Archive for April, 2018

Washington State Offers Recommendations for CTE and Workforce Alignment

Monday, April 30th, 2018

In 2015 Washington carried out the State Auditor’s review of Washington’s workforce development system. This report was published as part of a series that focuses on audit results in relation to CTE. The audit brought to light that the current CTE classes in Washington’s public schools have the potential to be more closely connected with the state’s labor market.

The following four areas of improvement are discussed, with the guiding goal of closing the skills gap and expanding educational experiences for students:

Four state agencies in Washington administer CTE programs, and this report highlights the importance of inter-agency coordination in order to deliver the best outcomes for students and the business community.

Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Improve Educational Services in Juvenile Justice Facilities

A report by the American Youth Policy Forum details the ways in which the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides an opportunity for states to implement accountability measures that ensure incarcerated youth in long-term juvenile justice facilities can pursue education pathways that lead to positive workforce outcomes. Instances of successful accountability measures in Indiana, Florida and Massachusetts are highlighted.

The following three priorities for states are addressed:

States have the chance to utilize ESSA in a way that will better the educational and workforce projections for those in long-term juvenile justice facilities. CTE opportunities have gained attention from juvenile justice facilities as an avenue for youth to successful educational and workforce outcomes. Policymakers and educators can work together to implement an accountability system that emphasizes such educational programs.

Odds and Ends

The Education Commission of the States released three Policy Snapshots in response to the persistent challenge of teacher shortages. These Snapshots cover the following strategies to strengthen the teacher pipeline:

The American Youth Policy Forum shared
a brief on opportunities for alignment with ESSA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that would promote college and career readiness for all students.

The Center for American Progress explored the relationship between college, career and life readiness and high school graduation requirements. Their report analyzes the following questions:

By Meredith Hills in Research

Excellence in Action Spotlight: Jones County Junior College

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Health Science Career Cluster, the Emergency Medical Technical Education (EMTE) program at Jones County Junior College, located in rural Ellisville, MS exemplifies excellence. All learning – in the classroom and workplace – is facilitated by knowledgeable experts leading to program graduates prepared in Health Science careers in areas of critical shortage in rural Southeast Mississippi.

All EMTE students must complete clinical internships in the field. These consist of 500-plus hours of training under the direct guidance of a paramedic, registered nurse, physician, doctor of osteopathy, or equally qualified health care provider. The clinical and field settings provide opportunities for students to begin to observe illnesses and injuries discussed in the classroom, develop and fine-tune diagnostic skills, and put together the overall picture of patient care. Critical to these work-based learning experiences are the highly skilled and knowledgeable experts, called ‘preceptors,’ that lead field and clinical practica. Preceptors guide students during one-on-one encounters throughout their internships, assist participants while at the Human Simulation Center, and give valuable input on current changes in the business of emergency medicine.

Through the course of the program, students are evaluated on their mastery of skills by instructors, clinical/field preceptors, and members of the advisory committee, comprised of nine ambulance services, three hospitals, and the military installation at Camp Shelby.  Without the knowledge and skills of these experts the program could not as effectively evaluate students and their ability to provide patient care.

Learn more about the Emergency Medical Technical Education program at Jones County Junior College and our 2017 award winners.

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, CTE: Learning that works for America

Congress Turns to FY19 Appropriations

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Congress is now turning its attention to the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Appropriations process. In the last two weeks, a letter requesting a stronger federal investment in the Perkins Basic State Grant was sent to Senate Appropriators and the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on FY19. Read below to find out more about these items and a bill introduced to help address the shortage of Career Technical Education (CTE) educators.

38 Senators Sign Letter Requesting Larger Investment in Perkins

As we reported, Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), along with two of the co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, Senators Baldwin (D-WI) and Kaine (D-VA), led an effort to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to the Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member, Senator Murray (D-WA), of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies encouraging that they consider increasing the federal investment in Perkins. A record 38 Senators across 26 statessigned the letter – a strong show of support for CTE and a reflection of your advocacy efforts! Advance CTE will be sending thank you letters to these Senators and we encourage you to do so as well if your Senator(s) signed on to the letter (and you can find their contact information through the U.S. Senate website).

