FY25 Funding Continues to Take Shape

July 12th, 2024

Lawmakers in both chambers returned to Capitol Hill this week following an extended July 4th recess period. In the House, the Appropriations Committee advanced a new funding measure proposing a funding increase for Career Technical Education (CTE) while proposing significant cuts to many other education and workforce development programs. 

House Appropriations Committee Advances FY25 Funding Proposal

The House Appropriations Committee moved forward this week with formal consideration of its federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. The legislation proposes a $10 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). A related committee report also highlights the existing limitations Perkins V places on federal regulations and requests that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) explain why new regulations for Perkins V are needed at this time and the scope of these forthcoming new rules. In recent weeks, ED has indicated that these rules would now be issued in November of this year rather than in August. Advance CTE remains significantly concerned regarding this issue given the significant disruptions new Perkins V implementation rules would cause at this time. 

Despite these positive aspects of the House’s FY25 funding proposal, the legislation also envisions significant funding reductions for a wide range of education and workforce development programs. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) issued a statement earlier this week in response to the proposal outlining concerns with these other elements of the legislation. Meanwhile, FY25 funding efforts in the Senate are beginning to get underway and are expected to take a different direction than the House’s vision for FY25 funding for education and workforce development. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a strengthened investment in CTE via Perkins V’s state grant program. 

Lawmakers Request Teacher Shortage Information from ED

This week, a group of Democratic House lawmakers led by Rep. Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education requesting information about ongoing efforts to collect more robust data on teacher shortages in critical areas such as CTE. The letter led by Krishnamoorthi argues that “With better, more robust data, we can begin to help address root causes and underlying issues that are causing shortages in these critical areas of the educational continuum.” 

Read the full letter

House Hosts Education Showcase

Just before the July 4th recess period, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held an “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education” event to highlight how this emerging technology can improve learning and education more generally. The showcase featured exhibits from a number of companies with AI solutions, including Microsoft, IBM, Google, and others. “This showcase will give participants the opportunity to highlight the first-hand uses and benefits of incorporating AI into education to prepare the next generation for success in the 21st century economy,” Chair Foxx said ahead of the event. House CTE Caucus Co-chair Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) also provided remarks at the event highlighting the potential for AI to spur further innovation in CTE. 

Chair Foxx Issues ED Regulatory Oversight Letter 

This week, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC), along with House Committee On Oversight and Accountability Chair James Comer (R-KY) issued a letter to several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, requesting information regarding the plans to enforce existing regulations and promulgate new rules in the future. The letter comes following a landmark Supreme Court ruling which is widely expected to significantly limit the ability for federal agencies to issue new federal regulations.

GAO Publishes New Report on K-12 Student Arrest Rates

This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new report that examined data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding K-12 student arrest and police referral rates. These data were examined based on learners’ race, ethnicity, gender, and disability status. It found that Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native learners were arrested at rates 2-3 times higher than their White counterparts. These disparities grew larger when factoring in disability status. The report recommends that these data be further disaggregated to support a better understanding of the intersection of K-12 schools and police interactions. 

Read the full report

OET Publishes AI Guidance

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology (OET) published long anticipated guidance for education technology companies for developing AI solutions for educational purposes. The guide comes in response to President Biden’s October 30, 2023 Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, which Advance CTE shared last fall. The guidance provides recommendations for the thoughtful and safe use of AI for effectively designing and implementing AI tools in education, including the potential use of AI to support learners navigating education and career pathways. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

WIOA Reauthorization Comes into Focus | Legislative Update

June 21st, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have formally considered the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) while Congress continues to move forward on funding proposals with implications for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Senate Considers WIOA Reauthorization

On Wednesday, June 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to examine issues related to the reauthorization of WIOA. The hearing featured testimony from a slate of five witnesses, including experts on youth apprenticeship, workforce development, and employer representatives. Witnesses highlighted the broader goals of the public workforce system, how WIOA is intended to operate, and the need to better resource workforce development efforts to meet these objectives. The issue of reforming the federal Pell Grant program to allow for shorter-term, high-quality CTE programs was a key theme throughout the hearing. Recently lawmakers in the House unsuccessfully tried to advance legislation on this issue in the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate is widely expected to formally consider separate legislation later this summer. 

In addition, the hearing examined a wide range of issues including the need to more effectively connect programs authorized by WIOA with K-12 education systems as a way to identify youth before they become disconnected from education or work. Senators and witnesses also discussed ways to better incorporate youth apprenticeship programs in high schools and the importance of supportive services and work experience for populations served by WIOA. The Senate HELP Committee is expected to release a discussion draft for WIOA reauthorization in the near future. Advance CTE will provide further analysis and recommendations regarding this proposal when it becomes available. 

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony

House Lawmakers Continue to Advance FY25 Funding Proposals

The House has been on a recess period this week while the Senate convened for part of the week around the June 19 federal holiday. Before recessing, the House advanced the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—legislation that sets the policy direction for defense spending for the coming fiscal year. The House narrowly passed the NDAA, largely along party lines due to the inclusion of several contentious amendments by a margin of 217-199. When House lawmakers return next week, they are expected to begin formal consideration of the fiscal year 2025 (FY25) Labor-HHS-ED funding bill—legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other key education and workforce development investments. It is widely expected that this legislation will propose significant cuts, as lawmakers did last year, for many programs within this portion of the federal budget. 

More recently, Senate appropriations leaders announced that they will begin the process of considering, marking up, and advancing their own FY25 education funding bill next month. It is widely expected that the Senate will take a much more moderate approach for FY25 funding, although leaders have continued to share concerns regarding the caps currently in place that limit funding available for domestic programs, including for CTE. 

Title IX Rule Blocked

As shared previously, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published new Title IX regulations intended to strengthen protections against sex discrimination. The new rules are scheduled to take effect August 1, 2024 and codify new protections for LGBTQ students, staff, and others against discrimination, including based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, the regulations will allow school districts to use a more uniform grievance process to address all forms of reported discrimination. However, in recent weeks two separate federal courts have temporarily blocked this rule in several states amid a flurry of lawsuits from Republican-led states objecting to the new rule. Further litigation on this issue is expected and a final resolution remains unclear. 

ED Issues Guidance on Correctional Education

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) issued a Dear Colleague letter calling for greater investments in education within correctional settings. The guidance urges states to use a greater share of Perkins V and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act funding for justice-involved populations. The letter argues that greater investment on this issue can help reduce recidivism rates and promote safer communities by helping to facilitate more seamless reentry for these populations. 

Read the letter from OCTAE 

Steve Voytek, policy advisor 

House Moves Forward on FY25 Proposals | Legislative Update

June 7th, 2024

Congress returned to Capitol Hill this week for a new work period this month. Lawmakers in the House have been focusing attention this week on appropriations legislation for the upcoming fiscal year while the Senate continues to consider updates to federal investments in workforce development. 

House Advances FY25 Funding Measures

Both chambers of Congress returned to Capitol Hill this week, with lawmakers in the House focusing much of their attention advancing federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) funding measures for a subset of the dozen individual spending bills that compose the entire federal budget. Nearly half of these spending measures have been marked up by appropriations leaders and are expected to be considered by the full appropriations committee and House chamber in the near future. As a reminder, Labor-HHS-ED funding bill—legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act (Perkins V) and other education and workforce development priorities—is slated to be considered at the end of June. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in CTE via Perkins V’s state grant program. 

NCES Releases Condition of Education Report

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published its “Condition of Education” report– an annual publication highlighting a wide range of data and emerging trends from early education, K-12, and postsecondary levels. The annual report examines key developments in education over time throughout the education continuum. This year’s report highlighted CTE and found that students pursuing CTE courses were more likely to go to postsecondary education or training and earn credentials of value in shorter periods of time. In addition, the report highlighted significant challenges in CTE regarding shortages of qualified teachers with 31% of respondents indicating difficulties in filling open positions for these programs. 

Read the full report 

Senate to Hold WIOA Hearing Next Week

Next week the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Supporting Efforts to Meet the Needs of Youth, Workers, and Employers.” The hearing is expected to focus on potential updates to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as HELP Committee leaders continue to discuss the prospects of reauthorizing the primary federal investment in workforce development.

Read more information about the hearing 

House Agriculture Committee Votes on Federal Nutrition Programs

The House Agriculture Committee held a nearly 12 hour markup recently to consider the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024—legislation that would reauthorize the nation’s Farm Bill for another five year period. The measure includes major components of the Creating Access to Rural Employment and Education for Resilience and Success (CAREERS) Act (H.R. 7015)– legislation that Advance CTE endorsed earlier this year. The $1.5 trillion legislative package was advanced by the committee on a slight bipartisan basis by a margin of 33-21, with four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor of the proposal. The bill is expected to be further considered by the House, as the Senate considers its own proposal led by Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The current Farm Bill authorization expires this October.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

Designing Equitable Futures: Expert Insights for Advancing Equity in CTE

May 31st, 2024

With support from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), Career Technical Education (CTE) policies and programs have increasingly focused on supporting the needs of underrepresented learners, pushing educators and policymakers to expand their focus beyond federal mandates to cultivate inclusive, dynamic, and diverse learning environments tailored to the needs of every student.

At Advance CTE’s 2024 Spring Meeting, we brought this conversation to the forefront with an expert panel including Dr. Brittani Williams, Director of Advocacy Policy and Research at Generation Hope, Joshua Rysanek, College, Career and Community Pathways Program Coordinator at the LANL Foundation, and Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Senior Vice President at The Education Trust. From navigating equity work in various state contexts, scaling high-quality opportunities for learners in special populations, and establishing effective cross-agency/organization partnerships to advance equity and access, we left with clear strategies to prioritize the needs of all learners.


Navigating Equity-Focused Work in Equity-Restricted States 

The conversation opened up with advice for equity-minded leaders working in state contexts where equity-focused work is discouraged or, in some cases, prohibited. “While language differs from state to state, whether we are discussing it or not, it is the reality,” Joshua stated, and affirmed that we can build consensus on what equity gaps persist in disaggregated data; data can show that our systems are not equipping every student with skills, experiences, and opportunities that lead to family-sustaining wages. 

Similarly, Dr. Del Pilar highlighted the persisting access and performance gaps across states and programs, noting that the approach to this work needs to be reconsidered, regardless of state political contexts, to better address learner needs. Dr. Williams affirmed that as our learner populations evolve, our system and supports should be redefined alongside them

Scaling Opportunities for Special Populations

Despite single parents being an identified special population in Perkins V, few states are scaling strategies to support single parents in CTE. Dr. Williams expanded on how CTE can serve as a launchpad for parents’ learning through career development and advancement to ensure they have the employability skills required to achieve economic mobility. Further, she highlighted the importance of offering wraparound services, including flexible scheduling and virtual opportunities. “Inclusive and targeted support is important,” Dr. Williams stated.

Dr. Del Pilar emphasized the opportunity to leverage a two-generation approach that supports single-parent learners’ educational attainment alongside their young learners through local organizations or school settings. 

Similarly, Joshua expanded on what he and his organization have learned when scaling high-quality CTE opportunities for learners in Tribal communities. “Approach Tribal communities with respect, humility, and a learning mindset,” Joshua said as he recalled many instances where Tribal communities become pigeonholed into specific heritages, assumptions, and harmful stereotypes. He remarked on how all Tribal and Indigenous communities are different. States need to meaningfully engage Native communities by learning about their cultures, assets, and challenges and address those needs rather than making assumptions about what they are in the first place. 

Partnerships in Equity

We garnered some strategies to strengthen partnerships with community-based organizations to advance equity work in our states. Dr. Del Pilar suggested strengthening relationships with organizations that leaders already work with and co-constructing the partnership to ensure both parties can benefit and contribute. He stated that building new relationships upon already established ones may be as simple as asking, “Is there anyone else I can talk to who is doing this work?” at the end of community partner conversations. 

Dr. Williams mentioned that inviting community organizations to the table and having a presence within the communities that leaders serve can create trust and buy-in to create long-lasting relationships. “Success in community engagement is being culturally responsive, culturally competent, and trauma-informed.” 

Preparations are underway for Advance CTE’s 2024 Fall Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, October 21-23! Visit the event page to save the date and learn more.

Marie Falcone, policy associate

State CTE Policy Update: Meeting Healthcare Workforce Demands through Career and Technical Education

May 30th, 2024

As states grapple with ongoing healthcare workforce shortages, Career and Technical Education (CTE) has proven to be a viable means of equipping future healthcare professionals to meet labor demands while ensuring that communities have access to high-quality care. In this blog, Policy Associate Velie Sando highlights state policies that invest in healthcare CTE programs to resolve labor shortages.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the strains on the healthcare system continue to be felt, with labor shortages persisting across the nation. To address this pressing challenge, states are increasingly turning to Career Technical Education (CTE) as a vital means of preparing learners for the demands of the healthcare workforce. By investing in CTE programs, states can ensure a steady supply of qualified healthcare professionals to meet the evolving needs of their communities. Investment in healthcare CTE programs as a solution to medical staffing shortages aligns with Advance CTE’s Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), which emphasizes CTE’s central role in facilitating learner access to education and training opportunities that meet industry demands. 

Enacted this year, the following policies reflect initiatives that invest in healthcare CTE to meet workforce demands– 

Florida: Empowering Future Healthcare Practitioners

Florida Senate Bill 7016 required lab schools to develop programs to accelerate learner entry  into health care programs at their affiliated universities or public/private postsecondary institutions. This bill also created the Teach, Education, and Clinicals in Health (TEACH) Funding Program which supports federally qualified health centers in offsetting the costs of training learners to become licensed healthcare practitioners. By investing in training programs and incentivizing partnerships with healthcare facilities, Florida is not only preparing learners for careers in healthcare but also addressing the immediate needs of the workforce. 

Washington: Expanding Career Pathways through Allied Health Program

In Washington, House Bill 2236 tasked the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) (in collaboration with health and CTE institutions) with developing an Allied Health Professions Career and Technical Education Program. This program is designed to matriculate a continuous pipeline of healthcare professionals into allied health positions through partnerships with secondary institutions where learners are equipped through career exploration and professional development. This program expands upon Washington’s Core Plus program, which provides two-year CTE instruction programs to prepare learners for employment in various fields. By including healthcare as part of this program, Washington is creating structured pathways for learners to enter the healthcare workforce, thus bridging the gap between education and employment. 

Wisconsin: Streamlining Pathways to Employment in Healthcare

Wisconsin Senate Bill 671 amends current legislation that addresses healthcare workforce shortages by allowing healthcare providers to hire learners enrolled in approved nurse aide training programs as full-time nurse aides after completing 16 hours of classroom training. The amendment allows healthcare providers to hire learners who complete the same training as part-time nurse aides provided that such learners obtain their certifications within 120 calendar days. This streamlines the pathway to employment for aspiring nurse aides, ensuring a steady influx of qualified professionals into the workforce. By incentivizing learners to enter the workforce, Wisconsin is bolstering access to healthcare while also addressing workforce shortages. 

To see more policy trends and access our policy tracker, check out our  State Policy Resources page.

Velie Sando, Policy Associate

CTE as a Protective Factor for Mental Health Part 4: Incorporating CTE’s role as a protective factor for mental health into program and recruitment communications

May 29th, 2024

The protective factors for mental health inherent to Career Technical Education (CTE) may offer opportunities to improve mental health and overall outcomes for learners, solidifying CTE’s role in not only preparing learners for the workforce but also for life. In the final installment of this four-part blog series, Senior Communications Associate and Mental Health Educator Jodi Langellotti uses research on hope and messaging to provide examples and tips for CTE leaders to incorporate CTE’s role in protecting youth mental health into recruitment and program communications.

In the previous blogs in this series, we discussed how 80% of our most common health, social, and behavioral challenges are a direct result of trauma experienced in childhood which causes developmental changes in the brain that can result in challenges with focus, attention, emotional regulation, executive functioning skills, and more. Positive childhood experiences (PCEs) or protective factors such as having two caring adults outside of the home and experiencing a sense of belonging in school and the community can buffer the negative effects of childhood trauma. The activities within CTE foster hope, support, and developmental relationships and therefore serve as a protective factor for mental health. CTE is preparing learners for their future outside of the classroom, in the workforce, and for life.

Messaging the Role of CTE as a Protective Factor

Messaging CTE is marketing CTE to current and prospective learners and families to increase enrollment, retention, and completion. One of the foundational principles of marketing strategy includes creating messages that resonate with the audience by connecting to their values, and needs, and through their preferred channels of communication. It is important for state and local CTE leaders to directly engage with the intended audience (learners and families) in order to learn about their values, needs, and communication preferences. The following research and examples for messaging CTE as a protective factor for mental health should be considered a starting point and should be tailored to best meet the needs of the intended, specific audience.


Research has shown that hope and engagement have a positive relation to student achievement and their likelihood to graduate.1 Additional research has shown that hope has a significantly positive impact on anxiety, depression, and academic performance.2

Charles R. Snyder, PhD, a former psychologist at the University of Kansas and a pioneer of hope research created a model of hope with three components: goals, agency, and pathways. Agency is the belief that one can shape their own life, “make things happen” and access the motivation to reach their goals. Pathways are the routes and plans that allow one to achieve an established goal.3

To help connect hope to CTE recruitment and program messaging, state and local leaders can lean into the components of their programs that help to nurture the three tenets of hope Snyder outlined – goals, agency, and pathways.

In the examples above emphasis is placed on “you” and “your” to help connect to the idea that it is the learner who is building their future and creating their path (agency). Words like “create”, “design”, and “build” connect to both the concept of agency and pathways (how they will get there). In all three examples the word “future” is used to help connect to the individual goals that a learner may have.

Making Connections

Messaging research conducted by Advance CTE with the support of Siemens Foundation shows that “making connections” is a strong retention message and is desired among prospective learners, especially Black, Latinx, and learners experiencing low income.  Additionally, there is a correlation between poor social connections, poor mental health, and substance abuse.4 Addiction specialists cite a lack of social connection as a primary risk factor for substance use disorders.5

CTE provides numerous opportunities for learners to connect to their peers, educators, and industry professionals. Recruitment and program messaging can lean into the idea of “making connections” to help learners and families become more aware of this aspect of CTE.

In the examples above emphasis has been placed on the idea of connection through the professional networking, people, skills, and community that learners are exposed to in CTE.

Feeling Prepared for the Future

According to ECMC Group’s “?uestion the Quo” research, only 13% of Gen Z teens surveyed feel fully prepared to choose their path after high school, “The areas where they seek additional information include finances (such as guidance on future debt and managing unexpected costs), education and career pathways, health (such as guidance on mental and physical health support) and logistics (such as housing).”6

In both 2017 and 2020, Advance CTE found that 60% of prospective and current CTE families chose “Preparing for the real world” as the most important aspect of CTE. The 2024 CTE perception survey conducted by Advance CTE and Edge Research showed that the statement “Be prepared for the real world” still resonates as motivating and extremely motivating with learners and families. Interestingly, however, the statement “Gain skills and experience that lead to financial security and independence” ranked the highest among all respondents. 

While the perceptions survey research has just two years for comparison, Advance CTE’s previous messaging research and additional research such as ?uestion the Quo clearly show that families and learners are thinking about the skills and experiences they need to be prepared for the future.

In the examples above, emphasis has been placed on the ability of CTE to help learners feel prepared for their future and achieve financial security.

Next Steps and Recommendations

This blog series has served as a starting point for the conversation around how the inherent aspects of CTE serve as a protective factor for youth mental health and as a contributor to positive learner outcomes. To move this conversation forward and into state and local systems, the following actions are recommended for state and local CTE leaders:

  • Engage with learners and families to determine how current recruitment and program messaging, or the provided examples, connect to their values, needs, and preferences. To learn more about engaging learner voice, check out With Learners, Not For Learners: A Toolkit for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE
  • Consider who in the state, district, institution, or team is already thinking about learner mental health and the connection to positive outcomes. These may be school counselors and psychologists, community leaders, and partner organizations. Engage these collaborators in conversations about CTE’s role as a protective factor for youth mental health.
  • Collect stories and data from learners and families on the positive impact of CTE on their hope for their future, their engagement in school, and their academic performance. Consider how to add questions to existing data tools and collection methods and partner with school counselors, community leaders, and partner organizations to collect this information.

Additional Resources

Much of the information in this blog is from the author’s training as an Adverse Childhood Experiences Master Trainer through ACE Interface with Dr. Robert Anda and Laura Porter and through her volunteer work within the community mental health space.

Jodi Langellotti, senior communications associate



House Lays Out Next Steps for FY25 | Legislative Update

May 24th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House laid out next steps for the the federal appropriations process while Congressional leaders elsewhere made announcements related to artificial intelligence (AI) and workforce development. Elsewhere, lawmakers are considering a new Farm Bill proposal while a new cohort of Presidential Scholars was recently announced. 

House Lays Out Roadmap for FY25 Appropriations

House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) announced in recent weeks preliminary allocation totals for each of the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget for the upcoming 2025 federal fiscal year (FY25). Known as 302(b) allocations, these topline funding totals are used by appropriations leaders on the committee to craft FY25 funding legislation later this year. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill which provides support for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) among other education and workforce development programs. The proposed 302(b) allocation for the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill is significantly lower than the total provided for this component of the federal budget in FY24. This means that the House Appropriations Committee is likely to propose significant cuts to domestic programs falling under this legislation as the Committee put forward last year.

In addition, Chair Cole released a tentative schedule to consider each of the dozen appropriations bills. The Labor-HHS-ED measure is expected to be considered at the subcommittee level on June 27 and by the full Appropriations Committee on July 10. This week the full House Appropriations Committee approved these 302(b) allocations on a party line vote 32-21. Similar announcements are still forthcoming in the Senate. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community and other key education and workforce priorities this year.  

Senate Releases New AI Roadmap

A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), released a long-anticipated report regarding AI. The report or “roadmap” lays out a vision for future federal policymaking efforts, including a set of recommendations for Congress and the Biden administration to consider as AI technologies continue to mature and expand in their use. The report covers several policy areas including workforce development, encouraging the development of career pathways that lead to opportunities in AI. The roadmap also recommends that policymakers consider new regulatory frameworks to mitigate the potential negative impacts AI technologies may have on incumbent workers and ways to promote worker skills training opportunities in this area. Broadly, the report calls on the federal government to invest at least $32 billion on an annual basis to support the further development of AI technologies, promote wider innovation, and ensure wider equitable adoption and use of these emerging technologies.

View the AI Roadmap

Department of Commerce Unveils Workforce Policy Agenda

Recently the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced a Department Administrative Order (DAO) that establishes a workforce policy agenda for the agency. The agenda is intended to assist DOC in the ongoing implementation of several broad federal investments including the CHIPS and Science Act which contains several workforce development components to support the legislation’s broader aims of developing a more robust advanced manufacturing and semiconductor capacity here in the United States. The DAO lays out a set of principles to guide workforce development investments as well as wider Biden administration goals of developing quality employment opportunities for a broader cross-section of Americans.

Read the DAO

House Examines HHS FY25 Budget

Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The hearing featured testimony from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra who spoke to the Biden administration’s recent federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request. Secretary Becerra responded to a wide range of questions including the importance of policies and investments supporting access to quality childcare as well as wider healthcare workforce needs.

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including the Secretary’s written testimony and related opening statements from lawmakers

CTE Presidential Scholars Announced

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars announced the 60th cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, career and technical and artistic achievements. The selection process takes into consideration a number of criteria including transcripts and test scores. Each year, this program features 20 CTE scholars for their outstanding achievements and recognizes related accomplishments.

View the full list of scholars 

House Agriculture Committee Plans Vote on Federal Nutrition Programs

The House Agriculture Committee considered the 2024 Farm Bill this week, a $1.5 trillion legislative package that includes significant changes to federal agriculture and school nutrition programs. The legislation, unveiled by Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) earlier this week, includes major components of the Creating Access to Rural Employment and Education for Resilience and Success (CAREERS) Act (H.R. 7015)—legislation that Advance CTE supported and endorsed earlier this year. Advance CTE has expressed support for the inclusion of the CAREERS Act among other aspects of the proposal. The committee considered the legislation yesterday and approved measure by a margin of 33-21. 

DOL Unveils New AI and Worker Well-Being Principles

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a set of principles on AI and worker well-being. The principles were developed in response to an earlier Executive Order (EO) from President Biden on AI last year and are intended to support workforce development professionals and employers in the deployment, development, and subsequent use of AI and related technologies. The principles focus particularly on mitigating potential negative impacts on workers of AI while balancing the need for innovation and economic growth.

Read the principles 

Steve Voytek, policy advisor

Centering CTE in the Time of Disruption: A Conversation with SHRM’s Dr. Alex Alonso

May 17th, 2024

Advance CTE held a ‘fireside chat’ with Dr. Alex Alonso, Chief Knowledge Officer of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and Advance CTE Executive Director Kate Kreamer at our 2024 Spring Meeting that saw over 200 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in attendance last month.

The two tackled this burning question of the future of work: How will Career Technical Education (CTE) continue to be the solution to ensuring success and security for all learners, especially amidst the imminent impacts of AI, the green economy, and evolving workplace trends?

Key Trends for the Future of Work

Dr. Alonso first presented newly released research conducted by SHRM drawing from data collected from a vast network of 2000 HR professionals, which, with the help of LLM (Large Language Models), aggregates major trends in the future of work and identifies the challenges facing employers today. Dr. Alonso unpacked several of these major trends, including:

Balancing Operational Efficiencies and Talent Needs

The challenges and problems companies face continue to become increasingly complex. That means that as the skills gap grows, the depth of that gap, or the “skills crater,” also grows, necessitating an even greater urgency for faster and more effective skills development. At the same time, amidst current inflationary pressures, there is a growing imperative to strike a balance between ensuring fair compensation for this high-demand talent and maintaining operational efficiency.

Training an Evolving Workforce

Because employers have a renewed focus on upskilling and reskilling, steps must be taken need to ensure alignment between training programs and the evolving needs of industries. This is a critical opportunity for CTE to be a leader and to meaningfully partner with industry.

Later on, during the fireside chat, Dr. Alonso elevated that the delivery of CTE programs might need to evolve to meet these trends and demands, not just in terms of content but also in how it’s delivered. Kate noted the shifting perspective on digital apprenticeships and virtual work-based learning– what was once seen as a compromise for accessibility is now being reconsidered as a viable content delivery option, especially as more jobs transition to partial or fully virtual settings. 

Realizing the Full Potential of AI

AI has changed and reshaped the way that work is happening. Because it’s evolving right before our eyes, the challenge for employers and educators is to keep pace, all the while ensuring responsible integration into the workforce, particularly given the high potential for its misuse. 

These challenges all point to one major takeaway, in Dr. Alonso’s words: 

The 5th Industrial Age is here, where all facets of work, the workers, and the workplace are re-imaginable.


Embracing Change through AI

A significant portion of the fireside chat focused on the specific challenge of realizing the full potential of AI, and the broader theme of embracing change. 

It’s a common worry: the idea that AI could eliminate job opportunities. Kate raised a crucial point: How do we leverage AI to create more opportunities rather than take opportunities away?

Dr. Alonso highlighted that while many job roles may diminish due to technological advancements, even more new jobs will emerge in the economy in the coming years. His argument: AI complements human intelligence rather than replacing it. AI should be viewed as a tool to aid in the creation of these new roles in tandem with human intelligence— “AI plus HI

This dynamic shift isn’t about a loss of jobs, instead, it’s an evolution of industries and professions. Dr. Alonso also noted the attitude toward AI is changing as well; there’s a noticeable transition from apprehension to curiosity. People are increasingly inclined to engage in dialogues about AI, recognizing its potential to enhance both their industry and personal lives.

As we embrace these challenges and opportunities, CTE has a unique opportunity and advantage to equipping the future workforce. Explore further insights on SHRM’s research in their 2023-24 State of the Workplace Report.

Preparations are underway for Advance CTE’s 2024 Fall Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, October 21-23! Visit the event page to save the date and learn more.

Layla Alagic, digital communications associate

CTE as a Protective Factor for Mental Health Part 3: Establishing CTE as a protective factor for mental health through developmental relationships

May 15th, 2024

The protective factors for mental health inherent to Career Technical Education (CTE) may offer opportunities to improve mental health and overall outcomes for learners, solidifying CTE’s role in not only preparing learners for the workforce but also for life. In part three of this four-part blog series, Senior Communications Associate and Mental Health Educator Jodi Langellotti uses the power of developmental relationships to establish CTE as a protective factor for mental health.

In the second blog in this series, we discussed how Dr. Christina Bethell and her colleagues at Johns Hopkins University conducted research that found that the more positive childhood experiences someone has, the greater the positive impact on their mental health as an adult regardless of how much adversity they may have faced in childhood. Additionally, positive childhood experiences were shown to help buffer the negative neurodevelopmental changes caused by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and other childhood trauma. Through this study, seven positive childhood experiences, or protective factors, were identified with three of them taking place within the home and the remaining four, within the community. For the purposes of connecting CTE to protective factors, we will focus on the four identified as taking place within the community as listed below.

  • Had at least two non-parent adults who took genuine interest
  • Felt supported by friends
  • Felt a sense of belonging in school
  • Enjoyed participating in community traditions

It is possible to further categorize these four community-based protective factors in a way that brings more concreteness to the idea of belonging and participating in community traditions as follows:

  • Emotional Support:  Feeling social/emotional support and hope
  • Multiple Sources of Help:  Two or more people who give concrete help when needed
  • Reciprocity:  Watching out for each other and doing favors for one another
  • Social Bridging:  Reaching outside the social circle to connect to help

The four community factors of support will serve as the foundation for grounding CTE’s role as a protective factor for mental health. Additionally, research coming out of the Search Institute provides additional evidence of CTE’s role in supporting mental health and positive learner outcomes.

Developmental Relationships Framework – Search Institute

The Search Institute has conducted a significant amount of research on how relationships can positively impact youth development, mental health, performance, and overall well-being. The Search Institute defines developmental relationships as “Close connections through which young people discover who they are, gain abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to interact with and contribute to the world around them.”1

The Developmental Relationships Framework is broken down into five key elements, with 20 specific actions, that are proven to have positive impacts on youth sense of self, resiliency, mental health, and more. The five key elements are:

  • Express Care: Show me that I matter to you.
  • Challenge Growth: Push me to keep getting better.
  • Provide Support: Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.
  • Share Power: Treat me with respect and give me a say.
  • Expand Possibilities: Connect me with people and places to broaden my world.

In 2023 the Search Institute released Developmental Relationships: The Roots of Positive Youth Development 10 Years of Youth Voice, Practitioner Wisdom, and Research Insights which provides insights into the positive impacts of developmental relationships.2

Here are just a few highlights of the identified positive outcomes of developmental relationships:

  • Academic Outcomes: increased motivation to learn, level of interest in classroom content, grade point average (GPA), and critical thinking skills.
  • Social-Emotional Competencies: increased social responsibility, teamwork, communication, and empathy and improved listening and conversation skills and emotional regulation.
  • Other Thriving Indicators: improved goal setting, stretching to reach goals, self-efficacy, and identifying deep interests and increased sense of purpose.

CTE as a Protective Factor for Mental Health

The activities within CTE foster hope, support, and developmental relationships and therefore serve as a protective factor for youth mental health. To illustrate this concept clearly, the five key elements of the Developmental Relationships Framework will be connected to the four community factors of support as these are more concise while still being effective in connecting to the activities within CTE. 

Developmental Relationships Framework image from Search Institute

In the image above, the five key elements of developmental relationships, represented in color within the pentagon, apply to one or more of the four community factors of support, listed in black text around the outside of the pentagon. Below are some examples of activities within CTE that fall under the four community factors of support.

Image created by the author

Emotional Support

  • The multi-year connections between teachers, peers, and industry professionals provide a variety of opportunities for a learner to feel supported both in and out of the classroom.
  • The tangible nature of hands-on learning can make it easier for a learner to recognize their growth and progress and therefore increase their confidence and sense of self.

Multiple Sources of Help

  • Through CTE learners increase their potential sources of help through participation in CTSOs, mentors, and connections to industry professionals.
  • When learners feel they have a mentor that cares about them their sense of hope for graduating high school doubles.3

CTE especially shines in the categories of reciprocity (being able to receive and give) and social bridging (connecting with people and places to broaden their world). 


  • Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) provide opportunities for student leadership and student voice.
  • Learners play an active role in their CTE journey, increasing their sense of self-efficacy.
  • CTE provides significant opportunities for peer mentoring. Being a mentor can provide learners with a sense of purpose, self-confidence, and an increased sense of self-efficacy.
  • Being able to contribute financially through paid work-based learning or summer youth employment opportunities and via skills learned in CTE programs can provide learners with an increased sense of purpose and self.

Social bridging

  • Career exploration allows learners to see what is possible for their future and how work can connect to their passions and interests. Career exploration can also contribute to a learner’s sense of belonging as they connect their interests and skills to a class, program, or pathway.
  • The social networking created through CTSOs, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning broadens a learner’s world, can increase their sense of belonging, and can help them to further develop their soft skills, increasing their chances for success outside of the classroom.

The above are provided as just an example of how the activities inherent to CTE support the aspects of developmental relationships and the four community factors of support. Connecting CTE to protective factors does not necessarily require us to do anything new. Rather, it requires increased intentionality and a better understanding of and messaging about how CTE can play an integral role in preparing learners for the workforce and life.

Questions for consideration

  • What are the specific aspects of the CTE program within your state, institution, or district that serve as protective factors?
  • What are some standout programs (or individuals) that could serve as model examples of the aspects you’ve identified above?
  • What areas could use improvement or more intentional focus from the aspects you’ve identified above?

Looking Ahead

In the next blog in this series (part 4), we will discuss how to incorporate CTE’s role as a protective factor for mental health into program and recruitment messaging and communications and suggestions for next steps to continue the conversation with key collaborators and policymakers.

Additional Resources

Much of the information in this blog is from the author’s training as an Adverse Childhood Experiences Master Trainer through ACE Interface with Dr. Robert Anda and Laura Porter and through her volunteer work within the community mental health space.

Jodi Langellotti, senior policy associate

House Examines ED’s Policies and Priorities | Legislative Update

May 10th, 2024

This week the lawmakers in the House hosted the U.S. Secretary of Education (ED) to testify regarding the agency’s policies and priorities for the coming year. In addition, the Senate examined the U.S. Department of Labor’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year while ED issues new guidance regarding school and institution’s civil rights obligations. 

Cardona Questioned on Perkins Regulations

On Tuesday, May 7, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing focused on oversight of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and its wider policies and priorities. The more than four hour hearing featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who responded to a wide range of questions and topics from lawmakers on the panel. These included a particular focus on ED’s ongoing challenges in implementing a newly revamped Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and newly finalized Title IX regulations which are set to go into effect later this summer.

In addition, Rep. “GT” Thompson (R-PA) questioned Cardona regarding ED’s plans to issue new regulations for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and highlighted the significant negative disruption this would have on states and Perkins recipients nearly six years after the law’s passage as communities collectively begin a new four-year planning cycle for the legislation. Thompson questioned Cardona as to whether programs funded by Perkins V are actively responding to the needs of the labor market and whether the law’s implementation, more broadly, has been successful. Significantly, Cardona responded yes to both of these questions and went on to say that he believes, “…that the evolution of Perkins to include CTE is where we need to go and it has been successful to get states to look at it differently.” 

When questioned further regarding the need for additional regulations for Perkins V, Cardona indicated that the planned proposed rules would be intended to broaden opportunities for learners to engage in “earn to learn” programs but did not specify a clear rationale for issuing new rules on the topic at this time nor did he provide further detail regarding what these regulations are likely to entail. Advance CTE has continued to raise significant concerns regarding these forthcoming regulations and has questioned why they are specifically necessary at this point in the law’s implementation. 

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including Cardona’s written testimony and related opening statements from lawmakers

Senate Examines DOL’s FY25 Budget Request

Yesterday, May 9, the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee held a hearing to examine and consider President Biden’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for the upcoming 2025 federal fiscal year (FY25). The hearing featured testimony and perspectives from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su regarding aspects of the agency’s FY25 budget request. The hearing examined a broad range of issues, including recent regulatory changes proposed or otherwise finalized by DOL, and highlighted the importance of workforce development investments.

View a full recording of the hearing including Su’s testimony

ED Issues New Guidance on Civil Rights Obligations

On Tuesday, May 7, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) outlining school leaders’ responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DCL provides detailed scenarios and guidelines for identifying acts that could be considered discriminatory, including vandalism, protests, and verbal harassment. The guidance letter clarifies the legal requirements schools and institutions must adhere to in order to remain compliant with federal laws and emphasizes that non-compliance could lead ED to withhold federal funding. The guidance comes amid reported increases in antisemitic and other identity-based incidents on college campuses and within K-12 schools over the past several months.

View more information from ED on the guidance

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor