Posts Tagged ‘Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson’

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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Tackling Rural CTE Challenges on Capitol Hill

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

What can state leaders do to expand access to high-quality career technical education (CTE) in rural communities? That was the focus of an event held last Thursday by the Congressional CTE Caucus, in coordination with Advance CTE.

The event featured state and local leaders from diverse geographies, who shared their experiences with delivering CTE in rural  communities, highlighting both barriers and best practices. The co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), also stopped by the event to provide remarks about the value of CTE and weigh in on the state of rural CTE.

As Representative Thompson (R-PA), who comes from a largely rural area in Pennsylvania, noted at the beginning of the event, “CTE restores rungs on the ladder of opportunity. We need to make sure that we are dealing with the barriers,” so that CTE can help close opportunity gaps and extend a bridge to lifelong career success. However, rural communities often face obstacles like scarce resources, critical teacher shortages and a limited employer base that make it difficult to deliver high-quality CTE at scale. As Advance CTE found through their interviews with state CTE leaders, these challenges are common across geographies, yet they are often exacerbated in rural communities (find all of the briefs in the CTE on the Frontier series here).

How can state and local leaders tackle these challenges? During the event, Dr. Marcie Mack — state CTE director for Oklahoma, spoke about Oklahoma’s career-tech system and the value of employer partnerships in rural CTE, particularly with Oklahoma’s technology center districts, which deliver CTE programs to high school, postsecondary, adult and justice-involved students.

We were pleased to also feature on the panel a 2018 Excellence in Action award winner, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center. Stephanie Long, curriculum supervisor for TBAISD, shared about the difficulty of connecting learners from rural districts with the high-quality CTE programming her career-tech center provides. The center serves a region as large as the state of Delaware, with many students traveling hours a day to get to and from classes. The center provides buses during the day and bus passes after school hours to help these learners access high-quality CTE.  

Jan Hanlon, executive director for the Mountain State Education Service Cooperative, discussed how West Virginia is tackling access challenges through Simulated Workplace programs. Through Simulated Workplace, more than 24,000 students annually develop real-world skills by participating in a realistic classroom-based company where they have to meet expectations for attendance, safety, sobriety and professionalism, just as they would need if employed by a local business. Representative Langevin (D-RI) of Rhode Island wrapped up the discussion with an important closing thought: “We can’t expect businesses to grow if we don’t have the workforce available.”

As the event’s panelists underscored, CTE is a critical strategy to help rural America adapt to the 21st century economy. The aftershocks of the Great Recession are still being felt in rural America today, where many learners are disconnected from opportunities to reskill and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. CTE can help these learners build the skills they need for lifelong success and equip them with the knowledge and abilities to adapt to an ever-changing economy.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Meetings and Events
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