Oklahoma CTE Leader Testifies at House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on the Pipeline to the Workforce

On April 25, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on the FY19 Pipeline to the Workforce. Dr. Tom Friedemann, Superintendent/CEO of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma testified during the hearing along with Dr. Maria H. Coons, Vice President of Workforce and Strategic Alliances at Harper College in Illinois, G. David Sload, President-CEO of the Keystone Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors in Pennsylvania and Portia Wu, Director of Workforce Policy at Microsoft Corporation. Members of the Subcommittee focused their questions on a variety of topics related to apprenticeship models and CTE delivery. The importance of changing the perception of CTE was raised as well as career exploration, career guidance and advisement and providing tailored student supports.

“Creating Quality Technical Educators Act” Introduced in the Senate

On April 24, Senators Kaine (D-VA), Portman (R-OH) and Baldwin (D-WI), Co-Chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, along with Senator Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the “Creating Quality Technical Educators Act.” The bill’s press release highlights that it will “create a teacher residency grant program to help address the CTE teacher shortage in schools. The grant program creates partnerships between elementary, middle or high schools and higher education institutions to offer one-year teacher residencies to train prospective educators.” Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy


By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

Advance CTE Explores the Critical State of CTE Research at the 2018 Spring Meeting

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

At Advance CTE’s 2018 Spring Meeting, the organization hosted the “Critical State of CTE Research” session in response to the need for more robust CTE research.

The session began with a panel of Career Technical Education (CTE) research experts, which included Corinne Alfeld from the Institute of Education Sciences, Tom Bailey from the Community College Research Center, Shaun Dougherty from the University of Connecticut, and Andy Smarick from the American Enterprise Institute. The panel highlighted current CTE research and explored barriers and opportunities to expanding CTE research.

The panelists discussed how CTE practice is far ahead of CTE research, in large part because of the lack of capacity and data access to actually do meaningful research. The panel emphasized the importance of increasing the pipeline of CTE researchers and developing partnerships between states and researchers to actively plan out research questions. The panelists expressed a desire for access to cross-state level data to enable them to make accurate generalizations about CTE and its impact.

Some specific research issues that the panelist were interested in included the noncognitive abilities of CTE students, the earning potential associated with short-term credentials, the specific elements in high school CTE programs that make them effective and Work Colleges, which are liberal art schools that evaluate people on their work in addition to their academics.

Following the panelist discussion, an input session was held where participants broke into small groups and identified priority topics for future research efforts. From these identified topics, the following research themes emerged:

Within these themes, a number of interesting research questions emerged. In regards to student outcomes, for example, multiple groups inquired about CTE’s impact on student debt and whether it is actually accurate to make the claim that CTE program completion is associated with less student debt. While certain programs, such as the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) apprenticeship program, can boast that its participants transitioned into apprenticeships or employment with no student debt, it is unclear whether there is enough data to make the sweeping generalization that CTE program completion at the secondary or postsecondary level is associated with less student debt..

Participants mirrored the panelists and expressed a desire to know what distinct elements of a CTE program have the greatest impact- good or bad- on outcomes. While the defining features of a high-quality CTE program have been identified, it is unclear what elements within those features lead to positive outcomes for learners. Parsing out those elements will allow institutions to improve the quality of their CTE programs and consequently lead to better learner outcomes.

Additionally, in regards to professional development, multiple groups inquired about the best way to prepare CTE instructors to facilitate learning for students with special needs. These questions showcase the desire for CTE to be leveraged to produce positive outcomes for each learner and a recognition that targeted professional development for teachers is critical to achieving equitable outcomes.

The research themes gathered from this 2018 Spring Meeting session will be utilized to help inform future Advance CTE resources as well as potential partnerships with research organizations.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Advance CTE Spring Meeting, Research, Uncategorized

Staff Reflections of the 2018 Spring Meeting: Part 2

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Starting with the first day of the meeting, there was a sense of excitement about federal policy – our meeting began within two weeks of Congress’ passage of an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018. With the first significant increase to the federal investment in the Perkins Basic State Grant in years (read more about this in Advance CTE’s statement), state leaders were eager to discuss how we could build on this momentum and move toward doubling the investment in Career Technical Education (CTE). Meeting attendees channeled this enthusiasm into thinking about how to leverage not only the federal investment, but also the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) itself to advance a statewide vision for CTE.

The Maximizing Perkins to Advance Your State’s Vision for CTE panel featured state leaders who did just that – maximized Perkins to continuously improve CTE and move toward their statewide vision. In the workshops that followed, there was much discussion about how a statewide vision for CTE can kickstart important discussions with partners and stakeholders interested in CTE about student outcomes data, the quality of CTE programs and the degree to which learners have access to such programs. These themes came up often in policy conversations during the Spring Meeting – from the panel that focused on the Higher Education Act reauthorization to the session that featured Kara McKee, the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy. Meeting participants also had the chance to bring up these ideas and more during the View from the Hill Panel, which focused on Perkins reauthorization. This was my favorite part of the Spring Meeting – seeing Advance CTE’s members share their stories and engage with staff for members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee about their ideas and priorities for Perkins reauthorization!  

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

I joined the Advance CTE team two years ago, in April 2016. Since then, Perkins reauthorization has been JUST around the corner. But state leaders don’t need to wait for a new bill to pass to re-envision how CTE can be delivered in their states. Imagine, Perkins was last authorized 12 years ago — predating Tesla, the iPhone and the Great Recession. State plans are long overdue for a refresh.

This year at the Spring Meeting, states began discussions to set and execute new visions for CTE. In partnership with RTI International, our team organized a series of workshops to help states plan around a five-step continuous loop: Vision, Analyze, Plan, Execute and Measure. Action steps include identifying and articulating a clear vision, defining and prioritizing equity, and aligning the state vision for CTE with other statewide priorities. As Congress works to approve a new Perkins bill, there is much work state leaders can do now to set in motion new plans for CTE.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

As usual, the Spring Meeting featured sessions highlighting Advance CTE research, and it was fantastic this year to see such a variety of topics and projects throughout the meeting. During a series of breakouts after lunch on Wednesday, April 4, participants could hear about research related to career advising, teacher recruitment in rural areas, messaging for CTE and work-based learning. Advance CTE has released resources related to all of these topics in the last year and a half, and we continue to learn about and share new state examples and promising practices.

Other Advance CTE research was highlighted throughout the meeting, particularly in Friday’s “Problems of Practice” session, where states presented on specific challenges and participated in facilitated discussions around those challenges. States talked about rural employer engagement, CTE teacher certification and postsecondary readiness indicators, all areas where Advance CTE was able to provide specific insights and practices.

I was especially excited to utilize the Spring Meeting to begin the research for our equity initiative, gathering input from a panel presentation and five breakout sessions focused on specific learner populations. In this way, the role of Advance CTE conferences in our research agenda continues to evolve as we use them to share findings but also gather promising practices.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

CTE advocacy and implementation spans across the federal, state and local levels. The Spring Meeting provided a platform to hear from individuals across the entire spectrum. From Friday’s panel with Congressional staffers and an administration representative, to conversations with local practitioners, I found a common message resonated with all: the desire to create quality and accessible CTE programs.

The Spring Meeting also opened the floor to discussions about the range in progress of implementation of these high-quality CTE programs. The Excellence in Action keynote and award series gave insight into examples of leading CTE programs of study throughout the country, and I enjoyed speaking to the program leaders during the session about their unique local stories. Workshops held on Thursday and Friday opened the floor to discussions on challenges faced at the state level. Attendees were able to share common barriers and offer guidance moving forward.

It was a unique experience to hear from a variety of advocates across different stages of CTE program implementation, and I learned something different from each.

Meredith Hills, Graduate Fellow, Federal Policy

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Resources, Advance CTE Spring Meeting

DC, Texas Improve Data Systems; Colorado, Ohio’s Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, many states have passed bills that will help to improve data systems and expand opportunities for learners.

Data System Improvements

Recently, data system improvements have been a focus of policy efforts in order to better support and hold accountable districts, institutions and programs, as well as allow learners, employers and policymakers to stay informed.

In the District of Columbia, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Workforce Development Systems Transparency Act, which requires the District’s Workforce Investment Council to detail the District’s spending on adult education programs and workforce development education programs, as well as the performance outcomes of those programs, in a public report. The performance outcomes information will include employment rates, median earnings, credential attainment, and completion rates. The first version of the report will include information about programs managed by seven DC entities, such as the Department of Employment Resources, and by 2020 programs administered by an additional 14 entities will be included in the report.

In Texas, the University of Texas System launched an updated version of the database Seek UT to include University of Texas graduates’ earnings in the hopes of showing the benefits of higher education. The database utilizes Census Bureau data and provides information on student’s median incomes for every program offered after one, five, and ten years after graduating, the percentage of students who went on to continue their education and the median loan debt for different programs. The database is viewed as a “work-around” of the current ban on a federal database that would link student-level education data to national employment data.

Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Elsewhere, states are passing laws to expand community college offerings and to address the shortage of skilled employees.

In Colorado, a bill that allows Colorado’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing recently became law. The bill was passed without the governor’s signature or veto. In a letter explaining this decision, Governor Hickenlooper cited concerns over limited stakeholder engagement by the bill’s proponents and potential conflicts between the various agencies that oversee higher education in the state.

In response to these concerns, the letter directs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to convene stakeholders to determine how to best align programs with industry trends. This law was allowed to pass in response to a severe shortage of nurses in Colorado and after reports that more nursing disciplines require a masters or doctoral degree than in previous years.

Similarly, in Ohio, three community colleges received state approval to offer bachelor’s degrees in microelectronic manufacturing, aviation, unmanned aerial systems, land surveying and culinary and food science. These programs still need to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission before the community colleges can offer the degrees.

Once accredited, these programs will help to achieve Ohio Governor Kasich’s goal to have 65 percent of the state’s workforce earn an industry recognized credential or degree by 2025. Governor Kasich has already showcased his support for community colleges to offer baccalaureates through the introduction and passage of legislation that supports this.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Congress Back in Session, New Advance CTE Resources, Perkins Reauthorization Update

Friday, April 13th, 2018

With Congress back in session this week (after a two-week recess), there’s news to share from Washington, D.C.! Read below to learn more about President Trump’s intent to nominate a key official for a post at the U.S. Department of Labor, an important announcement about the current Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, new resources from Advance CTE and an update on reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

President Trump to Nominate John P. Pallasch for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training

On April 11, President Trump announced his intent to nominate John P. Pallasch for the position of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training. Pallasch previously served in the Kentucky Department of Labor as the Executive Director of the Office of Employment and Training.

Speaker of the House, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) Will Not Seek Re-Election 

On April 11, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is the current Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives announced that he will not seek re-election in November. The next House Speaker will be selected after the November elections and will take on the role in January 2019, when the next Congress is sworn into office.

Advance CTE Releases CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide

This week, Advance CTE released CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide, a tool that includes a series of questions for state leaders to use as they reflect on current efforts to expand access to high-quality CTE and career-focused pathways and experiences in rural communities and to identify future opportunities and actions. The guide, along with Advance CTE’s earlier CTE on the Frontier briefs are accessible in the Learning that Works Resource Center and examine state strategies to improve program quality, connect rural learners to the world of work, diversify program offerings and strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. In all, this package of resources can help state leaders identify and execute a plan to improve rural access to high-quality career pathways.

Status Update on Perkins Reauthorization

Since House passage of H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 2st Century Act, the bill that would reauthorize Perkins, there has been little discussion about the Senate taking up reauthorization. Recently, Senate staff for members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee have been engaged in internal discussions on Perkins reauthorization. Committee staff are exchanging ideas and language in an effort to spark discussion and move the reauthorization process forward. These initial ideas are not the foundation of a legislative proposal, but rather just one part of the negotiations. While some of the ideas we have heard are not aligned with Advance CTE’s Perkins Reauthorization Recommendations and would present significant concerns, we remain engaged in the process and are working closely with Hill staff to address these issues.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

New Fact Sheet Encourages Integration between CTE and Postsecondary Student Success Efforts

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

The typical college experience has been described by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) as having the structure of a cafeteria – though there are many programs, services and activities available, it is often left to the learner to make the choices that will lead them to successful program completion and entry into the workforce. This structure has led to an environment where, even with increased access to postsecondary education, learners, particularly those considered “non-traditional,” are not set up for success. Graduation rates for four-year universities are currently at 59 percent, and for community colleges at a dismal 28 percent. 

In response to these results, many community colleges have worked with national organizations like CCRC and the American Association of Community Colleges, among others, to develop student success initiatives, focused on increasing equity and degree completion. These initiatives include numerous reforms of college advising and student support services to ensure that postsecondary learners undergo a seamless journey throughout their experience and complete college with a meaningful degree.

Unfortunately, too often these initiatives happen in silos, separate from postsecondary CTE initiatives. Today, Advance CTE released a new fact sheet describing how CTE and student success efforts can support each other. For example, a big part of student success initiatives focuses on helping students choose pathways and meta majors – the National Career Clusters Framework has for many years served as a way to group similar pathways together and help students narrow their choices. Additionally, the role of strategies like career advising and employer mentorship have long been crucial parts of CTE programs of study.

For more information on how these initiatives can help each other, read the fact sheet today.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Advance CTE Resources
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Putting CTE on the Frontier into Action

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE lays out a reality where all learners have access to a high-quality education that leads to rewarding career opportunities and can gain the skills they need, when they them, without the limitations of place or time.  Yet in too many states, learners in rural communities are less likely to have access to Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways, experiences and supports than their peers in suburban or urban areas.

Given the unique challenges to expanding CTE on the “frontier,” Advance CTE launched a year-long initiative to unpack the biggest barriers and identify promising practices from across the country. Based on interviews with over a dozen state secondary and postsecondary leaders – in addition to local practitioners and national experts – Advance CTE released a series of four briefs with short case studies on states’ approaches to addressing the most pressing challenges to expanding access to high-quality CTE pathways in rural communities.

While this research and the embedded case studies can serve as a critical resource for states as they advance their own priorities and policies to address gaps in rural CTE pathways and experiences, it also shined a light on how interwoven each of these challenges are and the need for states to address all of them comprehensively and collaboratively.

To support such efforts, Advance CTE has released its CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide. This tool offers series of questions for state leaders to use as they reflect on current efforts to expand access to high-quality CTE and career-focused pathways and experiences in rural communities and to identify future opportunities and actions. While many of the questions may be difficult to answer at this time, those unanswerable questions can provide a lot of direction for a state’s next steps, including data to gather and partners to engage.

Advance CTE has also released a companion facilitation guide to help state leaders make the most of this resource and to support states’ efforts to address the five cross-cutting elements of a rural CTE strategy.

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar on the CTE on the Frontier research and lessons learned on May 17. Register today!

CTE on the Frontier briefs: 

CTE on the Frontier was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources

Staff Reflections of the 2018 Spring Meeting: Part 1

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Advance CTE’s 2018 Spring Meeting opened with a focus on some of the most critical external factors impacting CTE – in particular labor market demand and the upcoming 2018 elections.

The meeting kicked off with a keynote from Nicole Smith of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce who discussed what “good jobs” are available – specifically those that pay a sustaining wage, offer pathways to advancement and are accessible to individuals with some college but less than a four-year degree – and who currently has access those good jobs. Through a moderated discussion with Chauncy Lennon of JPMorgan Chase & Co., who funded the “Good Jobs Project,” Smith shared some of Georgetown’s major findings, including the rise of health care careers and the fact that women disproportionately “own” about two-thirds of all student loan debt, to the tune of $1 trillion, despite only holding one-third of all good jobs.

The morning then shifted to the first full panel of the meeting, featuring some of Advance CTE’s strongest partners: Steve Bowen on the Council of Chief State School Officers, Anna Davis of National Governors Association and Kermit Kaleba of the National Skills Coalition. With 36 gubernatorial elections happening in 2018, along with a potentially major mid-term election impacting both chambers of the U.S. Congress, all three of the panelists urged Advance CTE and its members to keep up on the positive communications about CTE given its popularity and bi-partisanship. The speakers also encouraged the CTE community to do more to educate policymakers and partners on what CTE, and Perkins, is all about to ensure their support going forward.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director, Advance CTE

This year’s 2018 Spring Meeting was the most highly attended in Advance CTE history. We thank each and every attendee and sponsor for bringing their wonderful energy and insight to make this year’s meeting one of the most memorable I’ve had in my time with Advance CTE.

Nearly 250 national, state and local CTE leaders joined us April 4-6 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Our attendees represented 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands and came from every corner of CTE including secondary, postsecondary, workforce development, adult education and even the philanthropic community and other key partners.  

I also want to thank and recognize our sponsors, whose partnership and support helped make our meeting a success:

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Not yet a member? Today is the perfect day to join us! Member benefits include discounted meeting registration, which you can use at our next in-person meeting.

We hope to see all of you October 22-24 at our Fall Meeting at the BWI Marriott just outside Baltimore, Maryland!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Spring Meeting