Legislative Update: House Begins Appropriations Process and President Campaign Addresses CTE

July 10th, 2020

This week the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released a Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill, which includes funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for the 2020 presidential campaign. 

House Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding 

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On July 6, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s press release, the bill includes “$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments.” Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22% increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.

However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill! While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4% increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.

Under the Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).

This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response, but is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the bill on July 7, and the full Appropriations Committee will consider it on Monday. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 response package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs. 

Biden Announces Unity Task Force Recommendations

This week, former Vice President Joe Biden released new policy recommendations as part of his presidential campaign platform. These recommendations were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations include policy proposals on issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform and health care. The proposals also cover education, workforce development and the economy- including CTE strategies. The document states that the campaign “will work to expand access to career and technical education” and that the country’s education system should support deeper learning and life skills. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, are also listed as a way to increase opportunities for lifelong learning. The Education Unity Task Force, comprised of eight education experts and advocates, specifically recommends that education funding allow for the scaling of CTE.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Welcome Dan Hinderliter to Advance CTE!

July 7th, 2020

Hi there, I’m Dan and I’m excited to be the newest policy associate for Advance CTE. I started working with the team at the beginning of June and, since then, have jumped in with both feet to a number of different projects; I’m involved with JPMorgan Chase’s Global Career Readiness Initiative, the updating of The National Career Clusters® Framework, a project on area technical centers supported by the Lumina Foundation, and the tracking of state policy throughout the year. 

I’ve always had a passion for education, working at summer camps as a teenager. Pursuing this passion professionally, I earned my undergraduate degrees in middle grades education and communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. After receiving my teaching certificates, I moved to rural Appalachian Ohio, where I ran academic enrichment programs and facilitated federal grants for a local school district. A large part of this job was working with students on a different career path than my own and exposing them to the wide variety of career and technical opportunities that they could benefit from. I decided to support these students from a different level, moving to DC to pursue my masters in education policy from The George Washington University. For the last few years, I’ve been working with undergraduate students doing career and workforce advising work. I’m excited to continue this path toward helping learners of all levels find fulfilling careers and growth opportunities through my work with Advance CTE!

Outside of work, I am passionate about local and community politics. I also enjoy games and puzzles of all kinds, live music, the outdoors, and cheering on my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s go Birds!

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

July 3rd, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

State CTE Director of the Week

Welcome Craig Statucki to Advance CTE! In his new role as State CTE Director, Craig is excited to lean on his experience building relationships between state and local CTE stakeholders to lead Nevada through change. Read more about Craig on our blog

CTE Completers of the Week

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recognized eight North Carolina CTE high school graduates as Advanced Career (AC) STEM Pathway completers or scholars. The AC program of study has prepared these graduates for college and career opportunities in a high-demand STEM field critical to the nation’s economy. You can learn more about the qualifications these learners met to be recognized here.

Learners were recognized at their school’s graduation ceremony and received the distinguished SREB Advanced Career STEM Pathway Academy certificate of completion, AC Scholar recognition and graduation chords specially made for this unique honor.

Video Competition of the Week

JFF hosted the Horizons Virtual Conference a few weeks ago and announced the winner of their  “Why I Apprentice” national youth apprenticeship video competition. Congratulations Brenden Rohland of Wisconsin! View his video submission here.

“Why I Apprentice” is a national video series that celebrates the stories of youth apprentices. A compilation of all the video submissions from youth apprentices across the United States can be viewed here.

Legislative Update of the Week

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced this week the approval of the final wave of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans by the Department of Education. In this wave, we celebrate the approval of the following states and territories: Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. View all approved Perkins V state plans and resources here.

Resource of the Week

Enrollment in CTE programs has remained stagnant over the last decade while demand soars for skilled employees in today’s global economy. If we are to prepare all learners for success in the careers of their choice, more parents and students need to understand all that CTE has to offer them.

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, commissioned focus groups and a national survey to explore the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to better understand the promise and opportunity of CTE.  View the results here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Legislative Update: Final Perkins V Plans Approved and New Senate Coronavirus Relief Bill Introduced

July 3rd, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved all remaining state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about plan approval and where you can find final materials, as well as a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) response bill that would provide Career Technical Education (CTE) funding and an Executive Order that supports skills-based hiring. 

ED Approves All Perkins V State Plans

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the final state plans under Perkins V were approved by ED. The newest wave of approvals includes Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and West Virginia. Secretary DeVos also shared that nine states submitted combined Perkins V and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plans, including: Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington. Highlights from the newly approved plans can be found here. Check out Advance CTE’s website for links to all final plans and resources!

