New Resource: Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) Resource Guide: A Compendium for High-Quality CTE

May 20th, 2020

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides learners of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers. At the heart of high-quality CTE programs is the partnership between employers and educators. Effective, two-way partnership between the employers and educators allows for CTE programs to adapt to the current needs of industry and address talent shortages, while also strengthening the quality of those CTE programs.

However, too often there are disconnects between employers and CTE programs, due to lack of coordination, common language and measures of success. To help bridge this gap, Advance CTE partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Education and Workforce to help develop the Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) Resource Guide: A Compendium for High-Quality CTE

The guide is designed to both introduce TPM as well as enhance the existing TPM movement. It is composed of three major resources:

  1. Resource 1: CTE Orientation to the Employer Community
  2. Resource 2: Employer Orientation to the CTE Community
  3. Resource 3: Improving Employer Engagement in CTE through TPM

 

To develop these critical resources, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation convened a review committee of State CTE Directors and TPM practitioners from across the country to ensure the tools can simultaneously work for CTE and industry leaders. The resources can serve as a primer to CTE for employers (and to employers for CTE), as well as offer concrete and actionable steps to take to build strong partnerships across the two communities in support of CTE programs that fully meet the needs of employers and learners alike.

Help us share: 

Tweet: In partnership with @USCCFeducation, @CTEWorks has contributed to the TPM Resource Guide for High-Quality #CTE, offering guidance on how to build stronger partnerships between employers and CTE educators to improve student outcomes.  #TalentPipelineManagement #CTEWorks

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE

March 26th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is simply too late to begin to expose learners to the variety of high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers available to them and the foundational skills they will need to be able to access and succeed in those careers. Yet there remains a lack of consensus — or even basic understanding — about what Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness more broadly should entail at the middle grades level.

And, with The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) emphasizing career exploration and career development activities in the middle grades and allowing funds to be spent on students as young as fifth grade, the need to understand what high-quality middle grades CTE is – and isn’t – is more important than ever before.

Today, Advance CTE and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE to support state and local leaders as they work to develop or strengthen middle grades CTE policies, programs and practices. Critically, this resource provides a theory of action for state and local leaders looking to design a new middle grades CTE program or policy or to reflect on and improve upon what is already in place.

Specifically, this paper lays out:

  • Outcomes for student learning that identify what students should gain through participation in middle grades CTE.
  • Ten design principles that must undergird any middle grades CTE program or policy. The principles should serve as a resource to ensure that middle grades CTE is comprehensive and fully meets each learner’s needs.
  • The core programmatic elements of a middle grades CTE program or policy through which the design principles are applied, with relevant questions for consideration to identify strategies or steps for addressing gaps in the implementation of the 10 design principles.

Broadening the Path also includes a design principles self-assessment for state and local leaders to evaluate their current policies and programs.

This resource was created with the support of the Middle Grades CTE Shared Solutions Workgroup, comprised of national, state and local leaders, convened by Advance CTE with support from ACTE and generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For those interested in leading state examples of middle grades CTE policies and programs, check out Advance CTE’s 2018 report, Expanding Middle School CTE to Promote Lifelong Learner Success.

 

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

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:

 

100 Years of Advancing CTE: Pradeep Kotamraju Commends Advance CTE’s Leadership in CTE

February 26th, 2020

We are celebrating 100 years of Advance CTE! Throughout the year, we’ll feature interviews with past State CTE Directors, Board of Directors members, partners, CTE leaders and more. This month, learn more about how Pradeep Kotamraju, Division Director, Career and College Transition Division, California Department of Education, former Board of Directors President, views CTE’s past and future.

When did you begin working in CTE and how did you become affiliated with Advance CTE?
My work in CTE started in 2001, focusing on the data and accountability. During this time, I was a part of the National Leadership Institute and their priority was centered around CTE. Although I had heard about Kimberly Green [Executive Director of Advance CTE] several times before, I really did not get involved with Advance CTE until around 2004 — when I essentially was placed in charge of running Perkins in Minnesota.

Since then, I have worked with Advance CTE in various capacities: as a State CTE Director, member of the Board of Directors and as Board President. I also participated in the reconfiguration of the organization from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium to what is known as today, Advance CTE.

What was the shape of CTE in the early 2000s and how has the field evolved since?
I think CTE is in a much better place since that time. It was still thought of as something on the side. Keep in mind that around then, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reared its head and that sort of took up a lot of oxygen. As a result of that, discussions around CTE at the state policy level became very difficult. The only place we had some meaningful discussions was at Advance CTE.

