Legislative Update: House Continues Appropriations Process and Administration Announces New Initiative

July 17th, 2020

This week, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about what was included in this bill and next steps, as well as a new campaign from the administration that supports skills-based training.  

House Passes Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill

On Monday evening the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the FY21 Labor-HHS-Ed funding bill on party lines. This bill included an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This proposal would provide an increase of $18 million, or 1.4%, to the Perkins Basic State Grant, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. Some other notable provisions of the bill  include: 

  • An increase of $10 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) State Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); 
  • An increase of $150 to maximum Pell Grant awards; 
  • An increase of $49 million for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs); 
  • An increase of $20 million for Federal Work-Study; 
  • An increase of $15 million to Federal TRIO and GEAR Up programs; 
  • An increase of $50 million for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Grants; 
  • An increase of $10 million for registerested apprenticeships; and
  • An increase of $10 million for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants.

The House also released the full report on the Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill this week. Next, this bill will go to the full House of Representatives for votes. The Senate also needs to go through this process, and will introduce, markup and vote on their own appropriations proposals. 

Administration Announces “Find Something New” Campaign

Written by Hannah Neeper, Policy Research Analyst, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). The original post can be found here

The White House has released its long awaited ad campaign “Find Something New” as an effort to encourage people who are unemployed or unsatisfied in their current occupation to find a pathway to a new job or career. The campaign is a product of  the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, created in 2018, in collaboration with the Ad Council, IBM, Apple and members of the Business Roundtable, and a number of other partners. 

This ad campaign seeks to meet the need for skills-based training as an alternative to four-year degree programs in order for workers to find jobs. This ad campaign is accompanied by a companion website. The website provides resources ranging from self-assessments to professional development, and links to education and training options. A number of videos are also available that may be useful for students as they engage in career development activities. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Education, Training and Skill Development to Support an Equitable Recovery

July 16th, 2020

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in partnership with the W. E. Upjohn Institute and the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania, is conducting a webinar series highlighting strategies to promote an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The first webinar focused on the impact of the pandemic on workers and the need for job training and skill development during the recovery. A full recording of the webinar and the speakers’ slides can be found here.

Recent data indicates that about 20 percent of the U.S. labor force has lost employment or earnings since February 2020, and about half of all job losses have taken place in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. Some demographic groups have been disproportionately impacted by employment or earnings losses, including Black and Latino workers, workers with a high school education or less, and female workers. Notably, a large percentage of recent job losses may be permanent, meaning the worker won’t go back to employment at that particular job; Steven Davis from the University of Chicago shared recent calculations suggesting that 32-42 percent of job losses that have resulted from the coronavirus may be permanent. 

To date, most policy responses to the coronavirus have taken the form of relief, but Harry Holzer from Georgetown University urged a shift toward recovery-related policies that support job creation and strategies to ensure that workers can obtain available jobs. Holzer encouraged policymakers to focus on three important points when deciding which education and training policies to enact:

  • Policy proposals should target support to the highest-need workers, including permanently displaced workers, workers who have experienced involuntary reductions in their hours, low-wage workers in “essential” jobs, and young workers who are new entrants into the labor market.
  • Policies should support education and training for work in high-demand fields.
  • Policies should implement education and training approaches that research has shown to be effective, such as work-based learning and apprenticeship, occupational and career guidance, and financial aid for higher education.

Davis suggested that many of the massive shifts in consumer spending, working arrangements and business practices that have occurred as a result of the pandemic will not fully reverse. For example, working from home, online shopping and delivery, and virtual meetings and interactions may become the norm as people are getting used to these practices and as businesses realize that virtual interactions are often easier and less expensive. Davis encouraged policymakers to think ahead to the future and enact policies that facilitate the shift toward virtual, rather than enacting policies that try to return to the pre-pandemic status quo. 

Michelle Miller-Adams from the W. E. Upjohn Institute encouraged a focus on policies that facilitate a better match between labor supply and demand, including identification of skills shortages and training to meet those needs. She shared a number of state and local examples of programs that support individuals who are disconnected from work, including the concept of neighborhood hubs as a supplement to the workforce system’s one-stop job centers, and the use of technology to provide career guidance and information to job seekers. Miller-Adams also encouraged the expansion of high-quality tuition-free college programs, which include elements such as universal eligibility, embedded student support, strong alignment with employer needs and stable funding; she highlighted the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs as best practices. 

Meghan Wills, Director of Strategic Initiatives

2020 Presidential Election: Policy Recommendations from the Biden Campaign

July 15th, 2020

As part of his presidential campaign platform, former Vice President Joe Biden recently released new policy recommendations ranging on topics from education to climate change to criminal justice reform. These proposals make up the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, and were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. 

This document includes a section on “Providing a World-Class Education in Every Zip Code.” There are many intersections with Career Technical Education (CTE) in these policy proposals. For one, Biden calls for expanding access to CTE programs and specifically points out the need to increase CTE funding. The task force states that the country’s education system should prepare learners for “college, careers, and to be informed, engaged citizens of our communities, our country, and our planet.” This means reimagining the education system, for example understanding the many different ways that learning can be demonstrated. The recommendations also cover how to make higher education affordable and accessible- looking to strategies such as doubling the maximum Pell Grant and increasing federal funding for wraparound services. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, is pointed to as a strategy to offer opportunities for lifelong learning. 

The recommendations include strategies for “Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy.” One piece of this section discusses how to respond to the economic recession and COVID-19 (coronavirus). It has become more clear than ever that a huge gap in Internet access exists, and this is detrimental to educational success and opportunities. The task force recommends that each person in this country have access to high-speed and affordable broadband service. This is a position that Advance CTE agrees with, and has been advocating for in coronavirus response and recovery bills. 

As we near the 2020 presidential election, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available on candidate platforms. 

You can register for our upcoming webinar: 2020 Elections Landscape: Implications for Career Technical Education to hear from a panel of experts will provide a preview of the 2020 elections at both the national and state level and will discuss how the results of the elections will impact policy overall, and specifically the Career Technical Education system.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Begins Appropriations Process and President Campaign Addresses CTE

July 10th, 2020

This week the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released a Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill, which includes funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for the 2020 presidential campaign. 

House Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding 

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On July 6, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s press release, the bill includes “$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments.” Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22% increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.

However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill! While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4% increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.

Under the Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).

This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response, but is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the bill on July 7, and the full Appropriations Committee will consider it on Monday. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 response package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs. 

Biden Announces Unity Task Force Recommendations

This week, former Vice President Joe Biden released new policy recommendations as part of his presidential campaign platform. These recommendations were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations include policy proposals on issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform and health care. The proposals also cover education, workforce development and the economy- including CTE strategies. The document states that the campaign “will work to expand access to career and technical education” and that the country’s education system should support deeper learning and life skills. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, are also listed as a way to increase opportunities for lifelong learning. The Education Unity Task Force, comprised of eight education experts and advocates, specifically recommends that education funding allow for the scaling of CTE.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Final Perkins V Plans Approved and New Senate Coronavirus Relief Bill Introduced

July 3rd, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved all remaining state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about plan approval and where you can find final materials, as well as a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) response bill that would provide Career Technical Education (CTE) funding and an Executive Order that supports skills-based hiring. 

ED Approves All Perkins V State Plans

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the final state plans under Perkins V were approved by ED. The newest wave of approvals includes Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and West Virginia. Secretary DeVos also shared that nine states submitted combined Perkins V and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plans, including: Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington. Highlights from the newly approved plans can be found here. Check out Advance CTE’s website for links to all final plans and resources!

Senate Introduces Coronavirus Relief Bill with CTE Funding

Ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a new coronavirus relief bill this week. The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) would provide $430 billion to child care and education activities. 

The proposed act would allocate $1 billion for CTE programs and activities to support state and local CTE needs as a result of the pandemic. This can include updates to physical or digital infrastructure, or expansion of work-based learning supports. The bill includes $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund- comprised of $175 billion for K-12 schools, $132 billion for higher education and $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund. Additionally, CCCERA would provide $4 billion to the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program to increase internet access for students and educators. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill, and released a statement in partnership with the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in response to the introduction. A summary of CCCERA can be found here and the full bill text here

Administration Signs Executive Order on Skills-Based Hiring

President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring Federal Job Candidates, stating that the federal hiring process will take a skills-based approach instead of relying on degree attainment. The document requires that the federal job classification and qualification standards be reviewed and revised. Within 120 days all changes will be made available to the public, and updates will go into effect within 180 days. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: More Perkins Plans Approved and New Grant Opportunity

June 26th, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more state plan approvals under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about which states have received approval, as well as a new workforce grant program, a proposed infrastructure bill and a new report on reimagining community colleges. 

ED Approves Four More Perkins Plans

Today the U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under Perkins V. The newly approved states are Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. Highlights by the department from each plan can be found here. In total, 35 plans have been approved so far. A full list of the states with approved plans, as well as links to the final plans and resources can be found here

ED Announces New Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new higher education grant program with the goal of supporting students in gaining new skills and expanding or reinventing businesses as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This new opportunity, called the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program, is funded by the Education Stabilization Fund that was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act- the third coronavirus stimulus bill that was signed into law in March. 

The State Workforce Board of each of the 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico are eligible to apply for this grant program. Applicants must show that a burden has been created by the pandemic, and propose an initiative that will support the community in one of two ways (language taken directly from the department’s announcement): 

  1. Expanding educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of short-term education programs, including career pathways programs, to help prepare unemployed or underemployed individuals for high demand jobs in their community or region; and/or
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of industry sector-based education and training programs that lead to a credential that employers in a given sector recognize and reward; or
  2. Supporting local entrepreneurship through small business incubators
    • Grantees are invited to submit applications that help colleges and universities make their faculty, staff and facilities more accessible to small businesses in their communities, and to ensure that institutions can sustain their operations at a time when enrollments are declining and campus buildings may be underutilized, including through the creation of small business incubators that are on the campus of, or affiliated with, one or more colleges and universities in the state.

Applications must be submitted by August 24, 2020- at which time they will be evaluated by peer reviewers. Awards will be announced in October of 2020.  

House Introduces New Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats introduced the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2)- a $1.5 trillion bill that would repair and rebuild the country’s infrastructure. This wide reaching proposal covers a range of areas from road to schools to broadband access. The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act is included in this legislation, and would invest $130 billion in high-poverty schools while also creating over two million jobs. The bill would also invest $100 billion into expanding broadband Internet access to every part of the country. 

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here and the full text here

Education Organizations Release New Report on Reimagining Community College

Advance CTE participated in a group of 22 educators and policy thinkers led by Opportunity America to release a new report, The Indispensable Institution: Reimagining Community College. The report outlines a roadmap for community colleges to find successful practices as  premier providers of efficient, career-focused education and training. Especially as the country rebuilds in the wake of coronavirus, community colleges are well positioned to provide the upskilling and reskilling that millions of Americans will need. You can find the report here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

State Roles to Support Remote Learning: Part Two

June 24th, 2020

This is the second of a two-part blog series. Check last week’s post for additional information!

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has forced K-12 and postsecondary education to move to the distance education space. State and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders are grappling with how to deliver high-quality programs remotely. While districts and colleges have taken significant steps to adjust their curricula, state leaders play an important role in strategizing as well by gathering local information, gauging what strategies should be elevated and scaled statewide and communicating these practices across the state. Check out last week’s blog post here

Coordinating Full Supports Required for Success

While there are many instructional resources that are needed immediately, there are learner supports that cannot be forgotten — and state CTE leaders can coordinate with other state-level partners to compile coordinate these resources. With remote learning largely taking place virtually, access to reliable broadband internet and computers or devices such as smartphones and tablets is a major concern for secondary and postsecondary learners. States are taking varying approaches, from equipping buses with Wi-Fi and parking them in rural areas to enabling free Internet in the surrounding areas of a school or college so that students can log on from inside of their cars. Access to the Internet and computers is pivotal for distance learning, and a state-coordinated effort to monitor gaps and respond to them is critical.

The Wisconsin Technical College System has been working to rapidly provide full supports that learners need. In addition to providing Wi-Fi, colleges have been ensuring that campus services are still offered even while campuses are closed. This includes college and career advising and providing online options for enrollment and financial aid.

Facilitating Collaboration Between Secondary and Postsecondary Education

Many postsecondary institutions already had some kind of remote learning system in place prior to the pandemic. Though the scale changed following the pandemic, the existing foundation proved helpful in many states. Right now, collaboration and shared strategies for success between secondary and postsecondary levels is extremely important — and state CTE leaders should create opportunities for engagement. Connecting instructors across Career Clusters® is one way to promote sharing best practices.

Developing a System to Ensure Students Are Learning

In order to provide high-quality remote education, state leaders must have an understanding of what is and is not working. This requires using data to evaluate success. State leaders should use the data they have access to, combined with the information they learn from identifying learner and instructor needs, to determine a standard of success. This should look different than a typical assessment and grade structure, and factors such as learner engagement should be considered. A statewide system for evaluating how and whether students are learning will allow for state leaders to course correct where needed and plan for uncertainty ahead.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

A Learner-Centered Approach to Early Postsecondary Opportunities Amid COVID-19

June 22nd, 2020

Now that the spring 2020 semester has come to a close, schools, colleges and learners across the country are left with the uncomfortable question: what happens next? Amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the U.S. has faced widespread school closures and an unprecedented – albeit clunky – transition to remote learning. Even as states begin to lift restrictions, the path ahead is still uncertain.

Last week the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and Advance CTE explored some of the ways the Coronavirus has impacted – and will continue to impact – Career Technical Education (CTE) and Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO), which include dual enrollment, dual credit, concurrent enrollment and other related opportunities. There is no silver bullet solution to these challenges, but state leaders and postsecondary institutions are already thinking of ways to minimize the impact on learners and, to the extent possible, to support continuity of learning through the summer and into the fall.

Hold Learners Harmless

One principle states and educational institutions should commit to is to hold learners harmless from the impacts of the Coronavirus, particularly the financial and academic burdens. States like Ohio have already taken steps to protect learners, issuing guidance that prohibits school districts from seeking reimbursement from students who withdraw from a postsecondary course due to Coronavirus-related disruptions.

Further, states are honoring students’ commitment to learning by giving them opportunities to earn credit for the work they have completed. In North Carolina, graduating high school seniors who are enrolled in EPSO courses will be given a passing grade – coded “PC19” to indicate the unusual circumstances of the pandemic – to ensure they can still meet graduation requirements. States like Georgia and Louisiana are giving learners additional time to complete course requirements over the summer.

Commit to Transparency

As states, higher education systems and local institutions adjust grading policies amid Coronavirus-related shutdowns, they must commit to transparency and provide clarity about how credit transfer will be supported. There are questions about binary grades and their impact on the transferability of EPSO courses to two-year and four-year institutions. States with guaranteed transfer acceptance and institutions with transparent policies for addressing binary credit offer students their best option. Some states have begun to release guidance on EPSOs including CTE dual credit opportunities, which NACEP has compiled here.

Don’t be Afraid to Innovate

States and institutions have adapted remarkably well to social distancing on a very short timeframe, but the hands-on, practical learning experiences that make CTE unique and compelling are often not easy to simulate in a remote or online format. That said, necessity is the mother of invention. Instructors and administrators have started finding creative solutions to maintain continuity of learning, from manufacturing products out of household supplies to distributing at-home lab kits. In Illinois, the Community College Board, Board of Higher Education and Illinois Articulation Initiative are allowing the transfer of credits for lab science course offerings that are delivered through nontraditional formats such as simulations, online labs or at-home science kits. In some cases, campuses are exploring ways to safely facilitate hands-on learning over the summer by cutting class sizes or offering intensive summer bootcamps – all while adhering to social distancing guidelines – to help learners make up missed hours.

Keep Equity Front and Center in Funding

As states face declining revenue and anticipate budget cuts in education and elsewhere, they must consider the critical role these programs play in their societal and economic recovery after the pandemic. Funding to decrease the cost of postsecondary education is an important equity lever to help ensure that the talent pipeline into high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations includes the entirety of their diverse communities. But a blanket approach to budget reduction, where all learners receive the same benefit, may imperil this approach.

States should analyze their EPSO funding with an equity lens and, when needed, make cuts that don’t disproportionately impact learners traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Increases in cost to the learner, driven by budget cuts, disproportionately impact learners from economically disadvantaged families who cannot absorb a change in cost like an affluent student can. As states assess the impact of this pandemic on education budgets, they should consider strategic changes to help under-resourced school districts, to address affordability for those students that are most price sensitive, and to look thoughtfully about ways to build access to those underrepresented in higher education. Focusing on equity will be critical to ensure budget cuts don’t exacerbate equity gaps in higher education and ultimately the workforce.

Recognize the Role in Recovery

As state and the national economy recovers and reconfigures, states will be looking to ensure they have a strong, robust talent pipeline to address their current, evolving and future workforce needs. There is a lot of uncertainty in forecasting what the labor market and economy will look like in the next three to five years, but it is certain that revitalizing state economies will depend on access to a skilled, educated workforce. States that have invested in career pathways approaches tied to workforce needs, have strong business and industry engagement in CTE, and strong connections between secondary and postsecondary education and industry already understand the value of these programs in driving the state economy. These relationships and a willingness to partner will yield dividends as states emerge from this crisis.

It is too early to measure the true impact of the Coronavirus on postsecondary readiness and credit attainment, but states and institutions can already anticipate some of the barriers that will come and take steps to address them. The time to act is now. States can and should clarify their policies on CTE EPSOs and ensure that the weight of school closures and learning disruption does not unnecessarily harm learners, particularly those who have the most to benefit from these opportunities.

This blog post is the second in a two-part series about the impacts of the Coronavirus on CTE dual enrollment. It was written by Amy Williams, Executive Director of NACEP, and Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research for Advance CTE.

This Week in CTE

June 19th, 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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and industry leaders who have built long-lasting and meaningful two-way partnerships to improve both learner outcomes and industry’s talent needs. New resources from The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, developed with support from Advance CTE, were shared and discussed to strengthen employer-CTE relationships using the Talent Pipeline Management(R) process.

View the recording here, and sign up for our next webinar, CTE Forward: How to Attract and Recruit Diverse Students at the Postsecondary Level: Lessons from Aspen Institute on July 9! 


Many school districts have developed innovative ways to honor graduating seniors in ceremonies in light of social distancing orders. Take a look at how seniors from one high school in the state of Virginia raced to the finish line. Read more here


The Evergreen National Education Prize identifies and scales programs that best help low-income youth access and complete college or CTE degrees. Learn more about what the prize consists of, past prize winners, eligibility criteria and more. Applications are now being accepted and must be completed in full by 5 p.m. ET on July 3, 2020.  Email info@evergreenprize.org with any questions.


The U.S. Department of Education approved six more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The newly approved plans are from Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New York, South Carolina and Utah. As of now, 31 state plans have been approved in total. You can check out which states’ plans are approved, as well as the final materials on our website


Advance CTE examined research and best practices in Developing Credit for Prior Learning Policies to Support Postsecondary Attainment for Every Learner. This report features data on the benefits of Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) for learners, as well as best practices in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee and Virginia across topics such as CPL for military service members, portability of credits and how to communicate about CPL opportunities. View the report here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

State Roles to Support Remote Learning: Part One

June 17th, 2020

This is the first of a two-part blog series examining the state’s role in remote learning. Check back next week for additional information!

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has forced K-12 and postsecondary education to move quickly, and without a ton of preparation, to the distance education space. State and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders have grappled with how to deliver high-quality programs remotely over the past few months while looking towards potentially delivering programs virtually in the fall. While districts and colleges have taken significant steps to adjust their curricula, state leaders play an important role in strategizing as well by gathering local information, gauging what strategies should be elevated and scaled statewide and communicating these practices across the state.

Identifying Learners’ and Educators’ Needs 

In this time of uncertainty, it is important for state leaders to have an accurate understanding of what learners and educators need to be successful so they can target resources and make changes to policy to ensure continuity of learning. With the access that they have to learners and instructors statewide, state CTE leaders are uniquely positioned to gather information on the supports needed. One way to do this is by administering a needs assessment survey, as has been done in California. The results were informative and showed that 82 percent of respondents were unsure how to continue with classes online and wanted help developing lesson plans. From there, state leaders updated the existing website, cteonline.org, to include a repository for lesson plans that had already been created, organized by sector.

Such a survey can provide a view into the biggest areas of concern and allow state leaders to directly address what local leaders need. Additionally, state leaders can use the results of their needs assessment survey to identify promising practices and match districts or colleges that are struggling in an area to others that have been more successful, taking the burden off of individuals and removing duplication of efforts. In Phoenix, Arizona, local leaders made the commitment to call learners each week. By putting in place a system for regularly checking in on learner and teacher needs, state leaders can scale their response to the crisis and better target resources to those most in need.

Creating Forums to Share Out Curriculum and Instructional Resources

The quick change to remote learning and unanticipated length of time meant that states did not have time to prepare for what this time of education delivery would entail. One way that state leaders can accelerate the adoption of evidence-based practices and distance learning innovations is by creating a forum for instructors to collaborate, share resources and learn from one another. Many states such as Michigan and Rhode Island developed online statewide websites for instructors to share curriculum and instructional supports. Easily accessible resources take some of the burden off of instructors. In addition, with thoughtful curation by state CTE leaders, such forums can allow for quality additions and some consistency across the state.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate