particular program. We know that career centers serve certain districts, but if someone asked, “If student A is going to Central High School, what programs do they have access to? we don’t have a good way of answering that at the moment. We’ve had a couple of discussions about how we can work together to build basically a dataset that clarifies that. That would be mutually beneficial and would take resources from both in order to do something like that.

Thinking back on this partnership, is there any advice you would give to other State Directors or CTE researchers?

Dan – Building a strong relationship is the first thing you have to do. And part of that is spending time face to face talking about questions, moving around ideas, looking at data together. We had the benefit of a long windup period. We spent at least a year just talking about questions and putting together data before we even started doing any analyses. We also had buy-in from Jill’s office up and down the line from folks who were doing the research to people who were in policymaking roles. And without all of that, none of this would even have been possible.

And the second part is to not downplay the value of just providing good information. A lot of us on the research side don’t realize how little time folks in the state offices have to take a step back and say, “What’s going on with our data? Let’s look at the big picture.” And one of the things we can provide them is just giving them that big picture and handing it to them in a digestible way. And doing that is the first step, is a really good way to start building that trust. They really see the value of what you can do early on. And then you can start to get into more difficult or longer-term questions.

Jill – The first advice I would give is: Do it! Partner with researchers. I can’t say enough positive about it. The second is: Follow department procedures and be transparent with department leadership. You know that windup might be really, really slow while you jog through the channels that you need to in your department to do things by the book, but I think it pays off in the long run.

My third one is: Be transparent and open with school districts. Share what you’re doing and invite their input. Anybody who works with state data would probably know, you’re always a little hesitant about what the public would think about this use of data. The way that Dan and the postdocs and graduate students have openly shared the work that they’ve done with our CTE administrators has really helped, in that I have not gotten any doubt from districts.

The full transcript can be accessed on Advance CTE’s website. Other blog posts in this series can be viewed here.

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Michael Bloomberg

January 16th, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on last week’s post!

Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg calls out Career Technical Education (CTE) as its own specific piece of his campaign positioning. He names CTE as a way to provide individuals with the skills they need to find career success. Bloomberg makes the campaign promise that he will “invest in pathways that create new opportunities and access to well-paying jobs for all Americans.”

Bloomberg goes into more detail about his “All-In Economy” agenda that would support individuals in getting higher paying and higher quality jobs, as well as modernize education and training practices to provide adults with the skills and credentials needed for careers that offer upward mobility and income growth. This strategy is comprised of five pillars: “Make education and training a national priority; create the jobs of the future in communities today; make work pay; tap into the job-creating energy of entrepreneurs; and connect rural communities.”

In particular, the modernizing education and training piece of the agenda would be the highest priority assigned to the administration’s Vice President. The Vice President would be tasked with working with states, employers, community and technical colleges and other relevant parties to provide millions of people with the skills needed for a career. This would be achieved through: 

  • Training and Retraining
    Bloomberg intends to provide every state with grants to improve career-training systems and programs that are specific to the skills and credentials identified by employers as necessary for in-demand jobs and careers. Bloomberg’s plan requires significant new investments in community and technical colleges and partnerships with employers. In addition, employers, industry groups and educators would collaborate regionally and nationally to define credentials and develop impactful curricula. Part of the grant funding would be competitive and allocated to innovation and scaling up successful and inclusive programs that end with credential attainment.
  • Apprenticeships
    Bloomberg set the goal that “by 2030, one million students annually will enroll in apprenticeship degrees and quality credential programs.” This would mean that youth and adult learners would participate in paid on-the-job learning that is related to classroom and results in both academic credit and employer-valued credentials. This plan includes grants for partnerships that include educational and training institutions as well as employers to create and scale programs. Bloomberg would also provide funding for state and local intermediaries.
  • Helping Working Adults Transition into Different Jobs and Careers
    This component of Bloomberg’s platform addresses the modernization of education and training systems that he plans to undertake. To achieve this Bloomberg would provide innovation grants to education providers and employers to meet the needs of both full and part-time adult learners. Included in this strategy is Pell Grant eligibility for short-term programs.
  • Expanding and Extending Access
    The way that Bloomberg plans to expand and extend access is by making programs more affordable. One way this would be done is by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs. In addition, Bloomberg shares that he will open Pell Grant funds to incarcerated individuals.

Bloomberg’s campaign platform also prioritizes Education & College Access by “improving schools and student achievement.” For example, Bloomberg states that increasing student achievement, college preparedness and career readiness would be a national priority if he wins the election. He supports this by sharing his current work leading efforts nationally to increase college enrollment for low-income students. 

