Legislative Update: Congress Returns for a Busy Lame Duck Session

November 28th, 2022

Earlier this month Americans across the country went to the polls to decide the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress. Elsewhere Career Technical Education (CTE) champions highlighted the importance of career development while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new guidance intended to support career connected learning. 

Midterm Election Results Become Clearer

Earlier this month, the long-awaited midterm elections took place across the country. At the time of our last update, the results from these electoral contests were still coming in with control of both the House and the Senate unclear. Since that time, additional outcomes from these elections have been announced making clear that the Republican Party will take control of the House in the coming 118th Congress. Democrats will retain control of the Senate, although the size of their majority will be determined by a runoff election in Georgia set to take place on December 6.  

As these results continued to trickle in, federal lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill just before Thanksgiving for a short session to begin the process of determining party leadership for both chambers moving forward. In the House, longtime Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her core leadership team announced that they were stepping down. This will pave the way for a new Democratic leadership team, likely to be led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). For House Republicans, longtime Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is currently working to garner the necessary support to be the next Speaker of the House. The final composition for both party’s leadership teams remains fluid. However, in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans will likely continue to be led by current Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pending final approval from their caucuses. 

In addition to these recent developments, it is also being widely reported that Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are likely to lead the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the next Congress. Leadership announcements for the House Education and Labor Committee are still forthcoming and hinge on the ability of current Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to secure a waiver from Republican leadership to serve as chair of the committee in the next Congress. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are widely expected to lead the Senate Appropriations committee which helps to determine funding for programs like Perkins V. 

As additional leadership roles and responsibilities become clearer in the coming weeks, Advance CTE will continue to update the CTE community and provide insights on  implications for federal policymaking. Congress now reconvenes this week for a jam packed “lame duck” session of the current 117th Congress where they must attend to a number of important issues, including federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding for programs like the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Be sure to check back here for more updates! 

CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Introduce Career Development Resolution 

Longtime House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Thompson (R-PA) and Langevin (D-RI) introduced a resolution earlier this month designating November as National Career Development Month. When introduced, Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kimberly Green said, “A hallmark of high-quality CTE is career development opportunities that equitably support learners as they explore and pursue their career passion. Advance CTE is proud to support this bipartisan resolution designating November as National Career Development Month from Representatives Thompson and Langevin, which recognizes the crucial role career development contributes to a skilled workforce and learner success in education, work, and in life.” Read more about the resolution here

Department of Education Announces Initiative to “Unlock Career Success”

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently  announced the launch of a new initiative called Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success. This is a new Administration initiative supported in conjunction with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor aimed at increasing and expanding access to high-quality college and career pathways programs to help more young Americans pursue careers in in-demand fields, and prepare for careers of the future.  The effort is intended to strengthen ties between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs among other priorities. As part of this announcement, the Departments shared that they are also providing $5.6 million in competitive funding for a new grant initiative that aims to expand work-based learning opportunities for students. The department also plans to host regional summits with students, educators, employers and other stakeholders to learn about practices that have led to success and challenges that must be addressed.

Department of Education Publishes Guidance on ARP Funding Use for Career Pathways

The U.S. Department of Education released new guidance through a Dear Colleague letter on how unspent federal funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and other pandemic aid packages can be used for career pathways. The guidance highlights how these resources can be leveraged around four main priority areas including, expanding access to dual enrollment opportunities, providing strong career and college advisement and navigation supports, expanding opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, and giving all students the option to earn industry-sought credentials. Be sure to check out Advance CTE’s resource– published last year– which also provided ideas and guidance to the CTE community regarding how these funds could be used in support of CTE. 

Senate CTE Caucus Hosts Apprenticeship Briefing

Written by Jori Houck, Media Relations and Advocacy Associate, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here

On November 15, the Senate CTE Caucus, alongside the Swiss and Austrian Embassies, held a Capitol Hill briefing on Women in Apprenticeship to highlight both National Apprenticeship Week and the Austrian and Swiss apprenticeship models. Welcoming remarks were made by Ambassador of Switzerland Jacques Pitteloud and the Austrian Chargé d’Affairs Günther Salzmann. Both expressed a desire to broaden the influence of the Swiss and Austrian apprenticeship models in the United States.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) offered additional remarks, highlighting the connection between CTE and apprenticeships. He discussed how recent federal investments will ensure that CTE is at the forefront of preparing apprentices and all learners for good-paying, in-demand jobs. Sen. Hickenlooper also declared that he had officially joined the CTE Caucus!

A panel discussion followed and was moderated by Thomas Mayr of Austria’s Vocational Education and Training department. Apprentices and representatives from four Swiss and Austrian companies, Zurich Insurance of Illinois, Swiss Krono of South Carolina, Egger Wood Products of North Carolina and Engel Machinery of Pennsylvania, each spoke about the recruitment challenges, opportunities, supports needed and benefits of their apprenticeship programs. Each apprentice expressed that if given the chance to pursue an apprenticeship again, they would make the same decision.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Welcome Sonia Slone to Advance CTE!

November 28th, 2022

My name is Sonia Slone and I am truly excited to join the Advance CTE Team! In my capacity as the Director of Operations, I will ensure that Advance CTE has the operational and financial management systems, organizational processes, policies, and infrastructure needed to support the team, members and Career Technical Education (CTE) community. I am particularly enthusiastic to ensure all processes and procedures are in line with Advance CTE’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

I have always had a passion for education. Many of my family members and dear friends are educators and I am a true supporter of education as a pathway of achieving one’s full potential. I am excited to put my knowledge to serving Advance CTE’s mission as it aligns with my values and commitment to provide all learners with programs and pathways to ensure their career and college success.

For more than a decade, I have led the operations of a national nonprofit in the youth justice space which equipped me with the skills and experience to take on this role.

I was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador and completed 4 years of a dentistry program. Since I moved to the United States, I have dedicated my career to business administration and have worked for multiple companies in corporate and non-profit management.

I completed my undergraduate studies majoring in Business Administration and hold a Masters degree in Business Administration.

A few of my favorite things include: spending time with my husband and two kids, going to marching band and dance competitions, baking, exploring new restaurants, volunteering,  vacationing to the beach and traveling.

Sonia Slone, Director of Operations 

Interview: CAST Researcher Dr. Amanda Bastoni on Supporting Rural CTE Learners

November 21st, 2022

As part of ongoing blog topics aimed at supporting all learners in the realization of the national vision for the future of Career Technical Education (CTE), CTE Without Limits, Dr. Amanda Bastoni, Educational Research Scientist at CAST and Dr. Tunisha Hobson, State Policy Manager engaged in a discussion to highlight the importance of providing support for CTE learner success in rural areas. CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization, and Dr. Bastoni has conducted multiple research projects on rural learner access and engagement in STEM-focused programs. [Note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity].

Considering your wealth of experience in this area, how do you think states should approach learner access to CTE in rural areas? 

State leaders should create policies that support small rural employers’ participation in CTE. A quick way for states to support rural learners is through work-based Learning.  One example, in New Hampshire (RSA 188 –E: 9-a), employers of any size can be eligible for a tax credit against business profit taxes up to 50 percent for salaries of students and supervisors participating in work-based learning experiences and up to 100 percent for supplies and equipment donated for related use to an educational program offered by the regional CTE center when they make donations of time, money and goods for CTE centers.  

Learner access can also begin with large scale remote career day programs and intentional employer engagement in the local and broader communities. There is a rural community in Arizona that is conducting school-wide career days where the whole school engages with different employers in activities and conversations about the experiences of working in that field. 

Additionally, I think there is an opportunity to engage employers and industry partners in rural areas by preparing them for filling roles with learners. Many rural employers are willing to support work-based learning experiences, but there is a need to equip them with the right tools for success.  Equipping employers with tools describing the work-based learning continuum provides an opportunity for employer engagement from small sized companies to larger corporations in understanding the experiences that can be provided to learners in rural communities. 

What are some best practices states can use to support rural learners to access equitable opportunities in CTE? 

Equip educators through professional development: Communicating the complexities of rural learner experiences is reliant upon the messenger. The most well meaning practitioner may not understand the challenges rural learners encounter, so it is important to find research based professional development that encourages engagement for rural learners. Ultimately, teachers can leverage their community relationships to connect learners to additional resources and opportunities. 

Access CTE Without Borders while considering the digital divide: Using asset-based learning approaches to meet the needs of rural learners is important. State leaders should consider innovative approaches to realizing career pathway experiences. One example, simplistically, consider designing experiences where learners can leverage cell phones rather than laptops or computers they may not have access to. Additionally, consideration for STEM through outdoor recreation related career pathways and experiences invite rural learners to engage in CTE without borders. 

Build social capital for underrepresented rural learners, particularly for careers they do not see in their community: Family engagement and inclusion of learner voice is a foundational requirement for decision making and helping learners build their social capital. Policy makers and practitioners are critical to move the work forward, but the voices of learners will drive effective change in communities. Efforts to elevate learner voice can include sharing strategies, analyzing information, and developing solutions can not only help rural learners understand how social networks are being developed but also help build positive self-identity. 

Encourage and support virtual work-based learning experiences within the classroom: Embedding virtual work-based learning experiences in CTE coursework bolsters learner exposure to careers beyond their communities. Examples like BioFab Explorer from CAST, which aims to broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in rural communities in biofabrication and biomanufacturing, embeds a components of career guidance curriculum, including work-based learning simulations and activities that teachers can use to help students explore careers and develop and demonstrate industry skills, to dual enrollment opportunities. 

What guidance can help states remove barriers with postsecondary program persistence in rural areas?

Rural learners need access to transportation, childcare, and paid work-based learning experiences to support their families and encourage persistence in a career pathway. Offering paid apprenticeships and internships related to outdoor recreation through postsecondary programs are critical in rural areas.  According to research, many rural regions are currently experiencing declines in traditional resource-extractive industries such as mining and timber harvesting.

Like many “amenity/decline” regions, New Hampshire was significantly impacted by the loss of paper mills in the 1990s followed by the 2008 recession; however, the region has also seen steady growth in outdoor recreation. In 2020, outdoor recreation represented a higher percentage of New Hampshire’s GDP (2.6 percent) than the U.S. average (1.8 percent), ranking it 11th nationally (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2021). Similar rural states across the country are leveraging the outdoors as a significant positive asset for recreation and employment through legislation which creates opportunities in career pathways for learners. In 2021, New Hampshire joined 13 other states including Maine, Vermont, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana, Virginia, and West Virginia, in committing to establish State Offices of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development (Confluence of States, 2018).

Additional Resources 

With Learners, Not for Learners: A Toolkit for for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE

CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide

Dr. Tunisha Hobson, State Policy Manager 

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About- Dr. Amanda Bastoni

Dr. Bastoni is a former CTE teacher and Director. While currently employed as an Educational Research Scientist at CAST, some of her research projects have included: 

  • Inclusion, Access, Equity and Diversity (IAED) National coordinator for ACTE
  • Principal Investigator on new National Science Foundation (NSF) iTEST Grant working with rural CTE teachers to investigate if drones can be used to increase access to STEM careers for middle school girls and rural learners.  
  • Principal Investigator on an NSF AISL feasibility Grant focused on understanding how asset-based approaches can be leveraged to increase rural learners’ engagement in STEM-based careers

Getting to Know the 2022- 2024 Advance CTE – ECMCF Fellows Part 2

November 17th, 2022

In September, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the second cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE — ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories reflecting the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in Career Technical Education (CTE)  that closes racial representation gaps and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement.

This post continues our series to introduce each Fellow participating in the second cohort of emerging leaders from 14 states, including 12 professionals of color.

Kayla Brossett, Louisiana

Kayla Brossett has more than a decade of experience designing and managing strategic industry partnerships, with a specialty in workforce development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and student career services. Currently, she serves as the US Director of Employer Partnerships at the Wadhwani Foundation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern State University and a master’s degree in communications from Grambling State University.

 

Jomarie Coloriano, Wisconsin 

Jomarie Coloriano’s professional experience is deeply influenced by her passion for social justice and systems reform. She has received multiple accolades for her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion and student support including being named the 2021 Gateway Technical College DEI Champion, the National Association of Student Personnel and the Administrators NOW 2020 Professional in Inclusion, Currently, she serves as a Multicultural Support Specialist at Gateway Technical College and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Protective and Human Services.  Jomarie is also a doctoral candidate in the Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service program at Cardinal Stritch University.

Yolanda Flores, Florida 

Yolanda Flores specializes in supporting and preparing refugee and migrant learner populations for secondary and postsecondary success. Her more than two decades of experience include an instructor, school administrator, grants coordinator, and special populations program administrator. Currently, she serves as Administrative Director for Postsecondary, Adult & Community Education for Collier County Public Schools. Flores earned a bachelor’s degree in social science education from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of South Florida. 

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

Legislative Update: Control of Congress Still Uncertain

November 10th, 2022

This week Americans across the country went to the polls to decide the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress. While the final results are still a few days away, all attention on Capitol Hill is focused on the outcomes of these electoral contests.  

Midterm Election Results Remain Close

On Tuesday, November 8th, the long-anticipated midterm elections were held across the nation. The results from these elections are still becoming clear, with the winners of many elections in the House, Senate, and elsewhere likely to be announced over the coming days and potentially weeks ahead. These announcements will determine the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress set to begin early next year.

At present, the Republican Party appears to be poised to take control of the House of Representatives. However, the party has dramatically underperformed early predictions regarding their electoral performance. While many races in the House are still undetermined, it is becoming more likely that a narrow margin of control of the lower legislative chamber will be the most likely end result.

In the Senate, four races remain undecided at the time of this writing—Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, and Nevada. The outcome of these elections will determine control of the Senate and each race remains contested at present. Alaska’s Senate race will not impact the control of the upper legislative chamber, given it pits two Republicans against one another, but the outcomes of the remaining three will decide whether Democrats retain control of the chamber or if Republicans will regain the majority. . Results from Arizona and Nevada—expected in the coming days— will likely determine the stakes of a runoff election in Georgia, now set to take place in early December.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor these electoral contests and will share further analysis as the results– along with their implications for the CTE and workforce development policy in the 118th Congress– become clearer.  Advance CTE will host a webinar on November 17 with JFF and New Skills Coalition to discuss the impact of the midterm election on the field and federal policy priorities. 

CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Introduce Cybersecurity Proposal

Last week, House Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the Cybersecurity Skills Integration Act (H.R. 9259). This legislation was introduced in the context of Cybersecurity Awareness Month which aims to highlight the importance of protecting, hardening and securing the nation’s digital infrastructure from unwanted and malicious cyber activity. If enacted, the legislation would create a new $10 million competitive grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). These grants would provide funding to eligible CTE programs that integrate cybersecurity into aspects of their curriculum. More about this bipartisan legislative proposal can be found here

Department of Commerce Releases Strategy for CHIPS Implementation

Over the summer, President Biden signed the bipartisan Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-167). This legislation was passed to enhance the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity, particularly regarding the production of semiconductor chips needed in many electronics and related components. The legislation also created several new grant programs aimed at preparing students to enter into STEM and computer science fields. In addition, the law created a $50 billion “CHIPS For America” fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce which, in part, provides new subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and designers. This fund has four interrelated strategic goals including to, “grow a diverse semiconductor workforce and build strong communities that participate in the prosperity of the semiconductor industry.” The strategy goes on to highlight its anticipated efforts to engage with regional manufacturing and develop stronger public-private partnerships  to provide new and expand existing training programs that can benefit the semiconductor and related industries. Read the full strategy here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Alignment and Intentional Equity: Two Priorities for District of Columbia’s First Area Technical Center

November 9th, 2022

For this blog, Senior Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter and Communications Manager Stacy Whitehouse interviewed Washington DC’s State CTE Director Richard Kincaid. 

The 2022 school year heralded the start of another new initiative for the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)- the Advanced Technical Center (ATC), the first DC area technical center to serve secondary students from public and public charter schools across the District. This development was inspired by Advance CTE’s 2021 50 state report on structure and outcomes in the nation’s area technical centers 

The planning process began in July 2021 when OSSE received an influx of coronavirus relief funds after Mayor Muriel Bowser directed funds from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) to Career Technical Education (CTE)  and work-based learning plans. While OSSE is still working to secure long-term funding for the ATC, ARPA funds will keep the school open for at least five years. The ATC initially opened with three programs of study — General Nursing, Cybersecurity and Health Information Technology — on the campus of Trinity Washington University, but will move to a new building shortly after renovations are complete. During the design process, DC CTE Director Richard Kincaid noted two areas vital to the success of the ATC: systems alignment and partnership and an intentional focus on equity, both foundational commitments of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education.

Systems Alignment and Partnership

When planning the future of the ATC, systems alignment and partnership was a must-have, especially considering the vast and complicated educational landscape in the District of Columbia. Kincaid and his team convened four initial stakeholder meetings, involving partners from the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office, administrators from DC Public Schools (DCPS) and DC Public Charter Schools (DCPCS), and potential employer partners. These stakeholders helped to calibrate on what the core purpose of the ATC is, who it should serve and how to limit duplication with other area programs. Kincaid shared that working from a partnership perspective instead of from a compliance angle served initial work well, especially where there were already places area principals needed to coordinate services on, such as scheduling or transportation. Given the complex dynamic across agencies in DC, this stakeholder group was vital to ensuring buy-in from and alignment to sending institutions. The group also coordinated an initial list of potential programs, leveraging labor market information and opportunity gap analyses. After a series of community input sessions, the group ultimately narrowed the list to the three programs currently offered. 

This lens of partnership also contributed to early programmatic successes. Significant conversations with local postsecondary institutions led to memorandums of understanding (MOUs) allowing learners to receive dual credit for all courses (five credits for every semester a learner is enrolled at the ATC). These courses are applied to aligned credit in the learner’s program of study, not just general education requirements. Postsecondary institutions also share instructors with the ATC to teach advanced coursework. Employer partners also support the program through site visits and career exploration conversations with learners; proximity to federal agencies means federal partners like the White House’s National Cybersecurity Initiative have visited the ATC. Future years will see employers supporting on- and off-site work-based learning initiatives, and Kincaid hopes to one day see an employer co-located with the ATC to provide daily hands-on training.

Intentional Focus on Equity

Kincaid also stressed that the main intent behind the ATC was to close equity gaps, in particular for learners from wards historically underserved by DC’s educational programs. He and his team intentionally designed the ATC’s supporting infrastructure to limit barriers to access for learners. For example, OSSE contracted with a local cab company to provide transportation to learners to and from the ATC, to limit unsafe walks or undue travel burdens for learners. While he noted this was a logistical hurdle, Kincaid noted this was a permanent focus of the ATC to always ensure learners could access the ATC’s programs. Programming for the ATC is also open-access, limiting cost or grade barriers for learners. There are no entrance exams- to earn the aforementioned dual credit, learners must simply achieve a C or higher in each to receive college credit above a final grade. Finally, future plans will continue to center equity initiatives, including paid internship opportunities and the development of future programs that advance historically marginalized learners, particularly learners of color, in historically underrepresented fields.

What’s Next for DC’s ATC

Within the next two years, the Advanced Technical Center looks to make big strides by moving into a permanent home and expanding the student population served. In 2022, approximately 130 learners were enrolled; by 2025, Kincaid hopes to have 600 learners regularly attend. The hope is also for learners regardless of age and program to participate in school-time, paid year-round internships, including some with industry partners co-located with the ATC. Through the changes, equity and partnership will remain at the heart of the ATC’s focus. 

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

Getting to Know the 2022- 2024 Advance CTE – ECMCF Fellows

November 1st, 2022

In September, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the second cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE — ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories reflecting the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in Career Technical Education (CTE)  that closes racial representation gaps and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement. 

Over the next several weeks, this blog series will introduce each Fellow participating in the second cohort of emerging leaders from 14 states, including 12 professionals of color.

Dr. Tempestt Adams, North Carolina 

Dr. Tempestt Adams’  career path has cultivated a passion for teacher preparation, career and technical education (CTE), and college and career readiness. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor of CTE at Appalachian State University. Dr. Adams earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing education from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Pfeiffer University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

 

Dr. Kisha Aites, Georgia 

Dr. Kisha Aites specializes in postsecondary leadership, program design, coordination, and technology education instruction. She was a 2016 Fulbright-Hays Group Program Fellow, selected as an honoree for consecutive years at the Georgia Association for Engineering & Technology Education Awards, and holds membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Epsilon Pi Tau and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. Dr. Aites currently serves as the interim Department Chair of the College of Education and Associate Professor of Engineering Technology Education at Savannah State University. She received both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in technology education from North Carolina A&T State University and a doctorate in workforce education with a focus on postsecondary technical leadership from Pennsylvania State University. 

Shelsi Barber-Carter, Arkansas 

Shelsi Barber-Carter has over 12 years of experience in education administration, including coordinating postsecondary programs and managing regional and state teams to implement Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) programs. Currently, she serves as an education and career consultant while pursuing a doctoral degree in educational administrative leadership and research at Liberty University. She received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in public administration from Southern University A&M College. 

Midpoint Highlights of the New Skills ready network

October 31st, 2022

In February 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced its New Skills ready network initiative, which bolsters the firm’s efforts to support an inclusive economic recovery. This effort is part of both their $350 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to prepare people for the future of work and their $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity. 

While there was a lot of excitement – and some uncertainty – about how exactly the work would unfold, we had no idea that, in just a few short weeks after the launch, the world would change as we knew it. Plans of in-person leadership team meetings, extended needs assessments that included focus groups of learners, industry partners and other key stakeholders, and network-wide convenings were all put on hold or adjusted due to the pandemic. 

While the ramp up may have slowed down and plans evolved, what never changed was the commitment of the six sites, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Advance CTE and our national partner, Education Strategy Group (ESG) to the ultimate vision of this initiative – to dramatically increase equitable access to and success in high-quality career pathways and experiences that lead to good jobs for all learners across these communities. This became even more important as the pandemic laid bare the deep and abiding inequities in our education system, workforce and society, particularly for learners and communities of color. 

We are now two-and-a-half years into the five-year initiative and there is a lot to celebrate! New Skills ready network is a bold and audacious initiative that aims to achieve both systems change at the ecosystem level while also improving programmatic opportunities for learners and industry partners in real time. It is no easy feat to build a career preparation ecosystem that engages and brings along K-12 districts, two- and four-year institutions, intermediaries, state agencies and industry partners – while also implementing new pathways, advising structures and other critical programmatic improvements at the school and institutional level. 

So what have we learned?

  • Programmatic improvements are critical but can always be swept away with a change in leadership, funding or priorities. To achieve true sustainable change and equitable opportunities requires a focus on the overall systems. We’re impressed at how sites are focusing on the system-level work of building true buy-in, deepening partnerships between the state and local level and across institutions, and strengthening data collection, sharing and use across partner organizations.
  • Equity must be at the core of the work – as both a moral and economic imperative. As such, sites are engaging learners and families to understand their motivations and concerns,  assessing the cultural wealth and assets within school buildings, providing ongoing professional development to system leaders and instructors to build shared understanding of systemic barriers to equity and other key activities. 
  • In order to build sustainable systems, sites can’t simply add new pathways and related experiences, but also must transform or sunset what isn’t working – be it outdated advising models, misaligned pathways or work-based learning that isn’t accessible or meaningful to learners. 
  • New Skills must be built into the communities’ broader career pathways ecosystem. Given the increased interest and investments in career pathways over the last decade, we are finding that the work supported by New Skills is an accelerant to those efforts – or even the glue that holds them together.  

For more on site-specific progress, check out the:

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Legislative Update: Congress in Recess Through the Midterms

October 28th, 2022

The last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have remained in recess ahead of the upcoming midterm elections set to take place November 8. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new CTE data while the agency finalized new rules for postsecondary education. 

Congress Focuses on Midterms, Will Return Next Month

Both the Senate and House are currently only holding pro forma sessions until after the fast-approaching midterm elections take place on November 8. Lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. to resume debate regarding the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process and other year-end priorities on November 14 as part of the “lame duck” session of the current 117th Congress. Advance CTE expects this year-end session to continue until December 16 when temporary federal funding legislation is scheduled to expire and could extend as far as December 24 before adjourning. 

ED Releases New CAR Report Data

This week the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) published performance and enrollment data from states’ Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) submissions as part of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). These data reflect learner performance during the 2020-21 program year and represents the first year that state performance data has been published under Perkins V since its reauthorization in 2018. Notably, these data make use of Perkins V’s new concentrator and participant definitions and also include new secondary CTE program quality indicators introduced by the legislation among several other changes. 

The data indicate a slight uptick in CTE enrollments, with 12 million CTE participants across the nation, including 8.3 million at the secondary level and 3.5 million at the postsecondary level. In addition, CTE concentrators had a graduation rate of 96 percent– substantially higher than the national average for all learners . The full set of data can be found here. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze and evaluate these data for other important trends and findings and will share those with the broader CTE community in the future. 

ED Publishes New Postsecondary Rules

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a new set of postsecondary rules intended to restrict proprietary school access to federal student aid and expand access to these funds for incarcerated learners. This final set of regulations was developed as part of a negotiated rulemaking panel tasked with finding consensus on these and several other issues of importance to postsecondary education. The first regulation– known informally as the 90/10 rule–stipulates that for-profit institutions cannot derive more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. This new rule further limits what funding “counts” towards this calculation. The second rule focuses on whether and how for-profit institutions can convert to nonprofit status (known as change in ownership). The third and final major component of this rules package expands Pell grant program eligibility to include justice-connected learners. 

These new regulatory changes are set to go into effect July 2023. The full announcement can be found here

Nation’s Report Card Shows National Drop in Academic Achievement

On Monday, October 24, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Known informally as the nation’s report card, the NAEP is a nationally representative assessment that measures learner academic achievement in grades 4 and 8 in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science and other fields of study. The results released this week illustrate troubling trends in learner scores in math and reading between 2019 and 2022, with the majority of states reporting a decline in learner achievement in these subject areas for learners at both grade levels and across socio-economic and other learner subpopulations. 

Reacting to the NAEP results, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, “The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students—especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic.”

Department of Energy Unveils School Infrastructure Grants

On Wednesday, October 26, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $80 million in new funding availability to support K-12 schools in making needed infrastructure upgrades and related improvements. The funding was authorized as part of last year’s American Rescue Plan which authorized a “Renew America’s Schools” program and allotted $500 million for similar activities. K-12 schools, charter school boards and local education agencies can all apply for this first tranche of funding ahead of a January 2023 application deadline. More information on the program can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

2022 Advance Fall Meeting Recap – Forward Together: Supporting Every Learner

October 28th, 2022

Advance CTE’s 2022 Fall Meeting, held last week, included five breakout sessions that equipped state leaders to support every learner in CTE by tailoring support to meet unique and intersecting learner population needs. 

Keep reading for key takeaways and resources from each session shared by state CTE leaders and our Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows! 

Serving Middle Grades Learners through Career Supports

Career advising and development supports geared towards middle grades learners to improve access and achieve high-quality and equitable secondary CTE programs prove to be an early opportunity to develop an occupational identity and better build social capital. Ohio discussed the policy structures the state  has put into place to support learners in CTE programs before they enter high school, including funding mechanisms and alignment of middle grades programs of study. Michigan Advance CTE-ECMC Fellow Tony Warren shared how states and regions can broaden a middle schoolers mindset by focusing on the challenge they want to solve and helping develop a pathway to achieve a goal centered on their intrinsic motivations. Fellow Donald Walker provided local examples of carrying out state policy and practice at the Detroit School of the Arts showcased how one school is putting state policy into practice and action. 

Supporting CTE Learners in Rural Communities

Representatives from Montana and California shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by CTE students who reside in rural areas of the United States. With a majority of Montana (46 out of 56 counties) being part of the frontier, the state has implemented the Hub & Spoke model for several programs. One such example is healthcare, which enabled a main campus to establish a healthcare program, complemented by satellite campuses through partnerships with local secondary and post-secondary institutions that offer limited services distributed across the other counties. 

Fellow Jean Claude Mbomeda shared California’s approach for reviewing disaggregated data to identify gaps in CTE programs in rural communities colleges in California, which was discussed as a necessary first step to unearth opportunities and develop supports for learners.  

Ensuring the Basic Needs of Postsecondary and Adult Learners are Met

An education consultant and a state leader from Wisconsin provided an overview of programs that support learners basic needs, while elevating that many programs still create barriers for learners to complete credentials. Immediate next steps that were shared included making integrated benefits applications for federal assistance programs available online and inviting benefits coordinators to provide services on campus. Wisconsin highlighted their steps to create  affinity groups with faculty and staff, with Dr. Colleen McCabe stating “To understand the effects of poverty, you have to explore learners’ multiple identities.”

Maximizing the CTE Experience for Learners with Disabilities

Maryland and Nebraska equipped attendees with state-level strategies to leverage Perkins state plans, the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) and interagency partnerships to provide sustainable support to learners with disabilities. With one in four Americans identifying as having a disability, discussions centered on viewing disability as a spectrum, both visible and hidden, and centering learners as people rather than just a population. Maryland shared practices for empowering local leaders to identify and act on opportunity gaps for learners with disabilities through and the CLNA. Nebraska emphasized the importance of developing consistent cross-agency routines, and highlighted their recent achievement of a tri-agency conference across, CTE, vocational rehabilitation and special education.

Equitably Serving CTE Learners in Correctional Education

With more than 30,000 youth being incarcerated in the United States each year in the juvenile justice system, Texas joined by Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows Richard Crosby and Janelle Washington discussed the differences in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, as well as some of the intricacies of carceral justice-connected program designs. Texas highlighted barriers for this learner populations, including unfair placement testing that occurs days after sentencing and the availability of CTE programs that will not incentivize recidivism. The panelists shared that establishing meaningful and collaborative partnerships with correctional agencies and state CTE departments are paramount to creating better and more equitable programming opportunities for carceral students.

Here are additional resources to support every learner in CTE: 

Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

 

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