How States Are Pushing the Envelope on Postsecondary CTE Data Quality

November 12th, 2020

Advance CTE Announces New State-led Initiative

Even before the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in 2018, nearly every State CTE Director said that improving the quality and use of CTE data was a top priority in their state. Now, with Perkins V implementation fully underway and COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting education delivery, it is more important than ever for states to have access to high-quality, actionable CTE data. 

In this environment, Advance CTE is excited to announce the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI), generously supported by the ECMC Foundation. Through the initiative, five grantees will receive grant funding, technical assistance and access to a national peer learning network to examine critical problems of practice and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality and use of postsecondary CTE data. Participating states and agencies include: 

  • Alabama Community College System 
  • Delaware Department of Education
  • University of the District of Columbia Community College
  • Florida Department of Education
  • Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Each of the five grantees is well positioned to either accelerate existing work around CTE data quality or push the envelope in new and creative ways. Alabama aims to improve the accuracy of postsecondary CTE enrollment data through the use of its new P20W data system. Delaware strives to implement a new performance accountability model to enhance data linkages and expand access to postsecondary career pathways statewide. Florida is focusing on developing new data models and collection procedures for postsecondary work-based learning programs. The District of Columbia will maximize peer and specialist support to advance its postsecondary CTE data system, which is in its early stages. Oregon will focus on improving data collection and sharing to monitor outcomes for learners in short-term credentialing programs, particularly groups severely impacted by the Coronavirus.  

Over the next two years, grantees will work together as a peer learning network to develop, test and scale innovative strategies. Throughout the initiative, Advance CTE will share promising practices and lessons learned with the field through a series of blogs, webinars, presentations, publications and tools. 

Data is a powerful tool to improve equity and access and strengthen program quality. But it takes leadership and a coordinated strategy to make data work for learners. Advance CTE is excited to work with these states through the PDI to push the envelope on postsecondary CTE data quality. To learn more about the PDI, visit https://careertech.org/initiatives

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research 

Announcing the New Skills ready network

October 20th, 2020

Today, JPMorgan Chase announced the full cohort of U.S. based sites receiving career readiness investments as part of the company’s $75 million New Skills at Work initiative. This effort is designed to better prepare young people, and particular Black and Latinx learners, for the future of work and lifelong success.

The U.S. sites – which comprise the New Skills ready network – are Boston|Massachusetts, Columbus|Ohio, Dallas|Texas, Denver|Colorado, Indianapolis|Indiana and Nashville|Tennessee. They will be joined by four international sites that will be announced in the coming months that will round out the global investment.

What makes these five-year, $7 million investments so unique is that each site has brought together a cross-sector partnership of local K-12 school systems, two- and four-year institutions of higher education, employers, and state agencies to develop and scale equitable, high-quality career pathways. Advance CTE is excited to be working with these state and local leaders over the next five years, in partnership with Education Strategy Group, to help them strengthen their systems, policies and practices to provide greater opportunities for each and every learner.

The six sites will have regular and ongoing opportunities to learn from each other, build shared solutions to common challenges, and provide lessons learned that can benefit pathways and learners in communities across the country. Work has been underway over the past six months, and all sites stand ready to begin implementing their year one action plans to attend to equity gaps, improve data capacity and sharing, strengthen public-private partnerships and build key supports for learners, among other foundational priorities.

“Advance CTE is honored and excited to continue our relationship with JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a co-lead of the New Skills ready network. Career Technical Education is more important than ever in today’s economy, striving to provide each learner with equitable access to the knowledge and real-world skills that prepare them for careers in essential industries. I am confident that this important work, across the six states and sites, will create transformative career pathways and inspire innovative policy that will ensure more learners can use their passion and talents throughout their education, resulting in a lifetime of career success. We look forward to continuing this work in partnership with Education Strategy Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co.” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director, Advance CTE.

Read JPMorgan Chase’s full press release and Education Strategy Group’s blog to learn more about the initiative and progress to date.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

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

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:

 

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

Clay Long, Achieving His Dream Job

January 28th, 2020

Clay Long is about to hit his two-month mark on the job as the State CTE Director in Idaho but he is no newbie to Career Technical Education (CTE). Serving in this role has been Clay’s dream job for 15 years, since he first held an internship in the state CTE office while he was an undergraduate.

Most recently, Clay served as the chief of staff for the mayor of the City of Nampa, ID, and as a CTE administrator in the Nampa school district, the third-largest school district in the state. As a CTE administrator, Clay pursued answers to the questions, “What does CTE provide as a unique competitive advantage?” and “How can we best connect industry to learners?” Clay focused on CTE branding, marketing and outreach to industry, parents and students. This area of communications is of continued interest to Clay as he settles into the State Director role.

Clay has held a variety of leadership roles, from serving on CTSO boards (Idaho Business Professionals of America (BPA), SkillsUSA Idaho and National BPA), and was the president of Career & Technical Educators of Idaho. Notably, Clay’s passion for CTE is long held, as he taught firefighting at Idaho’s first high school firefighting program, stepping up to lead the program after a struggling first-year.

Looking ahead, Clay is interested in exploring models of virtual education that provides increased access to rural and remote learners – a challenge for Idaho – and collaborating with staff and stakeholders to inform an upcoming five-year strategic plan focusing on the ability to meet the demands and needs of industry. He is excited that CTE is top of mind and frequently mentioned by legislators in his state, and was even mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State address, demonstrating the importance of CTE in Idaho.

Fun Facts about Clay:

Favorite weekend activities: traveling and spending time with family and friends

If he could only eat one type of food for the rest of his life: Italian food

 

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. 

 

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