To read more about Bloomberg’s education and workforce development platforms you can check out his campaign website

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand: Joe Biden

January 9th, 2020

Advance CTE will be posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform. Check back next week for the next blog in this series!

In his campaign platform, former Vice President Joe Biden includes proposals related to Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development. He calls out “guaranteeing every American the skills and education they need to get ahead” as a pillar of his vision for the country. The husband of an educator, Biden makes the campaign promise that as president he would provide each middle and high school learner with a path to a career. Specifically, there are two avenues that he focuses on to build CTE opportunities and set learners up for success in higher education and the workforce: 

  • Ensure middle and high schools prepare students for good jobs.
    Biden notes that “students who participate in high-quality career and technical education are more likely to graduate, earn industry credentials, enroll in college, and have higher rates of employment and higher earnings.” He shares that he would support CTE by investing in partnerships between high schools, community colleges and employers. Through these partnerships, learners would have the opportunity to earn an industry credential at the time of high school graduation. Biden also stipulates that these credentials would lead to a good-paying career. In addition, Biden calls out how CTE programs can provide middle and high school learners access to computer science classes that are needed for emerging fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
  • Create more opportunities for high school students to take practical classes that lead to credentials.
    Biden states that he would invest in and expand Pell Grant eligibility to include dual- enrollment programs. These programs would allow for learners to take classes at a community college and would result in college credits or a credential ahead of high school graduation.

Biden also prioritizes “investing in all children from birth, so that regardless of their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability, they are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.” He calls out the reality that about six out of ten jobs in this country require some education beyond high school, and that each learner must have access to an education system that begins at birth and continues past high school. There are a number of strategies that Biden would implement to achieve this goal. For one, Biden would work to improve teacher diversity in ways such as supporting dual enrollment courses that lead into teacher preparation programs, provide paraprofessionals with the opportunity to work toward a teaching certificate and working with historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to recruit and train teachers. He also would take measures to ensure innovative schools are located in traditionally underserved areas by creating a new competitive program for communities to rethink how high school can prepare learners for the skills needed in today’s workforce.

Biden’s full education priorities cover how to: 

  • “Support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve.
  • Invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching. 
  • Ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.
  • Provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career. 
  • Start investing in our children at birth.”

To read more about Biden’s education platform you can check out his campaign website.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

100 Years of Advancing CTE: Marie Barry Reflects on CTE’s Past and Future

January 7th, 2020

We are celebrating 100 years of Advance CTE! Throughout the year, we’ll feature interviews with past State CTE Directors, Board of Directors members, partners, CTE leaders and more. This month, learn more about how Marie Barry, former State CTE Director in New Jersey, former Board of Directors President and a consultant with Advance CTE, views CTE’s past and future. 

Why Career Technical Education? 
My background is in vocational rehabilitation counseling and career development. Prior to becoming New Jersey’s State CTE Director, I spent time at the postsecondary level helping students and adults develop their career options and interests. I entered the policy arena after because I was consistently recognizing gaps that students were falling through and wanted to take a proactive stance in addressing those gaps.

At the core, I’ve been committed to uplifting students and guiding them to a career that brings meaning and purpose to what they do.

How has the CTE field evolved since you began working in it, and similarly, how has the public understanding of CTE kept pace with this change?
CTE was certainly more anecdotal back then. Educators and professionals in the field largely relied on examples and success stories to communicate the impact of CTE. But with guidance from Advance CTE, there was a push for state leaders across the country to begin doing more than tell stories and to use data to drive conversations around CTE.

Also in the past, the CTE field was very much situated around the vocational model. This allowed classes like home economics and woodwork to develop into the cornerstone of the field’s identity and the public’s understanding of what CTE offered. Now, of course, CTE provides students opportunities to develop in-demand skills, like advanced manufacturing, and obtain high-paying jobs.

Although I still think we have some ways to go to detach from the field’s early stigma, I believe that the public is really beginning to understand the immense capacity of CTE.

With changes in the field, how has Advance CTE’s role shifted as well?
Advance CTE has absolutely grown in terms of its values and its reputation. Most notably, there has been a shift in the organization’s pasture and approach. A decade ago, Advance CTE was mostly in a defensive position, having to really explain to everyone why the field even existed. Now, the organization’s role has morphed and transcended to driving changes in the field through data and best practices.

Also, because the organization has never settled for the status quo, there has always been a mindset around continuous improvement and incorporating more partners to collaborate across education systems.

What do you envision the future of CTE to look like?
When I think about the future of CTE, I think that we will continue to move to a place where we honor all careers and pathways that provide a high-quality standard of living for students. I think more schools and students will also begin to take advantage of its benefits and there really won’t be a difference between the traditional academic experience and the CTE experience — it’ll just be blended in with the education experience.

CTE won’t just be a terminal pathway, but one that supports the life-long learning process and continuously provides students and adults meaningful opportunities to succeed.

Do you have any advice for future CTE leaders?
My advice in this space is that we need to be innovative, open and aware that change in the context of our work is constant. As the world around us changes, future leaders in CTE are going to be as nimble and flexible to keep pace and be proactive. Deep mindset around continuous improvements.

Also, something that helped my development in the CTE space was a focus around being an effective communicator as well as an effective connector. Given the breadth of CTE’s impact on the student experience, leaders in this space cannot operate in silos and distinct from other interconnected systems across the education continuum. As such, CTE leaders need to make connections and actively be apart of those connections.

Legislative Update: Appropriations Bills Finalized and Passed in House

December 18th, 2019

This week the final bill text and report language was released for all 12 Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and labor funding, and what comes next.  

Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

This week, there was movement forward for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process. On Monday, appropriators shared final language for all 12 appropriations bills that fund the government, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) bill. The 12 bills, totalling $1.4 trillion, were combined together into two spending bill packages, each referred to as a “minibus.” H.R. 1865 includes eight domestic and international appropriations bills: Labor-HHS-Ed, Agriculture, Energy and Water Development, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. The other, H.R. 1158, has four national security appropriations bills: Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services. 

H.R. 1865 allocates $12.4 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Labor, a $291 million increase over the FY19 level. The bill allocates $72.8 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Education, a $1.3 billion increase over the FY19 level.

It also adds an increase of $20 million for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State grants, for a total of $1.28 billion for FY20. Separately, $10 million for Career Pathways is included, with the intention of providing multiple pathways for learners to postsecondary and career success beginning in high school. 

The Labor-HHS-Ed bill include some notable increases for key education and workforce programs, such as: 

  • $40 million increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • $30 million increase for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants. 
  • $15 million increase for registered apprenticeship programs.
  • $6,345 for the maximum Pell Grant award, an increase of $150 over current award levels.
  • $50 million increase for Federal Work Study. 
  • $163 million increase for higher education programs, including:
    • $93 million increase for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) including Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities. 
    • $30 million increase for Federal TRIO programs and a $5 million increase for GEAR UP.

A press release from House appropriators can be found here and press release from Senate appropriators can be found here. The full Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill can be found here, and the Labor-HHS-Ed report including explanations here

On Tuesday, the House passed the bills, sending them to the Senate for debate and votes. 

Currently, federal funding is operating through a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), that is set to expire this Friday, December 20, 2019. This is the second CR of FY20.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Appropriations Process Continues, House and Senate Pass FUTURE Act

December 12th, 2019

This week, appropriators continued to work on the Fiscal Year 2020 funding agreement. Read below to learn more about next steps, a bill to fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities and simplify the FAFSA, a hearing on borrower defense regulations and resources on employer engagement.  

Appropriators Make Progress on Government Funding Deal 

This afternoon, congressional appropriation leaders came to a “deal in principle” to fund the federal government through the rest of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). The announcement was made by House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), along with Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is possible that a vote on this agreement will take place in the House early next week. Earlier this month appropriators announced that they reached an agreement on each of the total allocations for the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government (referred to as 302(b) levels). These 12 funding levels have not been shared with the public yet. 

Currently, federal funding is operating through a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), that is set to expire on December 20, 2019. This is the second CR of FY20

House and Senate Pass Bill on HBCU Funding and FAFSA Simplification

Earlier this week, the House and Senate both passed an amended version of the FUTURE Act (H.R.2486/S.1279) which would permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The bill was amended to include language from the FAFSA Simplification Act that would simplify the number of questions learners and families need to submit to receive federal student aid. Previously, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had included both FAFSA simplification and FUTURE Act language as part of a broader “mini” Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization entitled The Student Aid Improvement Act (S.2257). Concerns from HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) that the The Student Aid Improvement Act was not a sufficiently comprehensive HEA reform meant that this funding was in jeopardy. However, in the past week introduction and passage of the FUTURE Act received bipartisan support that allowed the bill to move forward. The legislation now heads to the President to be signed into law.

Secretary DeVos Testifies at Hearing on Borrower Defense Regulations

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified to the House Committee on Education & Labor regarding the handling of the nearly 300,000 borrower defense claims submitted by students who were defrauded by some for-profit institutions that have closed, such as Corinthian College. Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) began by sharing his concern and frustration that current regulations were not being followed “in good faith.” This hearing follows a ruling from a federal judge in October that found Secretary Devos was in contempt of court for continuing to collect on debts that were previously ordered by the court to be halted. 

U.S. Department of Labor Shares Resources on Employer Engagement

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration shared a page on the WorkforceGPS website with resources to support employer engagement. Some of the topics include apprenticeships, the business perspective and strategies for engagement. Check out Advance CTE’s Cheat Sheet: Opportunities for Employer Involvement in CTE to learn about ways that employers can get involved with CTE programs.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

The State of CTE and Workforce Development Services for Incarcerated Youth

December 4th, 2019

Only eight states currently offer all juvenile justice involved youth in secure facilities the opportunity to take onsite or online Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, develop soft employability skills, engage in work-based learning and earn an industry-recognized credential. This finding comes from the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center’s On Track: How Well Are States Preparing Youth in the Juvenile Justice System for Employment report, which examines the state of CTE and workforce development services for incarcerated youth in all 50 states.

The report found that most incarcerated youth are not provided the workforce development services necessary to obtain viable employment in the community after release. Notably, only 26 states provide on-site or online CTE programs to incarcerated youth. This access challenge is compounded by the quality of these programs. High-quality CTE programs align with high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations. However, the CSG’s report found that few states offer CTE courses to all youth in key areas of labor market growth. 

Other key findings from the report include that most state juvenile justice facilities lack the partnerships needed to help incarcerated youth overcome barriers to obtaining viable employment and most states do not track key employment outcomes for incarcerated youth while they are in facilities and after their release. To help state and local leaders address these challenges and the barriers that hinder juvenile justice involved youth from obtaining viable employment, the report includes a checklist of best practices. 

Some of these best practices include ensuring that CTE course offerings and other workforce development services are focused on areas of local job growth and are informed by feedback from employers; workforce development data is disaggregated by youth demographics, facility and program/provider to identify trends and disparities; and CTE courses and trainings in juvenile justice facilities lead to industry-recognized credentials. 

State leaders have a responsibility to identify and dismantle historical barriers and construct systems that support each learner, including juvenile justice involved youth, in accessing, feeling welcome in, fully participating in and successfully completing a high-quality CTE program of study. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) provides state leaders with a critical opportunity to improve their juvenile justice system. Specifically, Perkins V increases the allowable state set-aside funding from one percent to two percent to serve individuals in State Institutions and specifically adds juvenile justice facilities to the types of institutions where these funds can be used. State leaders can leverage these funds to improve CTE programs in juvenile justice facilities. 

To learn more about the CSG report and how state leaders can leverage Perkins V to improve CTE programs in juvenile justice facilities, click here to access the Leveraging Perkins V to Improve CTE Programs in the Juvenile Justice System webinar recording and slides. 

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Congressional CTE Caucus Holds Briefing on Increasing Access and Equity

November 25th, 2019

On Wednesday, November 20, the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus held a briefing on Increasing Access and Equity in Career & Technical Education. During the briefing, panelists discussed challenges to increasing access and equity in CTE, ongoing efforts to address gaps and how the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) can help to close equity gaps. 

Co-Chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA), joined the session and gave remarks to the group. Congressman Thompson voiced his support for high quality CTE programs, and expressed the urgent need to improve access and equity to and within these programs. He shared that “the power of work must be accessible to everyone, and CTE offers significant opportunities.”

The full panel represented the state, local and employer perspectives, and included: 

  • David Abromowitz, Chief Public Policy Officer, YouthBuild USA
  • John LeTourneau, Director of Manufacturing, Anoka area chamber of Commerce
  • Brianna McCain, Policy Associate, Advance CTE (Moderator)
  • Nina Salomon, Deputy Program Director, Corrections & Reentry, Council of State Governments
  • Spencer Sherman, Director, Office of College and Career Readiness, Rhode Island Department of Education

Advance CTE’s Brianna McCain started off the briefing by discussing the history and current trends of access and equity in CTE, as well as how states can leverage Perkins V to support high quality CTE for each and every learner. Brianna pointed out that as the quality of CTE programs has significantly improved, the nature of the equity challenge in CTE has changed. Today, a renewed focus must be placed on ensuring equitable access to these high-quality programs. 

All panelists agreed that it is essential to collaborate across agencies and with employer and community representatives. This is the way to ensure that all populations are being reached, and that programs are developed to set learners up for success. When speaking about the juvenile justice population, Nina Salomon shared how she found that most juvenile justice agencies are not partnering with workforce agencies, education agencies or employers. This led to a disconnect in all groups understanding what resources are available, including federal funding opportunities through Perkins and WIOA. Therefore, administrators have been missing out on opportunities to provide education and training in juvenile justice systems. 

Check out Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise series to learn more about how states can leverage data to identify and address equity gaps, rebuild trust with historically underserved communities, expand access to high-quality CTE for each and every learner and build systems to ensure learner success. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Legislative Update: Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Bills, College Scorecard Expands, Advance CTE Supports New Bills

November 21st, 2019

This week, short-term funding bills were passed in the House and Senate. Read below to learn more about the appropriations process, the newly expanded College Scorecard, new bills on career counseling and postsecondary apprenticeships, Advance CTE’s participation in last week’s Data Quality Institute and how Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos voiced support for connecting education and the workforce. 

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

Today, the Senate passed a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution, 74-20 to keep the government funded until December 20. This bill, H.R. 3055, was passed by the House earlier in the week, mainly on party lines. Now, President Donald Trump must sign the bill before the currently enacted short-term funding bill expires at midnight. If the stopgap spending plan is not signed, there will be a government shutdown. 

The next four weeks will be used for Congress to come to an agreement on a full Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. If this agreement is not reached, there could be another continuing resolution. There is risk of a government shutdown should no agreement on either a short-term or long-term plan be reached by December 20. Appropriators have still not come to an agreement on each of the total allocations for the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government (referred to as 302(b) levels).

Department of Education Releases Expanded College Scorecard

On November 21, the U.S. Department of Education released a long awaited redesign and expansion of the College Scorecard to include program level data and more comprehensive graduation rate data. For the first time, data is now available to parents, learners and researchers that include median debt and median earnings by field of study. In the past, this data was only available at the institutional level. This allows for better evaluation, including rate of return of expected earnings for every dollar spent, of specific programs that learners and their families can use to make informed decisions. For researchers, this data provides a better understanding of specific programs within institutions, as well as a more comprehensive picture of graduation data. Previously, students that were not “first time full-time,” like transfer students, were not represented.

Advance CTE is currently evaluating this new data, check back for updates!

House Introduces Bill to Strengthen Career Counseling

Co-Chairs of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act. This bill would amend the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to provide state grants that would support the implementation of a statewide career counseling framework developed in partnership with community stakeholders such as schools and businesses. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill. The press release can be viewed here and the full bill text can be viewed here

Senate Prepares Postsecondary Apprenticeship Bill 

Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO) announced that he is preparing to introduce the Student Apprenticeship Act shortly. This bill would create a new grant program that supports apprenticeships that operate in partnership with institutions of higher education, employers and workforce intermediaries. Participating apprentices would be paid for their work, earn college credit as well as industry credentials. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill. Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE, is quoted in the press release for this proposal, which can be viewed here. The full bill text can be viewed here and a summary here

Advance CTE Presents at Data Quality Institute

Advance CTE attended last week’s annual Data Quality Institute, hosted by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education and RTI International. At the conference, Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared her observations on implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and urged state leaders to think of their state plans not as a “one and done” but rather “a continuous improvement process.” Participants also shared their definitions and benchmarks for the Perkins V performance indicators and gained insights from other states in attendance. 

Check out resources on Perkins V here

Secretary DeVos Promotes Connecting Education to the Workforce

Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called for better connecting education and the workforce, both in K-12 and higher education. The remarks were made in a session with President of Western Governors University Scott Pulsipher during the Committee for Economic Development fall policy conference. Secretary DeVos stated that “We have had way too big of walls between education and business and industry, and those walls have got to come down. So I really encourage you to reach out to educators and see how we can partner with them to really meet your students’ and your community’s needs, and ultimately your own workforce needs.” Secretary DeVos also voiced her support for dual enrollment, apprenticeship programs and expanding Pell grant eligibility to short-term programs. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Welcome Sara Gassman to Advance CTE

November 20th, 2019

My name is Sara Gassman and I’m pleased to join Advance CTE as Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning! In this role, I will coordinate outreach and engagement with Advance CTE members, lead member-focused professional learning efforts, and ensure member needs are being met. 

I’ve spent my career working at membership organizations, creating virtual and in-person spaces for peer learning and supporting leaders of all types in making change. Previously, I supported a network working to build thriving, sustainable cities across North America with a specific focus on raising the visibility and number of people of color, women and young people in the commercial real estate industry. I also worked at a startup during its growth phase, empowering student leaders on over 200 campuses in recovering surplus food from their campuses and delivering it to community members in need. 

Outside of work, I build community among outdoors-lovers, leading hikes and other adventures for women and planning a monthly outdoors-themed speaker series. I spend a lot of time baking and listening to bluegrass and Americana music and am always on the lookout for arts, cultural and generally nerdy events, leading my friends to refer to me as their “personal Yelp”.