This Week in CTE

March 13th, 2020



Highland Dental students celebrate their OSHA safety certifications!


Cosmetology students at Carbon Career & Technical Institute (@CarbonCTI) experience, “feedback that prepares them for the workforce.” Students are thankful to be receiving the education needed to start their careers after high school.



In consideration of #NACAAHillDay (hosted by @NACAC on Twitter), Advance CTE shared our HEA recommendation aligned to Credit for Prior Learning:

Increase Support for Non-traditional Learners to Succeed in Postsecondary Education

Read all of our HEA Recommendations here:


Florida has registered two new apprenticeship programs: Heating and Air Conditioning Installer-Servicer; Plumber and Automotive Sales Representative!


Research for Action (@Research4Action) has released a comprehensive policy scan of all statewide College Promise programs as well as in-depth research of four statewide Promise programs. The document also includes considerations for state policymakers as they design and implement Promise programs that advance equity.

Read more here.


Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate 


New Research Shows Positive Employment Outcomes for CTE Learners

March 10th, 2020

One of the most important considerations for learners choosing to enroll in secondary and postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs is whether that pathway will lead to a successful career and a good salary. The new Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) requires states and local recipients to set goals around post-program outcomes for CTE concentrators. Several recent studies suggest that learners are finding gainful employment and increased salaries after completing CTE programs. 

A study in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice analyzed data from the California Community Colleges CTE Outcomes Survey. Using three years of survey data from over 46,000 former CTE participants, the researchers found that these learners reported positive employment outcomes and obtained greater increases in wages than they were earning before beginning their program.

Another study using administrative data on a cohort of high school CTE concentrators from Washington State found that CTE learners who go on to college, compared to non-CTE learners, are significantly more likely to enroll in and complete vocational programs. They are also more likely to earn postsecondary credentials such as associate degrees and industry certifications, especially in the applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and public safety fields. Additionally, secondary CTE learners who do not go on to college are also more likely to obtain full-time employment within the first three years after graduation compared to non-CTE learners. 

Lastly, a study of admissions and learner outcomes within Connecticut’s system of 16 stand-alone CTE high schools found that males who attend a technical high school are 10 percentage points more likely to graduate than comparable males who attend a traditional high school. Male learners attending technical high schools in Connecticut also have approximately 31 percent greater post-graduation quarterly earnings, higher 9th grade attendance rates and higher 10th grade testing scores than comparable males. There was no evidence that female learners had significantly different outcomes based on the type of school attended. 

As CTE month comes to a close and states finalize their Perkins V plans and invest substantial resources in CTE programs, the findings in these three studies highlight the value that CTE programs have in positive academic and employment outcomes for learners. Additionally, these findings reaffirm the value CTE programs have in preparing learners for the real world and the many postsecondary paths they can pursue. The Washington State and Connecticut studies found that CTE concentrators were slightly less likely to go on to college than comparable learners but still more likely to earn vocational credentials, obtain full-time employment with higher earnings, and have better attendance and test scores than comparable learners. State leaders are encouraged to continue investing in these programs proving to work for learners in their states. 

Other Notable Research 

A report on Idaho’s education and earnings gap revealed that those with bachelor’s degrees earn substantially more in income than those with less education. Among its recommendations, the report suggests the state adopt explicit policies encouraging school districts to develop secondary CTE course sequences or certified programs focusing on two to three specific career pathways that play to their local strengths. 

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

Welcome Brittany Cannady to Advance CTE!

March 9th, 2020

I was born and raised in North Carolina. Up until February of 2020, I called Charlotte my home. I recently worked as a Career Technical Education (CTE) educator in a North Carolina school district and advised the DECA CTSO there as well. I am certified in Marketing Education and specifically taught Sports and Entertainment Marketing in secondary education. It was such a great experience leading to the discovery of my passion for education, specifically the transfer of real-world knowledge and skills to the younger generations.

I completed my undergraduate studies, majoring in Advertising and Marketing, at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.-Go Mountaineers! Shortly after beginning to teach, I enrolled in a masters program for curriculum and instruction, which introduced me more to educational philosophy, visions and policies. I’m so honored to be here with Advance CTE on their journey to advancing CTE in our schools. I am receiving the best of both worlds – marketing and education – by fulfilling the role of Digital Media Associate. I will be responsible for Advance CTE’s social media networks, monthly Member Newsletter, operating Advance CTE’s website and marketing for Advance CTE’s reports, papers and resources.

A few of my favorite things include: my lovely son, calligraphy, football, the Fall season and vacationing to the beach!

Tribal Colleges and Universities Take Innovative Approaches to Support Native Populations

March 9th, 2020

In February, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) hosted an event at the Senate Office Building to discuss innovative strategies, programs and ideas to address the key challenges impacting Native higher education. To unpack these challenges and strategies, the event featured panelists from colleges that primarily serve American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian populations. 

Much of the event focused on how Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are able to meet the needs of Native populations. Specifically, the panelists discussed how TCUs address barriers to access for learners. While TCUs are one of the most affordable postsecondary education options with an average annual tuition of $3,592, the cost of attending a TCU can still be a barrier to learners. To address this and transportation issues, Sitting Bull College in North Dakota provides tuition waivers and transportation to and from the college. 

Core to advancing equity in Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader education field is not only ensuring that students have access to CTE and education programs, but also taking action so that learners feel welcome in and can fully participate in education programs. Panelists emphasized how TCUs are able to create an inclusive environment for Native learners through providing intentional supports and preserving Native populations’ cultures. For instance, Ilisagvik College in Alaska developed a pathway program that places students in cohorts to help learners feel supported and part of the community. 

Many of the panelists discussed the role language plays in creating an environment that students feel welcome in and can succeed in. In Hawai’i, learners can take courses taught in Olelo Hawaii, the Native Hawai’ian language, from infancy through doctoral programs. TCUs take approaches to ensure that Native languages continue to be commonly spoken in the community and the classroom. In Montana, Salish Kootenai College created an apprenticeship program that allows participants to become qualified in both Salish language fluency and effective teaching strategies to meet the demand for Salish language teachers. 

The event ended with a discussion about changes that can be made to the Higher Education Act (HEA) to help support TCUs. Specifically, AIHEC proposes two new programs and modifications to two existing programs during HEA reauthorization:

  • TCU Native American Language Vitalization and Training Program (HEA-Title III): This new program would authorize curriculum development and design; provide professional development for TCU faculty and secondary teachers; authorize Native American language research; and provide $20 million in competitive grant funding per year.
  • Strengthening Graduate Opportunities at TCUs (HEA-Title III): This new program would authorize the development and enhancement of graduate-level professional certifications and degrees at TCUs; mentoring, scholarships and fellowships for students pursuing graduate certification and degrees at TCUs; curriculum development, faculty development and student research; and $5 million in competitive grant funding annually. 
  • TCU Facilities Study and Infrastructure Enhancement Program (Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities Assistance Act [TCU Act]) : This update of the TCU Act would direct the Department of the Interior to report on TCU facilities; help support new libraries, classrooms, student and faculty housing; fund renovation and expansion of existing facilities; support equipment, broadband improvement, library collections; and provide $35 million in competitive grant funding per year.
  • Federal E-Rate Program(Communications Act of 1934): This would designated TCUs as eligible to participate in the E-rate program, which provides discounts to help students and libraries secure affordable telecommunications and internet access. 

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Speech to Members of Congress Recognizes 100 Years of Advance CTE

March 6th, 2020

With the close of CTE Month, a speech was given to members of Congress recognizing Advance CTE’s centenary. Read below to learn about this speech, a hearing on the National Apprenticeship Act, a Senate hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal and an article that brings awareness to the impact of CTE funding.

Representative Thompson Delivers Speech for Advance CTE’s 100th Anniversary

On February 28, Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), delivered a speech to the House of Representatives to celebrate 100 years of Advance CTE. Representative Thompson is one of the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus along with Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI). During his speech to members of Congress, Representative Thompson called for “colleagues to please join me in celebrating 100 years of Advance CTE and everything they do to promote skills-based education and opportunity in life.”

House Holds Hearing on National Apprenticeship Act 

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee of the Education and Labor Committee hosted a hearing about “Reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act: Strengthening and Growing Apprenticeships for the 21st Century” on Wednesday. The hearing accompanied the introduction of a proposed National Apprenticeship Act reform. Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) both emphasized the important role that apprenticeships play in supporting the needs of workers, employers and communities. Both also spoke of the need to align apprenticeship programs with education pathways. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 aims to codify existing standards, as well as create new apprenticeship opportunities. 

Member opening statements as well as witness testimony can be found here and here. You can watch this Wednesday’s hearing here and read the full National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 discussion draft here

Secretary DeVos Testifies to Senate on Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy Devos testified to the Committee on Appropriations’s Subcomittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies about the administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. During the hearing, Secretary Devos spoke about the necessity of the proposed increase to CTE funding. She noted that this is a crucial time for CTE given the 2018 reauthorization of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), and current work that states are doing on their four-year Perkins V plans. Secretary DeVos shared that “many plans are very ambitious expanding the opportunities for students not just in high school, but in the middle school years, helping students to understand the multitude of options” that CTE programs can offer. Members, such as Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) expressed strong support for the CTE programs in their states.

Senators also expressed serious concern for other components of the President’s budget request, which would slash funding for many programs and include a new block grant program for K-12 education. Other discussions during the hearing involved the Department’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as bipartisan support for rural school funding.

Secretary DeVos’s testimony can be viewed here, and a full video of the hearing can be viewed here.

Article Shares the Impact of Federal CTE Funding 

In recognition of the end of CTE Month, Advance CTE in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) wrote about the impact of CTE funding and put out a call to double the federal investment. You can read the full article here. If you agree with the importance of federal funding for CTE share this article on Twitter, and be sure to tag @CTEWorks and @CTEMedia!

An excerpt from the article can be found below: 

“CTE cuts down on the high school dropout rate, saving our economy $168 billion per year while sending students to postsecondary education just as often as non-CTE students. Since 2011, 80,000 jobs that require a high school diploma or less have been created, while 11.5 million careers for workers with some postsecondary education have been added. CTE fills the skills gap while igniting the passions of the next generation.”

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

This Week in CTE

March 6th, 2020


President and CEO of the ECMC Foundation (@ECMCFoundation) calls for the 2020s to be the decade of Career Technical Education (CTE). Read the full article here.



March is Middle Level Education Month! Share your stories with Advance CTE (@CTEWorks) all month long.



Middle and High School students hosted a Pathways Day for elementary students in the state of Utah (@UtahCTE)!



SkillsUSA (@SkillsUSA) hosted a national t-shirt design competition for the 2020 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Congratulations to the winner of Georgia CTE!



New America has published a blog highlighting useful tools for high-quality youth apprenticeship from PAYA National Partners.

Read more.



Advance CTE Executive Directors co-authored an op-ed on the importance of doubling the federal investment in CTE. Read more.


Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate 

CTE Month Site Visit at T.C. Williams High School

March 3rd, 2020

In celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, Advance CTE joined the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, and others for a tour of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria City, Virginia. T.C. Williams currently has nine CTE programs students can enroll in: Health Sciences, Finance, Business & Information Technology, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health and Medical Sciences, JROTC, Marketing,Technology Education, and Trade & Industrial. There are dozens of pathways under each program that students can pursue such as automotive technology, cosmetology, early childhood education, business management and nursing.

The facilities for all nine of these programs are housed in various wings of the sprawling T.C. Williams campus, which makes it possible for learners to have a normal high school experience, but with even more value as they merely have to hustle from one end of the building to the next when the bell rings, versus taking a bus to another location. 

During our visit, we heard from a panel of students on the ways the CTE programs at T.C. Williams shaped their educational experience, gave them real-world work exposure and opened doors to career pathways they otherwise may not have considered or known about. Students expressed that because of CTE they have had the opportunity to take classes in different Career ClustersⓇ to explore their interests and find their passions. Others came to T.C. Williams with an idea of what they wanted to do and their participation in CTE helped them confirm those interests. 

Most notably, more than half of the students shared that they intend to pursue college after graduating high school, despite CTE’s common perception that CTE students do not go on to postsecondary education Many are already taking college courses through dual-enrollment opportunities. Students expressed that the dual-enrollment program, CTE courses and the real-world work experiences provided at T.C. Williams better prepares them for wherever life takes them. Some memorable quotes from students on the panel include: 

“Getting the dual-enrollment credit makes me feel better about the work that I’m doing.”

“The amazing thing is not just that you get college credit. You get advanced learning. Those students are getting prepared for a college environment.”

“You can take what you learn and apply it to the real-world which is a nice skill to have.”

We were able to see firsthand the engagement students had in CTE coursework. In their business management program, which the instructor calls a “mini MBA program,” students design their own business plan from beginning to end for products and services. They also run the school store where students can buy anything from supplies to T.C. Williams Titans paraphernalia. If that wasn’t enough, the campus is the location for one of the Commonwealth Credit Union branches. The bank is completely run by students in the finance program and students, teachers and staff can use this location for their basic banking needs. 

Students in the media production program get lots of real-world practice in writing, producing, filming and editing for their daily school newscast and other projects. The equipment is industry-standard technology purchased with funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV).  

Alongside rigorous coursework and real-world learning experiences, learners are also deeply engaged in the community. We observed the culinary arts class cooking up a batch of vegetarian chili for that evening’s school board meeting and the cosmetology class pitched their brow waxing, hair coloring and other personal grooming services to our tour group as they are open to the public on Thursday afternoons! Many of the educators have taught these courses for more than a decade and came to teaching after a career in the field, bringing a wealth of industry knowledge with them The cosmetology instructor previously owned her own salon and one of the media production instructors worked on news programs in New York, both experiences that add value to the skills and lessons they impart on students.

Our half-day back in high school was inspiring and educational. Many thanks to the staff and students at T.C. Williams for showing off their impressive and meaningful CTE programs!

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate 

Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Professional Learning

This Week in CTE: Celebrating CTE Month!

