Archive for January, 2018

Highlights from Advance CTE’s 2017 Annual Report

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

2017 was an incredible year for Advance CTE! We engaged more members than ever before, launched multiple initiatives and released over resources covering many of the most critical challenges the field is facing.

This year’s annual report is organized around our five strategic priorities: advancing federal and state policy, promoting high-quality CTE, providing professional learning opportunities, leveraging partners and developing healthy organizational processes. We hope you enjoy reading about our accomplishments, which could not have been possible without all of you and your support!

A few key highlights:

Read more here!

Posted by Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, News

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Perkins Briefing, Senate Committee Continues HEA Hearings

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Last week Congress passed a short-term funding measure, the Senate held a hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the U.S. Senate Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a briefing. Read below to learn more about these events and upcoming congressional hearings this week.

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Fund Government Through February 8 

As we reported, Congress needed to come to a spending agreement by January 19 in order to avoid a government shutdown. After a three-day shutdown, Congress passed a continuing resolution on January 22 to keep the government funded until February 8. Due to the budget caps for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), Congress applied a 0.68 percent across-the-board cut. This cut impacts education programs that are advance funded, including the the Perkins Basic State Grant. However, Congress has the opportunity to nullify these cuts when they come to a final agreement for the FY18 spending bills and Advance CTE will advocate for such action as Congress works to finalize these bills.

Congressional Staff and Partners Fill the Room for Perkins Briefing

On January 23, the Senate CTE Caucus held a briefing, Perkins CTE and How Reauthorization Can Improve Programs. During the briefing, Kimberly Green, Advance CTE’s Executive Director and Alisha Hyslop, the Director of Public Policy at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), presented on the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) to over 70 attendees. They provided an overview of the law and shared how the federal investment in Perkins supports CTE systems across the country. In addition, both panelists highlighted state and local examples of implementation and how reauthorization could improve programs.

Senate Continues Hearings on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA)

On January 18, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency“, the second in a series of hearings on reauthorizing HEA (the first was held in late November and focused on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)). Witnesses highlighted how the current federal financial aid system could be streamlined. On January 25, the Senate HELP Committee conducted a hearing, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Access and Innovation,” which focused on innovations in postsecondary education and included discussions of competency-based education, distance education, online learning, accreditation and more. The next Senate HELP Committee hearing, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Accountability and Risk to Taxpayers” is scheduled for January 30 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time and you can watch it live online here.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Holds Hearing on January 30

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will be holding a hearing, “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education,” on Tuesday, January 30 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Watch the hearing live online here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

States Passed 241 Policies to Support CTE in 2017

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

2017 was a banner year for Career Technical Education (CTE). Overall, 49 states and the District of Columbia passed a total of 241 policies related to CTE and career readiness, a marked increase from 2016. But while it is encouraging to see a groundswell of enthusiasm for CTE at the local, state and national levels, how will states leverage CTE’s momentum and ensure that state action translates to better outcomes for students?

Today, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released the fifth edition of the annual State Policies Impacting CTE report, examining activity from 2017. To develop the report, Advance CTE and ACTE reviewed state activity, cataloged all finalized state actions and coded activity based on the policy area of focus. For 2017, the top five policy areas of focus include:

Funding was at the top of the list for the fifth year in a row. Policies in this category include a $16 million one-time appropriation for CTE equipment grants in Tennessee, the development of a productivity-based funding index for Arkansas institutions of higher education and a workforce development scholarship authorized through Maryland’s More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017. With few exceptions, state legislatures renewed or increased appropriations for CTE programs and related activities. 

There was also a lot of activity related to data, reporting and accountability, largely due to state work around the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In 2017, 35 states identified measures of career readiness in their federal accountability systems, and many of these measures included industry-recognized credential attainment, dual-credit completion and work-based learning participation.

While 2017 set a new high-water mark for state activity, a look across the past five years of this report illustrates that states are doubling down on a few policy priorities.

With the exception of 2015—when fewer states passed policies related to Industry-recognized Credentials or Data, Reporting and Accountability—these five policy areas have been the top priorities for states every year that this report has been published. This is no surprise, given that much of the conversation in the CTE field over the past five years has centered around accountability, credentials of value, dual enrollment and work-based learning. Even compared to recent years, states were more active in 2017, and there was a spike in the number of states adopting new legislation or rules in these policy areas.

So what lessons can be drawn from this year’s state policy review? For one, the enthusiasm for CTE is real. State legislatures, governors and boards of education are coming to recognize what the CTE community has known for years: that high-quality career preparation helps learners develop academic, technical and professional skills and results in positive rates of graduation, postsecondary enrollment and completion, and ultimately career success. 

But it is also important to make a distinction between the quantity of policies passed and the quality of their implementation. 2017 was a record year for state CTE policy, but now comes the true test. State leaders should follow through on the policy commitments made in 2017 by sustaining funding for critical programs, identifying and adopting policies to ensure CTE quality, and taking time to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of existing policies.

A copy of the report, State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review, is accessible in the Learning that Works Resource Center. Advance CTE and ACTE are also hosting a webinar on January 31, to unpack findings from this year’s review (registration for the webinar is at capacity, but a recording will be available following the webinar at

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Legislation, Public Policy, Publications, Research
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Two Webinars Digging into Federal and State Policy: Register Today!

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

CTE & Federal Policy: Recapping the Highlights of 2017
Date: January 25, 2018
Time: 1 – 2 p.m. ET 

Last year marked a big year for Career Technical Education (CTE) in the federal policy arena. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act of 2006, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER) Act, an update to the Higher Education Act, and states submitted their plans for implementing The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Amidst all this activity, an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017 passed Congress and a sweeping tax reform bill was signed into law.

Join us on for a webinar to recap the federal policy highlights of 2017 and their impact on CTE. Participants will hear from Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE, Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy at Advance CTE, and Debbie Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network.

Register for the webinar here.

State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review
Date: January 31, 2018
Time: 2 – 3 p.m. ET

The national profile of CTE continued to grow in 2017, with nearly every state adopting new policies related to CTE and career readiness. From redesigning accountability systems to expanding apprenticeship opportunities, state leaders are working to connect learners at all levels with seamless pathways to meaningful careers.

This webinar from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education will unpack findings from the State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review report. The webinar will explore recent trends in state CTE policy and examine how the CTE policy landscape has changed over the past few years. Participants will also hear from state leaders and explore policy developments in their states.

Register for the webinar here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, Meetings and Events, News, Publications, Research, Resources, Webinars

New Members on Senate HELP Committee, Secretary DeVos Encourages “Rethinking School”

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

As Congress begins its work in the new year, one of the most pressing matters is keeping the government open beyond January 19. In late December, Congress passed a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to keep the government open at the current funding levels until January 19. Congress will need to pass another CR by that date to avoid a government shutdown. Read below to find more news out of Washington, D.C. this week.

Secretary DeVos Encourages “Rethinking School” 

On Tuesday, January 16, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a research conference, “Bush-Obama school reform: Lessons learned.” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave the keynote address, followed by a conversation with AEI Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies Frederick M. Hess. Secretary DeVos enforced the importance of “rethinking school” and education beyond traditional classroom practices so that all students are able to find success. Secretary DeVos also cautioned against federal overreach, while emphasizing the need for parents to be informed and empowered. You can find Secretary DeVos’ prepared remarks here and the video for the full conference here.

New Members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee

Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Doug Jones (D-AL) joined the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee this month. Sen. Smith (D-MN) was appointed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to fill Sen. Franken’s seat. Sen. Jones (D-AL) won a special election to fill the seat that Attorney General Jeff Sessions held (and was previously filled by Luther Strange). You can find a full list of Senate HELP committee members here.

New Fact Sheet Traces Decline of Workforce Funding Over Time

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently released a new fact sheet that illustrates the decline of the federal investment in employment and job training services over the past 40 years. It compares the federal investment in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to the federal investment in the previous major pieces of workforce legislation dating back to 1963.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Uncategorized

CTE & Federal Policy: Recapping the Biggest Stories of 2017

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Last year marked a big year for Career Technical Education (CTE) in the federal policy arena. Read below to see the top five stories of 2017 and be sure to join us on January 25 at 1 pm ET for a webinar recapping these stories and their impact on CTE. Mark your calendars and register for the webinar here.

  1. The U.S. House of Representatives Passed H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act on a voice vote without objection. This bill would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins).  
  2. Policymakers encouraged Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to take up Perkins reauthorization. A “Dear Colleague” letter to the committee’s leadership that urged the committee to work in a bipartisan manner to reauthorize the law garnered 237 signatures in the House and a similar letter garnered 59 signatures in the Senate.
  3. Policymakers signaled strong support for the federal investment in CTE, despite the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut the Perkins Basic State Grant by 15% in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18). A “Dear Colleague” letter encouraging appropriators to support a strong investment in CTE for FY18 garnered 140 signatures in the House and a similar letter garnered 34 signatures in the Senate.  
  4. States submitted their plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In their plans, 49 states included at least one strategy to expand career readiness and 35 states included a career-focused measure in their high school accountability rating systems.
  5. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER) Act on a party-line vote. This bill would update the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008.


Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy


By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

In Idaho and Indiana, Governors Celebrate Successes and Make Bold Commitments for CTE in the Year Ahead

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

The 2018 legislative session is heating up and, as is tradition in many states, Governors have kicked off the season by laying out their policy agendas in their annual addressed to their state legislatures. Last year, career readiness emerged as a top priority for most states, with 24 governors elevating Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce training in their speeches. Already, it looks like that trend will continue in 2018.

In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter celebrated the work of his higher education and workforce development task forces, which were both authorized by executive order early last year, and committed to implementing their recommendations. These include hiring an executive officer for higher education, expanding capacity at postsecondary technical schools, incentivizing high school CTE programs, and expanding CTE offerings to 7th and 8th grade.

Meanwhile, Governor Eric Holcomb laid out an agenda for CTE in his address to the Indiana state legislature earlier this week. In December, the State Board of Education adopted new pathways to graduation that elevate the role of work-based learning and CTE in high school pathways. In his address, Gov. Holcomb celebrated this decision and committed to making the high school diploma even more meaningful by developing K-12 computer science standards, investing in professional development for teachers, and establishing a state work-based learning and apprenticeship office with the goal of doubling the number of work-based learning opportunities in the state by 2019.

In other states, governors committed to expanding tuition-free college, investing in work-based learning opportunities, and supporting programs like Jobs for America’s Graduates that connect at-risk youth with education and training opportunities. While only a handful of states have held their 2018 state of state events already, more than half of these speeches are scheduled to take place in January.

New Money for High-demand CTE Programs

After a busy 2017, states are turning to the work of executing new policies and programs. In last year’s session, the Indiana legislature outlined a revised CTE funding formula to better align resources with workforce demand. Under the tiered funding structure, programs receive more money if they are in demand and lead to high wages. The new funding formula will not go into effect until July, but programs are already seeing changes to their designations and are anticipating funding shifts.

In Michigan, new funding for CTE will soon make landfall through a $5 million competitive grant initiative. The initiative was authorized in November by the legislature and is part of a $12.5 million appropriation for CTE equipment upgrades. Grants will be awarded to school districts in partnership with institutions of higher education and are designed to strengthen high-quality career pathways in high-demand, high-wage fields.

Register for Upcoming Advance CTE Webinars

Finally, Advance CTE has a few webinars on the schedule related to state CTE policy:

(January 17, 3:00pm ET) Leveraging ESSA’s Momentum to Advance Career Readiness: This webinar will share the findings from Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group’s full analysis of ESSA state plans and explore trends across all states. Participants will also hear from state leaders in South Dakota and Rhode Island who are using their ESSA plans to build and capitalize on momentum around career readiness. Participants can register here.

(January 31, 2:00pm ET) State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review: Join Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education to unpack findings from the “State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review” report. The webinar will explore recent trends in state CTE policy and examine how the CTE policy landscape has changed over the past few years. Participants can register here.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy, Webinars
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Register Now for the 2018 Spring Meeting

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Join us April 4 – 6 in Washington, DC for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn, network and engage with more than 200 Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country. This year’s conference is poised to be one of Advance CTE’s best, where you can expect to:

Register before February 9 and receive $100 off your registration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, Advance CTE Spring Meeting, Meetings and Events, News, Resources

Guided Pathways Initiatives Require Major Overhaul of How Things are Done at Community Colleges

Friday, January 5th, 2018

A recent article from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) highlights efforts from CCRC and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to implement guided pathways reforms at community colleges. The goal of guided pathways reforms is to create college environments that learners can easily and confidently navigate to completion and successful employment upon completion, and includes four main practice areas:

Reforms in all four of these areas require major changes to program structure, advising, administrative policies and classroom practice, and therefore require buy-in across the institution and a several-year commitment to the reform process. CCRC and AACC have been working with 30 colleges to implement guided pathways through the Pathways Project, and shared some of their lessons learned from the project’s first year.

For example, Jackson College in Michigan quickly realized that its four advisors for more than 5,000 students were not adequate for helping all students learn about and choose program pathways. The college has now hired “student success navigators,” who call every single student before orientation and work with each student in person multiple times in their first semester to design a pathway that works for them. San Jacinto College in Texas reorganized its 144 degree and certificate programs into eight meta majors, allowing a student to choose one of the eight early on and begin introductory courses without being locked into a specific degree or certificate program. The college also worked on transfer-oriented programs by creating maps for the college’s five most common transfer destinations to help students choose the courses that will allow them to transfer non-elective college credit to the new institutions.

For Effective CTE, States Should Adopt Eight Non-Negotiables

ExcelinEd recently released a new playbook for state policymakers related to effective CTE. The report argues that while the importance of CTE has been recognized at the federal, state and local levels, not enough has been done to ensure that CTE programs are meeting workforce needs effectively. This is largely attributed to common challenges of the broad spectrum of programs available, the disconnect between K-12 and industry, and the negative legacy of “vocational education.” To address these challenges, the report recommends that states adopt eight “non-negotiables” related to their CTE policies:

  1. All promoted programs of study align with state and/or regional industry and labor market data;
  2. Programs of study incorporate experiential learning and capstone experiences valued by industry;
  3. Secondary programs of study vertically align with postsecondary programs;
  4. Courses are sequential and progressive in a given program of study;
  5. Secondary programs of study incorporate courses and exams eligible for postsecondary credit or hours where appropriate;
  6. Course standards are robust and accurately represent the academic, technical and employability skills learners must master;
  7. Educators receive ongoing, progressive training and professional development to ensure their instruction is reflective of course standards and current industry work environments; and
  8. Federal, state and local funding are utilized to leverage and drive programmatic changes leading to the implementation of vertically aligned education-to-career learning pathways.


The authors propose that these eight non-negotiables be implemented in a four-phase plan, to ensure thoughtful and sustainable changes are occurring. They provide examples of successful implementation of each of the eight non-negotiables in Delaware, Florida and Tennessee.

Odds and Ends

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently released a new report on the integration of education and workforce data. The report focuses on states who have created publicly available data tools in five areas:

Education Commission of the States recently released a 50-state comparison of policies related to Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs). PLAs allow learners and institutions to determine the level of previous of knowledge and experience before entering a postsecondary program, and can be used to incentivize re-entry for older learners.

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute examines the barriers community colleges face in providing high-quality CTE, including funding allocations, accreditation requirements and credit-transfer policies, among others. The report also makes recommendations for community colleges to make the most of their CTE offerings and reduce the proliferation of general studies programs at community colleges.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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Excellence in Action Spotlight: School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Jack E. Singley Academy

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

All learners deserve to have quality educational experiences facilitated by individuals with passion, experience and expertise. Enhancing classroom instruction with industry experts can bring the real world into the classroom and blur the lines between education and the workplace. A successful example of this collaboration between education and the workforce can be found at our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster, the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality housed at Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas in the Dallas suburbs.

The School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality delivers a host of real-life experiences, available through partnerships with industry partners and local colleges. Its location, in the epicenter of the Dallas metro area, students benefit from more than 75 hotels and over 100 restaurants just steps from their classrooms. Students participate in job shadows, internships and work in unique work-based learning environments and are mentored by some of the leading hospitality and tourism professionals in the country.

The program’s advisory board – which is tasked with providing input on curriculum, offering career exploration opportunities, and more – is stacked with industry experts from area hotels, food service establishments, and the Irving Convention Center. Partnerships with The Hotel Association, Marriott, The Irving Convention Center, The Four Seasons Resort and others give students numerous opportunities to explore careers in these industries.

Program administrators cite how crucial their team of instructors has been in the quality of the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Irving ISD’s Director of CTE, Shawn Blessing, credits the program’s success, “first and foremost [to our] outstanding faculty. These individuals are all highly trained and very committed, passionate. They are the drivers of the program and are behind it 100 percent. It makes a huge difference when you have highly skilled, highly trained instructors who all come from industry.”

Learn more about the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Jack E. Singley Academy and our 2017 award winners.

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Resources