PAYA National Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina

March 25th, 2019

Earlier this month, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships (PAYA), of which Advance CTE is one of the partners, held a national meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. This convening included educators, employers, policymakers, community leaders and PAYA partners. Over the course of two days, PAYA featured sessions such as: panels on the perspectives from school districts, employers, students and national leaders; a keynote presentation from Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA and Chair of the Siemens Foundation; a discussion with Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama and a tour of the youth apprenticeship labs at Trident Technical College. Advance CTE also led a session, Seeing Connections in PAYA & Perkins, which walked through the major components of Perkins V and how Perkins V and PAYA’s principles align.

The conference began by highlighting the success of youth apprenticeships through personal examples of new opportunities and achievements.  Data demonstrating the impact of youth apprenticeships was also shared, for example for $1 the government puts into apprenticeships, there is a $23 return on investment.

A favorite part of the conference for attendees was the panel of five youth apprentices:

  • Joshua Carpenter, First Year Youth Apprentice, Boeing;  
  • Constance Johnson, First Year Youth Apprentice, Trident Medical Center;  
  • Jordan Fancy, Second Year Youth Apprentice, Cummins Turbo Technologies;  
  • Byrone Porcher, Line Chef and Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeships Alumnus, Wild Dunes Resort; and
  • Stephanie Walters, Adult Apprentice and Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeships, Robert Bosch LLC.

The impressive group spoke about what led them to their apprenticeships, what they are getting out of their programs and their plans for continuing education and employment. Most were prompted to explore apprenticeships by parents, school counselors or teachers who believed in the potential of these programs. All on the panel shared that it was difficult to make the decision to enroll in a youth apprenticeship program instead of the traditional educational path that their peers were on, and that they themselves had always planned on doing. However, there was unanimous agreement that the program is well worth it,  and that the ability to follow their passions by combining work and academic skills has been incredibly positive. To learn more about how youth apprenticeships work for students, check out this infographic from PAYA.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour the meeting location’s, Trident Technical College, culinary, nursing and industrial mechanics lab spaces where youth apprentices’ technical coursework is held. Each space was designed to provide students with the best and most realistic learning experience. For example, the nursing lab space includes replicas of hospital rooms, so that students can gain hands-on experiences in a setting that mirrors the workplace.The lab experience  includes high fidelity mannequins that can mock different scenarios that a participant can expect to encounter in a patient. The mannequins are able to make noise, change color and even produce fluids. Students are able to apply the knowledge and skills they learn on the mannequins, setting them up for success in the workplace.

For more information on the intersection of Career Technical Education (CTE) and youth apprenticeships read Advance CTE’s blog, Incorporating Youth Apprenticeships in CTE Pathways. To learn about best practices, as well as common challenges  linking CTE and apprenticeships, check out a report from Advance CTE in partnership with JFF, Vivayic and RTI International, Opportunities for Connecting Secondary CTE Students and Apprenticeships. This report was developed through a contract with the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, at the U.S. Department of Education.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Virgina, New Mexico Take Steps to Expand CTE Opportunities for Learners; Colorado Expands CTE Funding Options

March 25th, 2019

In Virginia and New Mexico, the state legislatures have taken action to expand opportunities for CTE learners. In Virginia, on March 5, SB1434 was signed into law. The law directs the Virginia Board of Education to revise its Career and Technical Education Work-based Learning Guide to expand opportunities for learners to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences. The law directs the Board of Education to consult business and diverse stakeholders to inform its revision of the guide.

In New Mexico, on March 9, HB91 was signed into law. The law establishes a seven-year pilot project to fund CTE programs and monitor their effects on student outcomes, including graduation rates and achievement scores, among other outcomes. The law allows the New Mexico Department of Education to provide grants to school districts to establish CTE programs as part of the pilot project and professional development to CTE teachers in the pilot project. The law outlines the requirements CTE programs funded through the pilot must meet, such as that the programs must lead to an industry-recognized credential at the postsecondary level and require training in soft and social skills.

The Colorado legislature passed a bill that opens a previously restricted funding stream to CTE. On March 7, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed HB1008 into law, which amends the “Building Excellent Schools Today Act” to allow the public school capital construction board to provide grants to support CTE capital construction, which includes construction of public school facilities and equipment for CTE programs.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Newly Developed Certifications and Industry Value

March 25th, 2019

This post is written by iCEV, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

As we all know, industry sectors are unique. All have their own established history of hiring practices and methods for producing future workers. However, sectors are evolving and picking up on best practices learned from other industries. Industry certifications serve as one great example. 

Several industries not traditionally driven by certifications have noticed how well the certification model is working in other sectors. They recognize certifications provide value to employers by assisting in recruiting qualified candidates who are able to hit the ground running in new positions and know that students are taking coursework at both the secondary and postsecondary levels preparing them for these careers. Additionally, certifications at these levels can encourage a student to pursue a career in the field.

For these reasons, industry has taken the initiative on building certifications to improve the recruitment and hiring process.  However, not all certifications are equal in their value to the industry, employers and career seekers. Certifications offering the most value to all three stakeholders have three components in common:

1. Standards

As with all valuable certifications, it is important standards are created by an entity so respected and recognized that they can speak for the industry.  The standards are the fundamental foundation certifications are built on and establish the measurables of the certification.  This allows the certification to be portable to all employers in the industry.  For example, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staff provider who works with thousands of businesses to place 556,000 career seekers annually. They know what businesses are looking for in employees and have the credibility to create comprehensive industry standards for several career fields.

2. Certification Administration

As industry leaders start the process of creating certifications, they often lack the foundation level knowledge of how to develop and administer a proper certification program. For a certification to be successful, it is important for it to be administered by an entity experienced with the tasks of certification exam creation and testing procedures. In addition, it is important for both employers and certification achievers that results are easily verified by qualified parties. Southwest Airlines, recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies for 22 consecutive years, has highly coveted standards for communication and customer service. When faced with the challenge of finding candidates who met their company’s soft-skills standards, Southwest realized this was a growing challenge for all companies. The idea of certifying students based on their skills and how it relates to the “Southwest way” was appealing to the company, but the logistics of managing a certification program was out of their scope of knowledge. Southwest then partnered with CEV Multimedia to administer the program due to CEV’s expertise in managing certification programs.

3. Promotion Through Education

A certification can be in the marketplace for years or even decades before employers immediately recognize its name or value.  Even some of the most established certifications lack consistent recognition. The time span to gain universal recognition can be expedited by industry leaders promoting the certification WHILE certification achievers are proving the value of the certification on the job. For example, for Elanco, an industry leader in animal health, creating certifications results in a “value-beyond-product” to their customers, from veterinarian offices to pet stores to production facilities. Elanco makes it part of their mission to educate customers on the value of the certifications and how the certifications can assist in hiring qualified candidates. By helping their customers create a pipeline of qualified employees, Elanco demonstrates their investment in not only seeing the whole industry succeed but in seeing a local veterinarian and business owner succeed, as well. Promotion through education is an ongoing process, and the work is never done. As more certification earners enter the workforce with certifications and prove value to an employer, certifications gain recognition.

There is no doubt that certifications if created in an exemplary manner, create value for job seekers, employers and entire industry segments immediately upon inception.

iCEV currently tests for 14 industry-recognized certifications, and over 16,000 individuals have earned certification. To learn more, please visit

Contact Your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE

March 20th, 2019

The congressional appropriation process is now underway and there’s lots of news about  the Higher Education Act (HEA). Read below to learn more about how to support the federal investment in CTE by contacting your Representative about signing a “Dear Colleague” letter and how Congress and President Trump are focusing in on HEA .

Contact your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE by March 22 

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, will be sending a “Dear Colleague” letter to the Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member, Tom Cole (R-OK) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies respectfully encouraging that they consider strong funding for Perkins. Please contact your Representative to encourage them to sign on to the letter by visiting ACTE’s Take Action page and scroll to “Ask Your Representative to Sign Perkins Funding Letter” and click “Take Action.” You can also find your representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to their office, and then ask about the Representative’s interest in signing on to a “Dear Colleague” letter to support strong funding for Perkins. Interested Representatives can contact the offices of Representatives Langevin (D-RI) or Thompson (R-PA) to sign on. The deadline to sign on is 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, March 22.

White House Releases Proposal for Higher Education Reform

On March 18, the Trump administration released its principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), led by Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President. The administration seeks to “increase access to affordable, flexible, and innovative postsecondary education and skills attainment.” The following goals were outlined:

  • Reorient the Accreditation Process to Focus on Student Outcomes;
  • Increase Innovation in the Education Marketplace;
  • Better Align Education to the Needs of Today’s Workforce;
  • Increase Institutional Accountability;
  • Accelerate Program Completion;
  • Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • Encourage Responsible Borrowing;
  • Simplify Student Aid;
  • Support Returning Students and
  • Give Prospective Students More Meaningful and Useful Information about Schools and Programs.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor efforts in Congress to reauthorize HEA and provide updates.

Congress Introduces Higher Education Legislation

On March 14, Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) reintroduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Also on March 14, Senators Cassidy (R-LA), Warren (D-MA), Scott (R-SC) and Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced the College Transparency Act. This legislation would create a student-level data network within the National Center for Education Statistics and promote transparency and accuracy in postsecondary student data.

On March 12, Senators Kaine and Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act. This legislation aims to help address teacher and principal shortages, particularly in rural areas.

Advance CTE is proud to support all three of these bills, and will continue to advocate for legislation that reflects our HEA recommendations.

Congress Holds First HEA Hearings of 2019

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held its first HEA hearing this year on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification.” Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) agreed that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be simplified to be more accessible.

The House Committee on Education and Labor also held its first of five announced HEA hearings on “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” In his opening remarks, Chairman Scott (D-VA) share that his goal is to pass comprehensive higher education reform, with a focus on access and affordability. Topics that came up throughout the hearing included improving the purchasing power of Pell Grants, simplifying FAFSA, responding to state disinvestment in higher education, making college more affordable and simplifying student loan repayment.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

SREB: Addressing Access and Equity in CTE

March 20th, 2019

This post is written by the Southern Regional Education Board, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Increasing Access and Equity

Despite pervasive national rhetoric around college and career readiness, studies indicate a small percentage of high school graduates complete a full college—and career—preparatory curriculum, and nearly half of all graduates complete neither a college nor a career-preparatory curriculum. The numbers are worse in schools serving high percentages of minorities and schools in geographically isolated or economically disadvantaged communities. 

We believe that career pathway programs that blend quality career and technical education and college-preparatory academics offer a way to increase readiness, postsecondary attainment, career advancement and economic stability for youth of all genders, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and ability levels.

The Southern Regional Education Board has a long history of helping K-12 schools and technology centers in racially, economically, and geographically diverse communities adopt school improvement frameworks that are based in the belief that students can master challenging academic and career pathway curricula if schools create environments that encourage them to make the effort to succeed.

SREB’s Making Schools Work frameworks are also grounded in research showing that high-quality CTE keeps students engaged and achieving at higher levels, prevents dropout, promotes successful transitions to postsecondary education and the workplace, and offers special benefits to students from low-income families, minorities and young men.

At the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, you can learn more about three SREB programs helping address the issue of access and equity in CTE. Please stop by the SREB table to meet with the directors of the following three programs:

  • Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) unites centers, home high schools and postsecondary institutions around career pathways that give students a head-start on a high-demand credential or degree. TCTW can be adapted to suit full-time centers, extended-day or extended-year programs.
  • Teaching to Lead is a teacher preparation program that helps professionals from business and industry become great teachers.  The program helps induct and retain teachers for new and emerging career pathways.
  • Advanced Career curricula consist of four courses featuring fully developed lesson plans, projects and assignments.  As complete programs of study, AC’s college-preparatory, STEM-intensive pathways are taught in the context of a college-ready academic core.

In urban, suburban and rural settings, SREB school improvement frameworks and programs provide a structure that empowers schools to make the changes needed to expand or improve access to high-quality programs and ensure that all students – regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic background, ability level or location – discover a purpose for learning and life.

We look forward to sharing more information with you in Washington, D.C. next month.  – For more information contact Dale Winkler

The Number of States Counting Career Readiness Has More than Doubled Since 2014

March 19th, 2019

In a strong signal of support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness in high school, 40 states are now measuring career readiness in their state or federal high school accountability systems. Fewer than half as many – 17 – were measuring career readiness just five years ago.

The sophistication and design of the measures has evolved as well, and many states are working to intentionally link their accountability systems with high-quality career pathways.

That’s according to a new analysis from Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group, Achieve and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The report, the third edition in the Making Career Readiness Count series, uses a four-pronged framework that was developed by an expert workgroup and outlined in the report Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems  to categorize how states are measuring college and career readiness.

The four categories used in the analysis provide a blueprint for states to develop and evolve rigorous measures. They each outline three levels that build upon one another, from Fundamental, to Advanced and Exceptional. The categories are:

  • Progress toward Post-High School Credential: Student demonstration of successful progress toward credentials of value beyond high school.
  • Co-curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences: Student completion of state-defined co-curricular experience(s) aligned to students’ academic and career plans.
  • Assessment of Readiness: Students scoring at the college- and career-ready level on assessment(s) that are validated by higher education and industry.
  • Transitions beyond High School: Successful student transition includes placement into postsecondary education, training or the workforce within 12 months of graduation.

Overall, the most common measure used across the states is Assessment of Readiness, with thirty states and the District of Columbia valuing experiences that are aligned with the Destination Known recommendations. Another 12 states include out of sequence measures that are aligned with this indicator but do not include the Fundamental measure, attainment of state-defined college- and career-ready level on a high school summative assessment. The vast majority of states counted under the Assessment of Readiness category are measuring industry-recognized credential attainment.

Another commonly used measure is Progress Toward Post-High School Credential. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia include measures aligned with the Destination Known recommendations, and another 22 states include out of sequence indicators. A number of states include either pathway completion or dual enrollment coursework in their accountability plans without requiring that experience to be accompanied by the completion of a state-defined college- and career-ready course of study, which is the Fundamental measurement in this category.

Twelve states include a Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences measure in their state or federal accountability systems, often looking at work-based learning participation. Eight states include information on Transitions Beyond High School, reporting either postsecondary enrollment or postsecondary enrollment without the need for remediation.

With all of the progress states have made, there is still room to strengthen and improve measures of career readiness. For example, states should be explicit about how career readiness components – such as work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials and dual enrollment – align to each other and to a students’ career pathways. They should also be transparent with their data and put thought and care into designing accountability systems that value and encourage the experiences that are best aligned with the outcomes they want for students. These and other opportunities are discussed in the report, Making Career Readiness Count 3.0.

The even harder work ahead is to support all students in their preparation for and transition to college, career and life. Regardless of the path students choose to pursue, they need to be transition ready. State and federal accountability systems can and should be used to highlight areas for improvement and connect programs and students with the supports they need to be successful.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

The Importance of State CTE Leadership

March 18th, 2019

This post is written by NOCTI, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

In the summer of 2018, the 115th Congress finalized the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century” act and it was subsequently signed by the President with an effective date of July 2018. That legislation marked the next revision in the 100-year history of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the legislation was dubbed “Perkins V” by the CTE community. This act was touted for its alignment to other pieces of relevant legislation including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  The additional flexibility provided to state CTE leaders was highlighted, and the law made a number of subtle changes that could impact the way individual states provide CTE to their learners. Though it may seem like a bit of an understatement, we believe that state CTE leadership is critical as each state outlines the opportunities for its workforce during this initial planning phase.

Here are just a few examples of the importance of CTE state leadership:

  • Perkins V requires a needs assessment and suggests numerous voices that can be a part of that conversation. Leadership will need to identify the most important voices to be included and the type of input that should be expected.
  • Perkins V requires state leaders to determine performance measures consisting of the core indicators outlined in the act. These measures must contain expected targets showing continuous improvement.
  • Perkins V includes some determination of secondary indicators of performance including a recognized post-secondary credential, post-secondary credits earned during the secondary experience and/or student participation in work-based learning.

In addition, Perkins V provides a host of permissible uses of funds including initiatives such as statewide programs of study, statewide industry partnerships, and statewide professional development targeted to recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers. As a non-profit organization serving the CTE community, and as long-time practitioners of CTE, we recognize these challenges and applaud those bold enough to take this opportunity to improve our students’ technical competence and academic underpinnings.

With a focus on data-driven improvement, NOCTI and its partners have served the CTE community for over 50 years.  Our services and processes have continued to evolve over the past five decades and we understand the importance of a dedicated and focused state leader. NOCTI is available to provide helpful and relevant resources that state leaders can use in their planning activities.

Resources include a collaborative series of books that include examples from over 40 states on CTE teaching, administration, and use of data for instructional improvement. Other resources focus on credentials that meet the WIOA definition of a post-secondary credential, while at the same time offer college credit meeting the requirements the secondary performance indicator. Resources are also available to address statewide professional development, workplace readiness credentialing and curriculum, customized state credentialing assessments, as well as digital badges and extensive data reports.

Interested in knowing more about what NOCTI can do for your state?  Seek us out at the upcoming Advance CTE meeting where we are pleased to be a sponsor!  You can also reach us at if you have more specific questions about how we can assist your state with a customized solution. Thanks for all you do; we look forward to seeing you in April!

Opening Eyes and Opening Doors to College and Career Pathways

March 14th, 2019

This post is written by Project Lead The Way, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

CTE provides vital resources for all students, particularly those who may otherwise not see STEM career opportunities.

“Students can’t be what they can’t see.”

This has become a mantra at Project Lead The Way (PLTW). While this statement applies to all students, many female, minority, or economically disadvantaged students may find it particularly difficult to see a variety of college or career options for themselves – especially in STEM fields. Yet STEM jobs continue to be the most in demand and highest paying.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s STEM Jobs: 2017 Update, STEM employment growth far exceeds growth in non-STEM occupations, and experts project that trend will continue. Career and Technical Education (CTE), including PLTW programs, give students opportunities to explore interests that can lead to lucrative and rewarding career paths.

PLTW’s PreK-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science empower students to develop in-demand skills needed to pursue rewarding careers, solve important challenges, and contribute to global progress. Providing students with these hands-on, real-world applied learning experiences is critical. In the 2017 report “STEM Occupations: Past, Present, and Future,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that STEM occupations experience above-average growth and that 93 out of 100 STEM occupations have wages “significantly above the national average wage for all occupations.”

In order to break down barriers that may keep students from “seeing” career opportunities, PLTW works to increase diversity and equity in CTE. How can CTE programs across the country expand access to all students?

Create Opportunities for Early Access to Career Learning

Access to engaging, high-quality, relevant, confidence-building STEM experiences is vital for all students – especially girls – and the earlier, the better. Research published in the journal “Child Development” shows that children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade. Additionally, 65 percent of scientists and graduate students interviewed in one study published in the “International Journal of Science” reported that their interest in science began before middle school.

Since 2014, PLTW has expanded career learning well before middle school with the addition of PLTW Launch for PreK-5. PLTW Launch empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. Students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Initially developed for K-5, PLTW added PreK in 2018 to engage learners as they first begin entering the school setting.

Leverage Partnerships and Community Resources to Expand Reach

PLTW is committed to engaging more students – including those from underrepresented backgrounds – in STEM, and research supports PLTW’s effectiveness in this area. A national demographic analysis of PLTW students finds that PLTW programs are distributed across the entire economic spectrum, and many schools with high minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged student populations have implemented PLTW with success.

The Toppenish School District, for instance, is a PLTW district in rural Washington. Ninety-five percent of its student population is Hispanic and Native American, and 100 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. In 2010, Toppenish High School implemented PLTW. Today, all students take at least one PLTW course, and female/male enrollment in the second year of PLTW courses is nearly equal. High-level math and science class enrollment has skyrocketed, and remedial class enrollment has dropped. The district now offers PLTW in all of its schools, and the graduation rate is 97.5 percent, compared to 90.4 percent five years prior.

PLTW leverages philanthropic partnerships to expand program access through grants, providing underserved students with access to high-quality STEM learning. For example, PLTW and Verizon have partnered since 2014 to provide computer science curriculum in schools with an average free or reduced-price lunch eligible population of 85 percent, benefiting students in 36 states across the U.S. PLTW also partners with organizations committed to increasing diversity in STEM, such as the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).

Provide Mentoring and Career Shadowing Opportunities to Open Students’ Eyes

PLTW alumna Markie Wagner shared in a recent episode of InspirED, a podcast from PLTW, that career experiences and mentoring opportunities play a critical role in inspiring students to pursue STEM interests, especially for girls and underserved communities. We all have a part to play in opening students’ eyes in order to open doors to endless possibilities, ensuring a better equipped and diverse workforce for the future.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on PLTW, visit

Level Up Coalition Calls on States and Communities to Develop Postsecondary Transitions Strategies

March 14th, 2019

There is an economic imperative to ensure that each learner has access to and completes postsecondary education or training. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some form of postsecondary education and training beyond high school. However, many learners, particularly first generation learners, low-income and learners of color, face challenges when transitioning from high school to college.

To help ensure systems support learners during this key time of transition, Level Up launched on March 8. Level Up, managed and run by Education Strategy Group (ESG), is a coalition of state and national partners, including Advance CTE, whose aim is to significantly increase the numbers of high school students prepared for and successfully transitioning to postsecondary education and training programs. The launch event for Level Up featured two panels that provided insight into the barriers that learners face when transitioning from high school to postsecondary education and training and highlighted state strategies to address these barriers.

The first panel, Removing Barriers, Transforming Lives, featured students who participated in the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, a collaborative between Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove. ACES provides services to students to support their transition to and completion of postsecondary education. The students remarked on how financial aid, mental health, responsibilities outside of school and a lack of information and academic planning were barriers to students’ successful transitions to postsecondary education. ACES helped students address these barriers through providing coaches that connected students to resources and helped them develop academic and transfer plans.

The second panel, Closing Gaps through Alignment and Collaboration, featured K-12 and higher education leaders who discussed how states and communities can work together to create seamless postsecondary transitions for each learner. For instance, Baltimore City Schools engaged in equity mapping to ensure its coursework is aligned across the education system to support learners’ attainment of postsecondary credentials.

At the launch event, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Education Commission of the States (ECS), ESG and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) released Taking Alignment to the Next Effort: How K-12 and Higher Education Can Collaborate to Support Student Success, which highlights steps that K-12 and higher education leaders can take to help learners successfully transition to postsecondary education and training. The report argues that there are three key pillars to a successful postsecondary transition strategy:

  • Aligning expectations;
  • Facilitating seamless transitions; and
  • Extend navigational supports.

As state leaders work to build pathways that support learners in their efforts to achieve their college and career goals, they should develop postsecondary transitions strategies to ensure that each learner is able to access and succeed in postsecondary education.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

President’s Budget Proposal Released

March 14th, 2019

During the last week, the President released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a meeting and there’s news about the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Read below to learn more.

President’s Budget Proposes Significant Cuts for Education and Workforce Programs 

On March 11, President Trump released the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins October 1. The President’s budget proposal is typically released the first Monday in February, but this year’s partial government shutdown delayed the process. Importantly, the release of the President’s budget proposal formally begins the appropriations process, during which Congress will decide the extent to which they align their funding decisions with the priorities laid out in the President’s budget proposal.

Unfortunately, the proposal includes a 12.5 percent cut overall for the U.S. Department of Education and a  9.7 percent cut overall for the U.S. Department of Labor. Some key programs are highlighted below and the specific levels for each program can be found in the U.S. Department of Education budget summary and the U.S. Department of Labor budget in brief:

  • Investments in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V):
    • CTE State Grants: proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants at the amount provided by Congress in FY19. The President’s budget also includes the recommendation that Congress authorize changes to increase the fees collected for H-1B visas and redirect 15 percent of that revenue to provide an increase in funding for CTE State Grants. However, we are still examining this proposal and at this point, it is unclear if this would be a practical way to ensure more resources for CTE State Grants and how much funding could be realized.
    • National Programs: proposed increase of $12.58 million above the amount provided by Congress in FY19 to support the new Innovation and Modernization grants authorized under Perkins V.
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which can support CTE as part of a well-rounded education: proposed for elimination.
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, authorized under Title II of ESSA, which can support CTE professional development: proposed for elimination.
  • Pell Grants: proposed to keep the maximum Pell grant frozen at its current level, rescind $2 billion from the the Pell reserve (the unobligated funds for the program that have been previously appropriated), and expand the access to the Pell grant to short-term programs. Advance CTE is supportive of expanding Pell grants to shorter-term programs as outlined in the JOBS Act, which has bipartisan support.
  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): proposed level funding at the amount provided by Congress in FY19.
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants: proposed decrease of $156.2 million below the level provided by Congress in FY19.
  • Apprenticeship grants: proposed level funding at the amount provided by Congress in FY19, noting that these funds should be directed to Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor the appropriations process and will let you know when it is time to contact your members of Congress.

American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meets 

On March 6, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a meeting. As we reported, the board is comprised of 25 members representing the education, business, nonprofit and government fields. During the meeting, Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President, shared four goals that were discussed during the meeting:

  • “First is to develop a robust campaign to promote multiple pathways to good-paying jobs, dispelling the myth that there is only one path to a successful career.
  • Second, improving the availability of high-quality, transparent, and timely data to better inform students and educators, as well as match American workers to American jobs.
  • Third, modernizing candidate recruitment and training practices to expand the pool of job applicants employers are looking to hire.
  • And finally, measuring and encouraging employer-led training and investments. We are championing and seeking to further private-sector leadership and investment in workforce development.”

Additional remarks from the meeting are now available. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the advisory board.

Fourteen States Now Publishing Spending Data per ESSA Requirements

For the first time, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to publish school-by-school spending data to illuminate where and how taxpayer dollars are being spent on education. According to an analysis from Georgetown University14 states have now made this information public. Many states are still working through the process of collecting and publishing their spending data.

States Mulling Revisions to ESSA Plans

According to EdWeek, five states – New Mexico, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wyoming – are considering revisions to their ESSA state plans. Most of the proposed changes involve restructuring the school rating system without significantly altering the accountability indicators.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate