Top Recommendations from Coalition for Career Development Center’s Inaugural Report to Improve State Career Readiness

August 11th, 2022

In May, the Coalition for Career Development Center released the first annual The Condition of Career Readiness in the United States. The 129-page report evaluates key states’ career readiness policies, investments and outcomes across all 50 states, including personalized career and academic plans (PCAP), funding, curriculums, accountability, and Career Technical Education (CTE) program outcomes. Accompanying the report is an interactive national map that links available PCAP resources, work-based learning (WBL) toolkits, Perkins V plans, social-emotional learning (SEL) toolkits and ESSA plans for each state to allow state leaders to assess and enhance their career readiness systems 

The report finds that  “[to] become a Career Ready Nation we all have work to do. And, cost-effective solutions and strategies used by many states or regions within states offer a way forward.” As a 50-state landscape of key components of career readiness, this report gives state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders valuable findings and guidance to better align and interconnect career readiness systems that are responsive to the needs of each learner across their entire career journey. 

Here are several recommendations and state highlights that state CTE leaders can consider to make that alignment possible;

Recommendation 1: Expand Post-School Outcome Data 

  • For postsecondary CTE concentrators, the report finds that 40 states are placing 70 percent or more of secondary learners into postsecondary training and education, military or employment after high school graduation. Only three states, however, are placing 70 percent or more of all high school graduates into either a two-year or four-year postsecondary training or education program. The report recommends expanding post-school data points as well as counting military service and employment as post-school outcomes for learners.
  • Kansas, in addition to assessing advanced social-emotional learning (SEL) skills that serve as high-demand employability skills, creates an annual report that provides high schools with information on the average percentage of students that complete career interest surveys; write postsecondary goals and post-secondary plan; and complete portfolio tracking for internship records, dual course credit; certifications and applications to postsecondary education.

Recommendation 2: Identify Engagement Strategies for Learners Ages 16 to 19

  • 47 states were found to be connecting more than 90 percent of their youth population aged 16 to 19 to education, training programs, or employment. However, only five states reported that more than 90% of their young adults aged 20 to 24 are connected to education, training programs, or employment. The report recommended that longitudinal data systems be designed to determine whether and when young adults become disconnected.
  • The 16+ DataHub, managed by Scotland’s Careers Services, integrates data from a range of sources including education, workforce, and health and human services. Once identified, Careers Services deploys a career counselor to reconnect them to education, training, and employment opportunities.

Recommendation 3: Invest in PCAP

  • While 30 states offer high-quality career readiness policies, referred to as personalized career and academic plans (PCAP), the report highlights the need to improve alignment through cross-sector teams. Specifically, the report recommends leveraging federal and state funds to support the adoption and quality implementation of PCAPs or other career planning processes by schools, youth-serving organizations and higher education institutions. Additionally, cross-sector teams should focus on aligning PCAP with the state’s education, workforce development, wellness, and career readiness policies, resources and initiatives.
  • The Delaware Pathways initiative is a cross-sector-created team of diverse stakeholders who established a common vision and language for linking their PCAP (referred to as Student Success Planning) with CTE, SEL, and work-based learning initiatives in a manner that seeks to increase access for all learners. Advance CTE featured Delaware Pathways in a recent brief on braiding funding in career pathways design.

Recommendation 4: Increase Access to Work-based Learning Opportunities

  • Wage and employment opportunities increase when youth have career conversations and experiences. The report finds that 29 states identified work-based learning as an important element in their Perkins V plans. However, fewer than ten states name specific plans to enact or expand key work-based policy areas. The report recommends providing statewide infrastructure to support implementation; using state and federal funding incentives to encourage industry/business participation and communication systems that enable stakeholders to access and participate in work-based learning and leveraging intermediaries to provide capacity for state-wide work-based learning implementation infrastructure is an effective solution.
  • Iowa established a network of 15 regional intermediaries through its community college system which connects industry partners and the education system to offer relevant, work-based learning activities to learners. This work was highlighted in an Advance CTE webinar earlier this year. 

Recommendation 5: Invest in Career Advising

  • High schools in just 28 states are meeting the American School Counseling Association’s recommended school counselor to student ratio of 250:1. To further this progress, the report calls for more investment in career readiness for elementary and middle school learners and emphasizes exposure can make a difference in aiding learners to select the best career pathway. 
  • PBS Kids has created programs for learners ages three to six to give them the opportunity to see themselves reflected in various careers regardless of race, disability, or gender. Cajon Valley Union School District’s World of Work Initiative focuses on supporting children from lower income and racially diverse communities to build confidence through mentorship and career exposure. 

The extensive report includes sources cited from several publications in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center (specific references can be found starting on page 119.) 

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate 

 

Four Steps to Use Advance CTE’s Credit for Prior Learning Policy Benchmark Tool

August 10th, 2022

In December 2021, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) convened the Credit for Prior Learning Shared Solutions Workgroup in service to the New Skills ready network sites. The work group was tasked with evaluating the policies and practices that enable credit for prior learning (CPL) to be implemented effectively within career pathways. 

This workgroup convened in service to the New Skills ready network sites, which are working to improve career pathways, expand real-world work experiences, improve transitions and close equity gaps. Evidence increasingly shows that CPL can boost learners’ completion rates in a way that saves them time and money. 

A survey fielded by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) found that adults who earned credit for prior learning were 17 percent more likely to complete a credential. Notably the impact was even greater for Hispanic learners, who experienced a 29 percent increase in credential completion, and Pell recipients, who are 19 percent more likely to complete a credential if they have earned CPL.

“Credit for Prior Learning is a crucial way for students to save time and money in pursuing a credential or degree,” says Georgia Reagan, strategy officer with Lumina Foundation. “However, students aren’t always aware of the opportunities available at their institutions. The Credit for Prior Learning in Career Pathways tool will be a valuable guide for higher education and policy leaders who want to create clear, accessible, and equitable processes that will help students in turning their prior learning experiences into invaluable college credits.”

To build more inclusive on-ramps to high quality postsecondary education, CPL processes should be expanded to reflect learners’ postsecondary-level learning gained through their life, educational and occupational experiences. This includes the common methods of assessing and awarding CPL, such as standardized examples, as well as work-based learning and industry-recognized credentials earned in high school, validated on-the-job training and non-credit, and non-degree coursework. 

The workgroup designed a comprehensive Policy Benchmark Tool (PBT) to better support states, systems and institutions in embedding CPL in career pathways. 

Getting Started

Effective use of the PBT requires intentional collaboration and planning. It is composed of three sections to enable users to: understand the core elements of strong CPL policy and practice, assess where their own policy and practice is strong and where opportunities remain, and create an action plan to improve the effective use of CPL in learners’ career pathways.

“With the recent decline in Indiana’s college-going rate, CPL opportunities will be critical to increasing the state’s postsecondary access, equity, and completion rates,” says Dawn Clark, Director of Academic Affairs and Transfer at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. “As CPL awareness and opportunities continue to grow, consistent institutional policies and practices will help students earn credentials more quickly and affordably. The Credit for Prior Learning Policy Benchmark Tool could not have come at a better time!”

For optimal results, Advance CTE recommends that users:

  • Compose a diverse team to complete the PBT’s self assessment rubric, including state agency staff, postsecondary system leaders, institutional practitioners, workforce development and industry partners and, most important, learners. 
  • Gather data and guiding documents to inform the self-assessment. Users may identify CPL participation and outcomes data, statewide or articulation agreements, approved credential lists, and institutional policy documents as potential supporting evidence. 
  • Complete the self-assessment as a core team and gain an understanding of your ratings prior to soliciting additional input. Users may find that additional input is needed from learners, community-based organizations or employer partners, for example, to accurately rate how well CPL is understood and accessed as a career pathways strategy. 
  • Identify priority action areas to address first based on existing policy and practice, as well as other conditions in your state. There are always ways to improve CPL, and this tool illustrates the many areas a state, postsecondary education system or institution could focus on to improve the effectiveness of CPL. 

Advance CTE staff are available to support CTE leaders in this important work. Please contact Candace Williams, Data & Research Manager, at cwilliams@careertech.org for more information about this initiative. 

Candace Williams, Data and Research Manager

Welcome Kevin O’Farrell as the New State CTE Director in Florida!

August 9th, 2022

The Florida Department of Education recently named Kevin O’Farrell as its new Chancellor of Career and Technical Education (CTE). He brings a wealth of experience from the higher education and postsecondary sector, which will illuminate his new strategy for CTE in the Sunshine State. 

Kevin’s work in education has ranged from being an instructor in political science to serving as provost at Pasco-Hernando State College, Porter Campus. He spent many years designing curricula, with particularly close work with health science. The arts were also on his priority list, and he led the creation of a new instructional performing arts center that offered programs beyond stagecraft, including theater technical arts. 

Florida has set the bold goal to be the top state for workforce education by 2030 – and Kevin is all in on this goal! He notes the state’s great potential, illustrated by the fact that Florida is the fifteenth-largest economy in the world. He plans to focus on workforce partnerships, with special attention to improving the entire pipeline of talent, including adult education and apprenticeships. He also has his eyes on the teacher pipeline shortage in his state, and notes that as a major challenge he wants to overcome. “CTE shouldn’t be an afterthought,” Kevin said, “It should be at the forefront.”

Kevin is excited by CTE because of the “multi-faceted benefits, in terms of earning potential and career exploration,” which he said he and his classmates weren’t exposed to in high school. That’s part of his overall belief that schools need to introduce the concept of CTE earlier in the educational system. And the benefits, he said, will expand beyond individual classrooms and learners: CTE can be the cornerstone of building stronger communities. 

Summarizing his approach, Kevin said, “I want to learn as much as I can, and do as much good as I can.”

Kevin earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Science in interpersonal and organizational communication from Toccoa Falls College, GA. Today, Kevin is married with three children between the ages of two and six, is an avid fan of ancient Egyptian history, and participates regularly in tennis and running. Welcome to Advance CTE, Kevin!

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

Legislative Update: Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill While CHIPS Legislation is Signed into Law

August 8th, 2022

Over the last week, Senate Democrats united and passed significant new climate and healthcare legislation which is expected to be voted on  by the House later this week. Elsewhere President Biden signed new advanced manufacturing legislation into law while the Commerce Department announced new American Rescue Plan grantees. Meanwhile, House Republicans unveiled new postsecondary education legislation while the Senate confirmed a new postsecondary leader at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Senate Passes Long-awaited Reconciliation Package

Over the weekend, the Senate remained in session to consider the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376)– legislation that would make significant new investments in the nation’s capacity to produce and use greener sources of energy while expanding healthcare access for millions of Americans. The bill will generate more than enough new federal revenue to offset these investments while also decreasing the federal deficit by over $300 billion. Earlier iterations of this proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, included significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. Senate Democrats were able to pass this legislation by a simple majority vote via the chamber’s budget reconciliation process. The House is now expected to take up and pass this proposal later this week. 

President Biden Signs CHIPS & Science Act Into Law

As we shared previously, Congress recently approved the Chips and Science Act (H.R. 4346). This legislation will provide substantial new funding for the nation’s advanced manufacturing sector to increase the capacity to produce semiconductor chips– a component that is needed in many pieces of consumer electronics used by millions of people daily. On August 2, President Biden formally signed this legislation into law. Advance CTE and its partners were disappointed that language regarding the expansion of federal Pell grants for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs was not included in the final package, along with a number of other important proposals initially considered as part of this legislation. 

However, the bill will provide some modest workforce development investments targeted specifically at sectors of the economy needed to produce semiconductor chips that may be of interest to the CTE community as the legislation is implemented in the months and years ahead. These investments include funding to broaden the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to support workforce training partnerships benefiting manufacturers as well as $200 million in new funding for the National Science Foundation to promote wider workforce development recruitment into these fields. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this legislation and will be monitoring the implementation of this law in future for further opportunities that may be created as a result of the bill’s recent enactment. 

House Republicans Introduce Short-term Pell Proposal 

Last week, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), committee member Elise Stefanik (R-NY), along with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced the Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act. This legislation would make a number of changes to existing federal student loan programs which have been at the center of continued disagreement between Congressional Democrats and Republicans. In addition to these provisions, the legislation includes a slightly reframed proposal that would allow learners to use federal Pell grants in certain shorter-term CTE programs. The bill includes a different set of requirements for these programs to qualify for Pell grants, including provisions that would require graduates to realize earnings gains that exceed the costs of the program. While a similar proposal was not ultimately included in the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act legislation noted elsewhere, its inclusion here demonstrates continued congressional support for the need to provide better support for learners pursuing postsecondary educational pathways with more direct linkages to careers. A fact sheet about the REAL Reforms Act can be found here

Commerce Department Announces Good Jobs Grantees 

On August 3 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced $500 million in new grants for 32 regional workforce partnerships across the country. These grants were part of the Department’s “Good Jobs Challenge,” a grant initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats last year. Awardees will be pursuing a number of education and training initiatives connected to key economic sectors to help support the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Among the 32 grantees to secure funding through this program was Hampton Roads Workforce Council– a local workforce center in House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) district which he recently visited to promote these efforts. 

Senate Confirms Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education 

Last Thursday the Senate formally confirmed Nasser Paydar to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Paydar was previously the Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Executive Vice President of Indiana University. In a statement following his confirmation, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona welcomed this new development saying, in part, “Dr. Paydar brings to the U.S. Department of Education more than three-and-a-half decades of experience as a university leader and educator, during which time he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to creating accessible pathways to college and careers for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.” 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

New Skills ready network Site Highlight: The Attainment Network Seeks to Scale Impact in Denver Statewide

August 2nd, 2022

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched the New Skills ready network across six U.S. sites to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways with a focus on collaboration and equity. As a national partner in the New Skills ready network, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities and gain a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country.

This blog series highlights innovative tools and initiatives produced across the six sites that advance the initiative’s four key priorities and serve as a guide for state leaders in their work to create cohesive, flexible and responsive career pathways.

Senior Policy Associate Haley Wing interviewed Rana Tarkenton and Therese Ivancovich of The Attainment Network. The Attainment Network connects partners and drives collaboration to build education-to-workforce systems that support every learner on their path to earning family-living wage employment and economic opportunities through education and skills training. This post highlights The Attainment Network’s contributions to the Denver site as well as their growing impact in the state of Colorado.

 

 

 

 

Background

The Attainment Network, formerly known as Denver Education Attainment Network (DEAN), was founded in 2014 as a direct response to persistent equity gaps in educational attainment and economic opportunity. The Attainment Network is transforming education-to-workforce systems, erasing persistent and pervasive equity gaps, expanding opportunities for learners and meeting the economic demands for a highly skilled and educated workforce.

The Network mobilizes K-12, postsecondary institutions, state agencies, local municipalities, nonprofit, business and learners to ignite and accelerate education-to-workforce systems change.  The Network serves a crucial role in providing strategic consulting, technical assistance, funding and connection to ensure a prioritized and sustained focus on learner-centered, career-connected experiences that strengthen regional and state talent pipelines. The Attainment Network also serves as the site lead for the New Skills ready network Denver site and has supported development and movement toward implementation of high-quality career pathways for learners. 

Vision for Success

The Attainment Network envisions an innovative education-to-workforce system that develops a diverse, talented workforce for current and future jobs, meets economic demands and sustains thriving communities. As The Network pursues this vision, their measure of success encompasses key evaluation questions embedded in equitable outcomes for learners. This includes measuring the number of diverse learners completing high-value credentials and receiving opportunities for high-wage, in-demand careers.

In support of their work to close equity gaps along career-connected pathways, The Attainment Network engages deeply with communities they serve. The team recognizes the importance and impact of learner and community voice. To that end, they have prioritized community engagement in the development of career-connected pathways, both within the New Skills work and beyond.

Unique Components of The Attainment Network

The team identified a need to provide high-level strategy, on-the-ground technical assistance and funding to support partners that are engaging in the education-to-workforce work. The team is especially well-equipped to leverage data, equity and collaboration to guide partners in informing policy and communications. When engaging with partners, The Attainment Network identifies and engages senior leadership and helps to set a shared vision for how multiple organizations work together. The organization also supports education and skills alignment by helping partners to identify the connecting points between education and skills training and how these components can be built into seamless programs of study and coordinated learner supports. 

The Attainment Network is leaning strongly into the learner voice and ensuring that learners are remaining centered in the work. The organization has launched a side-by-side community of practice of learners, as well as their Pathways Leadership Community of Practice. The organization will continue to add more learners to this group over time and in the next few months will have five to seven learners participating in this group. The problems of practice are driven by the needs of learners that arise in the community of practice, and learners will provide their own contemplation and feedback that will then be shared to inform decisions around policies and how programs move forward.

Within their communities of practice, The Attainment Network engages multiple types of organizations, both formal and informal partners, to elevate best practices in career-connected pathways and to problem solve for barriers to learner success. 

The Network prioritizes equity through their use of a data framework which also serves as an equity framework. The data framework was developed in collaboration with New Skills Denver partners and focuses specifically on learner subgroup populations and how those learners are progressing through pathways and into a career. These specific details allow the organization  to target strategies and solutions to close equity gaps. This work is currently being used in the Denver site for the New Skills ready network initiative and in other communities in Colorado as well.

The Attainment Network is also elevating work-based learning as an accelerator to help learners on their career journey. The organization’s investments in data with intentionality around how they work with partners to build capacity and alignment has been instrumental in the team’s learnings. For example, The Network now requires data-sharing agreements as a funding condition for all partnerships. 

New Skills ready network Impact

The success of the New Skills Denver partnership led to an opportunity to expand The Attainment Network’s impact beyond Denver. With its recent expansion to a statewide organization, The Attainment Network now has more resources to support the Denver New Skills ready network site because the organization has a statewide network and a larger footprint in the state of Colorado. The transition brings more focus to the New Skills site to further highlight important relationships and varied strategies the organization and its partners are leveraging in continuous development of high-quality career pathways for learners. 

The site’s success has allowed The Attainment Network to refine their strategies and highlight the impact of the organization’s approach and pathway strategy to expand to other communities. The investment from JPMorgan Chase in the New Skills ready network initiative helps solidify the value-add with partners and scale the framework to support broader work in the state of Colorado. In the coming years, the organization will help the Denver site to expand their reach by lifting up the work that is being achieved and eliminating policy barriers to learner success.

Visions for the Future

Looking ahead to 2023, The Attainment Network is focusing on streamlining data collection and utilization, building models that can be successfully replicated and leveraging statewide collaboration opportunities to scale impact. The Network is focusing on connecting career pathways data to wage data in order to understand how education and skills training are contributing to the promise of family living wage employment. As the organization expands to a replicable model, a cornerstone of the work will be centering alignment between policy and practice. The transition to a statewide focus opens opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas from Denver to other communities.

Additionally, The Attainment Network is entering phase two of  their Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) pilot, which demonstrated the value of K-12 ICAP data to learners and advisors during learners’ transition to postsecondary. The pilot will now be named the Student Transitions pilot. In phase one, the pilot was well-received by partners and the organization learned the usefulness of the data and the impact on the postsecondary advising sessions with learners. In phase two, the focus will be on scalability, streamlining the data sharing process and developing a “pathways indicator” to be included in student records. The organization plans to include opportunities for counselor/advisor professional development to increase the impact of the pilot across K-12 and postsecondary institutions.

For more information about initiatives being pursued by Denver and the five other sites that are part of the New Skills ready network, view Advance CTE’s Year Two snapshots.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate 

Legislative Update: Senate Releases FY23 Funding Proposals While Congress Passes CHIPS Bill and Democrats Unveil New Reconciliation Deal

August 2nd, 2022

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee released draft federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) spending proposals, including legislation that would provide funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). In addition, Congress passed economic competitiveness legislation while Senate Democrats announced a new reconciliation deal focused on healthcare and energy policies. Elsewhere the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unveiled newly proposed postsecondary regulations. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases FY23 Spending Proposals

The Senate Appropriations Committee released draft proposals for each of the 12 annual federal fiscal year 2023 spending bills that compose the federal budget late last week. This release comes ahead of the upcoming start of FY23, set to begin on October 1. The Senate proposal envisions a total investment of $1.44 billion for the Perkins V basic state grant program– an increase of $60 million over current FY22 enacted appropriations. The Senate’s recommended increase in funding for state grants authorized by Perkins V exceeds an earlier FY23 proposal from the House, which contained an increase of $45 million for the program. While these proposed investments in CTE are encouraging and far exceed what the Biden Administration has proposed for the program to date, Advance CTE and its partners are continuing to advocate for a $200 million increase in Perkins V state grant funding to fully meet the needs of learners throughout the nation in the coming federal fiscal year.

The Senate’s FY23 proposal for Perkins V also recommends $60 million in additional funding for the law’s national activities account– an amount intended to support the Biden Administration’s “Career Connected High Schools” proposal. Advance CTE has previously shared concerns about this proposed competitive grant program and has urged lawmakers to use this funding for Perkins V state grants which would more equitably distribute funding and support a far larger number of the nation’s CTE learners. In addition to these suggested changes in funding for Perkins, the Senate’s FY23 funding proposal also recommends a five percent increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants authorized by Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. For core Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) formula programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Senate is proposing a nearly six percent increase for these programs above FY22 enacted levels. 

While the release of these spending proposals is an important step in the wider federal budget and appropriations process for FY23, Advance CTE does not expect the Senate to formally consider these proposals further. Instead, these proposals have been released to serve as a negotiating tool between the House and Senate to resolve differences between both chambers’ visions for the coming fiscal year and complete the FY23 budget. As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in CTE as part of the annual federal appropriations process. All spending proposals released by the Senate last week can be accessed here

Senate Leaders Announce Reconciliation Deal 

After over a year of off-again-on-again negotiations among Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that they had reached agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. If enacted, the legislation would make investments to expand the nation’s energy production capacity and expand healthcare access. These proposals would be funded through the establishment of a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent, allowing for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and other revenue generating provisions. As a result, the legislation is also intended to reduce the federal deficit by approximately $300 billion. First conceived as President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, this legislation initially proposed to invest significant new funding in CTE and workforce development. However, continued disagreement within the Democratic Congressional caucus forced this earlier proposal to be pared back considerably over the last year. Using the reconciliation process allows Senators to advance this legislation by a simple majority in the upper chamber, thus circumventing a likely Republican filibuster of the legislation. The Senate is expected to begin this process this week ahead of the start of its annual August recess scheduled to begin this upcoming weekend. 

Congress Approves CHIPS+ Proposal

As shared last week, Senate leaders announced a significantly pared back legislative proposal aimed at investing in the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity in critical sectors of the economy related to the production of semiconductor chips. Since that time, the Senate advanced this legislation out of the chamber by a wide bipartisan vote margin which was quickly followed by a comparable vote in the House. With the package now having cleared both Congressional chambers, the bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature and enactment. Advance CTE and its partners had been working to include provisions that would have expanded federal Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs as well as to make critical improvements to the nation’s collection of postsecondary education outcomes data. However, lawmakers were only able to find consensus on this narrower package. 

ED Releases Proposed Postsecondary Regulations 

Following two negotiated rulemaking convenings this past fall and spring, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published proposed regulations on several topics, including federal Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals and the way for-profit postsecondary institutions must calculate the amount of their revenue from non-federal sources (known informally as the 90/10 rule). The newly proposed rules would strengthen requirements that postsecondary institutions obtain at least 10 percent of their revenue from non federal resources by expanding what would be “counted” as part of this share of their revenue. In addition, the proposed regulations would codify the processes for which individuals who are in correctional facilities may access and use federal Pell grants for qualifying programs. A factsheet on these changes can be found here. ED is soliciting feedback from the wider public for the next month as it works to finalize these proposals. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: Senate Pares Back CHIPS, While Biden Administration Highlights ARP Impact and Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

July 22nd, 2022

This week the Senate advanced more modest economic competitiveness legislation after deliberating on the proposal for more than a year. Elsewhere, the Biden Administration drew attention to workforce challenges in the cybersecurity space, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unveiled new school discipline guidance while Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden highlighted ongoing efforts to help learners recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Senate Advances More Modest CHIPS Proposal

After over a year of consideration, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a measure late Tuesday night, July 19, that formally began debate on economic competitiveness legislation intended to bolster the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity in critical sectors of the economy related to the production of semiconductor chips. Currently known as “CHIPS+,” earlier iterations of this legislation, introduced in both the House and the Senate separately over the last year and a half, included significant new funding in education and workforce development. In particular, lawmakers had hoped to include an expansion of the federal Pell Grant Program to include high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. Known elsewhere as the JOBS Act, this proposal would be key to cultivating the skilled workforce necessary to make investments envisioned under this legislation successful. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)– a key negotiator for the current CHIPS+ proposal and a long-time co-sponsor of the JOBS Act– recently highlighted the urgent need to enact this reform to the federal Pell grant program.

Despite these ongoing legislative efforts, lawmakers have remained unable to find consensus on these and many other provisions that were under formal consideration as part of a bicameral and bipartisan conference negotiation. As a consequence, the legislation currently under consideration in the Senate has been pared back considerably and does not include many of the provisions, like the JOBS Act, that Advance CTE believes are urgently needed. If enacted, however, the bill would create several new grant programs aimed at preparing students to enter into STEM and computer science fields, while also providing significant new subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and designers. The measure was procedurally advanced on a bipartisan basis, 64-34 and will be considered by the Senate further next week.

Biden Administration Highlights Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

On Tuesday, July 19, the Biden Administration convened a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit to highlight the ongoing and urgent need to create and prioritize career pathways programs that lead to careers in cybersecurity. As part of the summit, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce announced a new initiative aimed at bolstering and expanding apprenticeship programs to prepare individuals for careers in cybersecurity. This “120-day Cybersecurity Sprint” is intended to promote existing registered apprenticeship programs and support the creation of new programs aimed at addressing this urgent labor shortage. Additional information on this effort can be accessed here. More on the summit can be found here

ED Releases New School Discipline Guidance

ED unveiled new guidance on Tuesday, July 19, for states and school districts to help K-12 education leaders address longstanding disparities in discipline for learners with disabilities. The guidance follows a 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that learners with disabilities, particularly learners of color, face disproportionate rates of school discipline as compared to their peers. The guidance re-emphasizes the requirements of Section 504 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) while highlighting best practices regarding implementation. The guidance can be found here and a related press release from USED can be found here.

Secretary Cardona, First Lady Biden Launch Pandemic Relief Tour

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden announced a joint. nationwide tour. In the coming days, the duo plan to highlight the impact of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in helping students recover from the impacts of the pandemic, recover from lost instructional time, and provide enrichment and academic opportunities during the summer months. In particular, Cardona and Biden aim to emphasize how the $122 billion in ARP funding has helped more learners access out-of-school and summer enrichment programs as a means to accelerate learning. More information on the tour can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: White House Promotes ARP Support for Workforce

July 15th, 2022

This week lawmakers continued to make progress on federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding while the Biden Administration highlighted the impact the American Rescue Plan can and is having on the nation’s workforce. New plans  to address student learning loss from the pandemic were also announced.. 

House Continues to Make Progress on FY23 Funding 

As shared previously, the House Committee on Appropriations advanced funding legislation for the upcoming 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) set to begin October 1. The bill proposes $45 million for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) basic state grant program– a proposed increase in line with what the program secured in the previous fiscal year. In addition, the bill proposes $50 million for a new competitive grant program to fund consortia of eligible recipients under Perkins V’s national activities account. Advance CTE and its partners have continued to share concerns about this proposal with lawmakers and have emphasized that additional funding will likely be needed to fully meet the demand for CTE programs across the country in the years ahead. The bill is expected to be considered as part of wider funding legislation in the coming weeks. Following this step, formal activity will then center on the Senate where lawmakers in the upper chamber will need to pass comparable funding legislation ahead of the fast-approaching October 1 FY23 deadline. 

As this process continues, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust investments in Perkins V to fully meet the needs of CTE learners across the country. We encourage you to get in touch with your Senators to urge them to include at least $200 million for Perkins V’s basic state grant program. To do so, click here

White House Convenes ARP Workforce Summit

On Wednesday,  July 13, the White House hosted a summit titled “The American Rescue Plan and the Workforce.” The half day event convened state and local stakeholders and high ranking cabinet officials within the Biden Administration, including Vice President Harris and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The event was intended to highlight the ongoing impact the ARP is having on workers and learners, particularly regarding the more flexible aspects of the legislation passed last year. More information on these efforts can be found here. Vice President Kamala Harris’ remarks during the event can be accessed here

Biden Administration Highlights Funding for Academic Recovery

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a series of actions aimed at addressing student learning loss as a result of the pandemic. As part of  the National Partnership for Student Success, ED  will partner with AmeriCorps and the Johns Hopkins School of Education to recruit a quarter million new school tutors and mentors in the coming years. Officials hope that this additional capacity will help more schools and districts accelerate learning and reverse learning loss trends. The effort highlights how stakeholders can leverage and otherwise make use of federal pandemic aid funding provided as part of the American Rescue Plan. More information on the effort can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Welcome Suela Cela to Advance CTE!

July 7th, 2022

Hello! My name is Suela Cela and I am excited to be joining Advance CTE as Senior Policy Associate. In this role, I will be supporting Advance CTE in various projects to advance equity and access in Career Technical Education (CTE), including the Opportunity Gap Analysis workshop and pilot, the College in the High School Alliance partnership and launching an initiative focused on the use of stimulus funds for CTE. 

I am originally from Albania and moved to the United State as an exchange student in high school in the beautiful state of Montana. I have earned a Bachelors in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Administration. I have over ten years of experience working in post secondary education within areas of enrollment management, academic affairs for both transfer and CTE, and accreditation. I have led and supported many initiatives and projects to best support learners to achieve their educational goals. My favorite initiative was launching a concurrent enrollment program, providing access to high school students to take courses for college credit. Through this program, many learners were able to explore college courses and get a head start on the college experience. 

This past year, I had the opportunity to work with the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) in supporting select states in advancing policies to expand access to higher education for historically marginalized learners, particularly learners experiencing low income. 

In my personal time, I love to spend time outdoors, read autobiographies and travel. My husband and I have visited over 20 countries together, and I have visited 27 countries. 

Suela Cela, Senior Policy Associate 

 

 

Welcome Eric Gomez as the new State CTE Director in New Mexico!

July 1st, 2022

Sometimes, dynamic CTE teachers leap from the classroom into state-level leadership roles. That’s the path Eric Gomez took to become the new State CTE Director of New Mexico. 

The son of a Marine, Eric grew up in California and a number of other locations in the Southwest. As a high school student, he discovered a fondness for automotive technology, and made that his academic focus. He participated in SkillsUSA as well as a Ford-AAA competition where participants had 90 minutes to solve a complex automotive problem on an actual vehicle. He performed so well that he was offered a scholarship for further studies in Lubbock, Texas. 

Eric soon discovered that he had a true passion not just for automotive technology, but also for teaching others about it. He returned to his own high school in Dexter, New Mexico, to become a teacher, where he led the local chapter of Skills USA, and took students to the Ford-AAA competition that he had so successfully participated in as a student himself. He soon set his sights on becoming a principal, so he earned a graduate degree in educational administration. But instead of leading a school, he was recruited by the University of New Mexico to oversee not just automotive instruction, but all of the university’s transportation education programs. He found this to be a perfect balance of pushing an institution forward, while still spending time teaching students. 

Ten years later, Eric took what he described as a “long shot” and applied to be the State CTE Director for New Mexico. He was hired swiftly due to his experience and commitment to the field. Now on the job for a few months, he has had the following three major observations: 

  • Teachers from industry need help to maximize their confidence in the classroom. They know the subject matter, but if they don’t feel equipped to teach, they may return to industry. 
  • Equity is of paramount importance in New Mexico.
  • The state’s biggest challenge for CTE is finding teachers. This is a common trend across the Advance CTE membership, and Eric is attempting to combat it by encouraging teachers to maintain their private businesses in the afternoons and during summer breaks. He hopes that will offset the drop in salary that some encounter when transitioning from industry to the classroom. 

Eric said, “This is now bigger than automotive technology; I get to help with all programs across the state of New Mexico,” and it’s easy to hear the excitement in his voice. 

Eric lives in Roswell, New Mexico, and is married with two children. Education is a priority for his family: his wife is a school counselor at a military boarding school, which his daughter will attend, and his teenage son is exploring paths in STEM and robotics. 

Please join us in welcoming Eric to his new role, and to Advance CTE!

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

 

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