Challenges & Opportunities to Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Reflections from the PAYA Data Work Group

November 17th, 2020

Apprenticeship in the United States is an under-utilized but promising education and employment strategy — particularly for youth whose connections to college and paid work are even more tenuous due to the COVID-19 economic crisis. In 2018, New America launched the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), a national network of partners (including Advance CTE), states, local intermediaries and philanthropies to define and scale up high-quality youth apprenticeships nationwide. In just a couple short years, the network has made incredible progress, sowing the seeds for future programs.

But through all of this work, data quality has emerged as a persistent challenge for states as well as local intermediaries. Improving the quality and availability of youth apprenticeship data can help PAYA network partners evaluate program quality, address gaps in equitable access and outcomes, and make the case for further investment in youth apprenticeship. But building the infrastructure to collect, validate, warehouse and analyze youth apprenticeship data can be costly and time intensive. 

To dig deeper into this challenge, Advance CTE and New America organized a practitioner workgroup on youth apprenticeship data quality in early 2020. The workgroup met several times throughout 2020 to discuss the following questions: 

  • What common challenges do states and intermediaries face in collecting, validating and using youth apprenticeship data? 
  • What are effective strategies to build a high-quality youth apprenticeship data infrastructure at the state and local level? 

The workgroup’s conclusions are summarized in a new report, Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities. The report addresses five challenges with improving youth apprenticeship data quality and several promising strategies to mitigate data roadblocks: 

  1. Determining what to measure: Some states have taken the guesswork out of data collection by establishing statewide business rules for collecting youth apprenticeship information. But in others, local intermediaries are left to their own devices, leading to inconsistencies in how youth apprenticeship data is collected. State and local leaders should work to develop and adopt consistent definitions and business rules for collecting for youth apprenticeship data. 
  2. Clarifying roles and responsibilities: Another challenge is clarifying who is collecting what data in the first place. Because youth apprenticeship involves partnerships across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems — with state agencies, intermediary organizations and employers in the mix — clarifying roles and responsibilities for collecting and sharing data early on is important. Local intermediaries can coordinate this process, ensuring all partners are aware of their responsibilities. 
  3. Building the infrastructure: Collecting and warehousing data can require costly technology. Building out an entire data system before launching a new youth apprenticeship program might not be feasible, but state and local leaders should establish systems and processes at the beginning that can be scaled easily. They can also leverage existing systems — such as student information systems housed at the school district or college — or develop new tools to minimize the data collection burden on educators and employers. 
  4. Accessing data: Privacy rules, data transfer limitations and incompatible data systems can, at times, limit access to data for youth apprenticeship participants. To ensure that all relevant partners can access the data they need, intermediary organizations should establish data sharing agreements that specify what information will be shared and in what format as well as the process and frequency for sharing this information. States can facilitate this process by developing local data sharing templates and demystifying rules and regulations for data sharing. 
  5. Scaling and sustaining: Finally, the workgroup elevated challenges with bringing data collection processes to scale as youth apprenticeship programs expand statewide. State leaders play an important role in supporting the sustainability and scale of youth apprenticeship programs by streamlining data collection processes, integrating youth apprenticeship data into existing state databases, providing sustainable funding, and offering professional development opportunities to build the capacity of frontline actors. 

 

Data is rarely among the first priorities in setting up a new youth apprenticeship program, but it should be. With reliable and valid youth apprenticeship data, states and local intermediaries can help scale quality programs that expand college and career options for high school students and meet the training needs of employers and industry.. The report Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities outlines the most common barriers to improving youth apprenticeship data quality and provides actionable recommendations for states and local intermediaries to strengthen the reliability, validity and use of their data. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

Beyond the Numbers: Tools and Strategies for Effective CTE Data Reporting 

November 10th, 2020

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes once famously said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Without access to reliable, high-quality and timely data, it is impossible for learners, families, industry representatives, practitioners and policymakers to make informed decisions about CTE program development, improvement or participation. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) pushes states to improve the public accessibility of Career Technical Education (CTE) data. According to the law, state agencies, as well as local recipients, must share data on the performance of all CTE students, and subgroups of learners, and make this information available widely and through a variety of user-friendly formats.

But judging by the current state of CTE reporting, states have a lot of work to do to make CTE data accessible and actionable to a broad audience. Some of the challenges of state CTE reporting include: 

  • Burying CTE data deep in an agency website or behind a firewall
  • Reporting out static data in tables with little to no interpretation
  • Using CTE jargon that is meaningless to members of the public 

Many of the current CTE reporting challenges result from a lack of time and intentionality, but the good news is that Perkins V gives states an opportunity to hit restart and reimagine their approach to public reporting and communication with a focus on accessibility and understanding. In March, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of state and national experts to explore strategies for effective CTE data reporting and communication. Over a series of meetings, the workgroup co-designed a set of tools and resources to help states improve their CTE data reporting. 

CTE Reporting Tools Should Draw From Best Practices for Design and Usability

State leaders can look to best practices in data visualization and accessibility to ensure their CTE reporting tools are widely accessible and equip users to make the most of the data. 

The report Beyond the Numbers: Design Principles for CTE Data Reporting provides nine principles for developing effective and accessible CTE data reporting tools: 

  1. Clarify the purposes for sharing data
  2. Make data easy to find
  3. Make data visually appealing
  4. Clearly and consistently label and describe data
  5. Make data accessible
  6. Disaggregate data to highlight equity
  7. Provide context to add meaning
  8. Enable interactivity and customization for key audiences
  9. Help users interpret data and take action

State and local leaders can use these design principles as a blueprint to inform the early design and development of CTE data reporting tools or as a checklist to ensure their final reports align with best practices for access and usability. 

States Should Develop a Plan to Communicate CTE Data

Effective data reporting, however, requires not just well-designed and accessible reports but also a strategy to build understanding among the general public and key stakeholders. What good is data if it isn’t used? Yet state CTE offices are asked to attend to multiple priorities — from program review to professional development to equity monitoring — and communicating CTE data all too often is moved to the backburner. 

Beyond the Numbers: A Toolkit for Communicating CTE Data is designed to build state capacity for communicating CTE data and integrating compelling CTE statistics into a broader CTE communications plan. The toolkit breaks down six steps for communicating CTE data, from identifying a strategic goal and audience, to creating materials, to building an action plan. The toolkit also includes models and templates states can use to build engaging infographics, presentations and other materials to communicate their data. 

Effective Data Reporting Takes Time — States Should Plan Ahead 

States have a long runway to prepare for Perkins V reporting. They are not required to submit data on CTE performance to the U.S. Department of Education until next year, and many states will not publicly report Perkins V data to stakeholders until after that time. 

Still, it takes time to design, develop and invest in high-quality and effective CTE data reports and tools. State leaders should be thinking about their approach to CTE data reporting now so they have the tools and resources ready to share with key stakeholders when the time comes. Until then, states can refer to the design principles and communications toolkit to draw on best practices for their CTE reporting and communications strategies. 

Advance CTE would like to acknowledge the support of ACTE, Next Chapter Communications and the CTE Data Reporting and Visualization Shared Solutions Workgroup in the development of these materials. These resources were produced with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

New International Resources from OECD and NCEE and Implications for CTE

November 3rd, 2020

Program for International Student Assessment 

Every three years, fifteen year olds around the world participate in testing that assesses reading, mathematics, and science literacy. Coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was last conducted in 2018, with reading literacy serving as the major domain to be assessed. The results from the most recent assessment have been published all year long, and reports (including the most recent Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?) are regularly published on the PISA website. 

OECD Education at a Glance 2020 

On an annual basis, the OECD publishes Education at a Glance, a report that serves as a data source to compare structures, finances, and performance outcomes of international education systems. Education at a Glance 2020 has a specific focus on Vocational Education and Training (VET), and provides implications for VET in the US and internationally. 

Implications for CTE 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, career technical education has never been more important, as states leverage Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to rapidly credential adult workers and aid in economic recovery. In a recent webinar with the National Center for Education and the Economy, OECD Director for Education and Skills (and chief administrator of PISA) Andreas Schleicher further illustrated the need for vocational credentialing, arguing that “professions with vocational qualifications have formed the backbone of economic and social life during the lockdown.” The Education at a Glance 2020 report similarly correlates investment in CTE (or VET programs internationally) with increased economic returns. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the healthcare industry are growing faster than average than every other occupation industry, and more students than ever before are expecting to enter into a healthcare occupation. However, PISA 2018 survey results illustrate that students do not regularly have the skill sets required by the job market, nor do they understand the educational demands that their chosen occupation often requires. During a pandemic that relies on skilled healthcare professionals, when learners don’t necessarily have the skills they need to enter this field, and research reveals economic returns from CTE programming, it is crucial that educators and legislators leverage CTE to benefit the healthcare industry and the economy. Career technical education programs could provide learners the necessary information they require to enter into the healthcare field or, as adults, help reskill/upskill to get the credentials learners need to be successful in an ever-growing field. 

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

How COVID-19 is Impacting Young People’s Academic and Career Plans

October 29th, 2020

New Survey Data Illuminates the Impact of the Pandemic on Black and Latinx Youth and Youth from Low-Income Families

In the early spring, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was often referred to as “The Great Equalizer.” After all, pandemics are equal opportunity threats and we all have to wear masks and attend meetings and classes on Zoom. But as the pandemic wore on, it became immediately clear that it would have disproportionate impacts, exacerbating racial and economic inequities that have long existed in the public education system and in the workforce. Without action from state and local leaders, the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on young people, particularly Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

The Great Recession of 2008 provides some insights into the threat of the current coronavirus economic crisis. Five years after the Great Recession, youth unemployment was at an all-time high, impacting the career success of Millennials through the present day. Back in 2013, the Center for American Progress projected that young people would lose out on more than $20 billion in earnings over the next 10 years – and many are still struggling with debt and underemployment as a result of the recession.

Today, an emerging generation of young people – often referred to as Generation Z or “Gen Z” – stands at a similar precipice. We are already seeing early warning signs that the pandemic and related economic recession will impact their plans for education and career success.

How Are Young People Responding to the Pandemic?

New research from Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, funded by Equitable Futures, a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, illuminates the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on young people. In September, the organization released results from the first of four national surveys examining the pandemic’s impact on Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

One alarming takeaway from the research is that young people are taking on additional economic burdens as a result of the pandemic. Sixteen percent of respondents reported losing income due to decreased work hours or less business, and eight percent have lost an internship, apprenticeship or similar opportunity.

At the same time, young people are taking on additional responsibilities at home. Thirty-two percent of respondents say they are providing care for a younger member of their household, such as a younger sibling, with Black and Latinx youth responding at the highest rates.

As a result, young people are reconsidering their future academic and career plans. More than half of respondents say they value college differently now, with 28 percent reporting that they used to think college would be worth it but now think college is not worth it. Additionally, fewer young people have clarity about their goals and ideas for their futures than they did before the pandemic. In 2019, 43 percent of respondents said they felt clear about their future goals, compared to 27 percent in 2020 — a drop of 16 percentage points.

The coronavirus may not be the great equalizer, but it is the great disrupter. It may be years before we know the full impact of the pandemic and related economic crisis, but we know enough now to see that young people have been interrupted in their pursuit of education and career success in ways that will likely impact credential attainment, employment and earnings for years to come.

Trying Times Require Strong State Leadership

As a nation, we are at a crossroads, and states have a critical role to play in minimizing the impact of the Coronavirus on Black and Latinx learners and learners from low-income families. What can state leaders do to support young people in this time of crisis?

For one, they can provide clear information and guidance to help learners make informed decisions about their academic and career goals. This includes providing clear, transparent information about high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers, the credentials needed to access those careers, and affordable opportunities to earn those credentials.

Additionally, with many young people experiencing loss of income as a result of the pandemic, state leaders can strengthen earn and learn opportunities so young people are not forced to choose between education and work. Paid work-based learning opportunities like youth apprenticeships are a proven way to build technical and employability skills on the job.

And finally, states can monitor data — including additional research from Goodwin Simon — to understand how Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families are being impacted by the pandemic and respond accordingly.

Early data is already illuminating the disastrous effects of the pandemic. State and local leaders can act now to pave the road to economic recovery and well-being for those who have been most impacted by the crisis.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

This Week in CTE

October 23rd, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

CAREERS IN CONSTRUCTION MONTH

Build Your Future is hosting a construction video contest, I BUILT THIS, and giving away more than $20,000 in prizes. Learn more and submit a video here.

During Careers in Construction month, utilize these classroom resources to engage with students about the opportunities in the construction industry.

TWEET OF THE THE WEEK

Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School in Massachusetts has relied on their mobile classroom to ensure learners across the district have access to hands-on learning and career training. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced this week that the Federal Work Study (FWS) Experimental Sites will receive additional funding. This initiative seeks to increase earn-and-learn opportunities by removing barriers to off-campus jobs, allowing increased work hours and allowing institutions to pay students for work-based learning. The increased funds will be used for FWS salaries and to develop Job Location and Development (JLD) programs. Further information can be found here.   

INITIATIVE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE is honored and excited to co-lead the New Skills ready network

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Youth apprenticeship programs can give students access to valuable work-based learning experiences that provide insights into how their interest can connect to education and the workforce. Although these programs are often beneficial for participants, there is little data to show the programmatic landscape and impact.

The Role of Data and Accountability in Growing Youth Apprenticeship Programs highlights current practices from states who are collecting data on youth apprenticeship programs, and what steps have been taken to collect high quality enrollment and outcomes data. 

View The Role of Data and Accountability in Growing Youth Apprenticeship Programs in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Getting To Know Advance CTE’s Work to Advance Employer Engagement

October 22nd, 2020

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Meghan Wills! Meghan is Director of Strategic Initiatives at Advance CTE; she’s been with the organization since August 2019. Meghan leads Advance CTE’s state policy and technical assistance work, including supporting the expansion of high-quality career pathways, providing technical assistance to states as they implement their Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans, and modernizing The National Career ClustersⓇ Framework. 

Q: Through your work at Advance CTE, how have you seen employer engagement prioritized in high-quality CTE programs?

A: As a result of Perkins V, employers have more opportunities than ever before to become active participants in developing high-quality CTE programs. Through the comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA), employers can identify local workforce needs and high-skill, high-wage, in-demand occupations in their community and ensure that CTE programs and programs of study are aligned to those needs and opportunities. Work-based learning is a critical component of high-quality CTE programs, and the strongest work-based learning experiences are co-developed by employers and the education system to meet both learners’ and employers’ needs. Finally, employers and industry experts are serving as classroom instructors and industry mentors, which provide learners with invaluable opportunities to directly learn from experts in the field.

Q: What are the common barriers to effective employer engagement?

A: One of the biggest challenges employers face when trying to become more engaged in CTE programs is that the education system and employers speak very different languages. Employers are focused on skills their employees will need in the workplace, but they often feel that those skills are not sufficiently emphasized in the education system. Another challenge is that employers often don’t know where to start to become more engaged in CTE programs; while there are a number of opportunities for them to do so, which I described earlier, employers often don’t know about those opportunities or don’t know who they should contact to become more involved.  

Q: What future opportunities do you anticipate for the intersect between CTE and employers?

A: As the country looks ahead to the recovery from COVID-19 (coronavirus), CTE programs can play a strong role in helping prepare learners for jobs of the future, as described in our recent fact sheet CTE Prepares Learners for the Future of Work. The coronavirus accelerated the pace of technological change, and workers in the near future will require a different set of skills to be successful in the workplace. CTE programs, with their strong emphasis on hands-on learning and real-world skills, help learners develop foundational skills that can easily be transferred across rapidly shifting sectors and work activities. As employers remain actively engaged in CTE programs, they can continue to ensure that CTE learners are well prepared with future-oriented foundational skills.

Employers eager to get involved with CTE in their state or local communities can leverage: 

This Week in CTE

October 9th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

CAREERS IN CONSTRUCTION MONTH

Throughout the month of October, we will celebrate careers in construction. Utilize these classroom resources to engage with students about the opportunities in the construction industry.

 

CTSO OF THE WEEK

National Technical Student Association (TSA) Week concluded with friendship day! Follow the hashtag #TogetherTSA on Twitter for more from the week.

COMPETITION OF THE WEEK

Social Finance and JFF have announced the 2020 Career and Technical Education Through Pay for Success Competition. This competition will expand the reach of high-quality CTE to under-served, high-need youth by offering free technical assistance to awardees to scale programs to achieve data-driven results with long-term sustainability.

The deadline for Perkins-eligible CTE providers to notify Social Finance and JFF of intent to apply is October 16, 2020— please email solicitations@socialfinance.org. Requests for proposals and more information can be found here

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Wisconsin is attracting talent to the manufacturing industry with this video. Happy Manufacturing Month! 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE, in partnership with the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), has published a new resource as part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which outlines state CTE leaders’ critical responsibility to advancing equitable access and success in CTE for individuals experiencing homelessness.

This new resource identifies common access barriers to high-quality CTE and strategies to support learners experiencing homelessness. Key action steps are included for state CTE leaders and state coordinators for homeless education to consider when developing and growing homeless education partnerships in their state.

View Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity in and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students Experiencing Homelessness in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis

September 24th, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected our workforce systems drastically, forcing unemployment rates to soar and industry sectors to rapidly transition to new ways of seeking and retaining talent. The nation is grappling with how to resolve the economic downturn, while also ensuring that the unemployed, which has disproportionately affected women, Latinx, and Black Americans – are able to get back to work and on track to receive opportunities that advance their livelihoods. 

Some job losses resulting from the pandemic may be permanent causing many American workers to look for ways to reskill and upskill as they reenter into the workforce. The Strada Education Network has committed to building the space for collaboration between industry leaders, state leaders and American adult workers, preparing solutions that are lasting for both. Last week, the Strada Education Network held The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar, intentionally focusing on sharing the voices from workers displaced from their jobs, navigating a new normal while enrolled in reskilling and upskilling courses. Below are a number of findings from the webinars, and how states have tackled some of these important issues in the past.

Time is a Major Factor

Data shows that 38 percent of workers who lost employment during the pandemic are more likely to now further their education. However, time is posed as a major barrier to enrolling and completing courses. Knowing that 86 percent of adult learners who complete postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) courses are employed within six months of completing a program – CTE is a safe bet for those looking to reskill or upskill in order to gain in-demand and living-wage careers. However, postsecondary institutions must create partnerships with the workforce and industry leaders to attract learners seeking programs that have reduced completion times and offer earn and learn programs to support family-sustaining careers. 

Earn and learn programs, such as apprenticeships, paid internship programs and other work-based learning arrangements play a critical role in supporting workers that need to obtain some income while in school. View Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities in our Learning that Works Resource Center for core design elements and steps stakeholders can take to ensure their pathways meet the voices of American workers.

Supporting Learners in Postsecondary Programs 

The webinar identified a number of areas that postsecondary institutions may want to focus on to best support learners enrolling in programs including financial assistance, hands-on opportunities and help with finding employment upon program completion. Additionally, some adult learners returning back to school have not been in a school setting in many years and may struggle with basic academic schoolwork. States can play a vital role in implementing policies to help support learners in their transition, such as Washington’s Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST), which aims to help adult learners obtain academic and technical skills to better prepare for college-level work.

To tackle the financial burden that many learners likely face, states can learn from North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program. The grants are operated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and are administered locally through a partnership between community colleges and local workforce development boards.

Continued on the Job Training

CTE programs prepare learners for high-skill jobs in professions that require regular upskilling due to new technology or shifts in the industry. In many cases, this has been accelerated due to the pandemic as companies have moved to fully and partially-virtual workplaces. However,  the coronavirus has limited many opportunities for hands-on job training experiences to continue. American workers encourage employers to continue skills training and certification attainment for newly hired employees. American workers share that they’re not only looking for a job that meets their interests and talents, they are also looking for companies that will invest in them. Companies and industry leaders can sit down with their employees and help to guide them in the direction of upward mobility within the company and within the industry. 