CTE was seen as a separate system. There were some movements to have it included in larger state efforts but that really did not come about until Perkins IV. To a large extent, CTE at that time, I would argue, was really focused only on Perkins. What Advance CTE has really done a great job on is moving the discussion away from Perkins and to talking about CTE outside of funding.

How has Advance CTE’s role evolved since you initially came across the organization to when you were president of the board?
Advance CTE’s role has evolved like everything else in CTE, and you have to commend Kimberly for her leadership and effort to grow the organization along with the times. I would say one of the most important things Advance CTE did was essentially move the discussion away from Perkins as a funding source or program to looking at it as a strategy towards something – whether it is high school graduation, acquiring certain skills or moving to postsecondary or workforce. This shift really broadened the scope of discussions centered on CTE.

The other thing I think that Advance CTE contributed to is, we now talk about other federal and state legislation, and we also talk about postsecondary. Early on in my career, I worked on the postsecondary side and at this time postsecondary kind of felt like an outsider because there were very few discussions regarding this component of the system. But Kimberly and others made tremendous strides to be inclusive of the postsecondary side. In fact, the last few meetings that I went to I did not feel the distinction between the secondary and postsecondary.

Lastly, in the early days, Advance CTE focused exclusively on State Directors. That focus is still there but now there are also many other associate members, members from community-based organizations who see the value in CTE and have been included in the collective effort to strengthen its benefits to students.

Tips to Help You Make the Best of the Rest of CTE Month

February 14th, 2020

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through CTE Month! Every February, the CTE community celebrates CTE Month® to raise awareness of the role that CTE has in readying our students for careers and college. CTE Month, spearheaded by Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), is a time to recognize and celebrate the CTE community members’ achievements and accomplishments nationwide. Below are some tips to make the most of your CTE Month with some examples of how states are promoting CTE in their state. 

Use the Right Messages
Despite our best efforts, we don’t always speak about CTE in the way that most resonates with students and parents. Be sure that you’re communicating with these two important audiences by checking out our new research on the messages that students and parents want to hear, Dos and Dont’s for using the messages, and a guide on how you can put this research into action. Use graphics in your social media with compelling research data. (Click the link to download)

Celebrate!
Recognize those in your community, whether it’s high-achieving CTE students, exemplary educators, or impactful partners that have a positive influence in CTE by celebrating their accomplishments and showcasing their successes. 

New Hampshire’s Career development Bureau Hits the Road to Showcase CTE
New Hampshire Department of Education’s Career Development Bureau is doing tours of the state out of their new Mobile CTE Classroom called M.A.P., Mobile Access to Pathways. They’re having New Hampshire SkillsUSA instructor and students along to tell the story of what makes CTE so great in New Hampshire

Recognize CTE at the State Level
Engage policymakers in the conversation by encouraging them to designate February as CTE month. Use a sample proclamation created by ACTE

Involve Your Partners
The Career Technical Education (CTE) community encompasses all the people that work to make your CTE program – whether it’s at the local, state or national level – great, including education, community, and business partners. Encourage them to advocate for CTE to their own networks, and invite partners to participate in celebratory events or site visits. 

Wyoming Department of Education Elevates Importance of CTSOs in Wyoming
The Wyoming Department of Education’s CTE unit wanted to celebrate the amazing role Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) play during CTE Month. They are hosting weekly “Brown Bag for the Brain” lunches during the national CTSO week for each CTSO where student leaders explain the history and benefits of the CTSO to all Department of Education employees. They highlight the ways in which CTSOs help students to prepare for college, career or the military; the successes they have had during competitions; and the community service they provide. 

Coordinate
Once you’ve got all partners on board, it’s crucial to coordinate messaging among all who will help to promote CTE during the month. Supply partners with sample social media posts, templates and website copy to be sure all partners are messaging under a common theme. This will negate any chance of message confusion. Consider creating a state-wide social media calendar and resource guide, like South Carolina did for CTE Month in 2020. Also, consider creating a CTE Month communications plan and sample event announcements for local districts and schools like Alabama in 2017.

Kentucky Department of Education’s CTE Office Offers Supports to Educators
The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education and Student Transition (OCTEST) will be hosting eight regional meetings to help educators better understand CTE and its benefits. The meetings will explore how to implement dual credit, improve career/college advising and develop seamless CTE career pathways.  Educators will learn best practices related to dual credit, career/college advising and CTE in their schools by being introduced to new resources, asset mapping and networking opportunities. The sessions are intended for district teams (including Superintendents, High School Principals, Middle School Principals, Technical Center Principals, School Counselors, Dual Credit Coordinators, and Title IV Coordinators) to learn and plan together and ensure everyone understands how to best connect and support students in CTE.

Engage Employers
Contact local employers and businesses that aren’t yet familiar with your CTE program and invite them to school visits to showcase high-quality CTE in action or career fairs with already engaged employers. Use Advance CTE fact sheets and talking points designed specifically to address this audience. 

Join the Conversation
CTE Month is celebrated nationwide, including on social media. Join in on Twitter chats, upload photos of your events, feature student work, and engage in discussion with CTE advocates from across the country using the #CTEMonth hashtag. Be sure to tag us too, @CTEWorks.  

Get the word out!
Let the local media know what’s happening and invite them to your planned awards ceremonies, career fairs or school visits highlighting innovative CTE. Get some tips on how to engage key audiences here. Also, let us know how you’re planning to celebrate the month for a chance to be featured in our weekly CTE Month blog series

Oklahoma Promotes CTE During Superbowl
Oklahoma CareerTech developed an amazing video demonstrating how CTE can get you to your dream career, whether that’s in healthcare, Information Technology or on the racetrack. View the video

Katie Fitzgerald, Director of Communications and Membership

States Passed At Least 208 Policies to Support CTE in 2019

January 29th, 2020

On the federal and state levels, 2019 was an important year for Career Technical Education (CTE). In addition to creating their four-year state plans for the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), at least 45 states and Palau enacted at least 208 policy actions related to CTE and career readiness.

Today, Advance CTE, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the Education Commission of the States released the seventh annual State Policies Impacting CTE: Year in Review report, examining 2019 legislative activity, including legislation, execution orders, board of education actions and budget provisions. To develop the report Advance CTE, ACTE and Education Commission of the States reviewed state activity, cataloged all finalized state action and coded activity based on the policy area of focus. In 2019, states most frequently addressed the following topics:

  • Funding;
  • Industry Partnerships and Work-based Learning;
  • Industry-recognized credentials;
  • Governance; and
  • Access and Equity.

In total at least 41 states enacted policies that affected CTE, making funding the most common policy category for the seventh year in a row. Illinois increased funding for CTE programming by $5 million, while Massachusetts and Delaware both invested in work-based learning programs. For the second year in a row, industry partnerships and work-based learning was the second most common policy category with at least 35 states taking action in this area. In Connecticut, the legislature passed a law to require the Connecticut Department of Labor and the Board of Regents for Higher Education to jointly establish nontraditional pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree through apprenticeships, while Colorado enacted a law to launch a statewide resource directory for apprenticeships.

Most states have taken action relevant to CTE since the Year in Review report was launched and in total more than 60 policies passed in 2019 than 2018. This indicates a continued commitment from state leaders to advance CTE. To view previous years’ Year in Review reports, click here. Advance CTE, ACTE and Education Commission of the States will be joined by Texas to discuss these policies in more depth on February 18 from 3-4 p.m. EST- to register for the webinar, click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Lessons Learned from New Skills for Youth Investments Around the Globe

October 31st, 2019

Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. In addition to the state-based investments, which Advance CTE – in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group – has been helping to lead, JPMorgan Chase has also been investing in local innovation sites across the global.

In August, Advance CTE released snapshots on five of these investments located in the United States. Today, we are releasing five additional snapshots on JPMorgan Chase’s international sites, along with a summary report that highlights noteworthy, cross-cutting strategies from these 10 sites.

Despite the diversity of the locations, the populations being served and the challenges to overcome, the initiatives share more in common than one might expect. All 10 innovation sites share a common focus on interventions that target in-demand jobs, career pathways and workforce needs; provide youth with meaningful, industry-aligned work-based learning experiences; and target at-risk and in-need populations.

Looking across the strategies and lessons learned from the 10 innovation sites reveals commonalities and the beginnings of a roadmap for other communities to follow.  Specifically, there are a handful of common and noteworthy design and implementation strategies that are yielding promising outcomes and helping the sites develop long-range plans to sustain and scale each of the initiatives. These strategies include:

  • Engaging cross-sector partners to work collaboratively toward a shared vision;
  • Intentionally focusing on addressing equity, expanding access and removing barriers to success;
  • Building will and shifting stakeholder mindsets;
  • Grounding interventions and strategies in data; and
  • Planning for scale and sustainability at the outset.

The scope and the impact of the 10 initiatives is far reaching, even though much of this work is in the early stages or still being piloted. Individual sites are engaging a multitude of government entities, schools, higher education institutions and workforce organizations, as well as teachers, parents and students. Collectively, these sites are reaching over 200,000 young people from middle and high school into early adulthood. And early outcomes are impressive, including increased high school graduation rates, work-based learning participation, and successful placement into college and careers.

The Snapshots:

Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand: EDC is partnering with secondary schools and technical colleges across the three countries to train teachers in Work Ready Now!, adaptable curriculum modules that provide students with a hands-on bootcamp experience run by local information and communications technology industry partners, as well as work-based learning experiences.

England, United Kingdom: The Education Endowment Foundation is identifying and evaluating effective interventions to help youth ages 16 to 18 achieve a passing rate on the General Certificate of Secondary Education exams in English and mathematics, a current barrier to postsecondary school success.

Maharashtra, India: Lend-a-Hand India is collaborating with the state government to integrate and scale vocational education in Maharashtra, the second most populous state in India. To date, they have provided work-based learning to over 1,000 students, engaging over 200 employers.

Orange Farm, South Africa has two organizations that are bringing technical skills development and work-based learning directly to the Orange Farm community to enable low-income youth to become more employable.

Sichuan, Guangdong, Guizhou and Hebei Provinces, China: The China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) is designing and implementing interventions to ensure that the skill level of vocational students meets the demand of employers, while increasing achievement levels and improving the self-confidence of secondary vocational students. CDRF is also collecting and analyzing data about the interventions to inform policymakers on how to further strengthen China’s vocational education system.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Equity in CTE Is Not Just About Access; States Have A Responsibility to Ensure Learner Success, Too 

October 24th, 2019

Making Good on the Promise: Ensuring Equitable Success Through CTEFinancial expenses, work commitments, developmental education and healthcare needs are some of the most common barriers to success for community college students, according to a survey by RISC. To minimize these barriers and bolster postsecondary credential attainment rates, Southwestern Community College (SCC) in Sylva, North Carolina has awarded 129 mini grants to help students address needs such as housing, transportation and educational expenses. 

The grants were issued as part of North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program, which was started in 2018 using governor’s discretionary funds through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The program is administered by local workforce development boards in partnership with nearby community colleges and provides up to $1,000 per semester per student to address unexpected financial emergencies. 

The Finish Line Grant program, while relatively new, demonstrates the role states can play in removing barriers to success and supporting each learner — at the secondary, postsecondary or adult level — to achieve a credential of value and access an in-demand occupation with family sustaining wages. 

Advance CTE’s latest report, the fifth and final installment in the Making Good on the Promise series, explores other approaches states can take to ensure learner success through Career Technical Education (CTE), including: 

  • Using data-driven support systems to meet learners’ needs: To increase postsecondary credential attainment, some school districts and institutions of higher education have started deploying their data to drive a comprehensive, student-centered support system. Using a method known as predictive analytics, institutions analyze past data on the performance and behaviors of their student body to identify patterns that are correlated with success. They then use this information to identify key indicators — such as absenteeism or low grades in core academic courses — and provide proactive supports to ensure learners can make progress towards graduation or a postsecondary credential.
  • Providing integrated support services to secure wellness, academic preparation and financial stability: Like North Carolina, states can support equitable success in CTE by minimizing common barriers — such as health, academic and financial barriers — that learners encounter along their pathways. Expanding and fully funding integrated support services at both the secondary and postsecondary level can help reduce the burden on learners and ensure they can access the help they need to be successful.
  • Creating the enabling conditions for successful transitions: While completing a program or earning a sought-after credential or degree is important and should be the objective of any pathway, the ultimate measure of success is whether learners transition successfully into the next step of their career pathway, be it postsecondary education, an apprenticeship, employment or other opportunity of choice. States can support successful transitions to postsecondary education by ensuring early postsecondary opportunities such as dual or concurrent enrollment are accessible and equitable. They can also support transitions to the workforce by helping learners develop their occupational identity and expand their social networks through early career exposure and meaningful work-based learning connected to their career pathways. 

Throughout the Making Good on the Promise series, Advance CTE has explored state strategies to identify equity gaps, rebuild trust among historically marginalized populations, and expand access to high-quality CTE opportunities. 

But the work does not stop there. State leaders have a responsibility to ensure each learner is not only able to access CTE, but also feel welcome, fully participate in and successfully complete their career pathway. This means constantly monitoring learner progress and creating the conditions that are conducive for learner success. Making Good on the Promise: Ensuring Equitable Success through CTE aims to provide a roadmap for states to learn from promising practices and develop their own plans for achieving equity. 

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

The Importance of Credit for Prior Learning to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and its Students

October 7th, 2019

Guest blog from Dr. René Cintrón, Chief Academic Affairs Officer, LCTCS

Why Credit for Prior Learning?

Credit for prior learning (CPL) – often described by the American Council on Education as academic credit granted for knowledge and skills gained outside the classroom – supports the unique mission of community and technical colleges. These colleges provide students with the opportunity to earn affordable credentials in a timely fashion that lead to valuable employment and/or transfer, whether the credential is an industry-based certification or a career-technical or transfer degree.

Unfortunately, not every student completes their program. We surveyed Louisiana community and technical college students who withdrew from courses, and found that only 18 percent gave an academic reason for doing so. By far, more students were leaving college without completing a credential because of personal (53 percent) and/or financial (31 percent) reasons. Thus, the majority of students are not withdrawing because of challenges with course content but rather – simply put – because of time and money. CPL has the ability to tackle both of these challenges for students.

Our students come to our colleges with a wealth of knowledge they obtained through their careers, past learning, military service and life experiences.  When relevant, this knowledge can and should be applied to progress towards an academic credential. A few years ago, we started working with military partners in the state to increase the number of military students who enroll and graduate. Our approach was to treat the military transcript as an academic transcript. We don’t charge fees to transfer courses from other postsecondary institutions to ours, so why would we do that for students coming from the military? We took the same approach to students arriving with industry-based credentials (IBCs), transcribing and articulating these credentials as we do with courses on other transcripts. Thus, we consider these students to be “transferring in” just as students do from other institutions.

How Do We Do It?

Credit for prior learning evaluation is the process of determining how to award credit for college-level learning acquired through a variety of means. At the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), expert faculty groups, along with the chief academic officers’ group, met and did the work of compiling existing articulations and mapping future ones. The System reached out to entities such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Louisiana National Guard, the state’s Department of Education, the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Workforce Investment Council, among others, to collect information on the various military courses and IBCs, to review them and determine which could be converted into Career Technical Education (CTE) courses.

The initial review involved each college determining its equivalent course and adding it to a matrix. The next step was to compile all of the colleges’ determinations into the system-wide articulation tables. These tables are updated and maintained on an annual basis, similar to academic catalogs. Then, importantly, the faculty and chief academic officers recognized that to ensure the staying power of their work, the process should be enacted into policy. In March 2018, the LCTCS Board of Supervisors approved revisions to Policy 1.023, which, in addition to supporting credit for prior learning, established guidelines for processing it, formalized the systemwide articulation matrix, and declared no cost to students for CPL course transcription for those in the matrix. The result: the 2018-2019 academic year, 2,073 students enrolled with credit for prior learning – a 50 percent increase from the prior year.

This kind of collaboration and commitment across a broad scope of professionals to reward students for their prior learning efforts exemplifies how Louisiana’s community and technical colleges are supporting students in reaching their college and career goals in a timely manner.

For more, see Advance CTE’s report Developing Credit for Prior Learning Policies to Support Postsecondary Attainment for Every Learner

New Skills for Youth Innovation Site Snapshots Released

August 28th, 2019

Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. In addition to the state-based investments, which Advance CTE – in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group – has been helping to lead, JPMorgan Chase has also been investing in local innovation sites across the global.

Earlier this week, Advance CTE released snapshots on five of these innovation sites, which document the progress of the local investments that aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. While each site as their unique context, each is working to improve and expand career pathways, hands-on work-based learning experiences, and provide support for learners through sustainable partnerships between the education community and business and industry.

The five snapshots:

Dallas, Texas has launched the Dallas County Promise to remove barriers to college and in-demand careers for Dallas County youth

Denver, Colorado’s CareerConnect is a district-wide initiative to redesign the K-12 experience to provide hands-on learning to all students.

Detroit, Michigan has committed to a district-wide expansion of career pathways across the city’s high schools.

New Orleans, Louisiana’s YouthForce NOLA is coordinating a city-wide effort to build career pathways that result in meaningful credential attainment for all high school students.

South Bronx, New York has four investments in place to expand access to and success through work-based learning in health care, transportation and logistics, and technology, as well as to build a data infrastructure to measure career readiness.

Advance CTE will be releasing another five snapshots on some of JPMorgan Chase’s international investments and a summary report in the coming months.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

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