Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

New International Resources from OECD and NCEE and Implications for CTE

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Program for International Student Assessment 

Every three years, fifteen year olds around the world participate in testing that assesses reading, mathematics, and science literacy. Coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was last conducted in 2018, with reading literacy serving as the major domain to be assessed. The results from the most recent assessment have been published all year long, and reports (including the most recent Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?) are regularly published on the PISA website. 

OECD Education at a Glance 2020 

On an annual basis, the OECD publishes Education at a Glance, a report that serves as a data source to compare structures, finances, and performance outcomes of international education systems. Education at a Glance 2020 has a specific focus on Vocational Education and Training (VET), and provides implications for VET in the US and internationally. 

Implications for CTE 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, career technical education has never been more important, as states leverage Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to rapidly credential adult workers and aid in economic recovery. In a recent webinar with the National Center for Education and the Economy, OECD Director for Education and Skills (and chief administrator of PISA) Andreas Schleicher further illustrated the need for vocational credentialing, arguing that “professions with vocational qualifications have formed the backbone of economic and social life during the lockdown.” The Education at a Glance 2020 report similarly correlates investment in CTE (or VET programs internationally) with increased economic returns. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the healthcare industry are growing faster than average than every other occupation industry, and more students than ever before are expecting to enter into a healthcare occupation. However, PISA 2018 survey results illustrate that students do not regularly have the skill sets required by the job market, nor do they understand the educational demands that their chosen occupation often requires. During a pandemic that relies on skilled healthcare professionals, when learners don’t necessarily have the skills they need to enter this field, and research reveals economic returns from CTE programming, it is crucial that educators and legislators leverage CTE to benefit the healthcare industry and the economy. Career technical education programs could provide learners the necessary information they require to enter into the healthcare field or, as adults, help reskill/upskill to get the credentials learners need to be successful in an ever-growing field. 

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Research, Resources
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How COVID-19 is Impacting Young People’s Academic and Career Plans

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

New Survey Data Illuminates the Impact of the Pandemic on Black and Latinx Youth and Youth from Low-Income Families

In the early spring, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was often referred to as “The Great Equalizer.” After all, pandemics are equal opportunity threats and we all have to wear masks and attend meetings and classes on Zoom. But as the pandemic wore on, it became immediately clear that it would have disproportionate impacts, exacerbating racial and economic inequities that have long existed in the public education system and in the workforce. Without action from state and local leaders, the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on young people, particularly Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

The Great Recession of 2008 provides some insights into the threat of the current coronavirus economic crisis. Five years after the Great Recession, youth unemployment was at an all-time high, impacting the career success of Millennials through the present day. Back in 2013, the Center for American Progress projected that young people would lose out on more than $20 billion in earnings over the next 10 years – and many are still struggling with debt and underemployment as a result of the recession.

Today, an emerging generation of young people – often referred to as Generation Z or “Gen Z” – stands at a similar precipice. We are already seeing early warning signs that the pandemic and related economic recession will impact their plans for education and career success.

How Are Young People Responding to the Pandemic?

New research from Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, funded by Equitable Futures, a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, illuminates the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on young people. In September, the organization released results from the first of four national surveys examining the pandemic’s impact on Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

One alarming takeaway from the research is that young people are taking on additional economic burdens as a result of the pandemic. Sixteen percent of respondents reported losing income due to decreased work hours or less business, and eight percent have lost an internship, apprenticeship or similar opportunity.

At the same time, young people are taking on additional responsibilities at home. Thirty-two percent of respondents say they are providing care for a younger member of their household, such as a younger sibling, with Black and Latinx youth responding at the highest rates.

As a result, young people are reconsidering their future academic and career plans. More than half of respondents say they value college differently now, with 28 percent reporting that they used to think college would be worth it but now think college is not worth it. Additionally, fewer young people have clarity about their goals and ideas for their futures than they did before the pandemic. In 2019, 43 percent of respondents said they felt clear about their future goals, compared to 27 percent in 2020 — a drop of 16 percentage points.

The coronavirus may not be the great equalizer, but it is the great disrupter. It may be years before we know the full impact of the pandemic and related economic crisis, but we know enough now to see that young people have been interrupted in their pursuit of education and career success in ways that will likely impact credential attainment, employment and earnings for years to come.

Trying Times Require Strong State Leadership

As a nation, we are at a crossroads, and states have a critical role to play in minimizing the impact of the Coronavirus on Black and Latinx learners and learners from low-income families. What can state leaders do to support young people in this time of crisis?

For one, they can provide clear information and guidance to help learners make informed decisions about their academic and career goals. This includes providing clear, transparent information about high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers, the credentials needed to access those careers, and affordable opportunities to earn those credentials.

Additionally, with many young people experiencing loss of income as a result of the pandemic, state leaders can strengthen earn and learn opportunities so young people are not forced to choose between education and work. Paid work-based learning opportunities like youth apprenticeships are a proven way to build technical and employability skills on the job.

And finally, states can monitor data — including additional research from Goodwin Simon — to understand how Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families are being impacted by the pandemic and respond accordingly.

Early data is already illuminating the disastrous effects of the pandemic. State and local leaders can act now to pave the road to economic recovery and well-being for those who have been most impacted by the crisis.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

By Austin Estes in COVID-19 and CTE, Research, Resources
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

CAREERS IN CONSTRUCTION MONTH

This week we have kicked off Careers in Construction Month. Take the pledge to engage with students about the opportunities in the construction industry this October. 

MANUFACTURING DAY 2020

 

AWARD RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK

During the recent AlabamaWorks! Virtual Conference, recipients of the first AlabamaWorks! Innovator Awards were recognized. These awards recognize individuals in the state of Alabama that are innovatively advancing workforce and career opportunities.

Adopted from AlabamaWorks!

Tiger Mochas is a collaborative effort between special education students, FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) members and peer volunteers at Auburn High School. This student-led organization is serving up a lot more than hot cups of coffee to their peers because through their work, students are provided meaningful, hands-on work experience that teaches important functional, social and daily living skills. Graduates of the program leave with not only work and employability skills, but in-demand soft skills that will help them succeed in life and work.

More on each award recipient can be found here

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge to advance pre-apprenticeships. Eligible AEFLA-funded organizations are now invited to submit preliminary designs of a program that is innovative, aligned to industry demand and provides support to program participants as they move into apprenticeships and the workforce. For more information, register for the virtual information session held October 15, 2020. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

On October 1, the president signed a stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown since federal funding expired on September 30, 2020. The Senate passed this continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote of 84-10, following the House vote on the CR last week. This bill (H.R. 8337) extends federal funding at the currently enacted levels through December 11, 2020 for all 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed). All education programs will continue at the currently enacted funding levels through the duration of the CR. 

Follow the CR and more legislative updates here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Kansas designed the Excel in CTE initiative to help more learners enter high-wage, high-demand careers by providing funding for industry-recognized credentials and allowing secondary students to access CTE dual enrollment opportunities. Since the program was launched in 2012, Kansas has seen dramatic increases in the number of high school students earning industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary CTE credit.

View the full policy profile in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE
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Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected our workforce systems drastically, forcing unemployment rates to soar and industry sectors to rapidly transition to new ways of seeking and retaining talent. The nation is grappling with how to resolve the economic downturn, while also ensuring that the unemployed, which has disproportionately affected women, Latinx, and Black Americans – are able to get back to work and on track to receive opportunities that advance their livelihoods. 

Some job losses resulting from the pandemic may be permanent causing many American workers to look for ways to reskill and upskill as they reenter into the workforce. The Strada Education Network has committed to building the space for collaboration between industry leaders, state leaders and American adult workers, preparing solutions that are lasting for both. Last week, the Strada Education Network held The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar, intentionally focusing on sharing the voices from workers displaced from their jobs, navigating a new normal while enrolled in reskilling and upskilling courses. Below are a number of findings from the webinars, and how states have tackled some of these important issues in the past.

Time is a Major Factor

Data shows that 38 percent of workers who lost employment during the pandemic are more likely to now further their education. However, time is posed as a major barrier to enrolling and completing courses. Knowing that 86 percent of adult learners who complete postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) courses are employed within six months of completing a program – CTE is a safe bet for those looking to reskill or upskill in order to gain in-demand and living-wage careers. However, postsecondary institutions must create partnerships with the workforce and industry leaders to attract learners seeking programs that have reduced completion times and offer earn and learn programs to support family-sustaining careers. 

Earn and learn programs, such as apprenticeships, paid internship programs and other work-based learning arrangements play a critical role in supporting workers that need to obtain some income while in school. View Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities in our Learning that Works Resource Center for core design elements and steps stakeholders can take to ensure their pathways meet the voices of American workers.

Supporting Learners in Postsecondary Programs 

The webinar identified a number of areas that postsecondary institutions may want to focus on to best support learners enrolling in programs including financial assistance, hands-on opportunities and help with finding employment upon program completion. Additionally, some adult learners returning back to school have not been in a school setting in many years and may struggle with basic academic schoolwork. States can play a vital role in implementing policies to help support learners in their transition, such as Washington’s Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST), which aims to help adult learners obtain academic and technical skills to better prepare for college-level work.

To tackle the financial burden that many learners likely face, states can learn from North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program. The grants are operated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and are administered locally through a partnership between community colleges and local workforce development boards.

Continued on the Job Training

CTE programs prepare learners for high-skill jobs in professions that require regular upskilling due to new technology or shifts in the industry. In many cases, this has been accelerated due to the pandemic as companies have moved to fully and partially-virtual workplaces. However,  the coronavirus has limited many opportunities for hands-on job training experiences to continue. American workers encourage employers to continue skills training and certification attainment for newly hired employees. American workers share that they’re not only looking for a job that meets their interests and talents, they are also looking for companies that will invest in them. Companies and industry leaders can sit down with their employees and help to guide them in the direction of upward mobility within the company and within the industry. 

The most important factor in designing programs, supports and policies that the webinar drives home is the need to include and center the people that you are trying to best serve in order to lead to a more equitable path toward upward mobility for all American workers. The full recording of The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar can be viewed here

Other resources for state leaders, policymakers, employers and other key stakeholders:

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Resources
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How to Promote Career Technical Education as Vital to Economic Recovery

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the most foundational aspects of our society, including our education systems and nation’s economy. With millions of Americans unemployed and some industry sectors shuttered or undergoing rapid transformation, Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less and female workers have been disproportionately impacted. [1] Now, more than ever, CTE is vital to our nation’s learners, employers and America’s economic recovery.

States play a critical role in making the case for CTE. As such, Advance CTE released new assets to help state CTE leaders communicate with policymakers, the media, employers and other key stakeholders. 

Below is a brief overview of each asset and how it can be used. However, before you get started, make sure you, your staff and key spokespeople are speaking the same messages. Use the talking points in this resource to help guide your presentations, resources you plan to develop, and ensure consistency across all who will be talking about this important issue. Of course, supplement state and local data if you have it! 

VIDEO: 

CTE’s Role in the Workforce and Economic Recovery Video

CTE is a program that works for both learners and employers, and should be a critical component of America’s road to economic recovery. In this short video, there are major talking points that help make the case for CTE. All data referred to in the video is cited here. Link to this video on your state websites and in social media posts. This video can also be embedded in your presentation slide decks and in newsletters.

FACT SHEETS: 

Secondary CTE and the Economic Recovery Fact Sheet

Secondary CTE is critical to preparing learners for an evolving workforce and ensuring they have the foundational and transferable skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. For secondary CTE learners and those individuals at the beginning of their careers, losing opportunities to gain hands-on experience and job training can have a major long-term impact. This fact sheet helps to make the case for a continued investment in our K-12 CTE programs. 

Postsecondary CTE and the Economic Recovery Fact Sheet

One study estimates that 60 percent of job losses may be temporary [2] while other studies predict a quarter of job losses being permanent. [3] It is imperative that we continue to invest in CTE and workforce systems to ensure individuals can have the opportunity to reskill and upskill to be prepared to re-enter or advance in the post-coronavirus economy.

Link to these fact sheets on your state website and in your presentations. Use them as leave behinds at in-person meetings (if you are having them).  

PROMOTIONAL TOOLS: 

Promotional Toolkit

This promotional toolkit provides recommended newsletter language and social media posts, a blog post and graphics. Use these graphics with the recommended language on your social media channels, in your presentations, on your state website and in your newsletters.

How To Talk about Career Technical Education and Economic Recovery

In this guide, you are provided ways to use the assets, independently or together, in your state and who to communicate with to make the case for CTE.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

[1] https://www.stradaeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Public-Viewpoint-Report-Week-4.pdf

[2] https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/covid-19-is-also-a-reallocation-shock/

[3] https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/covid/research-for-equity-in-recovery/how-job-training-matters.pdf?la=en

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, COVID-19 and CTE, Resources
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K-12 School Reopening Plans: Exemplars for CTE

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

As schools begin to reopen and learners begin their classwork nationwide both virtually and in-person, the health and safety of students remains at the forefront of educators’ and administrators’ minds. Throughout the summer, state educational agencies (SEAs) published school reopening guidance to help schools make informed decisions about the best course of action for their students and school community while maintaining safe practices. Whether continuing to educate virtually or in-person, these guidelines are as varied as the local plans that implement them. 

Considering the varied nature of these plans and the special circumstances that often underlie the logistics of implementing Career Technical Education (CTE) for a school district or throughout a region, Advance CTE tracked school reopening plans for each state and analyzed how they implicated CTE. The tracker that resulted can be found here. As of writing, 33 states’ reopening plans mention CTE in any way, including cursory mentions or health- or sanitation-specific guidance (see figure 1). Of those 33, 12 have robust CTE-specific guidance either embedded in their state reopening plan or as a separately published document. While each of these warrants viewing and merits discussion, we have chosen four plans to highlight due to their breadth or depth or because they have an innovative element that distinguishes their plan from others. While these highlighted plans are not the only examples of strong CTE-specific guidance, they can serve as models for other state agencies looking to further develop guidance of their own as schools continue to reopen and local education agencies (LEAs) continue their transition to in-person education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. (Last updated 8/24)

Minnesota

Minnesota’s state reopening guidance (last updated 8/21; CTE guidance on pages 95-101) provides comprehensive information about CTE throughout the state including guidance for classroom/laboratory instruction, work-based learning, career development and advising and career and technical student organizations (CTSOs). It also provides links to dozens of resources that are program-specific or unique to a particular program.

New York

New York’s state reopening guidance (last updated 7/16; CTE guidance on pages 103-108) provides similarly robust information across a variety of CTE topics. Beyond content and delivery and CTSO guidelines, this reopening plan also includes information about industry partnerships, guidelines for students with disabilities and standards for program approval, Perkins V and other data reporting. 

Nebraska

Nebraska’s CTE-specific guidance (published 8/4) provides guidance and guidelines for special classroom settings unique to CTE as well as general CTE guidance. They utilize “Guiding Principles of Nebraska CTE” (included within) to inform the document. Further, the setting-specific guidelines are delineated based on the reopening status of the state, which provides for flexibility across time. 

Tennessee

Tennessee’s CTE-specific guidance (published 7/15) provides in-depth guidelines not only for all areas of CTE, but also for how content is delivered (in-person, hybrid or virtual). Their plan draws from the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE)’s High-quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19-Impacted School Year (published in June), which asks guiding questions to ensure all considerations are discussed when undertaking school reopening at the local levels.

Finally, Advance CTE has its own guiding questions in the workbook Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 that can be utilized by those at the state level to help employ quality and equity principles throughout reopening strategy. Additional resources can be found on our COVID-19 resources page.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE, Uncategorized
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Career Technical Education’s Vital Role in Economic Recovery

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the most foundational aspects of our society, including our education systems and nation’s economy. With millions of Americans unemployed and some industry sectors shuttered or undergoing rapid transformation, Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less and female workers have been disproportionately impacted. Now, more than ever, Career Technical Education (CTE) is vital to our nation’s learners, employers and America’s economic recovery.  

While there is great uncertainty about the pandemic’s ongoing and long-term impact on our country, there is certainty that CTE is vital to recovery because of its proven track record. The postsecondary completion rate is nearly doubled for learners in CTE programs (56.8%) compared to all two-year institutions (29%). And 86% of adult CTE learners continue their education or are employed within six months of completing a program. Additionally, about a third of CTE learners are enrolled in programs in leading fields such as health care, information technology and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) – careers that are especially important during the coronavirus.

Through CTE, displaced workers can upskill and reskill and prepare for reentry into the workforce and employers can find a pipeline of well-qualified talent who can adapt to and thrive in the ever-changing world of work. This is especially important given that after the last recession, the majority of new or replacement jobs went to employees with more than a high school diploma, including 3.1 million jobs that went to those with an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificates. 

As our nation simultaneously continues to fight the pandemic and also begins to respond to the economic downturn that has harmed so many businesses and families, ensuring that equitable access to CTE is part of the solution is a message every policymaker needs to hear. To that end, today, Advance CTE released new tools including a short video to help state CTE leaders make the case for CTE to policymakers and other key stakeholders.

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, COVID-19 and CTE, Resources
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New Resource: Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Advance CTE released a new tool focused on supporting state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in prioritizing CTE learners and the delivery of high-quality programs as states prepare to reopen schools and campuses – be it in-person, remote or hybrid instruction – this upcoming academic year.

Earlier this summer, Advance CTE released, COVID-19’s Impact on CTE: Defining the Challenge and the Opportunity to identify the challenges that impact the design, delivery and assessment of CTE programs across the country. Now, as the next school year draws near, it is time to develop key action steps in preparing for and implementing strategies to provide quality, equitable CTE during the coronavirus and beyond.

State CTE leaders can leverage this tool when planning for short- and long-term priorities. The resource asks state CTE leaders to reflect on the past and future impact of the coronavirus on CTE learners and programs, consider how to use data and engage the field to make informed decisions, and identify key action steps to assist the state in preparing for and implementing strategies to provide quality, equitable CTE this coming year. 

Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 is organized around the following key topics that must be addressed for learners to access high-quality CTE experiences: 

The final section of this tool includes an optional action plan template to help organize the various short- and longer-term priorities and lay out an implementation plan. 

Download Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 here (Word, PDF).

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Brittany Cannady in Publications, Resources
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State Reentry Plans Prioritize Equity

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Many states are in the process of planning for learners to physically reenter school and college in the fall. However, the possibility of a “second peak” or “second wave” of COVID-19 (coronavirus) means that states are also preparing to provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners at a distance. States are preparing for an “accordion effect,” in which learners may spend some time in the classroom and some time engaging in distance learning. To help institutions prepare for different scenarios, state agencies have released guidance and plans for reentry. Specifically, many of the reentry plans call attention to the importance of advancing equity during the pandemic and ensuring that each learner has access to the supports needed to succeed.

In June, Arizona released a “Roadmap for Reopening Schools” that provides strategies and considerations for local education agencies as they prepare for reentry and periods of campus closures. Core to the guide is taking a learner centered approach through leveraging strategies related to leadership and instruction, such as strategies related to trauma-sensitive teaching and social emotional learning. The state recognizes that supporting learners during this time requires a community effort. To that end, the roadmap includes critical questions for institutions to consider as they build out their plans, such as “what partnerships are necessary to implement the plan (i.e., Tribal Nations, youth and community organizations, etc.)?” and “what can we do now to reduce the disparities in access to learning that will exist for vulnerable student populations if schools are forced to close?”  

Similarly, Kentucky released considerations for reopening schools. The resource includes key questions institutions should consider as they develop their plans, such as “how will schools and districts ensure students participate in and fulfill work-based learning placements?” and “how will schools and districts ensure the equity of instruction for students who are still choosing to learn from home or must remain at home due to safety restrictions?” State CTE leaders can leverage the key questions that are featured in states’ reentry plans to help inform what it means to provide high-quality work-based learning opportunities, access to industry-recognized credentials and access to other CTE opportunities during periods of remote learning.

In addition to questions for consideration, state reentry plans include strategies to advance equity during the pandemic. Virginia released “Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020,” which emphasizes the state’s commitment to ensuring equity and includes considerations, key steps and strategies to advance equity during coronavirus. Some key strategies include establishing processes and accountability levers to ensure that the implementation of reentry plans do not lead to disparate impacts and consequences and investing in equity. Specifically, the guide encourages institutions to prioritize funds, such as federal stimulus funding, to meet the needs of Enlgish language learners, students with disabilities, undocumented students and students living in proverty.

This is the first blog in a series that will examine state guidance and plans for reentry. To learn more about Advance CTE’s commitment to advancing equity in CTE, click here. To access resources related to equity and the coronavirus, click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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State Roles to Support Remote Learning: Part Two

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

This is the second of a two-part blog series. Check last week’s post for additional information!

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has forced K-12 and postsecondary education to move to the distance education space. State and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders are grappling with how to deliver high-quality programs remotely. While districts and colleges have taken significant steps to adjust their curricula, state leaders play an important role in strategizing as well by gathering local information, gauging what strategies should be elevated and scaled statewide and communicating these practices across the state. Check out last week’s blog post here

Coordinating Full Supports Required for Success

While there are many instructional resources that are needed immediately, there are learner supports that cannot be forgotten — and state CTE leaders can coordinate with other state-level partners to compile coordinate these resources. With remote learning largely taking place virtually, access to reliable broadband internet and computers or devices such as smartphones and tablets is a major concern for secondary and postsecondary learners. States are taking varying approaches, from equipping buses with Wi-Fi and parking them in rural areas to enabling free Internet in the surrounding areas of a school or college so that students can log on from inside of their cars. Access to the Internet and computers is pivotal for distance learning, and a state-coordinated effort to monitor gaps and respond to them is critical.

The Wisconsin Technical College System has been working to rapidly provide full supports that learners need. In addition to providing Wi-Fi, colleges have been ensuring that campus services are still offered even while campuses are closed. This includes college and career advising and providing online options for enrollment and financial aid.

Facilitating Collaboration Between Secondary and Postsecondary Education

Many postsecondary institutions already had some kind of remote learning system in place prior to the pandemic. Though the scale changed following the pandemic, the existing foundation proved helpful in many states. Right now, collaboration and shared strategies for success between secondary and postsecondary levels is extremely important — and state CTE leaders should create opportunities for engagement. Connecting instructors across Career Clusters® is one way to promote sharing best practices.

Developing a System to Ensure Students Are Learning

In order to provide high-quality remote education, state leaders must have an understanding of what is and is not working. This requires using data to evaluate success. State leaders should use the data they have access to, combined with the information they learn from identifying learner and instructor needs, to determine a standard of success. This should look different than a typical assessment and grade structure, and factors such as learner engagement should be considered. A statewide system for evaluating how and whether students are learning will allow for state leaders to course correct where needed and plan for uncertainty ahead.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE
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