Congratulations to the 2018 Excellence in Action Award Recipients!

April 9th, 2018

On Friday, we announced the 11 2018 Excellence in Action award recipients that represent some of the best Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in the country.  The awardees were chosen by a selection committee based on their proven ability to exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters®, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

Award Winners included:

  • A&M Consolidated High School, TX (Information Technology)
  • Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center, SC (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics)
  • Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, TX (Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources)
  • Dauphin County Technical School, PA (Architecture & Construction)
  • Granite Technical Institute/Granite School District, UT (Manufacturing)
  • Indian Capital Technology Center, OK (Health Sciences)
  • Nashua Technology Center at Nashua High School South, NH (Arts, A/V Technology & Communications)
  • Saginaw Career Complex, MI (Hospitality & Tourism)
  • Sunrise Mountain High School, AZ (Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security)
  • Traverse Bay Area ISD Career Tech Center, MI (Education & Training)
  • William J. Pete Knight High School, CA (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

“The programs of study that we are honoring today all share a steadfast commitment to the highest expectations for CTE,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “This dedication to quality and excellence leads to strong learner outcomes, creating opportunities for a lifetime of career and education success. Today’s honorees serve as national models of what high-quality CTE looks like and can achieve.”

Award recipients were honored at the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, where nearly 30 administrators, educators and students traveled across the country to be recognized in front of state and national leaders.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Sandra Clement, principal of Foy H. Moody High School, a recipient of a 2014 Excellence in Action award, created an inspiring energy in the room as she spoke about the successful CTE programming, and it’s positive impact on the learners at the school..

“I wanted to make sure the change I was making was not only at the school but to our community,” said Dr. Sandra Clement.

She continued, “CTE is not an elective, it is a pathway.” Dr. Sandra Clement also emphasized the importance of recognizing and celebrating the instructors and administrators that contribute to these award-winning programs. “Our classrooms are powered by the hearts of our educators,” she exclaimed.

This was clearly event throughout the ceremony as instructors representing the winning programs shared the success of their programs and their passion for seeing students excel.

“Those who can do, but those who inspire teach!” said Bart Taylor, Information Technology teacher at A&M Consolidated High School.


Learn more about the 2018 Excellence in Action awards here.

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: New MSSC High School Pre-apprenticeship

April 3rd, 2018

High-quality Feeder System for Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeships

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council is proud to announce a new High School Pre-Apprenticeship Program for manufacturing, which includes 560 hours of “Earn and Learn” On-the-Job Learning over summer semesters during junior and senior year. It is an excellent preparation for the 3,000-hour Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Registered Apprenticeship Program that embeds the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT).


The U.S. Department of Labor recently approved this program as a nationwide quality pre-apprenticeship. An earn-and-learn competency-based program, that takes place over 2 years. It consists of:

  • Related Training: 80 hours junior year and 80 hours senior year
  • On the Job Learning (OJL): 280 hours (8 weeks) in the summer of junior year and 280 hours (8 weeks) in the summer of senior year, for which the student will receive a stipend.

During Related Training, candidate earns the industry-recognized, nationally portable MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) or the hands-on CPT+ based upon the new and highly innovative Amatrol “Skill Boss” training device (see brochure). CPT+ is an additional option under the CPT program.

MSSC suggests that the participating employer pay $2800 per year per candidate for this program: $1000 goes to the high school (or partnering community college) for the Related Training and $1800 goes towards the student summer stipend (about $6.50 per hour). This covers the student’s 80 hours per summer semester of OJL. The 2-year total employer contribution is $5600 per student.

Relationship to Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeships, especially IMT

MSSC CPT is a Related Instruction provider for more than sixty 3,000-hour registered apprenticeship programs in the U.S. for the occupation of Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT). While partnered with IMT, the MSSC Pre-Apprenticeship can serve as a high-quality feeder system for most 3,000 hour+ Registered Apprenticeships in manufacturing.

Traditionally focused on two-year colleges, MSSC is becoming increasingly active in high school settings with currently 230 actively participating high schools in the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) programs. MSSC delivers its training and certification services through 2200 MSSC-authorized Instructors and 1150 MSSC Authorized Assessment Centers, mostly at community colleges and secondary schools, in 49 states.

If you are interested in potentially participating in either the new MSSC High School Pre-Apprenticeship or the IMT U.S. DOL Registered Apprenticeship Program, please e-mail or call Catherine Feeney, MSSC Marketing Manager, 703-739-9000, ext. 2222
The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers. For details, see

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Addressing the CS, STEM and Employability Skills Gap Nationally: CTE Leadership and Alliance

April 2nd, 2018

This post is written by Microsoft, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Technology skills requirements are rapidly changing in the workforce. Skills and learning including technology skills that used to be important for a narrow band of students pursuing computer science or technology curriculum are now priorities across the education spectrum. Jobs require increasing technical skills across all sectors from health care to banking to marketing. In fact, it’s increasingly difficult to think of a position or career that is not touched in some way by technology.

Meanwhile, today’s global youth unemployment rate is 13.1% and rising. 50% of today’s jobs require depth technology skills and this is predicted to increase to more than 77% in less than a decade. According to an IT labor shortage report, there will be 6.2 million new IT jobs by 2022, most in cloud-related fields.  We also know that 71% of jobs classified as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related are in computing fields or the “T” in STEM. Yet, only 8% of graduates are enrolled in the relevant Computer Science programs in universities. And it’s a challenge that starts earlier and raises a good question as to how Microsoft and others in the industry can collaborate with educators and government leaders in the US and globally to help equip younger learners (and educators) in K-12 with resources to help fill the future pipeline for technical skills.

Microsoft is committed to making this space of technical and employability skills education in schools a priority across the US and in markets around the globe. A key part of that focus is collaboration and alliance with the mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the US and represented in multiple, ongoing partnerships Microsoft has formed with state leaders and CTE programs across the country.

Microsoft’s hallmark Imagine Academy skills program is designed as a partnership opportunity with K-12 high schools as well as middle schools to help deliver meaningful, relevant and valuable skills-based learning programs with outcomes of Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Employability – factors relevant to governors and policy-makers in states and communities across the US. With schools engaging for the employability skills priority in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico,

Microsoft and its certification partner Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business, are focused on a highly impactful formula for institutions, educators and students to incorporate both the latest technology skills curriculum and industry validation leading to skills for success and career preparation for students

A key focus of the Microsoft Imagine Academy program is also on state and school leaders looking to transition their education systems to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive global economy. A critical part of that digital transformation in schools is preparing teachers for technology and innovation adoption in the classroom. Microsoft Imagine Academy designed with student outcomes in mind and also built to provide educators the resources they need to bring practical, applied technical learning to the classroom and blended learning experiences globally.

Microsoft Imagine Academy provides industry aligned curricula and certifications to train and validate students and educators competencies for high-demand technologies .The program focus is on four in-demand learning and career pathways of  study: Computer Science, Data Science, IT Infrastructure, and Productivity.

Program courses are available online and can be used for classroom instruction, blended learning and self-paced learning. Each school membership includes access to more than 150 cloud and classroom-based courses for students, staff and educators and helps prepare learners for Microsoft’s globally recognized industry certifications:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
  • Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE)

Today’s Imagine Academy is utilized in more than 16,000 academic institutions around the world, reaches 8.5 million students and educators annually, and last school year helped deliver 2.3M certification exams in academic institutions around the world.

Thank you to the many state CTE leadership teams Microsoft is already collaborating with for success. Through alliances with state leaders and the energized support of CTE programs nationally, thousands of students each year are participating in the premier Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) championships competition and gaining strong preparation for future college and careers.  Microsoft is proud to support the mission of CTE programs nationally and looks forward to further alliance with state leaders in helping prepare the next generation workforce for success.

“Thanks to the NCDPI’s partnership with Microsoft… teachers are improving their technology knowledge; and students are building the twenty-first century skills that will make them more marketable to future employers.” – Dr. June Atkinson, former North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: CompTIA is at the Forefront of Helping Prepare Students to Become Job-ready

April 2nd, 2018

This post is written by CompTIA, a Diamon Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Currently, there are more than 600,000 open IT jobs and not nearly enough qualified candidates to fill them.  Does anyone anticipate this number going down?  We certainly don’t.  As everything becomes more and more connected—lightbulbs, appliances, smart grids—the need also increases to maintain and secure these connections.  In addition, IT is everywhere!  There is NO industry which doesn’t have IT needs.

Did you know:

  • Median IT job salaries are nearly $40,000 higher than non-IT jobs
  • The global IT industry now exceeds $5 TRILLION and is expected to grow 5% in 2018
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IT Security Analyst position is the fastest growing job they have ever seen
  • 85 percent of executives indicate there is an IT skills gap in their business

A great way to visualize the size of the skills gap is to visit the website  This site was developed from a grant from the National Initiative for CyberSecurity Education (NICE) and data from Burning Glass.  The site includes very recent job data to illustrate the need for qualified cyber workers by state, region and nation.  There is also a cyber pathway tool that shows specific cyber jobs, salaries and openings in the US.

We need to work together to help students and educators understand the vast opportunities in technology careers.  Employers are looking for candidates that can demonstrate the skills needed to fill technology positions in almost every industry sector.

Providing students with the proper preparation AND an industry-recognized credential will help them stand out during their career search.  Keeping skills current and relevant is a challenge, but one answer is to ensure that they obtain Industry-Recognized Certifications.  More than 72 percent of businesses say they believe IT skills certifications are becoming more important.

CompTIA is at the forefront of helping prepare students to become job-ready: 

  • We have certified more than 2 million individuals worldwide, and are the largest vendor-neutral IT certification body in the world
  • Our certifications are recognized globally
  • Our Academy Partner Program works with secondary and post-secondary schools to support their efforts to train and certify students
  • We now have our own CompTIA Training Strategies Group, which can do custom training for trainers or students

What can you do NOW to help properly prepare students for a rewarding IT career?  It must first start in our high schools:

  • Instructors need to be certified in the certifications they are teaching
  • Help students understand the importance recognized certification credentials;
  • Certifications=Jobs, and most colleges provide credit for industry-recognized certifications towards a degree
  • Combine classroom-based instruction with work-based learning opportunities—apprenticeships, visits to local businesses, etc.

CompTIA is here to help!  Our Academy Partner Program (free to schools) provides:

  • Complimentary instructor vouchers and CertMaster online learning companion
  • Significantly discounted certification vouchers for students
  • CompTIA Instructor Network community to network with other teachers and provide webinars on how to teach our certifications.
  • Research, posters, case studies and other resources

Working together, we can help students get started towards an exciting career in the tech industry.  Please stop by our tabletop to learn more.

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Lincoln Electric is Ready to Help You Train the Welding Workforce of Tomorrow

March 30th, 2018

This post is written by Lincoln Electric, a Diamon Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

According to the American Welding Society, 30,000 new welders must enter the workforce each year to keep up with demand and offset retirements, and more than 10 times as many jobs will need to be filled during the next 10 years. This equates into abundant opportunities in a variety of welding disciplines for students looking to begin a career in the trades.

But the welding profession is evolving, as is the definition of knowing how to weld.

To remain competitive globally, today’s manufacturers require welders with experience in more types of welds than ever before, as well as an understanding of robotic automation, advanced equipment, exotic materials, specialized code certification, welding theory and welding procedure specifications.

As the welding profession evolves, so, too, does education.

Welding booths and Statiflex weld fume extraction system at Lincoln Electric’s Welding Technology and Training Center.

In its second century of welding education, Lincoln Electric is responding to this evolution by offering U/LINC®, the industry’s most comprehensive curriculum, immersing students in the latest techniques and theories related to welding and cutting.

Our new Lincoln Electric Welding Technology and Training Center (WTTC) in Cleveland, Ohio, provides students with access to the most innovative welding solutions. In this showcase welding school environment, students learn on the latest advanced equipment, modes and processes. Advanced training is available on waveform technology, automation, production monitoring and metallurgy.

Students will leave the WTTC with both a better knowledge base about welding and about the underlying theories and rules behind specific processes. And educators, who typically come from industry with little or no background in teaching, will learn how to develop lesson plans, engage students, and adopt best practices in lab and classroom activities and take that knowledge back to their own schools. Industrial teams can tailor training around specific weld qualifications, equipment or knowledge needs. Welding, civil and manufacturing engineers seeking professional development will enhance their understanding of design with welding in mind.

Lincoln Electric is excited to play a leading role in the education and development of future generations of welders as we have for more than 100 years. We stand ready to deliver the highly skilled and knowledgeable welding leaders that industry demands.

Learn more about the complete portfolio of Lincoln Electric welding education equipment, curriculum, education discounts, educator professional development, welding simulators and more at:

Hello from Advance CTE’s Newest Staff Member

March 29th, 2018

I’m Nicole Howard and I’m so excited to join Advance CTE as the new Communications Associate! I’ll be helping to implement our communications strategy and supporting states in their communications and advocacy efforts.

I have a background in communications related to the field of education. I was raised by a family of educators and have always viewed education as something every student should have equal access to. I was enrolled in the Summer Transition Enrichment Program (STEP) at American University (AU) that gave me a head start on my undergraduate education. My junior year at AU, I served as the STEP Assistant. In this role, I was able to help first-generation and minority students begin their college career with the resources and support they needed. I was impacted by watching them grow and truly succeed their own goals. Since then I’ve gained communications experience working with education-focused companies including corporate, nonprofit and postsecondary sectors. I believe writing helps to elevate the voices that need to be heard.

I believe access to a CTE program can help put students on a pathway to postsecondary and career that can benefit their future well-being as an adult. I am excited to advocate for CTE because I believe the more opportunities presented to a student the more hopeful they may become about their future and energized to complete their secondary education.

Nicole Howard, Communications Advocate

Leaders in Data Analysis Discuss Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education

March 28th, 2018

In light of Congress’ work towards reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), Results for America, Knowledge Alliance and America Forward hosted an event  on March 22 about the role that data and evidence can play in improving student outcomes in higher education. This event also came after Results for America released their bipartisan report, “Moneyball for Higher Education,” which outlines recommendations for how state leaders should use data and evidence in the financing of colleges to improve student outcomes.

The event began with remarks from U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) about the importance of evidence and innovation in higher education. Meng discussed the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which provides financial, academic and financial support to assist students in earning their associate degrees within three years. Meng highlighted the data-driven nature of ASAP, as the program tracks metrics that include advisors’ contact with students and student outcome trends to determine what is working in the program and where improvements can be made.

While ASAP costs CUNY more per student initially than students not involved in ASAP, by graduation, CUNY spends less per ASAP student compared to students not in the program because the students in ASAP graduate at a faster rate than students not in ASAP. Graduation rates for students in ASAP have increased to 40 percent, compared to 22 percent for CUNY students overall.

The event ended with a panel that featured experts in the field of education and data analysis. James Kvaal, the President of the Institute for College Access and Success, outlined what he would like to see come from a reauthorized HEA: investing in ways to measure critical outcomes, sectioning off one percent of the higher education budget for evaluation and systemically channeling resources into programs that work. Michael Weiss, a senior associate from MDRC, mentioned the need for more comprehensive, long-lasting interventions, such as the ASAP program, that address multiple barriers to education across an extended period of time.

The panel concluded with the panelists discussing what they would change about the education system. Greg Johnson, CEO of Bottom Line, advocated tying Pell grants to an advising requirement. Kvaal emphasized the importance of colleges deciding what outcomes they want to produce and then investing the necessary resources so that those outcomes can come to fruition. Weiss expressed his desire for the use of a funding model that would allow for experimentation on the lowest level and an investment in data driven programs like ASAP on the highest level.

While the panelists recognized that the current education system is inequitable and touched on ways that data can be used to improve student outcomes in higher education, it would have been great to hear more on how data could be used to align labor market needs with student outcomes, as well as how data from the secondary system can be used to create higher-quality postsecondary programs.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Includes Increase for Perkins

March 27th, 2018

Last week marked a big week for Congress’ work on both Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) and 2019 (FY19) appropriations. Read below to learn more about what was included for education and workforce programs in the FY18 omnibus appropriations bill, the FY19 “Dear Colleague” letters to request a strong investment in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) Basic State Grants and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ testimony on the President’s FY19 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Education.

FY18 Omnibus Signed Into Law, Perkins Receives $75 Million Increase

Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed an omnibus appropriations bill for FY18. Notably, the omnibus included a $75 million boost to the Perkins Basic State Grant, bringing this investment up to nearly $1.2 billion. This increase will be allocated to states based on the federal to state formula included in Title I of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). You can find more information about the the omnibus in Advance CTE’s press release and some notable increases (compared to FY17 levels) to education and workforce programs are outlined below:

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants, grants authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) received a $700 million increase.
  • Congress authorized an increase in the maximum award for federal Pell Grants. Eligible students could receive up to $6,095 for the 2018-2019 academic year, compared to the current $5,920 per year.
  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) were increased by $80 million.
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants were increased by $35 million.
  • Apprenticeship grants received a $50 million increase.

Looking for additional information on program allocations? The National Skills Coalition has a helpful table that compares the FY17 and FY18 omnibus appropriations levels for key education and workforce programs and the Committee for Education Funding has a new table that shows the FY16, FY17 and FY18 appropriations levels as well as the Presidents’ FY18 and FY19 requests for many education programs.

170 Representatives Sign Letter to Support Federal Investment in Perkins

As we reported, Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA) led an effort to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to the leaders of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee requesting strong funding for Perkins. A record 170 Representatives from both parties across 40 states and territories signed the letter – a strong show of support for CTE and a reflection of your advocacy efforts! Advance CTE will be sending thank you letters to these members of Congress and we encourage you to do so as well if your Representative signed on to the letter (and you can find their contact information through the U.S. House of Representatives Directory).

Contact Your Senator About Signing the FY19 Perkins Funding Letter

Senator Blumenthal (D-CT), along with two of the co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, Senators Baldwin (D-WI) and Kaine (D-VA), will be sending a letter to the Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member, Senator Murray (D-WA), of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies encouraging that they consider increasing the federal investment in Perkins to $1.3 billion. Right now, these Senators are asking for their colleagues to join them in signing this letter (their request is formally called a “Dear Colleague” letter). Please consider contacting your Senators to encourage them to sign on to the letter by using the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Action Center or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking your Senators to sign onto the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Perkins appropriations letter.

Secretary DeVos Testifies on U.S. Department of Education FY19 Budget 

On March 20, Secretary DeVos testified on the President’s FY19 Budget Request before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee. After opening statements, Members of the subcommittee used the entire time allotted for the hearing for their questions, which focused on a variety of topics, including school safety, school choice and more. Secretary DeVos discussed CTE briefly in her opening statement and in response to remarks from Representatives who noted their support of CTE, she said, “we would advocate for making the CTE programming through the Perkins program more flexible to reach down even into middle school to help students know and understand, again what pathways they might have beyond high school to consider.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Certiport Discusses Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

March 26th, 2018

Below is a guest blog from Advanced CTE’s Diamond Sponsor, Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business. Certiport will host an evening of drinks and hors-d’oeuvres at a hospitality suite Wednesday, April 4, from 4:30 – 7:00 PM in Room 835 of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

Although today’s digital natives have grown up immersed in technology, many do not know how to use productivity tools intelligently and efficiently. Students may know how to navigate Google and use a cell phone with ease, but can they format a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?  Can they use Adobe Photoshop to cut out an unintended passerby in a photo?  Knowing how to use basic, ubiquitous technology tools is essential for academic and workplace success.

Succeeding in the Modern Workplace

Basic digital literacy skills are required in virtually every industry, but students often enter the workforce without them. projects there will be an estimated 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020, based on estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job creation and estimates of college graduation rates by the National Science Foundation.

This is why performance-based digital literacy certifications — such as Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, and Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification — are critical for students.  Certification validates basic technology skills, giving students a leg up as they apply to college and start a career.

Succeeding in School

The benefits of certification are numerous – several studies show that students who earn certification have an increased graduation rate, higher G.P.A., increased post-secondary enrollment and improved confidence.  The Florida Career and Professional Education department performance report in particular shows an average G.P.A. of 3.09 for students with certification compared to 2.72 for students without certification.  An impressive 97.2% of students with certification graduate compared to 83.9% of students without.

Learn More

Certiport hosts the annual CERTIFIED Educator Conference, the perfect place to learn how much technology certification can impact your classroom, your career, and the lives of your students.  Learn more about attending the event from June 13 – 15 in Atlanta, Georgia at

We also invite you to read more about the need for foundational technology skills in the issue brief that will be included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting conference bag.  Certiport offers learning curriculum, practice tests, and performance-based IT certification exams to open up academic and career opportunities for learners.  Our offerings include:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Adobe Certified Associate
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • IC3 Spark
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Please join us the evening of Wednesday, April 4 for hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and discussion at our hospitality suite (Room 835 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel) from 4:30 – 7:00 PM.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Spring Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock
, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson
, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark
, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

How Leading States are Strengthening the CTE Teacher Pipeline in Rural America

March 22nd, 2018

In Nebraska, rural districts have been undertaking a wholesale needs assessment of local Career Technical Education (CTE) program offerings under the state’s reVISION initiative. Under reVISION, school and district leaders examine regional labor market data and hear from local employers to determine whether or not the programs available to students are those that are most in-demand.

If programs are out of sync with workforce needs, or deemed to be low-quality, local leaders will phase those programs out and transition resources and staff to higher-need program areas. This includes retraining teachers to teach classes in subject areas with the highest need, such as agriculture, health care and precision manufacturing.

Nebraska is just one of many states working to strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline in rural areas by recruiting qualified instructors, preparing them for success on day one, and providing professional development and re-certification opportunities to help them grow professionally throughout their career.

Today, Advance CTE released the fourth, and final, installment in the CTE on the Frontier series, which examines challenges and strategies for expanding access to high-quality career pathways in rural areas. The series is funded through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Today’s brief explores one of the most pressing challenges rural schools and institutions face: strengthening the pipeline of qualified CTE teachers and faculty. Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers can make or break a CTE program. The following are some approaches leading states are taking to support rural CTE teachers:

  • Recruiting within the community by expanding grow-your-own teacher academy pathways or reducing barriers to entry for industry professionals;
  • Innovating to compete with industry by valuing work experience in teacher and faculty salary schedules;
  • Restructuring new teacher induction programs to extend supports and mentorship opportunities throughout the first year, and providing a continuum of supports for veteran teachers;
  • Strengthening relationships with traditional teacher preparation pipelines; and
  • Adopting a diversified approach to recruiting and training new instructors, establishing multiple pathways into CTE classrooms.

CTE teacher recruitment is a challenge that has dogged state leaders for decades. According to a recent survey of State CTE Directors, 98 percent said that increasing access to industry experts is a high priority in their state. And 20.4 percent of rural districts with CTE teacher vacancies report that CTE positions were either very difficult or impossible to fill.

Such teacher shortages are exacerbated in rural areas, where the pool of qualified candidates is often much smaller. This brief aims to elevate promising practices across the states to help state leaders address rural CTE teaching capacity challenges.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate