New Resource: Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19

July 30th, 2020

Advance CTE released a new tool focused on supporting state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in prioritizing CTE learners and the delivery of high-quality programs as states prepare to reopen schools and campuses – be it in-person, remote or hybrid instruction – this upcoming academic year.

Earlier this summer, Advance CTE released, COVID-19’s Impact on CTE: Defining the Challenge and the Opportunity to identify the challenges that impact the design, delivery and assessment of CTE programs across the country. Now, as the next school year draws near, it is time to develop key action steps in preparing for and implementing strategies to provide quality, equitable CTE during the coronavirus and beyond.

State CTE leaders can leverage this tool when planning for short- and long-term priorities. The resource asks state CTE leaders to reflect on the past and future impact of the coronavirus on CTE learners and programs, consider how to use data and engage the field to make informed decisions, and identify key action steps to assist the state in preparing for and implementing strategies to provide quality, equitable CTE this coming year. 

Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 is organized around the following key topics that must be addressed for learners to access high-quality CTE experiences: 

  • Equity and access;
  • CTE teachers and faculty;
  • CTE instruction;
  • Assessments and credentials;
  • Work-based learning;
  • Counseling and advisement; and
  • Career Technical Student Organizations.

The final section of this tool includes an optional action plan template to help organize the various short- and longer-term priorities and lay out an implementation plan. 

Download Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 here (Word, PDF).

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Expanding Access and Equity to Career Technical Education for Youth and Young Adults in the Justice System

June 9th, 2020

Ensuring that young people have access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs is vital to preparing them for future employment. Yet, youth and young adults in the justice system historically have been left behind in states’ and localities’ efforts to improve workforce development and employment outcomes. More than 30,000 youth are incarcerated in the United States each year in the juvenile justice system, and more than 325,000 youth are placed on some form of juvenile probation. Increasingly, youth in the juvenile justice system are older and are seeking to enter the workforce and transition to independence. 

In an economy that is now being reshaped by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), it is more critical than ever that young people in the justice system are fully equipped to succeed in the rapidly changing labor market and meet workforce needs. Advance CTE’s latest resource, developed in collaboration with the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, outlines five key actions that state CTE leaders can take in partnership with juvenile and adult criminal justice agencies and other entities to ensure that youth and young adults in these systems have access to high-quality CTE programs and the opportunity to secure and maintain viable employment. Specifically, Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity and Access to High-Quality Career Technical Education for Youth and Young Adults in the Justice System examines how state CTE leaders can:

  • Ensure that CTE programs for youth and young adults in the justice system are held to the same rigorous standards as other CTE programs in the state;
  • Help justice and education agencies and program providers adopt and implement promising practices;
  • Leverage federal funding to support CTE programs in correctional facilities;
  • Appoint a state-level designee to oversee the development and delivery of CTE programming for youths and young adults in the justice system; and
  • Collaborate with justice agencies to collect and share student-level data and program outcome data to enhance accountability of CTE programs for youths and young adults in the justice system.

This resource is part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which confronts the negative aspects of CTE’s legacy and defines the key challenges learners face today. The series provides promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE to ensure that each learner is able to attain the promise of CTE — a high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career. 

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

New Middle Grades CTE State Resource Repository

May 5th, 2020

In late March, Advance CTE, in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), released Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE, which laid out a theory of action for advancing high-quality middle grades Career Technical Education (CTE) policies and programs. With the promotion of middle grades CTE in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), it is an ideal time for state and local leaders to consider how to best support and expand CTE in middle school.

Today, Advance CTE has released an extensive repository of state-level resources that state and local leaders can leverage as they begin to develop and expand CTE into the middle grades. The repository includes links to resources from all 50 states and Washington, DC, including state middle grades CTE standards, career development guidance and tools, work-based learning and Career Technical Student Organization supports, licensure requirements, state policies and more.

Starting next week, Advance CTE and ACTE will be releasing a series of blogs to lift up promising state and local practices across the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE.  The first blog will focus on middle grades CTE standards, curriculum and assessment.

Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and the new repository were 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.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

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

 

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