Senate Introduces Coronavirus Relief Bill with CTE Funding

Ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a new coronavirus relief bill this week. The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) would provide $430 billion to child care and education activities. 

The proposed act would allocate $1 billion for CTE programs and activities to support state and local CTE needs as a result of the pandemic. This can include updates to physical or digital infrastructure, or expansion of work-based learning supports. The bill includes $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund- comprised of $175 billion for K-12 schools, $132 billion for higher education and $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund. Additionally, CCCERA would provide $4 billion to the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program to increase internet access for students and educators. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill, and released a statement in partnership with the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in response to the introduction. A summary of CCCERA can be found here and the full bill text here

Administration Signs Executive Order on Skills-Based Hiring

President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring Federal Job Candidates, stating that the federal hiring process will take a skills-based approach instead of relying on degree attainment. The document requires that the federal job classification and qualification standards be reviewed and revised. Within 120 days all changes will be made available to the public, and updates will go into effect within 180 days. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

100 Years of Advancing CTE: Dr. Ann Benson’s Impact on CTE

July 1st, 2020

Ann Benson has a long and impressive Career Technical Education (CTE) journey, which began in a home economics class in Oklahoma during her freshman year of high school. Her passion continued and she was inspired to go on to pursue both a bachelor’s teaching certificate and a master’s degree in home economics. She taught home economics, as it was called then, for four years before joining the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education as a Curriculum Specialist in 1972, working on curriculum development for three years. From there, Benson became the first director of a multistate consortium, the Mid-America Vocational Curriculum Consortium, leading a working group of a dozen or so states to develop mutually needed instructional materials. Benson continued to hold increasingly important leadership positions in the CTE field, and in 1999, she was named State CTE Director in Oklahoma, a position she held for four years. 

In Benson’s early days, CTE was very traditional, with instruction focused on just a few skill areas, such as home economics and agriculture. Over time, Benson witnessed CTE’s evolution in her state to include a greater emphasis across all clusters on career preparation and better integration with academics. Benson credits the creation of Oklahoma’s first-class area technical centers – and a commitment to the maintenance and evolution of that status – as a major reason CTE enjoys a widely held, positive image in her state.

When reminiscing on her decades-long history with Advance CTE (which of course was called the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium at the time), Benson reflected fondly on the sense of congeniality at the first meeting she attended when she was starting the multistate consortium in the 1970s. Benson remembers that during her tenure, she was often the only woman in the room among CTE leaders from each state, leading the way for future female State Directors. Benson served as a respected leader in the State Director community, serving as the president of the Board of Directors, and also led a project to engage state CTE leaders in the development and launch of Career Clusters in the early 2000s, a framework that we still use to this day. Benson recognized that across her CTE career, Advance CTE has consistently been a leader, and served as a voice and advocate for CTE on Capitol Hill.

Benson looks forward to a future of CTE with well-trained educators, and a system of high-quality programs that connect learners to high-wage and in-demand careers.

Middle Grades CTE: Policy

June 30th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level. 

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this last entry in the blog series, we will examine effective middle grades CTE policy.

Policy actions often play a critical role in expanding access to high-quality middle grades CTE opportunities. Through effective policy actions, state CTE leaders can remove barriers that may prevent learners from accessing middle grades CTE opportunities, ensure there is adequate funding to support middle grades CTE, and create environments to incubate and scale middle grade CTE opportunities.

In 2014, H.B. 487 was enacted into law in Ohio, requiring schools to provide CTE courses in seventh and eighth grades by the 2015-16 school year. As a result, Ohio became one of the only states that requires the availability of CTE courses to middle school students at scale. Districts that do not want to offer middle school CTE must submit a public waiver to the Ohio Department of Education. Since the passage of the law, Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in access to CTE programs, with 21,551 students participating in middle grades CTE in 2015 and more than 73,728 students participating in middle grades CTE in 2017.

Similarly, In 2017, the Maine Legislature passed L.D. 1576, which updated the state’s definition of CTE to include language about middle school, effectively allowing middle school students in grades six through eight to participate in CTE. To expand access to middle grades CTE, the Maine Department of Education developed a Middle School CTE Pilot program, which allows institutions to apply for grants to pilot CTE opportunities that provide hands-on and interactive activities to middle grades students, as further described in an earlier entry in this blog series. 

Numerous states plan to leverage the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which allows states to use Perkins funding to support CTE as early as the fifth grade, to expand access to CTE opportunities for middle grades students. For instance, Massachusetts is awarding Perkins V reserve funds to eligible agencies to better integrate career planning from the middle school through the high school levels. In its Perkins V state plan, Florida provides guidance to include aligned middle grades CTE programs within programs of study and allow middle grades students to take high school-level CTE courses early. 

As state leaders reflect on effective middle grades CTE policy, they may consider the following questions:

  • What policy actions could be leveraged to remove barriers preventing learners from participating in high-quality middle grades CTE opportunities?
  • How does the state define CTE? Does the definition prohibit learners from participating in middle grades CTE?
  • What changes to teacher licensing laws, if any, need to be made to mitigate middle grades CTE teacher shortages?
  • What funding is needed to incubate and scale middle grades CTE opportunities? How can funds from Perkins V and other sources be braided to support middle grades CTE?
  • How can policy actions be leveraged to align middle grade CTE programs to high school CTE programs?
  • How can policy actions be leveraged to advance equity in middle grades CTE?

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup. To learn more about policy actions state leaders can take to advance middle grades CTE, read Expanding Middle School CTE to Promote Lifelong Learner Success

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Welcoming Craig Statucki to Nevada

June 29th, 2020

Craig Statucki had a most unusual first day as the State CTE Director in Nevada. March 16, 2020, was the state’s first day of school closures due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. He spent his first couple of weeks on the job gaining an understanding of what school building closures would mean for Career Technical Education (CTE) delivery across his state, especially as some school years were scheduled to end as early as Memorial Day weekend. Craig is proud to report that many CTE programs donated their personal protective equipment (PPE), among other supports provided to frontline workers including those in healthcare, transportation distribution and logistics, and more. He believes this will encourage continued connections between CTE programs and communities and is an action that proves the strong link between high-quality CTE programs and flourishing communities.

As Craig moves beyond the immediate pandemic response, he is celebrating the completion and submission of Nevada’s Perkins V plan. He is also exploring solutions to the new and widely shared challenge of remote completion of work-based learning requirements, especially as the largest number of internships for learners in Nevada are in healthcare settings.

Craig has lived in Nevada for thirty years and most recently served as the Executive Director of Nevada’s Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) chapter for five years, an organization he has been part of since the late 2000s. In his new role as State Director, Craig is excited to lean on his experience building relationships between state and local CTE stakeholders to lead Nevada through change. “I always said, ‘I wish the Department of Education would do x, y or z,’ and now I have the opportunity to make x, y and z happen,” Craig said.

In his free time, Craig listens to podcasts about technology, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship and enjoys spending time outdoors.

This Week in CTE

June 26th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


Nebraska Career and Technical Education (CTE) held a Virtual Symposium, which was the first of its kind for the state. There were more than 700 CTE district, state and national level attendees. Among them were Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

During the symposium, winners of the annual Nebraska Excellence in Career and Technical Education Awards and Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educators Awards were announced. Read more about the symposium and learn more about the award winners here


In Michigan, one student has shown great leadership by joining Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to Learn Council. Dominic Gonzalez is one of the district’s dual enrollment learners, which allows him to attend a local community college and earn college credit while still in high school. Dominic will be tasked with providing Governor Whitmer and the council a student perspective of what returning to school should look like in the fall. Read more in the article published by The Detroit News.


Texas CTE students did not let graduation or the pandemic stop them from completing one meaningful project. Engineering and veterinary science students developed a prosthetic paw for a local puppy who suffered complications at birth. View this video for highlights from the project, prototypes of the prosthetic paw and the student’s stories. 


The U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V): Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. 35 state plans are approved in total so far. Check out this chart to see which states have been approved, and links to the state plans.   


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. The local investments from across the world – Innovation Sites – aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. Over the past year, Advance CTE has released a series of snapshots documenting the progress of the local investments. This week, Advance CTE released the final two snapshots featuring investments in the Greater Washington Region and Germany.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Legislative Update: More Perkins Plans Approved and New Grant Opportunity

June 26th, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more state plan approvals under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about which states have received approval, as well as a new workforce grant program, a proposed infrastructure bill and a new report on reimagining community colleges. 

ED Approves Four More Perkins Plans

Today the U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under Perkins V. The newly approved states are Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. Highlights by the department from each plan can be found here. In total, 35 plans have been approved so far. A full list of the states with approved plans, as well as links to the final plans and resources can be found here

ED Announces New Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new higher education grant program with the goal of supporting students in gaining new skills and expanding or reinventing businesses as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This new opportunity, called the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program, is funded by the Education Stabilization Fund that was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act- the third coronavirus stimulus bill that was signed into law in March. 

The State Workforce Board of each of the 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico are eligible to apply for this grant program. Applicants must show that a burden has been created by the pandemic, and propose an initiative that will support the community in one of two ways (language taken directly from the department’s announcement): 

  1. Expanding educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of short-term education programs, including career pathways programs, to help prepare unemployed or underemployed individuals for high demand jobs in their community or region; and/or
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of industry sector-based education and training programs that lead to a credential that employers in a given sector recognize and reward; or
  2. Supporting local entrepreneurship through small business incubators
    • Grantees are invited to submit applications that help colleges and universities make their faculty, staff and facilities more accessible to small businesses in their communities, and to ensure that institutions can sustain their operations at a time when enrollments are declining and campus buildings may be underutilized, including through the creation of small business incubators that are on the campus of, or affiliated with, one or more colleges and universities in the state.

Applications must be submitted by August 24, 2020- at which time they will be evaluated by peer reviewers. Awards will be announced in October of 2020.  

House Introduces New Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats introduced the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2)- a $1.5 trillion bill that would repair and rebuild the country’s infrastructure. This wide reaching proposal covers a range of areas from road to schools to broadband access. The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act is included in this legislation, and would invest $130 billion in high-poverty schools while also creating over two million jobs. The bill would also invest $100 billion into expanding broadband Internet access to every part of the country. 

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here and the full text here

Education Organizations Release New Report on Reimagining Community College

Advance CTE participated in a group of 22 educators and policy thinkers led by Opportunity America to release a new report, The Indispensable Institution: Reimagining Community College. The report outlines a roadmap for community colleges to find successful practices as  premier providers of efficient, career-focused education and training. Especially as the country rebuilds in the wake of coronavirus, community colleges are well positioned to provide the upskilling and reskilling that millions of Americans will need. You can find the report here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

State Reentry Plans Prioritize Equity

June 25th, 2020

Many states are in the process of planning for learners to physically reenter school and college in the fall. However, the possibility of a “second peak” or “second wave” of COVID-19 (coronavirus) means that states are also preparing to provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners at a distance. States are preparing for an “accordion effect,” in which learners may spend some time in the classroom and some time engaging in distance learning. To help institutions prepare for different scenarios, state agencies have released guidance and plans for reentry. Specifically, many of the reentry plans call attention to the importance of advancing equity during the pandemic and ensuring that each learner has access to the supports needed to succeed.

In June, Arizona released a “Roadmap for Reopening Schools” that provides strategies and considerations for local education agencies as they prepare for reentry and periods of campus closures. Core to the guide is taking a learner centered approach through leveraging strategies related to leadership and instruction, such as strategies related to trauma-sensitive teaching and social emotional learning. The state recognizes that supporting learners during this time requires a community effort. To that end, the roadmap includes critical questions for institutions to consider as they build out their plans, such as “what partnerships are necessary to implement the plan (i.e., Tribal Nations, youth and community organizations, etc.)?” and “what can we do now to reduce the disparities in access to learning that will exist for vulnerable student populations if schools are forced to close?”  

Similarly, Kentucky released considerations for reopening schools. The resource includes key questions institutions should consider as they develop their plans, such as “how will schools and districts ensure students participate in and fulfill work-based learning placements?” and “how will schools and districts ensure the equity of instruction for students who are still choosing to learn from home or must remain at home due to safety restrictions?” State CTE leaders can leverage the key questions that are featured in states’ reentry plans to help inform what it means to provide high-quality work-based learning opportunities, access to industry-recognized credentials and access to other CTE opportunities during periods of remote learning.

In addition to questions for consideration, state reentry plans include strategies to advance equity during the pandemic. Virginia released “Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020,” which emphasizes the state’s commitment to ensuring equity and includes considerations, key steps and strategies to advance equity during coronavirus. Some key strategies include establishing processes and accountability levers to ensure that the implementation of reentry plans do not lead to disparate impacts and consequences and investing in equity. Specifically, the guide encourages institutions to prioritize funds, such as federal stimulus funding, to meet the needs of Enlgish language learners, students with disabilities, undocumented students and students living in proverty.

This is the first blog in a series that will examine state guidance and plans for reentry. To learn more about Advance CTE’s commitment to advancing equity in CTE, click here. To access resources related to equity and the coronavirus, click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate