Posts Tagged ‘Economic Recovery’

Exploring Area Technical Centers: Elevating ATCs in a National Economic Recovery

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

The transformative workforce changes resulting from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic have made it more urgent than ever for states to have a comprehensive strategy for reskilling and upskilling that unites stakeholders across education, workforce development and economic development. Advance CTE has been vocal that investment in secondary and postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) is critical to a national recovery strategy. 

ATC Positioning in the Workforce Development System 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things in our way of life, including the education or training path most Americans will pursue to return to work. A typical economic recovery would have millions of Americans flocking to traditional higher education programs but instead, in this post-pandemic economic recovery, the majority of Americans say they will seek non-degree and skill-based education and training programs to reskill or upskill their way back to a good job.

Area technical centers (ATCs) should be part of this solution – helping more Americans secure non-degree credentials of value. Our national analysis found that in the states where ATCs serve an adult population, these institutions provide short-term credentials and programs below the level of an associate’s degree, and  are uniquely positioned to be nimble and responsive to changing workforce needs. Further, these institutions are accessible, by design serving a region, and low-cost, with few or no barriers to admission for adult learners and affordable tuition rates as low as $2.00 per seat hour. ATCs can and should be better leveraged to serve those who have been disproportionately impacted by job losses associated with the pandemic, particularly Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less, and female workers.  

Leveraging Federal Funding 

Funding matters, and in states that have leveraged federal funds, we see ATCs being key players in meeting the state’s short- and long-term workforce priorities.  

For example, all of Ohio’s Ohio technical colleges (OTCs) and selected programs in Delaware’s ATCs are eligible training providers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Many ATCs are eligible for federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, including institutions in Florida, Ohio and Utah most commonly accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

Some states have utilized 2020 federal stimulus funding to reinforce their ATCs as valuable institutions in an economic recovery. Delaware leveraged $10 million of its federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic relief funding to support its Forward Delaware initiative, a set of rapid training and credentialing programs focused on in-demand occupations and skills in the state. Florida’s governor designated Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) funds provided through the CARES Act to award grants to its ATCs, known as technical colleges, to establish or enhance rapid credentialing programs that lead to a short-term certificate or industry-recognized certification as part of its statewide Get There campaign. 

Utilizing ATCs in Statewide Workforce Training Programs 

ATCs have strong connections to their local communities and employers by design and often offer customized training programs to meet those needs. 

To recover from the devastation of the coronavirus will require persistence, creativity and leveraging all public assets to ensure a full and equitable economic recovery. States should be learning from one another – what worked and what didn’t  – and leveraging their public assets, including ATCs to every learner with the opportunity to access a career pathway that leads to sustained, living-wage employment in an in-demand field. 

To find the ATCs in your state and to access the full report and additional resources, please visit www.areatechnicalcenters.org . To read other posts in this series, please check out our Medium post that breaks down the major findings, and our blog post on leveraging ATCs to advance state postsecondary attainment goals. 

By Stacy Whitehouse in COVID-19 and CTE
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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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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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A Learner-Centered Approach to Early Postsecondary Opportunities Amid COVID-19

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Now that the spring 2020 semester has come to a close, schools, colleges and learners across the country are left with the uncomfortable question: what happens next? Amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the U.S. has faced widespread school closures and an unprecedented – albeit clunky – transition to remote learning. Even as states begin to lift restrictions, the path ahead is still uncertain.

Last week the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and Advance CTE explored some of the ways the Coronavirus has impacted – and will continue to impact – Career Technical Education (CTE) and Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO), which include dual enrollment, dual credit, concurrent enrollment and other related opportunities. There is no silver bullet solution to these challenges, but state leaders and postsecondary institutions are already thinking of ways to minimize the impact on learners and, to the extent possible, to support continuity of learning through the summer and into the fall.

Hold Learners Harmless

One principle states and educational institutions should commit to is to hold learners harmless from the impacts of the Coronavirus, particularly the financial and academic burdens. States like Ohio have already taken steps to protect learners, issuing guidance that prohibits school districts from seeking reimbursement from students who withdraw from a postsecondary course due to Coronavirus-related disruptions.

Further, states are honoring students’ commitment to learning by giving them opportunities to earn credit for the work they have completed. In North Carolina, graduating high school seniors who are enrolled in EPSO courses will be given a passing grade – coded “PC19” to indicate the unusual circumstances of the pandemic – to ensure they can still meet graduation requirements. States like Georgia and Louisiana are giving learners additional time to complete course requirements over the summer.

Commit to Transparency

As states, higher education systems and local institutions adjust grading policies amid Coronavirus-related shutdowns, they must commit to transparency and provide clarity about how credit transfer will be supported. There are questions about binary grades and their impact on the transferability of EPSO courses to two-year and four-year institutions. States with guaranteed transfer acceptance and institutions with transparent policies for addressing binary credit offer students their best option. Some states have begun to release guidance on EPSOs including CTE dual credit opportunities, which NACEP has compiled here.

Don’t be Afraid to Innovate

States and institutions have adapted remarkably well to social distancing on a very short timeframe, but the hands-on, practical learning experiences that make CTE unique and compelling are often not easy to simulate in a remote or online format. That said, necessity is the mother of invention. Instructors and administrators have started finding creative solutions to maintain continuity of learning, from manufacturing products out of household supplies to distributing at-home lab kits. In Illinois, the Community College Board, Board of Higher Education and Illinois Articulation Initiative are allowing the transfer of credits for lab science course offerings that are delivered through nontraditional formats such as simulations, online labs or at-home science kits. In some cases, campuses are exploring ways to safely facilitate hands-on learning over the summer by cutting class sizes or offering intensive summer bootcamps – all while adhering to social distancing guidelines – to help learners make up missed hours.

Keep Equity Front and Center in Funding

As states face declining revenue and anticipate budget cuts in education and elsewhere, they must consider the critical role these programs play in their societal and economic recovery after the pandemic. Funding to decrease the cost of postsecondary education is an important equity lever to help ensure that the talent pipeline into high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations includes the entirety of their diverse communities. But a blanket approach to budget reduction, where all learners receive the same benefit, may imperil this approach.

States should analyze their EPSO funding with an equity lens and, when needed, make cuts that don’t disproportionately impact learners traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Increases in cost to the learner, driven by budget cuts, disproportionately impact learners from economically disadvantaged families who cannot absorb a change in cost like an affluent student can. As states assess the impact of this pandemic on education budgets, they should consider strategic changes to help under-resourced school districts, to address affordability for those students that are most price sensitive, and to look thoughtfully about ways to build access to those underrepresented in higher education. Focusing on equity will be critical to ensure budget cuts don’t exacerbate equity gaps in higher education and ultimately the workforce.

Recognize the Role in Recovery

As state and the national economy recovers and reconfigures, states will be looking to ensure they have a strong, robust talent pipeline to address their current, evolving and future workforce needs. There is a lot of uncertainty in forecasting what the labor market and economy will look like in the next three to five years, but it is certain that revitalizing state economies will depend on access to a skilled, educated workforce. States that have invested in career pathways approaches tied to workforce needs, have strong business and industry engagement in CTE, and strong connections between secondary and postsecondary education and industry already understand the value of these programs in driving the state economy. These relationships and a willingness to partner will yield dividends as states emerge from this crisis.

It is too early to measure the true impact of the Coronavirus on postsecondary readiness and credit attainment, but states and institutions can already anticipate some of the barriers that will come and take steps to address them. The time to act is now. States can and should clarify their policies on CTE EPSOs and ensure that the weight of school closures and learning disruption does not unnecessarily harm learners, particularly those who have the most to benefit from these opportunities.

This blog post is the second in a two-part series about the impacts of the Coronavirus on CTE dual enrollment. It was written by Amy Williams, Executive Director of NACEP, and Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research for Advance CTE.

By Austin Estes in COVID-19 and CTE
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COVID-19’s Impact on CTE Defining the Challenge and the Opportunity

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Today, 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 Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the country during COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and beyond. 

What makes CTE unique, like the ability to participate in hands-on, work-based learning experiences in the workplace, earn meaningful industry recognized credentials and connect directly with employers, present specific and complex challenges when being delivered virtually. Within these challenges lies opportunity, and the pandemic can and should serve as a catalyst for change in the way states consider offering CTE programs to ensure that each learner – no matter their race, ethnicity, age, gender or zip code – is afforded access to and equitable delivery of high-quality CTE in their communities.

This paper focuses on: 

Advance CTE’s work continues to provide members and the entire CTE community with the tools, resources and supports needed during this time, which too is outlined in the paper. 

Help us share:
Tweet– What sets #CTE apart is also what presents unique challenges in the #COVID19 era. View @CTEWorks latest paper outlining the challenges and

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE
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