February 28th, 2020

This month has been full of celebrations in honor of #CTEMonth! Below are some highlights.

This afternoon, @CongressmanGT lead a floor speech to help commemorate 100 years of Advance CTE as an organization, along with the support of #CTEMonth. We are incredibly thankful for all his work on being an amazing CTE advocate.


Did you miss the #CTSOChat hosted by Association for Career & Technical Education (@ACTEcareertech)? Check out what you missed here.



CTE students in many states have demonstrated their proficiency in industry-related skills by producing CTE Month Videos. Check out one from Westwood High School.

NOCTI held their annual CTE Month video contest. Check out this years’ award winner here.


Talent must never be the factor that holds our economy back. America’s students need access to programs in high school and beyond that will lead them to these jobs, and states are best positioned to lead the way.“- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Read more on Gov. Jeb Bush’s thoughts on how states can help innovate robust CTE programs here.

National CTE Month underscores the importance of the many successful programs that create opportunities for hard-working Americans to succeed by connecting them with hands-on training and skills” – Congressman Langevin

Read more on Congressman Langevin’s resolution recognizing National CTE Month here.


Many state policies are prioritizing Career Technical Education, and the California School Boards Association has shared how local legislation has moved in favor of CTE. Read more here.


ExcelinEd has published its newest Policy Playbook during CTE Month. The Developing High-Quality State Work-Based Learning Programs playbook aids in states developing and implementing work-based learning programs. View the resource here.


The National Skills Coalition has released a new fact sheet to help support Workforce Development Advocates on increasing their knowledge around the new version of the Public Charge Rule. Read more.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Legislative Update: CTE Month Resolution and DeVos Testimony to House Appropriations Committee

February 28th, 2020

This week, the House introduced a resolution for CTE Month. Read below to learn more about the resolution, a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal, a stackable credential opportunity and new efforts to modernize federal student aid.

House Introduces Bipartisan Resolution for CTE Month 

On Wednesday, Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) introduced a resolution (H.Res.854) recognizing February as National CTE Month. Congressmen Langevin and Thompson are co-chairs of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and have long supported high-quality CTE policies. The resolution also recognizes 100 years of state leadership in CTE, as Advance CTE celebrates its centenary. 

You can read the full press release, including a quote from Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, here

Secretary DeVos Testifies to Congress on Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Committee on Appropriations’s Subcomittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies about the administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. The hearing showed bipartisan support for an increase in federal funding for CTE. Secretary DeVos spoke of the need for the $900 million increase in CTE funding that the administration requested. Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) both discussed the importance of CTE in their respective opening remarks.

The Secretary also voiced support for the Second Chance Pell Program. Many members asked questions about the functionality of the proposed consolidation of 29 programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one block grant. In addition, concern was shared by members about the elimination of the GEAR UP program, with Secretary DeVos responding that the intention is the program would ultimately be part of the Federal TRIO Program.  

Secretary DeVos’s testimony can be viewed here, and a video of the full hearing can be viewed here

U.S. Department of Education Launches Pathways to Credentials Project

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the technical assistance phase of its Pathways to Credentials project. The purpose of the initiative is to support community and technical colleges in including stackable industry recognized credentials within degree programs. Up to ten community and technical colleges will be selected from the pool of applicants to receive technical assistance in developing and implementing stackable credential opportunities. A webinar will be held on March 5, 2020 that will provide additional information, and applications are due on April 2, 2020.

Secretary DeVos Announces Updates to Federal Student Aid Customer Experience

Earlier this week, Secretary DeVos announced substantial updates to that provides students and their families with new tools and information to help guide them in choosing from student loan and aid programs. Specifically, some of these new features simplify the display for total aid options, including grants and loans. It also provides a loan simulator tool to help ‘test-drive’ what repayment plan would work best for them. Finally, a pilot program was included to simplify student loan payments by having a centralized location where payments could be made. Currently, payments must be made to each loan servicer – but the hope is that having a centralized location for payment will simplify the experience for those with loans.

This rollout is part of the Education Department’s Next Gen Federal Student Aid initiative, which is tasked with substantially changing and simplifying the federal student aid program.

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

Spring Meeting Early-bird Registration Closes Wednesday!

February 26th, 2020

This year’s Spring Meeting, taking place May 13 – 15 in Arlington, Virginia will bring together state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders lo learn from each other and national experts on today’s pressing CTE topics. The meeting will feature exciting panels led by national and state leaders, informative breakout sessions on critical issues to the field and plenty of networking and cross-state sharing opportunities. We will celebrate the major accomplishment of Perkins V states plans being submitted while focusing on how states can be BOLD as they begin implementation. Register here today to receive the early-bird registration price.

On the fence about joining the meeting? Here are what attendees had to say about last year’s meeting: