Posts Tagged ‘Access and Equity’

What Works in Postsecondary Work-Based Learning?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. As the labor market changes and demands for a skilled workforce increase, there is renewed interest in work-based learning (WBL) programs across the country. Earlier this month The Urban Institute released a report on the topic, titled Expanding and Improving Work-Based Learning in Community Colleges. The report draws on national data and interviews with six community colleges and documents what is known about the implementation and outcomes of WBL models in community colleges, what strategies community colleges are adopting to measure WBL, and potential steps to improve measurement and address key challenges in expanding and improving WBL in community colleges. 

At the postsecondary level, WBL consists of opportunities such as apprenticeships, internships and cooperative education (co-op), which provide career preparation and training in a work setting that involves supervision or mentoring and connects to classroom or academic experience. Community colleges are vitally important institutions in preparing learners for the workforce, as they award most of the career-oriented credentials in the country. However measurement of WBL in community college contexts is limited and, as such, we know little about how common WBL programs are in these institutions, what models and approaches work best and for whom, who is able to access opportunities, and what outcomes and impacts they deliver for learners, businesses partners and colleges. 

Findings from the report suggest several challenges facing WBL programs including access, equity and diversity. These challenges are even more pressing given the evidence of positive outcomes for learners who are able to experience WBL. The report found that participants in Registered Apprenticeship programs earn higher wages, are more productive, and are less likely to use public benefit programs compared to comparable workers. 

In order to improve WBL at the community college level, the report recommends strategies for measuring WBL, evaluating progress toward diversity and equity goals, and improving data collection practices. For example Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has an institutional research staff member working in their career center. This person collects and analyzes data that in turn informs career services. The report specifically recommends state education and workforce officials develop state definitions of WBL, develop common data elements for tracking WBL, share employment data with colleges to support performance improvement, and incorporate WBL into the state longitudinal systems of data tracking. 

Community colleges are in a unique position to change the way WBL is experienced across the country. They serve about 12 million diverse learners, many of whom are women or learners of color. This makes these institutions ideal vehicles for closing long-standing equity gaps in the labor market, preparing the workforce, giving students the skills and knowledge for jobs and careers, and partnering with employers to provide the talent they need.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By Brian Robinson in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tribal Colleges and Universities Take Innovative Approaches to Support Native Populations

Monday, March 9th, 2020

In February, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) hosted an event at the Senate Office Building to discuss innovative strategies, programs and ideas to address the key challenges impacting Native higher education. To unpack these challenges and strategies, the event featured panelists from colleges that primarily serve American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian populations. 

Much of the event focused on how Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are able to meet the needs of Native populations. Specifically, the panelists discussed how TCUs address barriers to access for learners. While TCUs are one of the most affordable postsecondary education options with an average annual tuition of $3,592, the cost of attending a TCU can still be a barrier to learners. To address this and transportation issues, Sitting Bull College in North Dakota provides tuition waivers and transportation to and from the college. 

Core to advancing equity in Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader education field is not only ensuring that students have access to CTE and education programs, but also taking action so that learners feel welcome in and can fully participate in education programs. Panelists emphasized how TCUs are able to create an inclusive environment for Native learners through providing intentional supports and preserving Native populations’ cultures. For instance, Ilisagvik College in Alaska developed a pathway program that places students in cohorts to help learners feel supported and part of the community. 

Many of the panelists discussed the role language plays in creating an environment that students feel welcome in and can succeed in. In Hawai’i, learners can take courses taught in Olelo Hawaii, the Native Hawai’ian language, from infancy through doctoral programs. TCUs take approaches to ensure that Native languages continue to be commonly spoken in the community and the classroom. In Montana, Salish Kootenai College created an apprenticeship program that allows participants to become qualified in both Salish language fluency and effective teaching strategies to meet the demand for Salish language teachers. 

The event ended with a discussion about changes that can be made to the Higher Education Act (HEA) to help support TCUs. Specifically, AIHEC proposes two new programs and modifications to two existing programs during HEA reauthorization:

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

New Survey Highlights a Persistent Skills Gap; What Can States Do to Strengthen the Talent Pool?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

As the economy continues to change with digitalization and automation, the needs of the labor market will continue to change too. In 2019 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation commissioned a study surveying 500 human resource (HR) professionals with hiring decision authority in their organizations. An overwhelming 74 percent of respondents said that a “skills gap” persists in the current U.S. labor and hiring economy. 

These employers cite three major challenges they face when hiring: candidates lacking the appropriate or necessary skills, candidates lacking previous relevant work experience and not having enough applicants. According to these HR professionals, addressing the skills gap and truly transforming the talent marketplace would require:

1)      Greater upskilling initiatives within companies for existing employees.

2)      More educational/Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to build talent pipelines.

3)      Improving alignment between skills and competencies taught in educational/CTE programs and in-demand skills and competencies needed in the workforce.

A study by JFF further highlights the skills gap and the challenges to solving the problem. The report, Making College Work for Students and the Economy, follows JFF’s comprehensive policy agenda for addressing states’ skilled workforce and talent development needs.  The report examines a representative sample of 15 states to determine their progress toward adopting 15 policy recommendations. Of the recommendations made in their initial report, states have made the most progress on the following:

1)      Establishing expectations that community college programs align to labor market demand.

2)      Developing longitudinal data systems that provide the ability to track over time the educational and employment outcomes of students.

3)      Addressing barriers to college readiness.

Conversely, JFF finds that states have the most work to do in the following areas:

1)      Providing community colleges with sufficient resources and appropriate incentives.

2)      Addressing the holistic needs of students to strengthen their financial stability.

3)      Digging into labor market outcomes of students and postsecondary programs.

Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the JFF studies highlight a need for state governments, the education sector and the labor sector to work collaboratively and do more to prepare the 21st century workforce to meet the needs of an ever-changing labor market. 

With implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) underway, states are poised to make transformational changes to improve the quality of CTE programs and ensure equitable access and success. Opportunities like the comprehensive local needs assessment and the Perkins V reserve fund give state leaders leverage to ensure programs are meeting the needs of learners and employers.

Research Roundup

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By Brian Robinson in Research
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , ,

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
Tags: , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , ,

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
Tags: , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1