Perkins Reauthorization Bill Heads to President’s Desk

July 25th, 2018

With one day before the House goes into recess, Members of Congress were busy this week passing and introducing legislation! Read below for a Perkins reauthorization update and news about a proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that impacts Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!

Perkins Reauthorization Heads to the President’s Desk

Today, the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2353, as amended by the Senate, on an unanimous voice vote. This is the bill that will reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). A total of 16 Members of Congress from both parties spoke in favor of the bill, many noting the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) in helping to close the skills gap and the significant role CTE plays for employers in their districts.

Advance CTE and ACTE released a joint press statement on the bill’s passage. We anticipate that the President will sign the bill into law in the near future. Advance CTE and ACTE will be updating the summary and analysis of the bill to reflect changes that have been made to the bill between the Senate markup of the bill on June 26 and the bill’s passage. Find all of Advance CTE’s Perkins resources on our website.

House Democrats Release Details on the Aim Higher Act to Reauthorize HEA

On July 24, the 17 Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released details on the the Aim Higher Act, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The summary, fact sheet, and additional materials from Committee Democrats can be found here. According to the summary, the bill:
  • “Makes college more affordable today – by investing in federal student aid –  and helps states make public college tuition more affordable in the future – by incentivizing states to reinvest in higher education,
  • Cracks down on predatory for-profit institutions that target students and veterans with expensive, low-quality programs,
  • Protects and expands the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which is eliminated in the GOP PROSPER Act, and makes student loans simpler and easier to repay,
  • Provides students the tools they need to graduate on time with a quality degree,
  • Invests in teachers and strengthens training for teachers and school leaders to improve the quality of our schools.”
This proposal comes as a response to the H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, which was the Republican HEA reauthorization proposal that passed out of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on a party-line vote on December 12, 2017, as we reported. Advance CTE will provide additional analysis as soon as possible and you can find resources and Advance CTE’s recommendations for the reauthorization of HEA on our website.
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

Senate Passes Perkins Reauthorization

July 24th, 2018

On Monday, July 23, 2018 on a voice vote, the Senate approved a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) by taking up H.R. 2353, the House-passed Perkins reauthorization bill and then adopting a substitute amendment offered by Senator Alexander (R-TN). The substitute amendment contains the text of S. 3217, which was the Senate’s bill to reauthorize Perkins. As we reported, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee had marked up the Senate bill to reauthorize Perkins on June 26. Since that time, Advance CTE and ACTE have worked closely with congressional staff to improve the bill and clarify key provisions. Advance CTE and ACTE released a joint press statement on the bill’s passage and also sent a letter to the Senate that outlined our thoughts on the bill.

Now, H.R. 2353, as amended by S. 3217 will head to the House floor for a vote. We anticipate that this vote will occur before the House goes into recess on July 26 and that the President will sign it into law shortly thereafter. Advance CTE and ACTE will be updating the summary and analysis of the bill to reflect changes that have been made to the bill between the markup on June 26 and the bill’s passage. Sign up for our Legislative Updates to ensure you receive the most up-to-date information and resources on Perkins reauthorization.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Advance CTE Releases Guide on Pathway Intervention

July 17th, 2018

As labor markets shift and contexts within districts and institutions change, all career pathways — including secondary and postsecondary pathways developed by the state, district or institution — must go through a natural life cycle. Once a career pathway has been approved and implemented, it is natural for the conditions that surround and support the pathway to change over time. At these points in a career pathway’s life cycle, the state must make decisions about intervening in the operation of the pathway to ensure that learners are being well served.

Advance CTE, as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative, designed a resource to help state leaders think through intervention options for pathways, and explore the steps leaders should take when making decisions to transform or phase out pathways that do not have labor market relevance. It begins by asking states to examine all of their pathways through regular and thorough evaluation processes, and then using the results to determine next steps.

First, if a pathway is of high quality and high relevance, states should celebrate it and share it as an example for other pathways to follow. States should avoid the mistake of focusing all of their attention on the pathways that need more intervention – celebrating great pathways encourages them to continue their work, and helps other pathways find ways to improve.

If a pathway has high labor market relevance, but learner outcomes are not where they should be, states should intervene in the form of deliberate and coordinated technical assistance. Many states provide technical assistance to their pathways, but unfortunately, pathway intervention often stops at that point, without progressing to transformation or phase out. If a pathway has quality learner outcomes, but low labor market relevance, then states should consider transforming that pathway into a pathway in a related, but higher demand, field. For example, some family and consumer sciences pathways could use their solid curricular foundation and instructors and transform into a healthcare pathway, which is one of the highest demand industries in many states.

Finally, when a pathway has come to the point in its lifecycle where its labor market relevance and learner outcomes are not what they should be, states should consider phasing that program out in order to make space for higher quality programs that will better serve learners and the state economy. This is, of course, not an easy decision, but a necessary one to make. Read Advance CTE’s guide today to explore considerations for how to ensure that pathways are phased out in a way that best serves learners and their communities.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

House Appropriations Committee Passes FY19 Funding Bill, Senate Perkins Bill Summary Available

July 16th, 2018

Congress returned from recess last week and is back to work on the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). Read below to find out more about the House Appropriations Committee markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY19 spending bill and a new resource from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

House Appropriations Committee Passes FY19 Funding Bill that Includes Key Education Programs 

On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and voted to pass the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY19 appropriations bill. The bill largely retained the funding levels for education and workforce programs included in the bill that was passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and added $73 million for four education programs. As we reported, that bill included a $102 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) Basic State Grant Program, a $13 million increase for National Activities under Perkins and increases for a couple of other key programs as well. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed their Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY19 Appropriations bill on June 28. This bill included level funding for Perkins at the amount provided in FY18. The FY19 appropriations process is still underway and differences between the two bills will need to be resolved to determine final allocations for Perkins for FY19.

Advance CTE and ACTE Release Summary and Analysis of Senate Perkins Reauthorization Bill

In Case You Missed It: Advance CTE and ACTE released an updated summary and analysis of the Senate Perkins Reauthorization bill last week, which outlines the changes that the Senate bill makes to current law. As we reported, this bill was marked up and passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on June 26. Looking for more information and resources on Perkins? Check out Advance CTE’s Perkins webpage.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Maryland Strengthens Quality of Apprenticeships; Iowa, Oregon Advance Governors’ Initiatives

July 11th, 2018

As most legislative sessions have come to a close, states have adopted policies to expand opportunities for learners. Maryland and Iowa took steps to improve apprenticeship programs, and Oregon passed a bill that would help to encourage construction workers to start their own businesses and expand the talent pipeline.

Maryland Passes Bills to Strengthen Access and Quality of Apprenticeships

In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan signed two bills in May related to apprenticeships that strengthen the quality and accessibility of the programs to learners. HB1216 authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations requiring the award of credit toward high school graduation for time spent in certain apprenticeship programs and expands state financial aid for apprenticeships.

By allowing time spent in an apprenticeship program to count towards credit for high school graduation, this law prevents students from having to choose between work-based learning opportunities and the completion of high school credit requirements. Additionally, the expansion of financial aid will allow more students to access apprenticeship programs and gain the real-world experience needed to be successful in an ever evolving job market.

Governor Hogan also signed HB1234, which authorizes county boards of education to award credit to high school students for work-based training or classroom instruction completed under a Registered Apprenticeship Program and prohibits certain institutions from referring to certain courses as an apprenticeship or apprenticeship training course unless the course is part of a Registered Apprenticeship training program.

Since Registered Apprenticeship programs are registered with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and must meet federal and state requirements, this law will help to ensure that apprenticeship programs in Maryland are high-quality and culminate with learners receiving portable, industry-recognized credentials.  

Oregon and Iowa Advance Governors’ Initiatives

In Iowa and Oregon, governors took steps to advance their offices’ initiatives, both of which aim to build a talent pipeline to address the skills gap in their respective states.

In Iowa, in alignment with Future Ready Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds announced an online High School Apprenticeship Playbook, a guide that provides detailed steps for Iowa high schools, employers and students interested in establishing a Registered Apprenticeship program. This guide is meant to help scale apprenticeships in Iowa and provide a model from which schools can develop apprenticeship programs so that they don’t have to start from scratch.

In Oregon, as part of the Future Ready Oregon initiative to turn wage earners into job creators, Governor Kate Brown signed HB4144, which aims to help mid-career construction professionals start their own business, and provides incentives to attract and retain new, young talent into the workforce through providing funding to new businesses and waiving all state fees and formal education requirements for aspiring entrepreneurs who have worked in the construction industry for more than eight years for certain construction licenses.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Registration is Open for the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting

July 10th, 2018

Join us October 22-24 in Baltimore, Maryland for the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting! Registration is now open for this three-day professional development conference that explores the latest issues and challenges influencing Career Technical Education (CTE) today. We are offering an Early Bird Rate that saves you $100, available until August 10. Our annual Fall Meeting draws state CTE leaders from nearly every state.

This year, you can expect to:

  • Network with leaders from across the country and share CTE best practices from secondary, postsecondary and workforce development systems
  • Learn how leading states are committing to a vision of high-quality CTE and how they are ensuring all programs of study meet these standards of excellence
  • Engage with national experts about the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and work with your peers to prepare for implementation

We look forward to seeing you in Baltimore. View hotel information, registration rates and sponsorship opportunities here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Vermont CTE and Advance CTE Engage Dozens of Stakeholders to Craft New State Vision

July 6th, 2018

Much of my day-to-day work at Advance CTE involves examining national trends in CTE topics, looking at several states at once, so it is always exciting when I get the opportunity to dive deeper into one state’s system. Recently, I was able to do that as part of Vermont CTE’s strategic planning process, launched by Vermont’s State CTE Director, Jay Ramsey.

Vermont CTE is partnering with Advance CTE to plan and facilitate a strategic planning process that pushes CTE forward in the state and incorporates feedback from a large number of stakeholders. The work began in February 2018, as we held several conversations with Ramsey and his office about their goals for this work and for the CTE system. In March, Vermont released a statewide survey, which received almost 1500 responses from a variety of stakeholders, including current and former students, families, employers, teachers from both CTE and non-CTE classrooms, as well as representatives from postsecondary. I also conducted ten phone interviews with key stakeholders across the Vermont education and workforce development system. Both the survey and phone interviews asked respondents a variety of questions about their perceptions of the Vermont CTE system, including quality, rigor and accessibility. This data provided valuable insights into how the system serves learners, and I particularly enjoyed interviewing two current CTE students, both of whom were excited about their program and easily able to describe what their potential future careers looked like.

All of this engagement culminated in a day-long interactive strategic planning workshop in Burlington, Vermont on June 18. Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, and I led and facilitated the workshop, which included not just state CTE staff, but around 30 representatives from a range of stakeholder groups, including local CTE programs, postsecondary institutions, state legislators, industry partners and workforce development. During the workshop, stakeholders examined the data on perceptions of CTE in Vermont and drafted a series of goals and strategies designed to help learners succeed within the state of Vermont. We guided them through a series of exercises to help them understand the needs of learners as well as the needs of other stakeholders and pushed them to work with each other and take ownership over these goals and their role in helping Vermont achieve them.

Going forward, Ramsey will work, with assistance from Advance CTE, to refine the vision and goals, gathering input from more stakeholders, including Vermont students. He plans to present the state’s new strategic vision for CTE to the State Board of Education later this Fall. We are excited to continue this work and follow the developments from Vermont.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

New Resources: Designing Meaningful Career-Ready Indicators (Part 1)

July 5th, 2018

Over the past four years, Advance CTE has been tracking how states value career readiness within their federal and state accountability systems, shared in our bi-annual report, Making Career Readiness Count (released in 2014 and 2016), in partnership with Achieve. The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2016 led a significant increase in states valuing measures of career and college readiness in their accountability systems, which has the power to truly transform districts and schools across the country.

With nearly every state’s ESSA plan approved by the U.S. Department of Education, states are in the process of actually designing their new or revised accountability systems, including developing business rules and guidance to locals on data collection and designing report cards.

To help states design and implement the most meaningful career-focused indicators at this key moment in time, Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group (ESG) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are developing a series of career-focused indicator profiles organized around the four types of measures recommended in Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems.

Today, we are releasing two on Progress toward Post-High School Credential and Assessment of Readiness. These profiles explore how leading states, including Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, are designing their indicators to ensure they are based on quality, validated data, are inclusive of all students, and are aligned with meaningful outcomes. They should serve as a resource and inspiration for states working on similar indicators.

In the next few weeks, Advance CTE will be releasing two additional profiles on the other categories defined in Destination Known: Co-curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences and Transitions Beyond High School. And, in the coming months, we will release our third edition of Making Career Readiness Count in partnership with Achieve, ESG and CCSSO. Stay tuned for more!

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Report Examines State Strategies to Increase Qualified High School Teachers for Dual Enrollment Programs

July 3rd, 2018

Dual enrollment programs can ease students’ transitions from high school to postsecondary institutions as they continue along their desired programs of study, while also decreasing the cost of postsecondary education by allowing students to earn college credits while in high school. For the college credit earned through dual enrollment programs to be recognized, high school teachers must be qualified to teach college-level courses. As the availability of dual enrollment programs continue to increase, so have concerns about the qualifications of high school dual enrollment program teachers.

To understand the current landscape of policies impacting the quality of dual enrollment instructors, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and the Education Commission the States released a report that summarizes state policies for dual enrollment instructors, regional accreditation organizations’ faculty policies and state strategies to increase the supply of qualified high school teachers for dual enrollment programs.

The report found that criteria for qualifying Career Technical Education (CTE) instructors are mentioned in state-level policies in eight states (Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia). Dual enrollment teacher qualification policies are generally related to education attainment level, but exemptions are sometimes made for CTE dual enrollment instructors. In some of these cases, states allow exemption from qualification rules when instructors can demonstrate proficiency in the field they will teach and consider industry recognized credentials and years of experience working in the field when determining teacher qualifications.

These exemptions and considerations are necessary to provide a pipeline of quality CTE dual enrollment instructors that can provide real-world perspectives and industry expert knowledge to students to equip them with the skills to be successful in an ever evolving workforce. Flexible requirements that still ensure that teachers have the relevant qualifications are necessary to address the shortage of qualified CTE instructors.

The report outlined seven strategies, such as offering financial aid for high school instructors to complete graduate credits, states are using to increase the supply of high school instructors qualified to teach in dual enrollment programs. These strategies are meant to incentivise professional development, coordinate and promote credentialing efforts and increase awareness of graduate program options.

These strategies, partnered with those outlined in Advance CTE’s brief about strengthening the rural CTE teacher pipeline and report about increasing access to industry experts in high school, provide policymakers and stakeholders with actions to address the CTE dual enrollment teacher shortage while also ensuring quality instruction for learners.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor policies that impact the pipeline of quality CTE dual enrollment instructors.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

New Tools to Help You Communicate About CTE with Parents and Students

June 27th, 2018

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, has spent the last year working to support states across the country to attract and recruit students into high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study. Last year, Advance CTE worked with four states – Maryland, New Jersey, Indiana and Washington – to pilot innovative online and on site recruitment and communications strategies using nationally tested messages that resonate with parents and students. As a result of this work, we are excited to share new resources that all states can use in their communications and recruitment efforts.

Tools now available include:

  • CTE Social Media Guide: Based on a guide developed by the Maryland State Department of Education, Advance CTE has developed a social media guide explaining how to effectively use social media, integrate the messages into your posts and highlights effective campaigns.
  • Focus Group Discussion Guide: Use this focus group guide to learn firsthand what parents and students think about CTE. This simple, easy-to-follow resource provides you with questions for the moderator, ice breaker activities, and a pre-event homework assignment for attendees. By assessing your community you can determine the best ways to communicate about CTE.
  • CTE Posters and Postcards: These materials, created by the New Jersey Department of Education, explain the benefits for students participating in CTE programs, while integrating the messages we know resonate with parents and students.
  • Using Video to Promote CTE in Your State: The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board developed a series of videos highlighting CTE across the state and a video toolkit to help local schools, instructors and students develop their own videos promoting CTE in their communities. The guide provides technical tips for setting up shots, capturing sound, and conducting interviews.

View all of these tools here