Legislative Update: House Passes FY21 CR and Moves Forward with National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

September 25th, 2020

This week, the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) government funding. Read below to learn what this means for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, as well as the House Committee on Education and Labor markup of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 and the new Rethink Adult Ed Challenge. 

House Passes CR for FY21

Late Tuesday, the House passed a CR (H.R. 8337) that would extend government funding through December 11, 2020. This bill extends funding for all 12 appropriations subcommittees, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed), which covers education and workforce development funding. As is typical with a CR, federal funding for all education programs would remain level through the duration of this legislation. A section-by-section summary of this bill can be found here. Next, the Senate will vote on this CR. As a reminder, government funding for the current fiscal year expires on September 30, 2020. 

House Committee Marks Up National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

On Thursday, the House Committee on Education and Labor marked up and passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, a comprehensive reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act. In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) discussed the role that apprenticeships will play in economic recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott shared that per the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), 95 percent of registered apprenticeship participants find employment upon completion of the program with an average annual salary of $70,000. This bill would: 

  • Authorize $400 million for FY21, increasing by $100 million every year up to $800 million in FY25; 
  • Codify and streamline standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships; 
  • Codify existing regulations and practices for equitable participation and increased diversity in apprenticeship programs; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
  • Strengthen the connection between the DOL and U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Advance CTE is pleased to endorse the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. You can watch the full mark up here. A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here

ED Announces Rethink Adult Ed Challenge 

As part of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, ED announced the new Rethink Adult Ed Challenge that will expand pre-apprenticeship opportunities for adult learners. This challenge will award prizes totaling $750,000 to support programs funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act to create innovative and high-quality pre-apprenticeships in any industry across the United States. Eligible providers- including but not limited to community colleges, correctional facilities, libraries and community-based organizations- can submit Stage 1 applications by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 25, 2020. A virtual information session will take place on October 15, 2020.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

September 25th, 2020

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

TWEET OF THE WEEK

September is Workforce Development Month.

 

STATE CTE DIRECTOR OF THE WEEK

Welcome, Jimmy Hull to his new position in Alabama! As of July 2020, Jimmy now serves as the Assistant State Superintendent of Education in the Career and Technical Education/ Workforce Development Division for the Alabama State Department of Education. Read more about Jimmy’s rich career in education and his future plans for career exploration, apprenticeship opportunities and working partnerships between the community colleges in Alabama. 

STATE CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

The Florida Department of Education’s workforce education initiative, Get There, serves as a resource for prospective students to educate themselves on the benefits of CTE, align their interests to a career pathway, and connect with their local college to learn more and enroll in a program. View more about the initiative here.

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education 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. 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

This week is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The Integrated Basic Education Skills Training Program, or I-BEST, is Washington’s solution to the challenge of preparing learners with basic skills as they transition to college-level coursework. In 2005, when I-BEST was first designed, state leaders at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) proposed an idea to improve credential attainment among adult learners. The program provides technical and basic skills instruction through an integrated curriculum and has demonstrated powerful outcomes, including a dramatic increase in credential attainment.

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

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate, Advance CTE 

Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis

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

Welcoming Jimmy Hull to Advance CTE

September 22nd, 2020

Jimmy Hull began his career in education as a classroom teacher in Alabama. Since then, Jimmy has served in numerous roles including high school principal and the president of the Association of Career and Technical Education Alabama. As of July 2020, Jimmy now serves as the Assistant State Superintendent of Education in the Career and Technical Education/ Workforce Development Division for the Alabama State Department of Education. 

Jimmy has entered into his new position at an interesting if not difficult time, balancing the start of a new and unusual school year under mandated social distancing, while also implementing the first year of his state’s new plan for the ​Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Alongside these challenges, there are still multiple priorities on Jimmy’s list. As a former educator, it is clear that a passion lies in heartfelt teacher preparation and training, recruiting and sustaining quality teachers for Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms. He has plans to develop and implement a teacher prep program that would align with a teacher’s first three years of teaching. 

Core components of Alabama’s state Perkins plan is the commitment to breaking barriers of entry and access to CTE programs for identified student populations; building transitions for a seamless progression from high school to postsecondary education and finally to the workforce; and increasing postsecondary attainment for learners. The plan was driven by key stakeholders including a strong partnership with the Governor’s office. Jimmy also identified other key areas of growth for Alabama including career exploration in the middle and elementary grades, innovative ways to offer apprenticeship opportunities, and a working partnership with the state’s community colleges. 

Jimmy believes strongly in CTE’s vital role in economic development in his state and in the nation and has plans to begin fulfilling this role by ensuring that every voice is heard by meeting with schools’ administrative teams and formulating new strategic goals for the future ahead.

Welcome Jimmy!

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

This Week in CTE

September 19th, 2020

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

TWEET OF THE WEEK

STATE DIRECTOR OF THE WEEK

The Wyoming Department of Education State CTE Director, Michelle Aldrich, announced support in funding for the Natrona County School District (NCSD). Funding will allow for a mobile STEM lab to travel across the school district, sharing equipment and providing career exploration opportunities to middle and elementary school students. Aldrich noted that it is important to, “recognize people who go above and beyond the norm.” Read more in this article published by Oil City News. 

GRANT APPLICATION OF THE WEEK

Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program (CRY-ROP), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 CTE TEACH Mentor Grant. One grant per local education agency (LEA) will be awarded. Mentoring teachers will be provided resources and supports as they help to transition new CTE teachers from industry to the classroom. Read more about CTE TEACH’s objectives, requirements and application here

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

ApprenticeshipNC shares how these five steps can lead to the start of a registered apprenticeship program for your business. 

CAREER PATHWAY OF THE WEEK

The partnership between the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), the University System of Georgia (USG) and the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) has brought new opportunities to secondary learners in the state of Georgia. Since 2018, the Georgia FinTech Academy (GFTA) has provided over 1,900 learners with courses that lead to a career in financial technology (fintech). Aligned with the growing market demand for talent in fintech careers and with the help of an innovative virtual platform, GFTA now reaches every high school in Georgia that chooses to offer the pathway. Fintech college courses are also available for dual enrollment. Read more in this article published by the Atlanta Business Journal.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships.

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here.

Follow Advance CTE’s legislative updates for more up-to-date information. 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, commissioned focus groups and a national survey to explore the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to better understand the promise and opportunity of CTE. Making a Winning Case for CTE: How Local Leaders Can Communicate the Value of CTE provides ideas for how local leaders can use the messages and research from the Value and Promise of Career Technical Education report to effectively communicate the importance of CTE, especially to the most important audiences- students and parents.

View Making a Winning Case for CTE: How Local Leaders Can Communicate the Value of CTE in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Legislative Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and Senate FAFSA Hearing

September 18th, 2020

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. Read below to learn more about what is included in this bill, a Senate hearing on student financial aid and the extended deadline for postsecondary institutions to receive stimulus funding. 

House Introduces National Apprenticeship Act 

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships. The Act authorizes $400 million in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) with annual increases of $100 million, up to $800 million in FY25. Additionally, this would codify the role of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, codify the role of State Apprenticeship Agencies and create an interagency agreement between DOL and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 24, 2020. 

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here

Senate Holds Hearing on FAFSA Reform

Earlier this week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a “Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA” hearing. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has long advocated for updating the complicated and burdensome Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After announcing his retirement from Congress, Senator Alexander is continuing to push for FAFSA simplification to be completed before he moves on. 

Witnesses for the hearing included: Kim Cook, Executive Director of the National College Attainment Network; Rachelle Feldman, Associate Provost and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kristin Hultquist, Founding Partner of HCM Strategists; Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. 

ED Announces Extension for Higher Education CARES Act Funding

ED reopened the application period for funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that is authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The department opened back up the application process through September 30, 2020. Postsecondary institutions can apply for funding at grants.gov. Additional details can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Getting to Know: Advance CTE’s Work on Equity

September 17th, 2020

The Getting to Know blog series will feature State CTE Directors, states and policies as well as Advance CTE staff and their work. Learn more about each one of these and their unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE).

Meet Kimberly Green! Kimberly serves as the Executive Director for Advance CTE, where she has been a part of the organization for over 25 years! In the interview below, she shares a little about Advance CTE’s commitment to equity and how her federal advocacy work aligns.

Q. What are a few organizational steps Advance CTE has taken to promote equity?

A. Our organization has not always prioritized equity. It was just a few years ago – in 2018 –  that we began to make the shift to position equity as foundational to our work. We knew we had to approach this work with humility, acknowledging that we had a lot of learning, listening and growing to do. To help with this, we launched an Equity Kitchen Cabinet composed of Advance CTE members and a National Committee on Equity that included representatives of national organizations leading civil rights and equity in education work, to serve as mentors and thought partners. Both groups informed our Board-approved statement on equity

As a leader, I always strive to have our organization model what we hope to see in states. After listening and learning from our partners over the course of the year, I knew we had to turn the equity work inward, examining Advance CTE’s organizational culture and processes. Through a year-long grant from the Associated Black Charities (ABC) our staff participated in three, day-long trainings, our leadership received monthly coaching sessions from an equity expert. We conducted an internal equity audit and chose to focus our efforts this first year to revise our recruitment and hiring practices and evaluation system. This grant gave us the skills and confidence to release this statement in June of this year, which outlines a set of commitments that we are working to live up to. As the ABC grant just ended, we are investing our organizational resources to extend this internal work with our next year’s priorities being: building equity into our onboarding curriculum for all new staff; three more, full-day staff trainings; establishing a set of core values; standing up a diversity, equity and inclusion advisory group and more. 

Q. In your work aligned with federal advocacy, what have you witnessed that you are most proud of related to equity and access for learners?

A. I am proud that we advocated for and were successful in positioning equity at the heart of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).  Our advocacy broadened the historical equity focus beyond gender equity. Through the comprehensive local needs assessment, a new requirement that we and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) authored, ensures that policy and fiscal decisions are driven by data and prioritize closing equity gaps. 

Q. Do you have any recommended resources for states to promote equity in CTE?

A. While we have done a lot of internal work, we have also created a number of assets and tools for the CTE community under the Making Good on the Promise Series. This series examines 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. This year, in partners from the National Equity Committee, we added to the series through population-specific resources, including a focus on students with disabilities, homeless youth (forthcoming) and justice-involved youth. We also will be releasing a series of assets to help states build their capacity to conduct opportunity gap analysis, a foundational step to identify where gaps exist. In addition to Advance CTE assets, the U.S. Department of Education has assets states can find here and our partners at the National Alliance for Partnership in Equity have some great resources here.

View past entries and stay up to date with the Getting to Know series here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

This Week in CTE

September 11th, 2020

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

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTSO OF THE WEEK

McAllen Independent School District in Texas is gearing up for recruitment week for one of their Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). Check out the fun activities planned to bring in new Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members next week!

NEWSLETTER OF THE WEEK

Cass Career Center, a public technical school located in Missouri, published their September newsletter this week. Read how the culture at the technical center has shifted to, “learn by unlearning.” The newsletter also shares how learners and the technical center staff are doing their parts to keep the campus safe during the pandemic.

STATE PROFILES OF THE WEEK

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) and the Level Up coalition published Unlocking Potential: A State Policy Roadmap for Equity and Quality in College in High School Programs. State CTE leaders can leverage this resource as they design and implement policies that drive meaningful change in access, equity, and quality for college in high school programs. CHSA newly released three state profiles of recommended policies already in place in Colorado, Indiana, and Washington. View the state profiles here

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

Co-Chair of the House CTE Caucus Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) published an article about how the pandemic underscores the demand for CTE. In this op-ed, Representative Thompson discussed the need to support CTE learners, and the role that CTE has in economic resiliency.  

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

In 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the Finish Line Grants program, a wraparound program to help learners in North Carolina navigate financial emergencies. The program was designed to improve credential attainment rates by limiting unexpected financial burdens that may prevent a student from completing a postsecondary degree or credential. 

View a full profile on this policy in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Heading Back to School? Don’t Forget to Promote CTE!

September 9th, 2020

Over the past few weeks, learners and instructors across the country put on their first day of school outfits and began a most unusual school year. What the setting looks like – a Zoom room or a classroom – is different from state to state and even district to district. What hasn’t changed is the critical importance of communicating about the value and benefit of Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners, families and other key stakeholders. 

Back to school likely is a lot different this year compared to last, and you may be interacting with families and schools in ways that are new to you, your administration or your state. While your to-do list is certainly long and resources may be thin, Advance CTE has created a number of off-the-shelf materials to help CTE advocates make the case for CTE during and after the pandemic. 

Visit the Engaging Families and Learners section of Advance CTE’s website for templates including an advertisement, brochure, flyer, poster, postcard and banner that are easily customizable with data, photos, quotes and information about CTE in your community. (To access these templates, scroll down to the Digital and Print Materials section and download the Indesign templates). There are also ready-made messaging cards as well as posters in English and Spanish that can be printed out or sent in an e-newsletter. 

Use the CTE 101 video on back-to-school nights or virtual or in-person school visits to showcase how CTE is working for learners and employers every day. 

Lastly, for some stellar examples of how to best reach families at the middle and high school levels both in-person and online, read three short case studies including: 

All of us at Advance CTE wish you a happy and healthy school year!

Katie Fitzgerald, Director of Communications and Membership

This Week in CTE

September 4th, 2020

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

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 

Postsecondary institutions in Kentucky have reported an increase in dual-enrollment over the past five years. Other notable gains include higher grades for enrolled secondary learners and a higher rate of continuance on to postsecondary education.

COMMUNITY SERVICE OF THE WEEK

New Mexico CTE students delivered COVID-19 (coronavirus) care packages to first responders in their community to complete their service hours for their certification program. The Community Health Workers program offered to these students is the result of a partnership between the New Mexico Public Education Department, Forward NM National Network of Area Health Education Centers and Western New Mexico University.  Read more in this article published by Silver City Sun News.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

WEBINARS OF THE WEEK

Wisconsin CTE hosted a CTE Back-to-School Webinar Series, featuring CTE leaders from across the state. Topics discussed included, but not limited to, standards-aligned and integrated curriculum, student assessment, access and equity, prepared and effective program staff, and business partnerships. The webinar recordings are now available and can be accessed here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Despite increased interest in CTE by students and businesses, states and school districts are struggling to maintain or expand CTE programs due to limited federal, state and local funding. Area technical centers are an especially viable option for districts wanting to provide students with high-quality CTE in a cost-effective way.

Area CTE Centers: Conquering the Skills Gap through Business and Industry Collaboration provides information on the history, benefits and cost effectiveness of area technical centers. Several examples of best practices are highlighted including from Ohio and Oklahoma.

View this resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

 

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