Highlights from Advance CTE’s 2019 Annual Report

March 4th, 2020

Advance CTE is excited to share our 2019 Annual Report, highlighting our major priorities and accomplishments of the last year. And what a year it was!

Some highlights from 2019 include:

  • We enjoyed our sixth straight year of growth in our membership, with all 50 states, Washington DC and four U.S. territories joining as state-level members.
  • We leaned in heavily to support the implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), hosting three implementation meetings, coordinating an expert review of 38 states’ draft Perkins plans and providing intensive technical assistance to 12 states.
  • 42 states received federal policy technical assistance and engaged in Advance CTE’s congressional advocacy efforts.
  • 49 states participated in Advance CTE’s in-person meetings.
  • 100 percent of participants said the Perkins implementation meetings met or exceeded the objectives.
  • Advance CTE staff presented or provided technical assistance at 91 events or meetings and visited 28 states and Washington, DC.
  • Our Twitter followers increased by 24 percent and our website had over 1.8 million page views.
  • We were fortunate enough to have 13 grants and contracts from foundation, partners and state agencies.

We are deeply appreciative of our amazing members, partners and funders who make what we do possible and, more importantly, help advance our goal of ensuring each learner has access to a high-quality CTE program that prepares them for the career of their choice. Thank you all!

We look forward to continuing to collaborate with you all in 2020, as we celebrate 100 years of Advance CTE; host the CTE Forward Summit; and continue to prioritize equity, data quality and federal advocacy!

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

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

Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand

January 23rd, 2020

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) places a strong emphasis on the alignment of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study with state, regional and local economies. The legislation requires Perkins-funded programs to prepare students for “high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations.” These terms — high skill, high wage and in demand — are foundational to Perkins V, appearing in both the purpose of the law and the definition of CTE.

As with many Perkins V requirements, the responsibility of defining these terms rests solely with states, providing them with a major opportunity to set a meaningful bar for determining which career opportunities anchor their CTE programs. The stronger focus on labor market alignment compels state CTE leaders to ensure that all program offerings are relevant to today’s economy and that learners will participate in CTE programs with data-driven and validated labor market value.

Advance CTE newest paper, Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand, describes some approaches that states are taking to partner across agencies to access and review labor market information; develop definitions for high skill, high wage and in demand; provide local flexibility, while maintaining guardrails; and disseminate the information widely to key audiences.

For example:

  • District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education led a collaborative process, engaging the Workforce Investment Council, Department of Employment Services, industry partners and other key stakeholders to identify data sources and set their definitions for high skill, high wage and in demand.
  • Nebraska’s H3 site provides the state definitions of high wage, high skill, and high (in) demand, as well as a search tool for identifying those occupations at the state or regional level.
  • Texas allows for local flexibility through a regional program of study application process that enables locals to present regional LMI to justify a program of study, which, once approved, can then be offered by any district within the region.
  • OhioMeansJobs is an initiative developed through the state’s Office of Workforce Transformation. In addition to the state’s identified in-demand jobs, the site also offers a great deal more for students and job-seekers, such as a career interest inventory, job and company search engines and other career exploration tools.

For more, including specific definitions used by the states mentioned above and others, read Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand.

The report was made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

The Global Imperative for CTE Programs at Community and Technical Colleges

January 13th, 2020

Learners today are no longer preparing solely for careers in their communities, states or even country, but rather within the global economy. At the same time, when individuals enter the workforce, they increasingly are called upon to engage with a diverse set of colleagues, work with international supply chains, hold multiple perspectives and develop products and services for a more diverse and culturally conscious group of consumers.

Within this context, it is clear there is a greater need to ensure all learners are entering the workforce global competent and prepared for the ever-changing world. Yet global competency is not often an explicit focus of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

To elevate this critical issue, Advance CTE partnered with Asia Society, Longview Foundation, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Career & Technical Education (ACTE) on Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Global Learning Imperative for Career and Technical Education Programs at Community and Technical Colleges. This paper builds on the foundation from a paper released in 2015, which focused on how global competency can and should be integrated into secondary CTE programs of study, and explores the role postsecondary institutions can play in advancing global competency.

This paper provides data and evidence on why and how community and technical colleges can lean in on “internationalizing” their programs and embed global competency in curriculum and instruction, along with specific examples from leading institutions like Ivy Technical Community College of Indiana, Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   The examples in this paper aim to support community and technical colleges and their faculty as they work to integrate global competence into existing CTE courses and advance their missions of graduating career-ready learners.

In the coming months, Asia Society will work to create new tools and resources to assist postsecondary CTE faculty in integrating global issues and perspectives into their courses. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Heather Singmaster, Director of CTE, Center for Global Education, Asia Society: hsingmaster@asiasociety.org. To view current tools and resources for middle and high school educators, click here.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Strengthening Career Readiness Systems through New Skills for Youth: A Look Back at States’ Impact

December 11th, 2019

Under Kentucky’s new program approval and review process, schools and districts can use state and federal funding to support career pathways only if their programs are aligned with priority industries or top occupations. This is just one of the strategies Kentucky used under the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative to transform and phase out virtually every career pathway that was not well aligned with labor market demand.

From 2016 through 2019, Kentucky and nine other states in the NSFY initiative received $2 million and hands-on technical assistance and coaching to strengthen their career readiness systems. As part of the NSFY initiative, a $75 million national initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group worked with states to improve their career readiness systems.

Through NSFY, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin took action to:

  • Develop and scale high-quality career pathways: Massachusetts designed and launched a new initiative to expand access to high-quality college and career pathways (HQCCPs). HQCCPs include Innovation Pathways, which connect student learning to broadly defined, in-demand industry sectors, and Early College programs, which enable students to earn at least 12 college credits in high school.
  • Expand access to work-based learning opportunities: Louisiana piloted the Building Employment Skills for Tomorrow program in Bossier Parish in 2018 to connect learners with disabilities to work-based learning opportunities, equip them with real-world skills through training, and provide mentorship to program participants.
  • Strengthen data and accountability to incentivize career readiness: Ohio’s school report cards include a summative score for the Career & Postsecondary Readiness indicator and break down how learners achieved readiness by reporting the percentage of learners that earned industry-recognized credentials, completed dual enrollment, completed a pre-apprenticeship and more.
  • Lay the foundation for sustaining career readiness efforts: In 2017, Nevada, with support from the Nevada Department of Education, the governor and the Legislature, enacted six major policies to lay the foundation for a statewide career readiness system.

The impact of these states across the entire initiative is highlighted in the NSFY Impact Snapshots and NSFY Impact Summary, which examines the state role in catalyzing and transforming career readiness opportunities for youth.

Through NSFY, 10 states demonstrated the importance of strong state leadership to advance career readiness by setting a clear vision and agenda, catalyzing and scaling pathways and work-based learning, and ensuring access and equity in career readiness opportunities. As a result, the impact of the states was far-reaching. For instance, under NSFY Delaware was able to develop 19 career pathway programs in high-demand occupations and Tennessee was able to ensure that 100 percent of high school students have access to at least four early postsecondary courses.

To learn more about the work states completed under the NSFY initiative, register for Advance CTE’s A Look Back at States’ Impact through the New Skills for Youth Initiative webinar, which will take place on December 12 from 1-2 p.m. EST, and download the NSFY Impact Snapshots 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

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

Approaches and Considerations for Measuring Secondary CTE Program Quality in Perkins V

July 24th, 2019

It is common practice in the private sector to use big data to improve efficiency, strengthen product quality and better target services to customers. Can data also be used to improve the quality of public education, specifically Career Technical Education (CTE)?

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) gives states the opportunity to use data more strategically to improve quality and equity in CTE. While states have been collecting data for years on student performance in CTE programs, Perkins V pushes them to make more informed decisions about program approval and alignment, equity and access, and program improvement. In particular, states can drive program improvement through the new secondary CTE program quality indicator, a state-selected measure that will be included in each state’s accountability system starting in the 2020-21 program year.

To help states select and define a robust measure of secondary CTE program quality, Advance CTE – in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign; the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, a project of the National Skills Coalition; Education Strategy Group; and the Council of Chief State School Officers – developed a series of short briefs highlighting each of the three indicator options:

  • The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school having attained a recognized postsecondary credential.
  • The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school having attained postsecondary credits in the relevant CTE program or program of study earned through a dual or concurrent enrollment program or another credit transfer agreement.
  • The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school having participated in work-based learning.

Each brief examines the pros and cons of each indicator, describes different state approaches, and offers meaningful considerations for implementation. The reports also draw on survey data from one of Advance CTE’s latest report, The State of Career Technical Education: Improving Data Quality and Effectiveness to describe common approaches to collecting and validating program quality data.

Choosing a secondary CTE program quality indicator is a decision state leaders should not take lightly. This choice will send a clear signal to the field about state priorities for CTE and create an incentive structure that will be in place for years to come. To make an informed and thoughtful decision, state leaders should consider:

  • What is the statewide vision for CTE and career readiness?
  • What do stakeholders identify as priorities?
  • Which experiences are equitably available to learners across the state?
  • Is there any evidence to demonstrate which experiences are more highly correlated with positive post-program outcomes?
  • What information is currently available at the state level?
  • Are the data reliable, accurate and well defined?
  • How can the program quality indicator align with other metrics the state is collecting?

The Measuring Secondary CTE Program Quality briefs are available in the Learning that Works Resource Center at this link. Advance CTE is also available to provide input and expertise to states as they select and define their Perkins V accountability measures.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

New Tools to Drive Quality and Equity through the Perkins V Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment

June 27th, 2019

One of the most significant and exciting changes introduced in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) is the new comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA). The purpose of the CLNA is to support data-driven decisionmaking and more closely align planning, spending and accountability activities under Perkins V. The results of the local needs assessment must form the foundation of the local application and drive local spending decisions.

The CLNA presents an incredible opportunity for states and locals to bring focus and purpose to their Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings and programs. At the same time, it will take an incredible lift from state and local leaders to truly maximize the CLNA. To support states in this undertaking, Advance CTE convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup, with support from the Association of Career and Technical Education and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Workgroup – comprised of state and national leaders – is charged with informing and contributing to the development of resources and tools for the benefit of all states, as they guide local recipients in conducting rigorous CLNA that drive program quality, equity and access.

Today, Advance CTE is releasing the first two deliverables from this Workgroup: Driving Quality & Equity in CTE: A State Guide to Developing the Perkins V Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment Template and a State Needs Assessment Crosswalk.

The State Guide helps states identify the major decision points that will impact the design, development and implementation of their CLNA and related local application.  It provides guidance around key decisions such as: how should states structure the template? Who is required to complete the comprehensive local needs assessment? What evidence will be required? How will the CLNA connect with the local application and local uses of Perkins V funds?  The State Guide also provides a bank of questions to draw from to help states create a template that elevates and addresses state and local priorities.

The State Needs Assessment Crosswalk is designed to support state-level discussions about and the coordination of state- and federally required needs assessments, such as the required under Perkins V, the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The crosswalk tool is available in both in Excel and Google spreadsheet.

There will be a second set of deliverables from the CLNA Shared Solutions Workgroup released later this summer.  All of Advance CTE’s and partners’ Perkins V resources can be found here.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

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