Posts Tagged ‘Access and Equity’

The State of CTE and Workforce Development Services for Incarcerated Youth

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Only eight states currently offer all juvenile justice involved youth in secure facilities the opportunity to take onsite or online Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, develop soft employability skills, engage in work-based learning and earn an industry-recognized credential. This finding comes from the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center’s On Track: How Well Are States Preparing Youth in the Juvenile Justice System for Employment report, which examines the state of CTE and workforce development services for incarcerated youth in all 50 states.

The report found that most incarcerated youth are not provided the workforce development services necessary to obtain viable employment in the community after release. Notably, only 26 states provide on-site or online CTE programs to incarcerated youth. This access challenge is compounded by the quality of these programs. High-quality CTE programs align with high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations. However, the CSG’s report found that few states offer CTE courses to all youth in key areas of labor market growth. 

Other key findings from the report include that most state juvenile justice facilities lack the partnerships needed to help incarcerated youth overcome barriers to obtaining viable employment and most states do not track key employment outcomes for incarcerated youth while they are in facilities and after their release. To help state and local leaders address these challenges and the barriers that hinder juvenile justice involved youth from obtaining viable employment, the report includes a checklist of best practices. 

Some of these best practices include ensuring that CTE course offerings and other workforce development services are focused on areas of local job growth and are informed by feedback from employers; workforce development data is disaggregated by youth demographics, facility and program/provider to identify trends and disparities; and CTE courses and trainings in juvenile justice facilities lead to industry-recognized credentials. 

State leaders have a responsibility to identify and dismantle historical barriers and construct systems that support each learner, including juvenile justice involved youth, in accessing, feeling welcome in, fully participating in and successfully completing a high-quality CTE program of study. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) provides state leaders with a critical opportunity to improve their juvenile justice system. Specifically, Perkins V increases the allowable state set-aside funding from one percent to two percent to serve individuals in State Institutions and specifically adds juvenile justice facilities to the types of institutions where these funds can be used. State leaders can leverage these funds to improve CTE programs in juvenile justice facilities. 

To learn more about the CSG report and how state leaders can leverage Perkins V to improve CTE programs in juvenile justice facilities, click here to access the Leveraging Perkins V to Improve CTE Programs in the Juvenile Justice System webinar recording and slides. 

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Congressional CTE Caucus Holds Briefing on Increasing Access and Equity

Monday, November 25th, 2019

On Wednesday, November 20, the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus held a briefing on Increasing Access and Equity in Career & Technical Education. During the briefing, panelists discussed challenges to increasing access and equity in CTE, ongoing efforts to address gaps and how the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) can help to close equity gaps. 

Co-Chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA), joined the session and gave remarks to the group. Congressman Thompson voiced his support for high quality CTE programs, and expressed the urgent need to improve access and equity to and within these programs. He shared that “the power of work must be accessible to everyone, and CTE offers significant opportunities.”

The full panel represented the state, local and employer perspectives, and included: 

Advance CTE’s Brianna McCain started off the briefing by discussing the history and current trends of access and equity in CTE, as well as how states can leverage Perkins V to support high quality CTE for each and every learner. Brianna pointed out that as the quality of CTE programs has significantly improved, the nature of the equity challenge in CTE has changed. Today, a renewed focus must be placed on ensuring equitable access to these high-quality programs. 

All panelists agreed that it is essential to collaborate across agencies and with employer and community representatives. This is the way to ensure that all populations are being reached, and that programs are developed to set learners up for success. When speaking about the juvenile justice population, Nina Salomon shared how she found that most juvenile justice agencies are not partnering with workforce agencies, education agencies or employers. This led to a disconnect in all groups understanding what resources are available, including federal funding opportunities through Perkins and WIOA. Therefore, administrators have been missing out on opportunities to provide education and training in juvenile justice systems. 

Check out Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise series to learn more about how states can leverage data to identify and address equity gaps, rebuild trust with historically underserved communities, expand access to high-quality CTE for each and every learner and build systems to ensure learner success. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized
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Expanding Access to CTE Opportunities for Each Learner

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. Today, the quality of Career Technical Education (CTE) has vastly improved, making it a preferred path for many secondary and postsecondary learners. Yet even today, many learners do not have access to high-quality programs of study in their communities. To help state leaders recognize historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE launched a series of policy briefs titled Making Good on the Promise. The first three briefs in the series explored the history of inequities in CTE, highlighted promising practices from states that are using data to identify and close equity gaps, and explored how state leaders can build trust with historically marginalized communities that may not believe in the promise and value of CTE.

Building off these briefs, the fourth brief in the series, Making Good on the Promise: Expanding Access to Opportunity, examines strategies state leaders can use to expand CTE opportunities for each learner. Specifically, the brief examines how state leaders can:

To help state leaders accomplish this, the brief examines promising strategies that Tennessee, Rhode Island, Ohio, and South Carolina are using to dismantle barriers that prevent learners from accessing high-quality CTE. For example:

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Advance CTE Resources
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Updated Advance CTE Recommendations for HEA Reauthorization

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

As Congress consider reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), Advance CTE reviewed our HEA recommendations. Last month, we added a recommendation to lift the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals.

From 1972 to 1994, all those incarcerated in state or federal prisons were eligible to receive Pell Grants. However, in 1994 President Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control Act banned access to Pell Grants for all incarcerated individuals. In 2015, President Barack Obama announced the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative– which allowed for those incarcerated to access Pell at experimental sites for the first time since 1994. In February the U.S. Department of Education approved renewal of this pilot program. There are now 67 participating colleges and universities and over 100 federal and state prisons included in this program- leading 12,000 incarcerated individuals to utilize Pell funding. While this has been positive progress, there are over 1.5 million people incarcerated- and only a small portion of those who are otherwise eligible for Pell are able to access it.

A recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice and Georgetown Law School’s Center on Poverty and Inequality found that in state prisons- which hold the majority of prisoners in this country- about 463,000 people are eligible for Pell Grants. Currently, only 50 percent of those previously incarcerated find formal work in their first year after release from prison. The report found that if 50 percent of state prisoners who are Pell eligible are able to enroll in a postsecondary program, the rate of employment for formerly incarcerated individuals in their first year after release from prison would increase by 2.1 percent.

Support for expanding Pell access has been voiced across both parties. For example, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Committee on Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) have all stated support. U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has also mentioned an interest in lifting this ban.

Eliminating the ban on Pell in all prisons would give hundreds of thousands access to postsecondary education, and allow these learners to pursue meaningful employment after incarceration. Advance CTE recommends reinstating Pell Grants in prisons to allow all learners the opportunity for postsecondary attainment, and set them up for career success.

Advance CTE’s full recommendations for HEA reauthorization can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized
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The National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine Releases Report Focused on Strengthening the STEM Talent Pipeline at MSIs

Monday, February 11th, 2019

There are roughly 700 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) that produce one fifth of the nation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) bachelor’s degrees. To discuss the importance of these institutions to the nation’s future, on February 6, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine hosted a national convocation. The convocation focused on how to leverage MSIs to strengthen the STEM talent pipeline for nontraditional students and students of color.

The convocation was rooted in the National Academies’ report, Minority Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce, which identifies promising programs and strategies to increase the quantity and quality of MSI STEM graduates and conveys the importance of MSIs to stakeholders. The report was developed with input from a committee with representation from industry, education and workforce institutions and identified seven promising practices to strengthen the quality of STEM education, research and workforce preparation for MSIs learners:

Key to the report is the emphasis it places on intentionality. To help illustrate what it would mean to be intentional about strengthening and supporting MSIs, the National Academies hosted panels and facilitated breakout groups at the convocation.The panels featured higher education, civil rights, industry and workforce experts with experience working with or advocating on behalf of learners at MSIs. Panelists discussed the importance of being intentional about establishing partnerships that outlast leadership and fostering an inclusive campus culture, among other topics.

Audience members then participated in solution-oriented breakout groups that focused on reimagining MSI partnerships, building financial capacity for MSIs, and being cognizant of culture and intentionality at MSIs. Participants in these breakout groups suggested establishing partnerships that would prepare MSI learners for the future of work, establishing a coalition of business partners to fund MSIs, and engaging non-minority faculty to mentor MSI students, among other solutions.

As state leaders work on promoting equity in Career Technical Education (CTE), they should consider how they can leverage the seven promising practices identified in the National Academies’ report to intentionally strengthen the STEM and other workforce talent pipelines for students of color. To learn more about how to advance equity in CTE, see Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise Series, which provides promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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States Passed 146 Policies to Support CTE in 2018

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

2018 was a significant year for Career Technical Education (CTE) at the federal and state levels. On July 31, 2018, the President signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) into law, which reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). The reauthorization of Perkins signaled a federal commitment to and a recognition of the promise and value of high-quality CTE. Additionally, at the state level 42 states and Washington, D.C., passed a total of 146 policy actions related to CTE and career readiness, reflecting a commitment from state leaders to advance CTE.

Today, Advance CTE and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released the sixth annual Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE report, examining 2018 state legislative activity, including legislation, executive orders, board of education actions, budget provisions and ballot initiatives. To develop the report, Advance CTE and ACTE reviewed state activity, catalogued all finalized state action and coded activity based on the policy area of focus. For 2018, the top policy areas of focus include:

In total, 30 states enacted policy in 2018 that impacted CTE funding, making funding the most popular policy category for the sixth year in a row. A number of states directed funding toward the needs of underrepresented, low-income or otherwise disadvantaged populations, including California, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and North Carolina. Washington established a scholarship program to support foster and homeless youth entering postsecondary education or pursuing an apprenticeship, among other policies that supported access and equity, and New York is funding 15 early college high school programs aligned with in-demand industries in communities with low rates of graduation or postsecondary transition.

While roughly one hundred fewer policies were passed in 2018 than in 2017, this past year’s policies still reflect a commitment from state leaders to advance CTE. A decrease in the number of CTE policies passed compared to previous years should not be misinterpreted as an indication that CTE is not a priority for states. In fact, at least 16 governors identified modernizing CTE as a priority for their states during their 2018 State of State Addresses.

As states continue to pass CTE related policies, it is important to focus on the quality of the implementation of the policies and not only the quantity. To view the previous years’ Year in Review reports click here. Advance CTE and ACTE will be joined by a state leader to discuss these policies in more depth on February 14 at 2 p.m. EST – to register for the webinar click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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Advance CTE Report Describes How State Leaders Can Build Trust with Historically Marginalized Communities

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. To help state leaders recognize these historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE launched a series of policy briefs titled Making Good on the Promise. The first briefs in the series explored the history of inequities in CTE and highlighted promising practices from states that are using data to identify and address access and achievement gaps by different learner populations.

Building off these briefs, the third brief in the series, Making Good on the Promise: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE, maps out steps state leaders can take to rebuild trust in marginalized communities that CTE historically failed to serve equitably. The brief outlines five steps state leaders can take to build trust in communities that do not view CTE as a viable mechanism to help them achieve their college and career goals:

To helps states with these steps, the brief features state examples from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Idaho and Nebraska and draws on messaging data from Advance CTE’s The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students:

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Publications, Resources
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This Week in CTE

Friday, November 30th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education has approved plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for all states and territories. They have also released guidance for new state leaders who want to amend their state ESSA plans. According to the guidance, states will need to submit an update with redlined language and a cover letter summarizing any changes. New plans will need to be submitted by March 1, 2019 to be considered.

With plans approved, reports are being published with a focus on how equity is being addressed in these state plans including the progress being made towards implementation. Read our blog to learn more about those reports.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Every Student Succeeds Act: What is in it? What does it mean for equity?

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, originally passed in 1965, was reauthorized by Congress in December 2015 and renamed the Every Student Succeeds Act Watch this video to get a brief overview of the meaningful levers that education leaders, parents, members of the business and civil rights communities, and advocates can use to advance education equity.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Seizing the Moment: A District Guide to Advance Equity Through ESSA

The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program, Chiefs for Change, EducationCounsel, and Education First partnered to create Seizing the Moment: A District Guide to Advance Equity Through ESSA. This package of tools identifies potential barriers to equity and opportunities to utilize federal funds to strengthen local equity priorities. The purpose is to provide ways ESSA can be used to break down silos between traditional federal programs and local initiatives to advance equity in education. This framework provides an accompanying brief for each of the following: equity priorities:

  1. Leveraging School Improvement to Advance Equity
  2. Ensuring Equitable Funding
  3. Increasing Access to Effective Teachers and Leaders
  4. Supporting English Learners
  5. Increasing Access to Advanced Coursework
  6. Addressing Disproportionate Discipline Practices
  7. Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
  8. Improving Access to High-Quality Instructional Materials

Learn more about this tool here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Begins a Critical Conversation about Equity at the 2018 Spring Meeting (Part 2)

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

In alignment with Advance CTE’s work to empower state leaders to advance high-quality CTE policies and programs for each learner, Advance CTE held long overdue equity discussions at the 2018 Spring Meeting to begin an important conversation about how CTE can be leveraged to help promote equitable outcomes for various learner populations.

After a panel discussion on equity in CTE, attendees of the Spring Meeting went to breakout sessions facilitated by partner organizations that focus on equity challenges and allowed for an open and honest dialogue to take place about equity in CTE.

From these breakout sessions, major themes emerged about challenges to achieving equity in CTE, as well as states’ efforts and ideas to address these barriers.

Discussion Theme: Data on CTE and Equitable Outcomes

The inability to connect existing CTE data across systems to measure the outcomes for specific populations makes it difficult to communicate to students, parents, school boards and stakeholders the effectiveness of CTE as a tool for equitable outcomes. Members in multiple sessions mentioned that it is difficult to disaggregate CTE data by race, disability or income level. For many states, data cannot be connected across systems or disaggregated to make claims regarding equitable access or outcomes, which hinders their ability to make informed decisions to ensure equity in CTE.

However, states should not use the lack of data as an excuse; they should be using existing data as a first step in examining equity gaps and strategizing ways to close those gaps.

Discussion Theme: “Vocational Education” Stigma

A common theme from all the sessions was the stigma still surrounding CTE as a result of the history of “vocational education,” which in many situations included the tracking of low-income students and students of color into vocational education programs. State leaders identified the messaging around CTE as a challenge, as they work to rebuild trust in communities where the “tracking” of students was common, and emphasized the importance of communicating that high-quality CTE programs can result in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand jobs.

Some states have made efforts to address the stigma and messaging around CTE. Maryland, Indiana, Washington and New Jersey are participating in the Siemens Foundation initiative with Advance CTE, which involves incorporating nationally tested messages about CTE in a variety of in-person events and virtual campaigns to improve the perception of CTE. Additionally, in the “Serving Students of Color” breakout session, participants suggested that states elevate efforts to build relationships with leaders within communities to spread awareness about the effectiveness of high-quality CTE programs.

Discussion Theme: Lack of Resources for Special Populations

Many sessions recognized that basic necessities such as food and transportation need to be satisfied for special populations to participate and succeed in CTE programs. Attention was drawn to the need for daycare, transportation, food, flexible schedules and financial aid to accommodate diverse populations at the secondary and postsecondary level.

Discussion Theme: Lack of Representation and Cultural Competency within Secondary and Postsecondary Institutions

Participants recognized that instructors often are not representative of their students in regard to income, race, gender and ability status. This, coupled with the general difficulty that institutions face when recruiting and retaining CTE instructors, makes it difficult for programs to recruit teachers that are representative of the population they are educating.

State participants recognize that this lack of representation may hinder certain populations from participating in CTE programs and negatively impact their experience within programs due to feeling isolated or receiving biased treatment. Participants recognized the need for targeted professional development opportunities for instructors to address any potential implicit bias and to promote cultural competency at the institutional level.

These breakout sessions represent the beginning of Advance CTE’s ongoing commitment to promoting equity in CTE. As part of our equity initiative, throughout 2018, Advance CTE will be releasing a series of briefs about equity in CTE.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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Advance CTE Begins a Critical Conversation about Equity at the 2018 Spring Meeting

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

As part of Advance CTE’s vision, Putting Learner Success First, our organization has challenged the Career Technical Education (CTE) community to continue on the path of fierce dedication to quality and equity so that each learner is empowered to choose a meaningful education and career. Advance CTE recognizes that if we’re going to ask our community to commit to equity in CTE, then we must lead the way.

Our first step was to create the space at our 2018 Spring Meeting to begin this long overdue conversation with our membership about how we define and can achieve equity in CTE.

The conversation began with a panel discussion that featured experts in education and equity from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the  Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Law and Social Policy and United Way of Delaware.The panelists took a critical look at equity in CTE and examined the history of CTE and tracking students, the stigma around CTE and how equity should be defined within CTE. From this discussion, major themes about equity in CTE emerged:

Notably, Kisha Bird from the Center for Law and Social Policy  recognized that while equity is a complex issue in that it is influenced by numerous social, economic and political factors, it is ultimately a simple problem that can be addressed by continually asking the following of any action: Am I creating or breaking down barriers?

The conversation held at the equity panel represents the beginning of Advance CTE’s ongoing commitment to promoting equity in CTE. As part of our equity initiative, throughout 2018, Advance CTE will be releasing a series of briefs about equity in CTE. This post is the first of two blogs that will highlight the equity discussions from the 2018 Spring Meeting.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Advance CTE Spring Meeting, Uncategorized
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