Legislative Update: Congress Examines FY23 Budget and Teacher Shortages 

May 27th, 2022

This week Congress made progress on several U.S. Department of Education (ED) nominations, while also examining ways to address nationwide teacher shortages and ED’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona offered support to a community in Texas in the wake of tragedy while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  distributed additional connectivity funding and ED hosted a summit on mental health. 

Secretary Cardona Issues Statement Regarding the Tragedy in Texas

On Tuesday, May 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. He shared, in part, “My heart is aching for all the families in Uvalde, Texas who are living through every parent’s greatest fear and worst nightmare: a shooting in their children’s school . . . My team at the Department of Education is offering every available federal resource—including through our Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) program and on-the-ground support—to help the families, educators, staff, and greater Robb Elementary School community recover from this trauma and loss.”

House Holds Teacher Shortage Hearing

On Wednesday, May 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing examining the persistent issue of educator shortages throughout the nation. Witnesses included representatives from think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Learning Policy Institute, as well as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Witnesses and lawmakers discussed the causes of teacher shortages and debated best-practice solutions to address them. These strategies included efforts to reduce certification requirements for teachers as one way to reduce barriers to entry into the classroom. As a reminder, Advance CTE recently endorsed the RAISE Act recently– a proposal that would provide tax credits for K-12 instructors– as one way to begin to address these persistent challenges. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

Senate Advances ED Nominees

Also on Wednesday, May 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held an executive session meeting to consider several Biden Administration nominees. These nominations included LaWanda Toney to be the next Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as well as Nasser Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department. During the session, Senators advanced each of these nominees out of committee for further consideration by the full chamber in the future. 

In addition to this committee-level activity, the full Senate took an important procedural step to advance Amy Loyd’s nomination to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Adult, and Technical Education at ED—an action that implies that Ms. Loyd will likely be confirmed sometime soon.

Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

Yesterday, May 26, the House Education and Labor Committee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who testified about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. As a reminder, the Administration’s FY23 budget was created prior to FY22 funding levels being finalized by Congress. As a consequence, the Biden Administration proposed an “artificial cut” to the Carl D. Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) questioned Secretary Cardona about this issue, asking why the Department appeared to propose less funding for this program for the upcoming fiscal year. Secretary Cardona responded, in part, that “. . . we totally support the funding for that . . . in fact we really believe a big part of the work moving forward at the Department of Education is to really engage in career connected high schools and making sure that the through lines between our high schools and two year schools and workforce partners or four year schools is tighter across the country.”  An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

ED Hosts Virtual Mental Health Summit

On Monday, May 23, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) hosted a virtual summit titled “From Recovery to Thriving: Supporting Mental Health and Students With Disabilities.” The summit highlighted the Department’s ongoing work to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and shared resources aimed at students to support their mental health. In particular, the event examined ways in which states and local communities can better develop and support more inclusive pathways programs for learners struggling with mental health challenges or disabilities. More information on the summit can be found here

FCC Announces $2.8 billion in New Funding

On Wednesday, May 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had received $2.8 billion in funding requests as part of its third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. Funding for the ECF as part of the American Rescue Plan was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the pandemic as a key strategy to help close the “homework gap.” This latest round of funding will support 5,120,453 connected devices and 4,285,794 broadband connections for eligible schools and libraries. However, with only an estimated $1.5 billion remaining in the program the FCC anticipates it will need to prioritize applicants with the greatest need first, particularly those in rural communities. 

June Meeting Series Registration Deadline Extended

On June 22nd, Advance CTE will be joined by partners from the Association for Career and Technical Education and Association of Community College Trustees to provide a federal policy update as part of Advance CTE’s Equip, Empower, Elevate: June Meeting Series. The series consists of three, three-hour events on June 8, 15, and 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET.  Those interested in attending one or more sessions can register here by June 2, 2022. 

