Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Empowering All Learners

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.

Career exploration and guidance have in the past been considered as services only for CTE students, and particularly for CTE students who are not considering attending a postsecondary institution. Now state leaders are working to change this misconception by promoting career advisement as an integral part of the educational process for all learners.

A comprehensive career advising system must be supported not just by school counselors, but state leaders, local administrators, and employer partners as well.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

  • Develop and implement a career advisement system that allows all learners to be successful in a career pathway of interest;
  • Provide all learners with authentic, real-world experiences linked to a career interest of their choice.

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders focus their attention on career advisement, they have access to multiple resources related to counseling, guided pathways, student supports and career awareness, among others.

Principle in Action

  • Ohio: 2014 Education Reform Bill (HB487)
    • Among many policy changes in HB487, Ohio began requiring districts to provide career exploration CTE courses in grades 7 and 8. Additionally, all districts were required to provide career guidance and advising systems, supported by state-provided implementation models.  
  • Arkansas: College and Career Coaches
    • Launched as a pilot program in 2010 and expanded to 28 counties a few years later, the Arkansas College and Career Coaches program provides career coaching services to students, along with online advising platforms and Career Cluster camps. Between 2009 and 2015, the college-going rate in these districts increased by 22 percentage points. Starting in the 2016-17 school year, career-focused performance metrics such as industry-recognized credential attainment and work-based learning were integrated into the program to better emphasize career planning and preparation.
  • Illinois: STEM Learning Exchanges
    • Launched in 2012, the STEM Learning Exchanges are public-private partnerships that provide connections between employer partners and schools. These partnerships can be leveraged to provide work-based learning opportunities, career exploration and other experiential opportunities.

Relevant Resources

Upcoming Resources

  • State of Career Technical Education: Career Advising and Development
    • In February 2018, Advance CTE will release a report in partnership with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) that examines the national landscape of career advising and development policies. The report will be based on information collected from surveys of state leaders as well as school counselors.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

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