New Resources: Designing Meaningful Career-Ready Indicators (Part 2)

August 21st, 2018

Earlier this summer, Advance CTE in partnership with Education Strategy Group (ESG) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), released two profiles highlighting how states were integrating career-ready indicators into their accountability systems, specifically Progress towards Post-High School Credential and Assessment of (college and career) Readiness.

Today, we are releasing the final two of these profiles aligned with the remaining categories in  Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems: Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences and Transitions Beyond High School. The Co-curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences profile focuses on how states like Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina are measuring work-based learning within their accountability system, while the Transitions Beyond High School profile explores how Colorado and Missouri are holding schools accountable for learners’ post-high school success in college and careers. While these are newer indicators and less likely to be included in states’ accountability systems, they are a critical to measuring college and career readiness in learners.

Read all four of the Career-Focused Indicator Profiles here and stay tuned for an update to Making Career Readiness Count (3.0) soon:

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

This Week in CTE

August 17th, 2018



Senate to Consider Appropriations Bill on the Floor This Week

The Senate is expected to begin consideration of the FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill this week, which covers a number of key education and workforce programs.

Read more of the news this week from the Administration, the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and Congress related to Career Technical Education (CTE) on our blog.


Watch this Journey to Career, Robotics video from Idaho Career & Technical Education.

David Engle is a student at Idaho State University in the Robotics and Communications Systems Engineering Technology program where he is gaining hands-on learning experiences. His senior year of high school he started to get familiar with the field.  He even traveled to Washington, DC to speak with congressmen and legislators about funding Career Technical Education. Hear his story here.


Making the Most of Outcomes-based Funding: Aligning Postsecondary Funding with Labor Market Needs

This blog post gives an overview of the latest information about outcomes-based funding formulas for postsecondary education. It includes resources and examples from Arkansas, Washington, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Read the blog here.

This Week in CTE

August 10th, 2018



U.S. Department of Labor Releases Notice on Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships

The Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion wrapped up its work and submitted its final report in May, which included recommendations around industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. Read more of the news this week from the Administration, the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and Congress related to Career Technical Education (CTE) on our blog. To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that impacts Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!


Watch the first episode of the video series This Is CareerTech from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. This ten episode series gives your a behind-the-scenes look at Career Technical Education in Oklahoma.


Ensuring Career Pathway Quality: A Guide to Pathway Intervention

This guide from Advance CTE, as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative, outlines the different types of intervention needed for pathways, and explores the steps leaders should take when making decisions to transform or phase out pathways that do not have labor market relevance. Read the guide here.

This Week in CTE

August 3rd, 2018



ACTE, Advance CTE Statement Upon Signing of Perkins CTE Reauthorization

President Trump signed H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). Advance CTE and ACTE released a joint press statement after the President signed H.R. 2353 into law. You can also find additional resources on our Federal Policy section on our website. To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that impacts Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!


Learn how Career Technical Education prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country. Watch the video here.




Driving Quality in Postsecondary CTE: Approval and Evaluation Policies

Postsecondary education is more important than ever, with the majority of family-sustaining careers requiring some education post high school. Learn how states ensure postsecondary programs are quality and preparing learners for future success. This report examines examples of the role states can play in ensuring postsecondary CTE program quality in California, Florida and Wisconsin. Read the report here.

Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Saginaw Career Complex, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program

July 31st, 2018

In honor of Culinary Arts Month, we are highlighting the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program of study in Saginaw, Michigan. It provides learners with rigorous coursework and the work-based learning opportunities they need for careers in the food service, lodging and tourism industries.  Learners gain valuable work-based learning experiences through the operation of an on-site restaurant, industry tours, and culinary competitions. The dedication to a high-quality academic and technical education is clear in the numbers – In the 2015-16 class, every student earned an industry-recognized certification along with college-level credit.

This year, the program received the annual Excellence in Action award in the Hospitality and Tourism Career Cluster®.  It is one of the most diverse programs offered at the Career Complex, including learners from 11 different schools and high enrollment from minority populations.

Since winning the award, the program has continued to set learners up for success. This year, 100 percent of learners earned industry certifications in ServSafe Allergens and/or ServSafe Managers, certifications recognized by the National Restaurant Association.

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) are also a critical component of the program. In fact, this program of study is the only one in Michigan to have two national championships from two different student organizations, SkillsUSA and ProStart. Learners enrolled in the program have received  four national medals in the past five years. Leadership is aware of possible barriers that can prevent students from being able to participate in these competitions, so they continue to make applying for grants and sponsorship opportunities a priority.

Participation in CTE programs opens many doors for learners. Eighty-six percent of parents and students want real-world, hands-on opportunities as part of their high school experience, and this program does exactly that. Maria Buko graduated in June of 2014 and participated in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program for two years. Since graduating, Maria won a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America where she is completing her bachelor’s degree. She was also the first person in the United States to compete in the Worldskills bakery competition where she placed ninth in the world! Maria continues to give back to the program when she can.

All learners like Maria deserve to have access to quality programs facilitated by individuals with passion, experience and expertise. Julie Ivan has been teaching this culinary program for more than 30 years and exemplifies a passion for her work and learners. She incorporates a robust advisory committee with businesses that support every facet of the curriculum, to ensure that students are learning the most up-to-date knowledge and skills that will serve them in their careers. Next year, Ivan will travel to Kazan, Russia to serve as the Chief Bakery Expert for her third Worldskills event. She is the only high school culinary teacher in the United States to receive the Worldskills Expert title.

To learn more about Saginaw Career Complex, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program read the profile here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Advance CTE Releases Guide on Pathway Intervention

July 17th, 2018

As labor markets shift and contexts within districts and institutions change, all career pathways — including secondary and postsecondary pathways developed by the state, district or institution — must go through a natural life cycle. Once a career pathway has been approved and implemented, it is natural for the conditions that surround and support the pathway to change over time. At these points in a career pathway’s life cycle, the state must make decisions about intervening in the operation of the pathway to ensure that learners are being well served.

Advance CTE, as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative, designed a resource to help state leaders think through intervention options for pathways, and explore the steps leaders should take when making decisions to transform or phase out pathways that do not have labor market relevance. It begins by asking states to examine all of their pathways through regular and thorough evaluation processes, and then using the results to determine next steps.

First, if a pathway is of high quality and high relevance, states should celebrate it and share it as an example for other pathways to follow. States should avoid the mistake of focusing all of their attention on the pathways that need more intervention – celebrating great pathways encourages them to continue their work, and helps other pathways find ways to improve.

If a pathway has high labor market relevance, but learner outcomes are not where they should be, states should intervene in the form of deliberate and coordinated technical assistance. Many states provide technical assistance to their pathways, but unfortunately, pathway intervention often stops at that point, without progressing to transformation or phase out. If a pathway has quality learner outcomes, but low labor market relevance, then states should consider transforming that pathway into a pathway in a related, but higher demand, field. For example, some family and consumer sciences pathways could use their solid curricular foundation and instructors and transform into a healthcare pathway, which is one of the highest demand industries in many states.

Finally, when a pathway has come to the point in its lifecycle where its labor market relevance and learner outcomes are not what they should be, states should consider phasing that program out in order to make space for higher quality programs that will better serve learners and the state economy. This is, of course, not an easy decision, but a necessary one to make. Read Advance CTE’s guide today to explore considerations for how to ensure that pathways are phased out in a way that best serves learners and their communities.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Maryland Strengthens Quality of Apprenticeships; Iowa, Oregon Advance Governors’ Initiatives

July 11th, 2018

As most legislative sessions have come to a close, states have adopted policies to expand opportunities for learners. Maryland and Iowa took steps to improve apprenticeship programs, and Oregon passed a bill that would help to encourage construction workers to start their own businesses and expand the talent pipeline.

Maryland Passes Bills to Strengthen Access and Quality of Apprenticeships

In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan signed two bills in May related to apprenticeships that strengthen the quality and accessibility of the programs to learners. HB1216 authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations requiring the award of credit toward high school graduation for time spent in certain apprenticeship programs and expands state financial aid for apprenticeships.

By allowing time spent in an apprenticeship program to count towards credit for high school graduation, this law prevents students from having to choose between work-based learning opportunities and the completion of high school credit requirements. Additionally, the expansion of financial aid will allow more students to access apprenticeship programs and gain the real-world experience needed to be successful in an ever evolving job market.

Governor Hogan also signed HB1234, which authorizes county boards of education to award credit to high school students for work-based training or classroom instruction completed under a Registered Apprenticeship Program and prohibits certain institutions from referring to certain courses as an apprenticeship or apprenticeship training course unless the course is part of a Registered Apprenticeship training program.

Since Registered Apprenticeship programs are registered with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and must meet federal and state requirements, this law will help to ensure that apprenticeship programs in Maryland are high-quality and culminate with learners receiving portable, industry-recognized credentials.  

Oregon and Iowa Advance Governors’ Initiatives

In Iowa and Oregon, governors took steps to advance their offices’ initiatives, both of which aim to build a talent pipeline to address the skills gap in their respective states.

In Iowa, in alignment with Future Ready Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds announced an online High School Apprenticeship Playbook, a guide that provides detailed steps for Iowa high schools, employers and students interested in establishing a Registered Apprenticeship program. This guide is meant to help scale apprenticeships in Iowa and provide a model from which schools can develop apprenticeship programs so that they don’t have to start from scratch.

In Oregon, as part of the Future Ready Oregon initiative to turn wage earners into job creators, Governor Kate Brown signed HB4144, which aims to help mid-career construction professionals start their own business, and provides incentives to attract and retain new, young talent into the workforce through providing funding to new businesses and waiving all state fees and formal education requirements for aspiring entrepreneurs who have worked in the construction industry for more than eight years for certain construction licenses.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Vermont CTE and Advance CTE Engage Dozens of Stakeholders to Craft New State Vision

July 6th, 2018

Much of my day-to-day work at Advance CTE involves examining national trends in CTE topics, looking at several states at once, so it is always exciting when I get the opportunity to dive deeper into one state’s system. Recently, I was able to do that as part of Vermont CTE’s strategic planning process, launched by Vermont’s State CTE Director, Jay Ramsey.

Vermont CTE is partnering with Advance CTE to plan and facilitate a strategic planning process that pushes CTE forward in the state and incorporates feedback from a large number of stakeholders. The work began in February 2018, as we held several conversations with Ramsey and his office about their goals for this work and for the CTE system. In March, Vermont released a statewide survey, which received almost 1500 responses from a variety of stakeholders, including current and former students, families, employers, teachers from both CTE and non-CTE classrooms, as well as representatives from postsecondary. I also conducted ten phone interviews with key stakeholders across the Vermont education and workforce development system. Both the survey and phone interviews asked respondents a variety of questions about their perceptions of the Vermont CTE system, including quality, rigor and accessibility. This data provided valuable insights into how the system serves learners, and I particularly enjoyed interviewing two current CTE students, both of whom were excited about their program and easily able to describe what their potential future careers looked like.

All of this engagement culminated in a day-long interactive strategic planning workshop in Burlington, Vermont on June 18. Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, and I led and facilitated the workshop, which included not just state CTE staff, but around 30 representatives from a range of stakeholder groups, including local CTE programs, postsecondary institutions, state legislators, industry partners and workforce development. During the workshop, stakeholders examined the data on perceptions of CTE in Vermont and drafted a series of goals and strategies designed to help learners succeed within the state of Vermont. We guided them through a series of exercises to help them understand the needs of learners as well as the needs of other stakeholders and pushed them to work with each other and take ownership over these goals and their role in helping Vermont achieve them.

Going forward, Ramsey will work, with assistance from Advance CTE, to refine the vision and goals, gathering input from more stakeholders, including Vermont students. He plans to present the state’s new strategic vision for CTE to the State Board of Education later this Fall. We are excited to continue this work and follow the developments from Vermont.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Report Examines State Strategies to Increase Qualified High School Teachers for Dual Enrollment Programs

July 3rd, 2018

Dual enrollment programs can ease students’ transitions from high school to postsecondary institutions as they continue along their desired programs of study, while also decreasing the cost of postsecondary education by allowing students to earn college credits while in high school. For the college credit earned through dual enrollment programs to be recognized, high school teachers must be qualified to teach college-level courses. As the availability of dual enrollment programs continue to increase, so have concerns about the qualifications of high school dual enrollment program teachers.

To understand the current landscape of policies impacting the quality of dual enrollment instructors, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and the Education Commission the States released a report that summarizes state policies for dual enrollment instructors, regional accreditation organizations’ faculty policies and state strategies to increase the supply of qualified high school teachers for dual enrollment programs.

The report found that criteria for qualifying Career Technical Education (CTE) instructors are mentioned in state-level policies in eight states (Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia). Dual enrollment teacher qualification policies are generally related to education attainment level, but exemptions are sometimes made for CTE dual enrollment instructors. In some of these cases, states allow exemption from qualification rules when instructors can demonstrate proficiency in the field they will teach and consider industry recognized credentials and years of experience working in the field when determining teacher qualifications.

These exemptions and considerations are necessary to provide a pipeline of quality CTE dual enrollment instructors that can provide real-world perspectives and industry expert knowledge to students to equip them with the skills to be successful in an ever evolving workforce. Flexible requirements that still ensure that teachers have the relevant qualifications are necessary to address the shortage of qualified CTE instructors.

The report outlined seven strategies, such as offering financial aid for high school instructors to complete graduate credits, states are using to increase the supply of high school instructors qualified to teach in dual enrollment programs. These strategies are meant to incentivise professional development, coordinate and promote credentialing efforts and increase awareness of graduate program options.

These strategies, partnered with those outlined in Advance CTE’s brief about strengthening the rural CTE teacher pipeline and report about increasing access to industry experts in high school, provide policymakers and stakeholders with actions to address the CTE dual enrollment teacher shortage while also ensuring quality instruction for learners.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor policies that impact the pipeline of quality CTE dual enrollment instructors.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

New Tools to Help You Communicate About CTE with Parents and Students

June 27th, 2018

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, has spent the last year working to support states across the country to attract and recruit students into high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study. Last year, Advance CTE worked with four states – Maryland, New Jersey, Indiana and Washington – to pilot innovative online and on site recruitment and communications strategies using nationally tested messages that resonate with parents and students. As a result of this work, we are excited to share new resources that all states can use in their communications and recruitment efforts.

Tools now available include:

  • CTE Social Media Guide: Based on a guide developed by the Maryland State Department of Education, Advance CTE has developed a social media guide explaining how to effectively use social media, integrate the messages into your posts and highlights effective campaigns.
  • Focus Group Discussion Guide: Use this focus group guide to learn firsthand what parents and students think about CTE. This simple, easy-to-follow resource provides you with questions for the moderator, ice breaker activities, and a pre-event homework assignment for attendees. By assessing your community you can determine the best ways to communicate about CTE.
  • CTE Posters and Postcards: These materials, created by the New Jersey Department of Education, explain the benefits for students participating in CTE programs, while integrating the messages we know resonate with parents and students.
  • Using Video to Promote CTE in Your State: The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board developed a series of videos highlighting CTE across the state and a video toolkit to help local schools, instructors and students develop their own videos promoting CTE in their communities. The guide provides technical tips for setting up shots, capturing sound, and conducting interviews.

View all of these tools here