Mississippi Welcomes Dr. Aimee Brown to Lead State CTE System

December 9th, 2019

Dr. Aimee Brown was appointed Mississippi’s Director of Career and Technical Education in June 2019, following nearly three decades in the CTE field.

Before Aimee joined the Mississippi State Department of Education, she served 12 years as the CTE Director for the Madison County School District — one of Mississippi’s largest school districts. There, she led the expansion of the district’s CTE programs, resulting in two of her district’s five career academies being nationally recognized as model academies. Before then, Aimee was the CTE director in a smaller rural district, where she worked to improve equity and access to CTE for her students. Prior to becoming an administrator, Aimee received her doctorate and taught business and technology at both the high school and community college levels.

Aimee’s experience at the local level will be a key asset as Mississippi transitions to Perkins V and further expands CTE across the state. When asked why she transitioned to a role at the state level, Aimee explained that it was her “inner desire to take what she learned and help other districts.” 

“That’s what I have enjoyed so much about the job, I get to interact with CTE directors in the state and help them develop their own programs and initiatives.”

Looking ahead, Aimee and her team plans to leverage career academies and other promising CTE strategies to further support learners in Mississippi. While at Madison County, she saw that “these initiatives helped many of the students perform better in their subject areas,” as well as improved their discipline and attendance. 

Aimee’s team is also considering strategies to support a variety of learners, including underperforming students and students “in the middle” — those who are neither high-achieving nor at-risk. One potential lever is the new option for high school students in the class of 2022 to earn a CTE endorsement on their graduation diploma. This endorsement would be available to students who complete a CTE program; earn Silver Level on WorkKeys; and, either receive dual credits, participate in a work-based learning experience, or earn an industry-recognized credential. 

Over the next year, the team will also work to support the Mississippi Board of Education in developing a state strategic plan that aligns with Perkins and the specific industry needs of the state. For Aimee, a key component of this work will be ensuring equity and access to high-quality CTE across rural and urban populations.

Roger Barnes, An Example of Missouri’s Remarkable History of Developing CTE Champions

November 22nd, 2019

Roger Barnes retired in June 2019 after over three decades of working to support students across Missouri. A week later, he took over as Missouri’s new State CTE Coordinator. When asked why he decided to transition to the new role, Roger explained that he knew he “wasn’t ready to stop serving students.” 

Roger’s journey to his current position began similar to that of other CTE champions: as a CTE student. In high school, he was enrolled in his district’s local agricultural education program. After graduating, he went on to earn a four-year degree in agricultural mechanics but then decided to return home to work alongside his father on the family’s farm. During this time, Roger also began serving as a substitute teacher in the same agricultural program that had earlier supported his educational journey. Motivated to continue empowering more CTE students, Roger sought his teaching certification and worked his way up to becoming a high school principal. Later, he served as director of a local area career center and ultimately superintendent of a school district.

This experience at the district level allowed Roger to develop a deep insight into the effects of statewide systems and policies on students and teachers in the classroom. As a superintendent, he was invited to join Missouri’s CTE Advisory Council and collaborate with business leaders, policymakers and administrators across the state to inform the experiences of students in both rural and urban communities. 

In his first year as State CTE Coordinator, Roger plans to continue collaborating with the statewide CTE Council to develop a high school CTE certificate for the class of 2021. The expectation is that the certificate will help students signal to businesses their level of career readiness following graduation from the secondary level. In addition, Roger intends to develop state programs that support opportunities for teachers to obtain work-based learning and professional training.

“To me, our real bright spots are what our CTSOs are doing in the state,” Roger noted. 

Last year, Missouri saw 2 percent of its FFA students earn the American FFA degree — the highest degree an FFA member can receive — despite less than 0.5 percent of all FFA members nationwide earning this award. 

Recognizing the state’s history of developing leaders through CTE, Roger looks to continue uplifting students across the state to become Missouri’s next generation of CTE champions.

New Resources Available on Statewide Efforts to Boost Career Training

November 18th, 2019

Advance CTE has added new resources to the Learning that Works Resource Center that highlight recent state efforts to coordinate across systems and strengthen career readiness training. Delaware, for example, is building out its capacity to increase postsecondary attainment by scaling regional career pathways and work-based learning. Similarly, Rhode Island is leveraging its New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant to restructure the state’s entire talent pipeline and strengthen connections across education and workforce systems. Since 2015, Rhode Island has seen a 56 percent increase in the number of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, a 38 percent increase in Advanced Placement course participation, and a tripling of the number of college credits earned by high school students. 

Massachusetts, another state that was awarded the NSFY grant, is also coordinating activities to significantly expand access to high-quality CTE programs. So far, increased investments in technical training equipment have led to a rapid expansion of the state’s career training capacity, resulting in more than 10,000 additional students enrolling in career training programs across Massachusetts. 

To learn more about these initiatives and related work, visit Advance CTE’s Resource Center

The Empire State Welcomes Amy Cox to State CTE Director Role

November 13th, 2019

Amy Cox recently took over as New York’s State CTE Director. Having managed both secondary and postsecondary state programs, she entered the position with strong leadership experience in statewide initiatives and a promising ability to helm the state’s CTE system. Prior to her current role, Amy spent over a decade at the New York State Office of Higher Education, where she worked on Teachers of Tomorrow, Race to the Top, Teacher Opportunity Corps and P-TECH. 

Amy’s list of priorities includes developing a comprehensive framework for work-based learning that is flexible across the state, as well as facilitating greater interdepartmental and stakeholder engagement to maximize programmatic effectiveness. 

With her experience at the intersections of CTE and various statewide initiatives, Amy is positioned to be a strong communicator across diverse stakeholder groups that have historically operated in silos. For example, she is currently strengthening bridges for collaboration between the secondary and postsecondary teams that are working on Perkins — with the goal being to develop a unified team. Looking across other departments and agencies in the state as well, Amy wants to stimulate deeper conversations on topics relating to CTE and encourage greater data transparency and sharing. 

At the programmatic level, Amy’s team will also work with the state’s Technical Assistance Center to assist local education agencies in developing approvable programs and expand access to CTE, working to ensure equitable access and support for underrepresented learners. Along with this work, her team is looking to build a comprehensive framework for work-based learning that is flexible and adaptive to regional needs in the state. 

Reflections on Perkins V Implementation Meetings

October 30th, 2019

Baby, It’s Bold Inside

Last year, within three months after the reauthorization of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), Advance CTE partnered with the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) to host four regional Perkins V implementation meetings across the country to unpack the new law and help states get a jumpstart on their planning.

Building on interest from our members – and support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Joyce Foundation – we decided to host another round of three Perkins V implementation meetings, joined once again by our excellent partners. Over the course of three months, we brought together about 300 leaders from across 44 states and Washington, DC, along with invited national CTE and workforce development experts from over 20 partner organizations, including National Skills Coalition, National Governors Association, ExcelinEd, Council of Chief State School Officers, New America, Education Strategy Group and others, to help states:

  • Collaborate with peers from other states to share ideas and solutions on major strategies within their Perkins V state plans, with a focus on quality, equity, data, systems alignment and career advisement;
  • Work with their state team to review and strengthen their Perkins V plans based on input from national experts, peers and in-state stakeholder engagement; and
  • Leave with clear next steps for strengthening their Perkins V state plans to advance a statewide vision for CTE that is innovative, bold and prioritizes quality and equity.

At each meeting, states had the chance to present on their draft plans and strategies and get direct, actionable feedback from their peers and the invited partners. State leaders dug in deeply on issues including improving the quality of CTE programs/programs of study, closing equity gaps, leveraging the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment to drive local innovation and learner-focused programming, aligning CTE and workforce development, and meaningful engagement of key stakeholders, such as Tribal communities and employers.

It was truly inspiring to learn so much from states, see how BOLD they were willing to be and have the opportunity to give real-time input into states’ Perkins V plans!

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

*Photos courtesy of Bob Witchger

Maryland Welcomes Tiara Booker-Dwyer to Helm State CTE System

October 28th, 2019

Beginning her career as a researcher in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Maryland’s new State CTE Director, has since built a remarkable career around improving educational success for learners in Maryland.

While at Hopkins, Tiara developed a passion for teaching and later went on to work at the middle school and high school levels. Leveraging her experience as a science teacher, Tiara continued supporting students through the Maryland Department of Education, where she led efforts to promote STEM under the Race to the Top initiative. While at the Department, she also served as the Executive Director for the Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement, as well as the Department’s 2016-2017 Ombudsman. 

A dynamic leader, Tiara entered her new role with a bold vision for CTE in Maryland. Among her priorities is to use Perkins funds over the next year to build a more inclusive CTE culture in the state. In addition, Tiara and her team are focused on supporting school counselors, teacher development and special populations of students.

Along with her deep history on the education side, Tiara spent two years as a program director for the Maryland Business Roundtable, where she supported collaboration between industry professionals and local schools districts. Leveraging this past work, Tiara is now collaborating with the business community to develop a professional counseling model to further support school counselors. 

“School counselors need more support. Maryland is proposing to use business and industry professionals to provide career counseling to CTE students.” 

Under the professional counseling model, groups of business professionals would be trained to go to schools and provide periodic career guidance to cohorts of students. This would provide students with valuable career insight opportunities while also allowing “school counselors to focus on mental health priorities and academic advising,” she said. 

Another focus for Tiara is around the professional growth of CTE teachers. “I recognize when we get CTE teachers from the field,” she explained, “they come in with the content and need support with pedagogy and classroom management. CTE teachers must be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and resources to meet the needs of all students, including English learners and students with disabilities.” To address this gap, Tiara is looking to provide CTE instructors from the field with professional learning experiences on differentiating instruction, using data to inform instructional interventions, engaging diverse learners and other forms of support to better enable them to be effective in preparing their students for a career field.

With strong support from state leadership, Tiara and her team are working to revitalize the state’s CTE system. Central to their vision for CTE in Maryland, she believes, is the opportunity to be bold.  

 

Long-time CTE leader, Angela Kremers, becomes Director of Arkansas’ Division of Career Technical Education

October 21st, 2019

In early 2019, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a bill that restructured the state’s government, reducing the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15. As a result, Angela Kremers became the new Director of Arkansas’ Division of Career Technical Education, now housed within the Department of Education. 

With the government’s reorganization and her new role, Angela is facing new challenges and procedures, as well as the unique complexities of the state’s CTE system. But Angela sees long-awaited opportunity. 

“I am excited about the opportunity because we have such a perfect storm – we are on the precipice of change,” she said. Being within the department of education — along with higher education, which was moved there as well — “gives us greater capacity than we had before; the resources, the alignment, the conversations. When we talk about pathways, we all are discussing it under one roof, using similar language. I’m excited.”

Angela’s optimism isn’t purely based on good faith. She came into the position with a long-rooted background in CTE and related work. While in high school, she was actively involved in a career technical student organization (CTSO) and took on leadership positions, serving as a local and state officer and eventually being elected federation president. Following her time in the medical field, Angela served as a health sciences high school CTE teacher, then transitioned to the postsecondary side to support student articulation agreements. Later on, Angela served as a senior program associate at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s education portfolio and engaged in national conversations addressing systemic gaps across the education continuum.  

With her rich experience working to support students and CTE programs, Angela is set on  advancing Arkansas’ CTE system. She is focused on improving program of study quality, strengthening professional development opportunities for CTE teachers and building pathways in new and emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence and analytics.

“Catching up and getting to Perkins V speed is great, but we still have to be looking five, ten years down the road. We can’t just be playing catch up if we want to meet the needs of students, industry, and communities.”

New Hampshire Welcomes Eric Frauwirth to State CTE Helm

October 16th, 2019

Like many other leaders in CTE, Eric Frauwirth’s journey to his current role overseeing New Hampshire’s CTE program is truly unique. Originally from Massachusetts, Eric took what he describes as the ‘grand tour’ through CTE — traveling around the country teaching at the high school and postsecondary levels, then returning to Massachusetts to serve as the dean of CTE and business at a local community college. 

Eric sees his new role as an opportunity to update New Hampshire’s CTE system and make changes that will have lasting impacts. To accomplish this, Eric has been everything but a stranger to innovative ideas.

“Absolutely everything is on the table,” he said. 

One of Eric’s main priorities is to improve the way in which New Hampshire delivers CTE to better provide access and equity to students across the state. The state will be embarking on an effort to identify all possible delivery models – in addition to the current shared time centers – to provide more CTE programs to more learners. 

“We’re considering taking some of our non-lab CTEs — accounting, business, marketing — and instead of offering one of the courses at a regional center, we offer it at the five comprehensive high schools in the region. This would allow more students to be eligible while also freeing up space at the CTE centers to create more room for labs.” New Hampshire also recently received a $46 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand charter schools and Eric is considering how they might fit into the new CTE puzzle.

Fortunately for Eric, the state’s education commissioner is not only supportive of CTE but also is an out-of-the-box thinker who is willing to let Eric’s team be creative. For example, the CTE office is planning to purchase an RV, with the goal of converting it to a mobile classroom to travel around the state to build exposure and access to CTE. The RV will be equipped to carry out experiments as well as highlight the many programs in the different regions of the state. 

Eric’s team took this idea a few steps further by making it a competition among the CTE programs to design the mobile classroom’s wrap, using the theme “I am CTE.” CTE students will also paint the RV once the design is selected. The winners will get to see their work travel all across the state promoting CTE.

“We brought it to the commissioner and we expected the two outcomes to be either he throws us out of his office or he was going to love it. The first sentence out of his mouth was ‘can I drive it’.”

 

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

Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship Network and Grantees Announced

May 29th, 2019

The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), a multi-stakeholder initiative, just announced its nine grantees under the first joint philanthropic investment to expand youth apprenticeship in the United States. These grantees –  selected from an extremely competitive pool of over 220 applicants from 49 states and Puerto Rico – will launch and expand high-quality youth apprenticeship programs in multiple cities, regions, and states, and in a range of industries. The grantee recipients are:

  • Apprenticeship 502 (Louisville, KY)
  • ApprenticeshipNC (Raleigh, NC)
  • The Birmingham Promise (Birmingham, AL)
  • Career Launch Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Early Care and Education Youth Apprenticeship (Oakland, CA)
  • King County Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium (Renton, WA)
  • Montana Youth Apprenticeship Partnership (Helena, MT)
  • Texas Youth Apprenticeship Program (Austin, TX)
  • Twin Cities LEAP Initiative (Minneapolis, MN)

Grant funding will support sites’ strategy development and implementation activities over a 17-month period, beginning in May 2019. During this period, grantees will engage in cross-site learning and receive tailored technical assistance from PAYA National Partner organizations and other leading experts in the education, workforce, and policy sectors.

In addition, grantees will join the new PAYA Network – a national learning community designed to link high-potential, dynamic partnerships working to across the country to launch, expand, and improve apprenticeship opportunities for high school-aged youth. The PAYA Network was formed to recognize, support, and connect high-potential leaders identified through the PAYA Grant Initiative, and to support them as they work to build the emerging field of youth apprenticeship.

Advance CTE is thrilled to join our partners at New America, CareerWise Colorado, Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship, Education Strategy Group, JFF, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and the National Governors Association in leading this effort. We see the incredible impact such an investment of resources and support will have on expanding high-quality youth apprenticeship in these communities across the country.

To learn more, visit newamerica.org/paya and stay connected to the initiative’s progress by following the #PAYA hashtag.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

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