Be Sure to Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

The House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are currently working to encourage Senators and Representatives to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Nick Rodriguez Keynote at Spring State Leadership Retreat Highlights Five Lessons in Leadership

May 27th, 2022

After what can only be described as two of the most turbulent years in recent memory, Advance CTE was finally able to reconvene this month in Baltimore, Maryland to host a Spring State Leadership Retreat. The event welcomed 64 participants representing 37 states, in roles ranging from state CTE directors to workforce and education leaders.

The Retreat’s keynote was presented by Nick Rodriguez, CEO of Delivery Associates, a leader in systems transformation whose work has helped both government and industry organizations to become efficient and equitable change makers. 

Attendees listened attentively as Nick presented his Inspired Leadership General Session, “Seizing the Moment: Leadership & Opportunity in Uncertain Times.” He acknowledged the challenging times we still find ourselves in, but also underscored the importance of how attendees can leverage their roles, voices, and leadership to advance our shared commitments to quality and equity as articulated in CTE Without Limits

Nick shared “Five Lessons in Leadership” as a framework to guide leaders through times of crisis, like the ones we are living in today: 

He walked participants through each of these principles by recalling recent anecdotes and lessons from his work abroad, from Pakistan to New Zealand. The theme was always the same: with adversity comes opportunity. 

Following the keynote presentation, attendees strengthened connections with peers and deepened knowledge on solutions to pursue systemic change and effectively support state teams. Attendees enjoyed speed networking, shared solutions ideation, a panel on state implementation of the CTE Without Limits vision and regional get-to-know-you meetings. 

Register by June 2 to join Advance CTE’s next virtual professional development opportunity —  the EQUIP, EMPOWER, ELEVATE: Virtual June Meeting Series

Three events over three hours with dynamic keynote speakers and content-rich breakouts will be held June 8, 15, and 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET. 

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

Welcome Brice Thomas to Advance CTE!

May 17th, 2022

Hello!

My name is Brice Thomas and I’m excited to be a part of the Advance CTE team. I serve as a policy associate directly supporting Advance CTE’s state policy initiatives. I lead state policy tracking for legislation impacting Career Technical Education (CTE) while also contributing to projects including research and resource management associated with building high-quality career pathways. I also manage the Learning that Works Resource Center.

I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration but was immediately drawn to working in education, serving as a college registrar. I also worked as a membership associate for a trade association and served as a regional organizer for a major political campaign. After which I realized education was truly my passion. Most recently, I was as an elementary school teacher for five years. During this time in my professional career journey, I completed my Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. I’m excited to bring my varied experiences and perspective to support Advance CTE’s members and CTE learners.
Outside of work I’m known to sing a bit of karaoke, explore museums, discover new restaurants, write poetry, or go on misadventures with my friends.

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate

Welcome Steve McFarland to Advance CTE!

April 6th, 2022

My name is Steve McFarland and I am the new Director of Communications and Membership for Advance CTE. In this role, I lead the organization’s internal and external membership engagement, professional learning and strategic communications. I direct technical assistance, resource development and related supports to Advance CTE members and partners to advance the organization’s strategic priorities and mission, build in-state capacity for Career Technical Education (CTE) leadership, and raise the visibility of and support for high-quality and equitable CTE throughout the country.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, I have worked in nonprofit and higher education communications for more than 20 years. I began my career working for National Public Radio and Paramount Global Entertainment before entering the organizational communications field. I then led fundraising communications for the Divinity School at Harvard University, spearheaded the rebranding of America’s Second Harvest to Feeding America in the late 2000s, and for a decade directed communications and operations for Aurora University, a thriving private college in the Chicago suburbs. I received undergraduate degrees in Mass Communication and Comparative Religion from Miami University (Ohio), and a master’s degree in the Sociology of Religion from the University of Chicago. 

I was drawn to Advance CTE because I have seen firsthand how the traditional “ideal” model of education–four years of high school followed by four years of college–is changing rapidly. And it’s a much needed change! CTE opens doors to limitless possibilities, and provides content and careers that resonate to a wide range of skills and interests. 

This is an exciting mission to be a part of, and I am looking forward to doing great things for our members and the countless students they serve.

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership 

Resource Recap: 5 Steps to Get Started with the CTE Without Limits Roadmap Tool

March 31st, 2022

March 2022 marks one year since the release of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). CTE Without Limits positions CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success.

To celebrate this milestone, Advance CTE elevated the work of vision partners through a Twitter chat, announced three states participating in a state cohort for vision implementation, and held a vision-focused Ask an Expert session. The event delved into Advance CTE’s hallmark vision implementation resource released last fall, Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits

This resource recap post breaks down the roadmap resource and provides first steps for state CTE leaders to prepare for and use this comprehensive tool. 

Resource Background 

Achieving CTE Without Limits is only possible through shared commitment and action among all CTE stakeholders The Pushing the Limits roadmap serves as the primary evaluation and planning tool for state and local CTE leaders to conduct a collaborative process that: a) provides an initial assessment of state policy and practice; b) identifies top areas for action; and c) develops implementation strategies for one or more vision principles.

The document is provided in both a combined format as well as separate by each of the five vision principles. The three to four action steps recommended for each vision principle can be evaluated by state leaders through five activities:

  • Data Review: Collect and analyze data to identify gaps in data availability as well as equity and opportunity gaps for learners that will impact roadmap planning.
  • State Assessment: Provides self-assessment questions to help state leaders reflect on the current alignment of policies and practice, capacity for change, and potential impact of moving the needle for each action. The completer assigns a score to each section. 
  • SWOT Analysis: Applies information from self-assessment questions to identify top-level Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to advance each action step.
  • Models and Resources: Provides sample implementation steps, policies and resources to inspire action;
  • Heat Map: Scores reach assessment section in a heat map that identifies intersecting areas of high need and high capacity for change, to aid leaders in narrowing the focus of their work.
  • Action Planning: Offers an action planning tool to develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals and action steps in real-time, six months and a year to drive systemic change.

Getting Started 

Effective use of the roadmap requires intentional planning and collaboration. Here are five ways to get started: 

  1. Select your core state or local team that includes representatives with deep experience in K-12, postsecondary and workforce policy and practice through the lens of CTE. 
  2. Complete Advance CTE’s State Capacity Tool to determine which vision principle(s) to focus on. 
  3. Gather data and guiding documents to inform the self-assessment, including program participation and outcomes, statewide and regional agreements across system, statewide and department initiatives and goals, etc. 
  4. Complete the self-assessment as individual core team members and share answers prior to soliciting additional input. 
  5. Identify priority principles and action areas to address first based on conditions in your state.

Maximizing the Resource 

CTE leaders can take several steps to maximize this resource to realize systems change at all levels, including: 

  • Input: Receive input on the self-assessment questions beyond your core team, including learners, educators, administrators and support staff at the local, regional and state level. This can be accomplished by sharing the roadmap questions or creating a separate survey of selected questions from the roadmap in multiple choice format. 
  • Capacity: Align action planning to meet the capacity of state team members, partners and institutions.
  • Aim Higher: At the same time, revisit your ‘dream list’ of initiatives, supports and goals and leverage the roadmap to push your work to the next level.
  • Utilize Existing Collaborative Channels: Don’t reinvent the wheel; utilize board and commission meetings, workgroups, conferences and other state and local collaborative events for information gathering and roadmap completion. 

Advance CTE staff are available to support CTE leaders in this important work. Visit Advance CTE’s staff web page for contact information. Visit Advance CTE’s vision web page for additional vision education, assessment and implementation resources. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

In Delaware, Building a Youth Apprenticeship Data System Means Looking to the Future

March 16th, 2022

This is the third blog in a series published in partnership with New America through the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA). The blog series highlights how PAYA network sites are using data to improve youth apprenticeship quality and equity. 

In Delaware, youth apprenticeship is a critical pillar of the state’s career readiness initiatives and is a truly collaborative project. While administration of the state’s youth apprenticeship programs falls under the Delaware Department of Labor, related technical instruction is handled by the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE). This requires a significant amount of coordination and partnership across state agencies. 

In 2020, Delaware received a grant through the U.S Department of Labor to enroll 400 youth apprentices in the areas of construction, hospitality and Information Technology. This opportunity, and the expansion of youth apprenticeship in the state, enabled Delaware to focus on improving the quality and use of its youth apprenticeship data. 

Tackling Youth Apprenticeship Data Challenges 

As Delaware works to strengthen and scale youth apprenticeship, the state encountered a few challenges with accessing quality data. For one, state leaders confronted some inflexibilities with the federal Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Database System (RAPIDS), which includes nationwide data on Registered Apprenticeship participation but does not differentiate youth and adult apprenticeships. 

Another challenge was coordinating and systematizing partnerships among agencies and organizations. Delaware first had to create and adopt shared definitions for youth apprenticeship data and then work to break down silos to enable timely inter-agency data sharing. 

And finally, state leaders wanted to make sure youth apprenticeship data could fuel program improvement, equity initiatives and storytelling, and made sure to shift from a compliance to a continuous improvement mindset. 

To tackle these challenges, DDOE assumed a coordinating role, leveraging its scale as a statewide agency to convene partners, reach consensus on important decisions, and establish data sharing agreements. In this role, DDOE was able to compile and match data, including education records, employment records and social services records, “behind the curtain” before pushing de-identified data back out to partners. 

Equipped with relevant and timely data, DDOE is now positioned to support local youth apprenticeship programs to make data-informed decisions. For example, DDOE can identify learners who would be a good fit for youth apprenticeship and provide that information to school counselors ahead of youth apprenticeship recruitment cycles. 

This data also enables DDOE to craft a story about youth apprenticeship, targeting policymakers and members of the public with stories about the impact of high-quality programs.

Lessons Learned

One important lesson from Delaware is the critical need for qualitative data from learners. Partners are developing a new case management system to ensure qualitative data is collected, considered, and utilized as part of a continuous program improvement process.  To fully understand the story behind the numbers, data must be connected to the learners’ voices and experiences. 

Delaware also learned that the goal of youth apprenticeship data systems should not be sustainability alone but rather evolution. Data systems should be flexible, always moving towards the next set of questions the state is looking to explore and answer. If states and youth apprenticeship intermediaries can anticipate the questions they will want to answer in the future, they can begin to build data systems that address those needs. 

Delaware’s advice to state and local youth apprenticeship intermediaries is to concentrate first on the initial strategy, coordination of effort, systems building and partner relationships. This will ensure there are suitable conditions for collecting and using youth apprenticeship data effectively. Partners should also establish a shared system of values that emphasize partner action and innovation and are reinforced by established data routines. 

Additional blog posts in this series can be accessed here. For additional resources on data and accountability, please visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

The Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship is Where You Belong

March 10th, 2022

The Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation is intended to build a talent pipeline of state-level postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders fiercely committed to creating an accessible and racially just postsecondary state CTE system. Through the Fellowship, each Advance CTE – ECMCF Fellow will gain an understanding of effective policies and practices for improving postsecondary CTE outcomes and how to scale those policies and practices statewide. They will come to understand their strengths as a leader and how to leverage those strengths to influence their respective postsecondary state CTE systems to be more effective and equitable. Fellows will build confidence, visibility and a national network that they can rely on during and after the Fellowship. After completing the Fellowship, Fellows will be better positioned for postsecondary state CTE leadership roles such as State CTE Director, state-level leaders and institutional leaders. 

Does this sound like you? We hope so!

The application period for the 2022-2023 cohort is now open through 5 p.m. EDT on March 31, 2022. Before applying, read over our frequently asked questions (FAQs) and register to attend an information session to ask any questions in real-time. 

FAQs 

  1. How many Fellows will be selected for the 2022-2023 cohort? 

Fifteen Fellows will be selected for the 2022-2023 cohort. We have a goal for the majority of participating Fellows to be professionals of color.

  1. Do applicants need previous experience in postsecondary state CTE? 

No. Experience in postsecondary state CTE is not required. However, this Fellowship is not designed for those who are newly entering the CTE profession or exclusively seeking professional development to improve secondary dual enrollment programs. A strong background in delivering, supporting or designing CTE programs is required to be eligible to apply. This experience can cover a broad range of fields: 

  • State education, labor and workforce agencies; 
  • K-12 institutions, two-and four-year colleges, or area technical centers; 
  • Nonprofits and career technical student organizations (CTSOs); and
  • Industry. 
  1. Is previous leadership experience required to apply? 

Current and aspiring postsecondary state CTE leaders are encouraged to apply. However, the Fellowship is not designed for those who are new to CTE or have limited years of service in CTE.

  1. When does the Fellowship begin and end? 

The Fellowship will begin September 2022 and will end November 2023. 

  1. In what format will Fellowship events be held? 

Workshops and coaching will be conducted virtually. Participants will be offered the opportunity to meet in person in Spring 2023 at Advance CTE’s annual meeting and will be required to meet in-person at the ECMC Foundation convening of Fellows held annually. Partial or full compensation for travel will be provided for all in-person events. 

  1. How much time will the Fellowship take?

Advance CTE anticipates that Fellows will spend up to 10 hours per month working on Fellowship-related responsibilities. The Fellowship’s curriculum includes eight, half-day virtual workshops that include pre-and post-work for each workshop. Fellows will be expected to work on a real-world project throughout the duration of the Fellowship. Additionally, Fellows will schedule monthly coaching sessions with their assigned coach.

  1. Who is providing input on the curriculum? 

A National Advisory Committee consisting of national organizations, state-level institutions and eight CTE leaders of color provide input on Fellowship curriculum, promotion, and recruitment and evaluation of outcome. The Fellowship is designed and facilitated by Advance CTE with support from Education Strategy Group (ESG) and draws upon national partners to enhance and support the curriculum design, content and delivery. 

  1. How long are the workshops? 

Each workshop will be conducted virtually, from 1 – 5 p.m. ET during the business week. Applicants will need to receive approval from their supervisor to participate in this Fellowship during work hours. 

Dr. Kevin Johnson, Senior Advisor

Welcome Ross White as the New State CTE Director in Arkansas

March 8th, 2022

Advance CTE joins the Arkansas Department of Education in welcoming Ross White as the new State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director. Ross transitions into this role while fulfilling the duties of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)’s Region IV Vice President

Advance CTE staff met with Ross as he shared his pathway to becoming the State CTE Director, as well as his initial priorities for CTE in Arkansas.

Advance CTE: Which of your professional experiences has most prepared you for your role as the State Director? 

Ross: Most of my time in education has been spent in the CTE setting: a classroom educator, career student technical organization (CTSO) advisor, district CTE director, and as an ACTE officer and member. I give credit to my years as the district director because it is in this role where I learned how to be innovative and bold, rethinking systemic solutions to serve each learner. I also developed strong business and industry partnerships that I can continue to foster as State Director.

Advance CTE: In what ways have you had the opportunity to leverage social capital and professional networks in your career progression?

Ross: Early in my professional career journey, I had a mentor who taught me all I needed to know about CTE. I have relied immensely on this knowledge throughout my career, and will do so as I became the State Director. I also participated in the ACTE’s National Fellowship and have been active in multiple professional memberships. In my experience, no matter the type of fellowship (or mentorship), there will be an amount of influence, conversation and ability to impact change. Ultimately, social capital is not the people you know, but the people who make you grow.

Advance CTE: What excites you most about being the State Director in Arkansas? 

Ross: It excites me that in this new role as State Director I will be able to more quickly connect policy and programming across the CTE ecosystem in the state. This is largely due to my background in school administration, in the classroom and at the state agency. However, also playing a part is the consolidation of all education programs under the Department of Education. Being under one “roof”, the state CTE system will become much stronger in our cross-sector relationships, aligning secondary and postsecondary systems, and will have the opportunity for more frequent communication and data sharing. 

Advance CTE: As you are settling into your new position, what initial priorities have you identified? 

Ross: I have identified a few initial priorities around CTE data collection and reporting. One of our Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) program quality indicators is credentials of value. Yet, we do not have a best practice in place to meet the data reporting needs for credentials in our state. Once we identify the best path forward from the state-level, the next priority will be to educate local districts on credentialing and credential data. 

The work we have to do around credentialing aligns with our career coach initiative in the state. We have received additional funding to implement career coaches and it is a priority to scale statewide. 

Advance CTE: Fast forward and we are now celebrating your one-year anniversary as State Director. What is one challenge you’d like to have overcome by that milestone?

Ross: We have a need for the division of career and technical education (DCTE) to reinvent our brand in the state. We are known far too often as, “the rules place.” I want to build more trusting and lasting relationships with our local recipients, ensuring they know who to call on my state team when they are in need of support. I hope to have been successful in this endeavor by this time next year.

Our state team will also work to address teacher shortages across the state. I am sitting in on a working group that is developing a grow your own program. Over the next year, I hope to be able to celebrate its success. 

Advance CTE: What is one weekend activity or hobby or interest you would like your peers to know about you? 

Ross: Outside of work, my wife and I spend much time attending to our daughters and their love for dancing, swimming and gymnastics.

Welcome, Ross! Advance CTE is thrilled to support Ross as he strives to ensure each learner in Arkansas has access to and the means to succeed in any high-quality CTE program or experience that leads to success in their career of choice.

Click here to learn more about the state CTE system in Arkansas.
View resources that feature best practices in Arkansas here

Follow Ross on Twitter

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media

Legislative Update: President Biden’s State of the Union Address and a New CTE Fact Sheet

March 4th, 2022

This week lawmakers have continued to negotiate a forthcoming full-year spending bill for the 2022 federal Fiscal Year (FY22), while President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address to Congress. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a new factsheet on how to use pandemic aid funding to support Career Technical Education (CTE), while lawmakers in the House examined the important role Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have in providing economic opportunity to learners. 

Lawmakers Continue to Negotiate FY22 Spending Bill

Last October, Congress was unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for FY22. As a result, federal lawmakers have relied on a series of short-term funding measures—known as continuing resolutions (CR)—to continue government operations past the formal start of FY22 on October 1, 2021. These CRs simply extend last fiscal year’s funding levels for federal programs like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) for a predetermined period of time. The most recent of these CRs is set to expire March 11. 

Until recently, Congressional leaders were optimistic that they would find agreement on full-year funding for the remaining six months of FY22. However, lawmakers are currently disagreeing on how best to provide emergency aid to address the ongoing Ukrainian crisis as well as on whether to provide additional funding to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, March 2, the White House formally requested both of these supplemental appropriations requests to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA). 

Until these disagreements are reconciled, lawmakers are at an impasse, at least temporarily, on full-year FY22 funding. Should agreement not be reached in the coming days, Congress will likely pass an additional CR to provide more time for these negotiations to continue. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to champion robust investments in CTE and Perkins V. 

President Biden Delivers State of the Union

President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, March 1. While a significant portion of the speech was devoted to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the President emphasized the importance of education and investments in workforce development. During his remarks, the President emphasized his administration’s plans to “. . . cut costs and keep the economy going strong by giving workers a fair shot, [by providing] more training and apprenticeships, [hiring] them based on their skills not degrees.” 

The address also emphasized the important role the American Rescue Plan (ARP) continues to play in helping states, schools, and postsecondary institutions recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he called for greater investments in community colleges, encouraging lawmakers to, in part, “Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.” A transcript of the speech can be found here

House Holds Hearing on MSIs’ Role in Ensuring Economic Mobility

On Wednesday, March 2, the House Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing titled “ Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions.” The hearing focused on how these institutions are effectively serving learners and providing ladders of opportunity for career and economic advancement. In particular, lawmakers focused on strategies these institutions are employing to provide learners with labor market experiences, provide high-quality credentialing opportunities, and partner with employers to make postsecondary-to-career transitions more seamless. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here

ED Releases New CTE Fact Sheet

Late last Friday, February 25, ED released a new fact sheet highlighting how states and local school districts can make use of funding from the ARP’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to support high-quality CTE programs. In particular, the factsheet emphasized CTE as a powerful way to reengage students to cultivate high-demand skills needed for jobs of the future. The resource highlighted several states’ efforts to use these resources to develop, expand, or otherwise implement CTE activities as part of their recovery efforts. The fact sheet can be accessed here. Advance CTE also has a similar resource for this purpose which can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

“Be a Network Facilitator”: Inspiring First Steps and Common Challenges Emerge in CTE Without Limits Community of Practice Kickoff

March 1st, 2022

“Go forth without limits!” was an apt parting chat message as over 70 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across 16 states convened virtually last month to launch the community of practice for Advancing CTE Without Limits, a cross-state implementation initiative that provides a dedicated space to foster collaboration and problem solving to advance vision principles. 

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) was developed with the input of nearly 200 contributors representing national, state and local CTE leaders and stakeholders and anchored in the belief that each learner must have access to and the means and succeed in the career of their choice, with CTE serving as the catalyst for that journey. Since its release a year ago this month, Advance CTE has conducted a robust awareness campaign that has gained the support of over 40 national partners, and is now transitioning to meaningful state assessment and implementation work. 

The kickoff served as an initial networking session for states and an inspirational launch point to prepare for the work ahead. Attendees had the pleasure of the hearing from JFF Vice President Joel Vargas, who shared how JFF is advancing the vision through its recent research and report The Big Blur: An Argument for Erasing the Boundaries Between High School, College, and Careers —and Creating One New System That Works for Everyone

Vargas highlighted promising first steps in Idaho (Financing Students Directly), Tennessee (Ready Graduate Indicator), Texas (P-TECH and and Early College High Schools) and Washington (Mandatory Acceleration) that are blurring the lines among secondary, postsecondary and career preparation systems. 

Vargas challenged attendees to dream big and be the new models for scalable solutions by being a “network facilitator,” by combining career pathway expansion with intentional investments in collaboration and sustained partnerships. He connected the vision to a world where policymakers “boldly reimagine public responsibility” where providing two years of higher education and training for careers is seen as a public responsibility that is not just affordable or free, but structured to provide full support for each learner on their career journey.  

“Partners have to focus not just on the technical work, but also on building relationships and trust. Systems change is also people change.” – Joel Vargas, Vice President of Programs, JFF 

Following the keynote, leaders participated in two breakout sessions within and across states to identify promising first steps and common challenges to realizing the action areas of Principle 1: Each Learner Engages in a Cohesive, Flexible and Responsive Career Preparation Ecosystem. States raised common challenges of designing and securing funding models that prioritize collaboration and learner-centered policies and sharing learner-specific data among state agencies and education institutions. However, they also shared initiatives that could be meaningful first steps towards systems change, including partnerships to improve connections to postsecondary career pathways for learners with disabilities; combining CTE and counseling in one department, and statewide articulation and transfer agreements to fully count all learning. 

Participating states will be engaged in bimonthly cross-state calls to share challenges and solutions aligned to the five vision principles. Three states, Colorado, Nebraska and South Carolina, applied for and were selected to participate in a state cohort and will receive additional resources including funding, individualized coaching and intensive technical support. 

Sixteen states are participating in the CTE Without Limits Community of Practice: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The community of practice is still open for additional state participation – state staff can email Senior Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter for additional information. 

Advance CTE’s vision page offers a variety of awareness and implementation resources, including its step-by-step assessment and action planning guide, Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits that will be the basis for Advance CTE’s state cohort work. 

CTE leaders are also encouraged to participate in activities to commemorate the first anniversary of CTE Without Limits, including a Twitter chat on March 8 at 1:00 p.m. E.T on Advance CTE’s Twitter page, and webinars aligned to the vision principles throughout the spring.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

 

Series

Archives

1