The most important factor in designing programs, supports and policies that the webinar drives home is the need to include and center the people that you are trying to best serve in order to lead to a more equitable path toward upward mobility for all American workers. The full recording of The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar can be viewed here

Other resources for state leaders, policymakers, employers and other key stakeholders:

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Getting to Know Advance CTE’s Work on Equity

September 17th, 2020

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Kimberly Green! Kimberly serves as the Executive Director for Advance CTE, where she has been a part of the organization for over 25 years! In the interview below, she shares a little about Advance CTE’s commitment to equity and how her federal advocacy work aligns.

Q. What are a few organizational steps Advance CTE has taken to promote equity?

A. Our organization has not always prioritized equity. It was just a few years ago – in 2018 –  that we began to make the shift to position equity as foundational to our work. We knew we had to approach this work with humility, acknowledging that we had a lot of learning, listening and growing to do. To help with this, we launched an Equity Kitchen Cabinet composed of Advance CTE members and a National Committee on Equity that included representatives of national organizations leading civil rights and equity in education work, to serve as mentors and thought partners. Both groups informed our Board-approved statement on equity

As a leader, I always strive to have our organization model what we hope to see in states. After listening and learning from our partners over the course of the year, I knew we had to turn the equity work inward, examining Advance CTE’s organizational culture and processes. Through a year-long grant from the Associated Black Charities (ABC) our staff participated in three, day-long trainings, our leadership received monthly coaching sessions from an equity expert. We conducted an internal equity audit and chose to focus our efforts this first year to revise our recruitment and hiring practices and evaluation system. This grant gave us the skills and confidence to release this statement in June of this year, which outlines a set of commitments that we are working to live up to. As the ABC grant just ended, we are investing our organizational resources to extend this internal work with our next year’s priorities being: building equity into our onboarding curriculum for all new staff; three more, full-day staff trainings; establishing a set of core values; standing up a diversity, equity and inclusion advisory group and more. 

Q. In your work aligned with federal advocacy, what have you witnessed that you are most proud of related to equity and access for learners?

A. I am proud that we advocated for and were successful in positioning equity at the heart of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).  Our advocacy broadened the historical equity focus beyond gender equity. Through the comprehensive local needs assessment, a new requirement that we and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) authored, ensures that policy and fiscal decisions are driven by data and prioritize closing equity gaps. 

Q. Do you have any recommended resources for states to promote equity in CTE?

A. While we have done a lot of internal work, we have also created a number of assets and tools for the CTE community under the Making Good on the Promise Series. This series examines 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. This year, in partners from the National Equity Committee, we added to the series through population-specific resources, including a focus on students with disabilities, homeless youth (forthcoming) and justice-involved youth. We also will be releasing a series of assets to help states build their capacity to conduct opportunity gap analysis, a foundational step to identify where gaps exist. In addition to Advance CTE assets, the U.S. Department of Education has assets states can find here and our partners at the National Alliance for Partnership in Equity have some great resources here.

View past entries and stay up to date with the Getting to Know series here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Heading Back to School? Don’t Forget to Promote CTE!

September 9th, 2020

Over the past few weeks, learners and instructors across the country put on their first day of school outfits and began a most unusual school year. What the setting looks like – a Zoom room or a classroom – is different from state to state and even district to district. What hasn’t changed is the critical importance of communicating about the value and benefit of Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners, families and other key stakeholders. 

Back to school likely is a lot different this year compared to last, and you may be interacting with families and schools in ways that are new to you, your administration or your state. While your to-do list is certainly long and resources may be thin, Advance CTE has created a number of off-the-shelf materials to help CTE advocates make the case for CTE during and after the pandemic. 

Visit the Engaging Families and Learners section of Advance CTE’s website for templates including an advertisement, brochure, flyer, poster, postcard and banner that are easily customizable with data, photos, quotes and information about CTE in your community. (To access these templates, scroll down to the Digital and Print Materials section and download the Indesign templates). There are also ready-made messaging cards as well as posters in English and Spanish that can be printed out or sent in an e-newsletter. 

Use the CTE 101 video on back-to-school nights or virtual or in-person school visits to showcase how CTE is working for learners and employers every day. 

Lastly, for some stellar examples of how to best reach families at the middle and high school levels both in-person and online, read three short case studies including: 

All of us at Advance CTE wish you a happy and healthy school year!

Katie Fitzgerald, Director of Communications and Membership

 

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