CTE Month is Recognized and Congress Speaks on HEA and ESSA

March 1st, 2019

With Career Technical Education (CTE) month having come to a close, this update includes how CTE month was recognized, next steps for Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization, questions about supplement not supplant under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the first education bill of the 116th Congress, renewal of Second Chance Pell and the new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution

The Senate passed a resolution to officially recognize February as CTE month. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and the Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs, S. Res. 79 was co-sponsored by 50 senators across both parties. A resolution, H. Res. 119, was also introduced in the House by House CTE Caucus co-chair Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), and co-sponsored by 46 representatives across both parties.

Secretary DeVos Joins CTE Month School Visit

In recognition of CTE month, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joined the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for a site visit to the Academies of Loudoun  in Leesburg, Virginia. During the visit, Secretary DeVos learned more about the school’s innovative CTE programs and toured the radiology technology lab, auto service technology lab, auto collision repair lab, makerspace, engineering research lab and greenhouse. Secretary DeVos also participated in a roundtable conversation along with Academies of Loudon’s Principal Tinell Priddy, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley Ellis, ACTE’s Steve DeWitt and Advance CTE’s Kimberly Green.

Senator Murray’s Vision for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

On Thursday, February 28, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke about HEA reauthorization at the Center for American Progress. Senator Murray outlined the four following priorities: 1) Improving college affordability; 2) Holding schools accountable; 3) Expanding access to higher education and 3) Increasing campus safety and protecting students’ civil rights. Senator Murray voiced that reauthorization is an opportunity for comprehensive higher education reform, and has been in negotiations with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Committee on Education & Labor Announces Five Hearings on Higher Education

Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced five upcoming bipartisan hearings on higher education. The hearings will cover: 1) The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach; 2) Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers; 3) The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education; 4) Engines of Economic Mobility: The Critical Role of Community Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions in Preparing Students for Success and 5) Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree. No dates for the hearings have been announced yet.

Democratic Congressional Leaders Respond to Education Department’s Proposed ESSA Title I Guidelines

Representative Scott and Senator Murray responded to the Education Department’s proposed guidance on the supplement not supplant requirement under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed guidance alters the methodology for accountability around supplement not supplant funding. School districts would need to demonstrate that a school’s Title I status was not considered when designating state and local resources to each school. Representative Scott and Senator Murray called on Secretary DeVos to carry out a negotiated rulemaking process instead of moving forward with this proposal.

House Committee on Education & Labor Votes on Rebuild America’s Schools Act

The first education bill of the year, the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, was cleared to go to the full House of Representatives in a 26-20 vote in the House Committee on Education & Labor. This bill would provide $100 billion in grants and tax-credit bonds for school infrastructure. CTE is incorporated in this bill as an allowable use of funds.

U.S. Department of Education Renews Pilot Pell Grants Program

On February 13 the U.S. Department of Education approved renewal of a pilot program started by the Obama administration that allows incarcerated individuals to access Pell Grants. The program, called Second Chance Pell, is in its fourth year. Through this program, and the 67 participating colleges and universities and over 100 federal and state penal institutions, 12,000 incarcerated learners are able to utilize Pell. The creation of this pilot was the first time that prisoners were able to access Pell since Congress banned this in 1994. Currently, Secretary Betsy DeVos has voiced an interest in lifting this ban. Senator Alexander and Representative Scott have both recently spoken out in support of lifting this ban through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Administration Creates American Workforce Policy Advisory Board

On February 13 the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross and Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Trump, announced a new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The new advisory board is comprised of 25 members, including the chief executives of Apple Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Siemens USA and Walmart. The advisory board is separate of the National Council for the American Worker, which was established by Executive Order in June 2018, but the two groups will work together. One example noted was that the advisory board would be “be asked to help the council develop a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend ways to improve labor market data, increase private sector investments in job learning and better identify companies’ needs in hiring.” Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the work of the council and the advisory board.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

CTE Month: Let’s Invest in Career Technical Education for All Learners

February 28th, 2019


We have reached the end of Career Technical Education (CTE) month and we have seen – through awards programs, student success stories, visits to policymakers and site visits with employers – the importance of supporting high-quality programs of study across the nation. CTE provides middle school, high school, postsecondary and adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for successful careers. Learners enrolled in CTE programs progress along a pathway of increasingly specific academic and technical courses. They often have the opportunity to participate in internships, engage with employers, and apply what they are learning through hands-on projects.

Funding for CTE supports a variety of activities including:
      • Professional development for teachers and faculty to remain up to date on the latest industry advances;
      • Career counseling, guidance and advisement;
      • Career exploration opportunities;
      • Creation of new programs and associated equipment;
      • Improvement and expansion of existing programs; and
      • Building of industry partnerships and more.

That is why the CTE community is leading the charge to double the federal investment in programs that work for America.

How Can Organizations Support the Campaign?

Step 1: Sign On!
Visit www.ISupportCTE.org to sign your company or organization on to support doubling the investment in CTE.

Step 2: Stay Involved in the Campaign
When you sign on to the statement of support, you can select the ways in which you would like to stay involved in the campaign:
Email ISupportCTE@careertech.org your organization’s logo to be displayed on the campaign’s website;
Submit a story about the impact of CTE to be featured in campaign materials; and
Receive email updates and more.

You can also keep up with the campaign on Twitter by following @CTEWorks and using #ISupportCTE when posting about the campaign.  

Step 3: Spread the Word
Share the campaign with your networks — and invite them to visit www.ISupportCTE.org to sign on.

Visit the Share page on www.ISupportCTE.org to find sample tweets, a partner guide and more to help you share the campaign.

See how others are supporting the campaign on social media by searching #ISupportCTE. Here are some examples: 


Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center, Automotive Technology

February 27th, 2019

To ensure programs of study are high-quality, they must be comprehensive, rigorous and prepare learners for opportunities in high-skill and in-demand fields. Connections with local employers is also important so that learners participate in meaningful work-based learning experiences. Business leaders provide input on the curriculum and the benefit of participating is building a pipeline of high-wage, in-demand careers in their own community.

For example, the development of the Automotive Technology program of study – a 2018 Excellence in Action Award winner in the Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster®, housed at Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center in Williamston, South Carolina – is the direct result of industry needs in the community.

“We believe in project-based learning, engaging businesses and industries, setting high expectations for all students and creating student-centered classroom environments. We have embraced the integration of academics into Career Technical Education. Our programs work closely with our home high schools and postsecondary institutions around career pathways that give students a head start on high-demand employment opportunities thought stackable credentials,” said Kale Fortenberry, Automotive Technology Instructor.

There are more than 200 major manufacturers and 20 international companies located in Anderson County, including a number of car manufacturers.The high industry demand for skilled workers has led to employers reaching out directly to the program of study to build a pipeline of qualified and skilled employees. For example, the BMW Performance Center continues to serve as a business partner. Product Specialists at BMW bring BMW’s newest vehicles to the school so learners can gain first-hand industry knowledge.

“The quality of this program, its equipment and the instructor set the standard in our area. During our visits, we are continually impressed with the quality of students this program produces. Students show a level of professionalism that indicates their readiness for higher education and the workforce,” said Jonathan Stribble, Product & Delivery Support Specialist, BMW Group.

In their junior and senior years, learners may participate in the cooperative education option. This paid work-based learning experience includes a written training and evaluation plan, developed with industry partners, that guides workplace activities in coordination with classroom instruction. Students receive course credit in addition to financial compensation with the ultimate goal of providing a seamless transition into the workplace or postsecondary education.

Through an articulated agreement with the Tri-County Technical College, beginning their sophomore year, learners can earn up to 15 college credits as well as 10 industry-recognized certifications in electrical and braking systems. In the 2015-16 school year, 99 percent of students earned an industry-recognized credential and 73 percent earned postsecondary credit.

Learn more about the Automotive Technology Program at Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center and our 2018 award winners.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Opportunity America Report and Panels: Industry-Driven Apprenticeship

February 26th, 2019

Over the past five years, renewed  attention has been placed on apprenticeships. This began with investment from the Obama administration, and has continued to be a priority for the current administration. A series of panels last week, hosted by Opportunity America, discussed what to consider when developing and expanding registered and unregistered high-quality apprenticeships, and what the future holds for such programs.

The first panel featured: Tamar Jacoby, Opportunity America; Robert Lerman, Urban Institute; and Brent Parton, New America, with Eric Seleznow as the moderator. Panelists discussed the importance of ensuring that apprenticeship programs address equity and access issues to meet the needs of all learners, as well as represent the communities that they are serving. The panel also discussed the role of states in industry recognized apprenticeships. Tamar suggested that it may be the state’s responsibility to determine what high-quality means, assess what programs are high-quality and create incentives for other businesses to follow that mode. Parton also noted that states play a large role in coordinating systems alignment.

The second panel featured: Laura Beeth, Fairview Health Services; Michael Coley, Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation; and Robbie Heinrich, Dana Holding Corporation with Tamar Jacoby as the moderator. This discussion featured the employer perspective. All panelists reiterated the importance of including employers when creating apprenticeship policies. Employers cannot be used just in implementation of policy (as an apprenticeship supplier) but must also be involved in creating the foundation of that policy.  

This event also introduced Opportunity America’s report, Industry-Driven Apprenticeship: What Works, What’s Needed by Jacoby and Lerman. This report explores the results of the U.S. Department of Education’s 2016 Adult Training and Education Survey, as well as reviews four case studies of high-quality unregistered apprenticeships in construction, advanced manufacturing, health care and automotive maintenance and repair. The authors also organized a half-day meeting of about 20 employers and employer association executives to learn about program standards from their perspective.

This report offers five policy principal recommendations:

  1. Create a respected and brand-recognized apprenticeship that is an alternative to traditional academic education;
  2. Develop some form of standardized occupational frameworks;
  3. Utilize public funds currently directed to less impactful types of workforce education and training to finance the off-job part of registered and unregistered apprenticeships;
  4. Provide financial incentives for organizations and industry groups to act as the intermediary; and  
  5. Develop outcome metrics to assess quality.

A recording of the full panels, as well as an introduction of the new report, can be viewed here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

CTE Month: Uplifting the Learner Experience and Voice

February 22nd, 2019

We are already at the end of week three for Career Technical Education (CTE) Month®! This week we are highlighting the learner voice. Did you know last year CTE programs served nearly 8.2 million secondary students and 3.8 million postsecondary and adult students?

Sharing success stories is a great way to promote high-quality programs of study. In these stories, you will see what happens when learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.

Coming Soon: It’s important that learners have access to the resources they need for success. So, the Career Technical Education community is embarking on a campaign to double the federal investment in #CTE. We are asking employers to sign on to support the campaign and hope to get 10,000 signatures by April! Check back next week for details.

Listen to current West Virginia Nicholas County Career Technical Centers (NCCTC) learners who participated in the Exploratory Program last year. Learners discuss how the Exploratory program informed them of the opportunities available in CTE and helped them decide where to focus their future career goals.

Katie Lowe is the only girl in her engineering class at Heritage High School in Maryville, Tenn. In this video, Katie talks about her initial fears in joining the program and how, with the help of instructor Sam Warwick and her classmates, she learned she can do “anything that I want to.”

Hear how participating in a dual enrollment course is helping Abigail Christensen, Century High School student get a leg up on her future as a design drafter. She talks about the importance of having supportive instructors and upon graduation she will have a certificate in mechanical drafting.

Now working at Oracle as a technology account manager and the founder of a non-profit organization helping entrepreneurs. Terrell reflects on his high school experience and lessons learned that he has carried into his career.

Inspired by her own personal experience with a caring doctor, Kayla decided she wanted to help others too. In order to become a doctor who truly cares about patients and makes a difference in their lives. She’s making real progress towards that goal right now through her Internship at Poudre Valley Hospital.

Casey Kraft has been planting seeds for his future for as long as he can remember. All along the way, his teachers have nurtured his passion for farming and helped him take what he learns in the classroom to the fields of his family farm. He participates in FFA and works on the farm before he starts his school day.

Read these student blogs and media stories to learn more about learner experiences:


Hear from Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump as he talks about stats on CTE, youth employment, and encouraging states to be Bold in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans.

Watch the video here.

Check back next week for more highlights! 

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Explore How AP Seminar Can be Embedded into CTE Programs of Study

February 22nd, 2019

High-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) blends academic and technical skills to provide learners with the real-world skills necessary to succeed in today’s workforce. The integration of Advanced Placement (AP) courses into CTE programs of study promotes career-readiness by encouraging the development of these critical academic and technical skills. Advance CTE has previously partnered with the College Board to explore embedding AP courses into CTE programs of study.

AP Seminar course is a foundational, project-based learning course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics. The AP Seminar course is able to fit within multiple CTE programs of study given the focus on critical thinking, collaboration and presentation skills within a projected-based learning experience.

To help state leaders integrate AP Seminar into CTE programs of study, the College Board recently released a guide, Connecting AP Seminar and CTE Programs of Study, that describes AP Seminar’s course contents and provides state, district and student examples of how AP Seminar could be potentially embedded into a CTE program of study. For example, Indiana’s new graduation pathway options include project-based and work-based learning options, such as completing an AP Capstone course or exam (including AP Seminar).

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

CTE Month: Advocating for CTE to policymakers

February 15th, 2019

Learners across the country are advocating for Career Technical Education (CTE). The SkillsUSA national officers came to Washington, D.C. and met with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). Learners are also attending CTE Month proclamation signing events.

National Skills USA Officers in Washington, D.C.

IOWA: Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation for CTE month

UTAH: State officers of the seven Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) in the state of Utah were at the Utah State Capitol advocating for CTE.

WYOMING: Gov. Mark Gordon held a proclamation ceremony to declare February as CTE Month in Wyoming. He was joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and CTE learners.

Perkins V: How can states plan for genuine stakeholder engagement?

February 14th, 2019

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) provides a powerful opportunity to consult and coordinate with stakeholders throughout the state plan and local application development process and beyond. Importantly, meaningful engagement will not only make these plans better, but also foster partnerships and relationships that, if sustained through implementation, can make a big difference in advancing your state’s vision for CTE. As states look at stakeholder engagement for Perkins V, how can they design stakeholder engagement efforts that are genuine? Check out the resources below to learn more.

TOOL: Planning for Engagement: Identifying Key Stakeholders for Perkins V: This tool outlines the types of engagement required in Perkins V and was designed to help states begin the brainstorming process for their engagement efforts related to Perkins V.

REPORT: The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE: This report from Advance CTE examines the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students through policy and practice.

TOOL: Parent Engagement Tool: This tool is designed to help state and local leaders develop an effective strategy to engage parents and guardians.

More Resources

The next issue of this series will include communications resources and in the meantime, please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

The Outlook For Higher Education Reform in the 116th Congress

February 12th, 2019

Last week, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) shared their agendas for higher education reform, providing insight into what may be in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

On Monday, February 4, Senator Alexander spoke about HEA reauthorization at the American Enterprise Institute. He announced three proposals for updating HEA:

1) Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • The senator offered two ways to do this. First, decreasing the number of questions from 108 to a maximum of two dozen. Second, enabling multiple questions to be answered through information that the IRS already has accessible.

2) Streamline the options to repay student loans

  • The senator proposed cutting the number of options to repay loans from nine to two. One option includes deducting 10 percent of a person’s income not needed for necessities directly out of their  paycheck. If the borrower is unemployed no money would be required to be repaid, and this would not affect their credit score. The other option would be a 10-year monthly payment plan. Senator Alexander voiced support for loan forgiveness after 20 years.

3) Create a new accountability system for colleges to report whether borrowers are able to repay loans

  • Every program at every college would be required to report on whether borrowers are able to pay off their loans. This was described as an expansion and simplification of gainful employment.

Senator Alexander also discussed his support for competency-based education and expanding Pell Grant eligibility to include summer programs, as well as giving currently and previously incarcerated individuals access to Pell.

There have been multiple proposals in the Senate that touch upon these three ideas and Senator Alexander plans to work with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, and the rest of the committee to introduce one inclusive piece of legislation this spring so that the full Senate and House of Representatives are able to pass reauthorization by the new year. You can find the video, transcript and summary of Senator Alexander’s remarks here.

Later in the week, at Inside Higher Ed’s event on Higher Ed in the New Congress on Thursday, February 7, Senator Alexander underscored his three proposals. Representative Scott spoke as well, ensuring that HEA reauthorization will be an opportunity for comprehensive higher education reform. Some of the priorities for Representative Scott include:

  • Simplifying FAFSA;
  • Strengthening the federal oversight;
  • Incentivizing states to invest in public higher education;
  • Developing opportunities for tuition-free community college; and
  • Improving campus safety.

Representative Scott reminded the audience that although increased college enrollment is important, increased completion rates are what demonstrate success. He also discussed how HEA must address the rising cost of college in its measures to make college more affordable.  

Both expressed commitment to reauthorizing HEA in a bipartisan manner.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

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

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:

  • Dynamic, multilevel, mission-driven leadership;
  • Institutional responsiveness to meet students where they are;
  • Supportive campus environments;
  • Tailored academic and social supports;
  • Mentorship and sponsorships;
  • Availability of undergraduate research experiences; and
  • Mutually beneficial public-and private-sector partnerships.

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