Initiative Q&A: The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation

November 16th, 2021

Last week, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the 15 Fellows joining the inaugural cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation that began this month. These aspiring leaders hail from 12 states, include 13 leaders of color, and represent multiple dimensions of equity as well as secondary and postsecondary institutions at the local, district and state level. 

The Fellowship strives to address the growing shortage of state postsecondary CTE leadership by closing racial representation gaps and removing equity barriers to leadership advancement to continue to foster high-quality, equitable state postsecondary CTE systems that support the needs of each learner. 

The following Q&A with Senior Advisor Dr. Kevin Johnson, Sr. provides additional insight on the structure and goals of the Fellowship as well as how the initiative will benefit members. 

Expanding CTE instructor and leadership pipelines is one of the most pressing issues facing the field. Why did Advance CTE decide to focus on state postsecondary CTE leadership? 

Postsecondary learners face more barriers than ever to accessing and completing postsecondary education. At the same time, historically marginalized learners, particular black and Latinx learners and learners experiencing low income, are still experiencing disproportionate impacts from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. There is an urgent need for diverse, equity-minded leaders in state CTE who reflect the experiences and needs of learners, and are equipped with the skills and networks to improve learner outcomes through systems transformation. Advance CTE’s deep experience supporting state CTE leaders and our commitment to innovation to advance high-quality, equitable CTE is a great intersection to step into a new space to not only empower today’s leaders but cultivate the leaders of the future. 

States are facing a severe CTE instructor shortage and often don’t have the capacity to focus on cultivating the state leadership pipeline. This Fellowships strives to enhance leadership representation across multiple dimensions of equity, with a particular focus on racial equity, while also cultivating an equity-focused leadership mindset to enhance learner access and outcomes in postsecondary CTE programs. 

What are the biggest barriers to leadership advancement for professionals historically marginalized from these opportunities, and how does this Fellowship aim to remove these barriers? 

The same systemic barriers facing learners in reaching their full career potential also exist in our state CTE systems that prevent historically marginalized professionals from reaching their full leadership potential. We are encouraged that State Directors are willing to conduct the difficult but critical work to remove those barriers, and this Fellowship can serve as a learning model. 

Many leadership position requirements still value level of education over skills and experience, particularly experiences gained through industry or positions outside of the education system. Additionally, because historically marginalized leaders, particularly those of color, are less likely to see themselves in leadership positions, they face more barriers to developing meaningful and trusting professional relationships or feeling welcome and psychologically safe in networks that are critical to leadership advancement. Furthermore, in rural and smaller geographic areas, professional and leadership development opportunities may be limited at the state level. Advance CTE has the national resources and network to fill that need. 

The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation strives to remove barriers to leadership advancement through an intensive, interactive curriculum; intentional spaces to develop networks with Fellows and national CTE leaders; individual coaching to strengthen knowledge on both equity and postsecondary CTE; and a real-world fellowship project that allows each Fellow to remove equity barriers right where they live and work. 

What promising practices do you hope to gain from this initiative that can be shared with states? 

This Fellowship is just one building block for a much stronger and permanent foundation that must be built to identify and cultivate state leadership talent from a variety of CTE-focused professions. We hope to identify the supports that aspiring leaders need most for leadership that they are not currently receiving in their home states, and empower states to implement those supports in their professional development programs. There will be two cohorts of 15 fellows served through this Fellowship, and we have already gained valuable lessons learned on effective communication tools, outreach and other components of program recruitment that will be shared with members. Finally, we will gain significant knowledge on building and managing spaces of mentors and mentees to build meaningful relationships among groups historically marginalized from leadership advancement.

I know the Fellowship has just begun, but what excites you most about this group of Fellows so far? 

The first workshop for this cohort was held last week. I am most excited about our Fellows’ enthusiasm for learning not only from Advance CTE staff and their coaches, but from each other. Each Fellow brings a rich diversity of professional and personal experience from industry, secondary and postsecondary institutions, workforce and state institutions that is so important to help these aspiring leaders develop a well-rounded understanding of how systems interact, as well as how to remove silos to ensure each learner has the means to achieve success in the career of their choice without limits. 

How can state leaders participate in future cohorts? 

It is not too early for professionals with extensive experience in delivering or supporting postsecondary CTE programs to consider applying for our second Fellowship cohort.  

Applications will open in Spring 2022, and the next cohort will begin in Summer 2022. 

Additional details about the Fellowship, including profiles for each Advance CTE-ECMCF Fellow can be found on Advance CTE’s Fellowship web page. If you are not an Advance CTE member, sign up to receive our CTEWorks newsletter to stay informed on key program dates. Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resources on access and equity and instructor and leader quality

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

Getting to Know: Stakeholder Engagement at Advance CTE

October 21st, 2021

The “Getting to Know” blog series features the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Dan Hinderliter! Dan is a State Policy Associate at Advance CTE and supports a number of different national projects. As a site liaison for the New Skills ready network, Dan works with two sites (Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), providing resource and research support while also serving as a direct link to the national project team. He also works on site snapshots, the annual report and quarterly newsletters, as well as major publications that highlight promising national, state and local practices aligned with the principles of the New Skills ready network

Dan also supports the modernization of the National Career Clusters® Framework and spearheads the Year in Review, the annual aggregation of state policy impacting CTE. As part of the Year in Review process, Dan regularly tracks state-level legislation and other policy actions.

Q: Considering your work on the New Skills ready network initiative, how are the six sites leveraging stakeholder engagement to advance career pathways? 

A: Each of the six New Skills ready network sites is working to leverage stakeholder engagement in some capacity to advance career pathways. First, because each of the sites is composed of a variety of stakeholders, engagement with business and industry, postsecondary partners and K-12 institutions has to happen to ensure each voice is involved in and buys into the work of the site. Outside of the project teams, however, most sites are doing some level of stakeholder engagement involving learner and family communications practices. Some sites are surveying parents and learners to understand what resonates with them about available career pathways, while others have done focus groups to understand where there are gaps for learners in specific programs. Columbus, Ohio’s project team hired a minority-led communications firm, with roots in Columbus, to help share consistent messaging and work to understand how each stakeholder can be better supported.

View the 2020-2021 site snapshot for Columbus, Ohio here

Q: Earlier this year, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released State Policies Impacting CTE: 2020 Year in Review where industry partnership was a frequently addressed topic area. Are there any states that can serve as a model for policy actions around stakeholder engagement? 

A: Every year, states enact new legislation that impacts how each state engages with stakeholders, either through input gathering or through information sharing. Many states, including Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho and Missouri (among others), passed legislation this year requiring a state agency to collect and disseminate information that allows learners to make more informed decisions about their futures, including information about in-demand jobs or industry recognized credential attainment. Other states are using legislative action to improve equity and access in part through stakeholder engagement; Oregon and Washington, for example, now require institutions to collect feedback or input from diverse or historically marginalized stakeholder groups to inform new practices and strategies that will increase access to high-quality CTE programs for those groups. At the beginning of 2022, we will release our state policy tracker for 2021 which includes the above legislative actions and others.

Q: One of the foundational commitments within CTE Without Limits is based on stakeholder engagement. How can states, through such partnerships, ensure each learner reaches success in a career of their choice? 

A: Advance CTE’s shared vision, CTE Without Limits, calls for CTE to be incredibly learner-centric and for programs to ensure that the learner voice is incorporated into each decision about career pathways or programs. As states continue to expand access and equity in their CTE programs and work toward dismantling systemic barriers in CTE, the learner voice must be an integral part of these conversations, as only the learner who participated in the program can fully understand the consequences of decisions made at each level. At the same time, states and local institutions can continue to expand offerings by building partnerships with community based organizations to offer learner supports or with business and industry to offer new or improved work-based learning opportunities. By including opportunities for stakeholder groups like learners, their families and local businesses to provide input into decisions surrounding CTE, states can ensure that their career pathways and CTE programs are truly aligned with the needs of their communities.

Q: Lastly, Advance CTE announced the modernization of The National Career Clusters® Framework. How has Advance CTE prioritized stakeholder engagement and the voices of the field in this work? 

A: Though we don’t yet know what our end product will look like at the conclusion of these modernization efforts, we did know the process had to be highly collaborative to ensure everyone buys into whatever the outcome happens to be. As such, we have included a lot of opportunity to incorporate feedback from the field; we convened an expert kitchen cabinet to provide insights about the purpose and uses of the Framework, opened a crowdsourcing portal to collect feedback from the larger field about critical changes they’d like to see, and held workshops to assist in the prototyping of a new Framework. In this next phase of work, we’re hoping to hold focus groups to discuss the future of the Framework. As we near a model for a new, modernized Framework, we are hoping to have many more conversations with stakeholders about how they can implement the Framework in their own state and community to ensure that the modernized Framework is implemented with fidelity.

For resources and tools to increase stakeholder engagement in CTE, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

Welcome Nithya Govindasamy to Advance CTE!

October 19th, 2021

Advance CTE welcomes Nithya Govindasamy as a Senior Advisor. Nithya leads and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE), which includes: workforce development, education and equity initiatives; technical assistance for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), Stimulus Collaborative and the New Skills ready network; and Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. Nithya will also support national and state CTE leadership, policy, and implementation.

Nithya was born in Chennai, India and immigrated to Ohio in the early 90s with her family. She considers Ohio “the Buckeye State” to be home, but relocated to Dallas, Texas in 2016. 

Most recently, Nithya was the Director of Workplace Learning for P-TECH and Early College Programs (a CTE program) at Dallas Independent School District (ISD), where she was responsible for the design and implementation of workplace learning programming and activities districtwide. In this role, Nithya established partnerships with industry to prepare students and equip them with the skills and social capital needed to access in-demand careers. 

Before joining Dallas ISD, Nithya was the Dean of the Work Program at Paul Quinn College, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) located in southern Dallas, where she implemented the Urban Work College program model that integrated paid internships, pre-professional work experience and skill development as part of their academic degree for first-generation, minority college students.

Prior to relocating to Dallas, Nithya was the Assistant Deputy Chancellor of Higher Education & Workforce Initiatives at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). During her tenure at ODHE, she served on the Governor’s Workforce Transformation team and helped design and implement innovative workforce education programs to address employer critical skill needs in collaboration with the University System of Ohio.

Nithya completed higher education in Columbus, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-law/Political from Capital University and a Master of Science in Marketing and Communications from Franklin University. 

Throughout her career, she has worked collaboratively with industry, education and community leaders to develop and implement innovative workforce and career-focused education programs that connect employers with their future “qualified” workforce. She remains passionate about bridging economic opportunity and equity gaps for underrepresented populations.

“I believe that building mutually-beneficial public-private partnerships and career pathway programs are necessary to impact and drive meaningful systemic changes that address access and equity. I look forward to collaborating with you and advocating for increasing high-quality career technical education in all forms as it is the gateway to economic mobility for all learners.”- Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor, Advance CTE

Building a Legacy Based on Ethics: The Future of CTE

October 11th, 2021

Submitted by MBA Research & Curriculum Center, 2021 Fall Meeting Sponsor

As educators, can we influence the world 10,000 years from now?

The Long Now Foundation is in the process of building a 10,000-year clock. The idea is to help us think beyond our immediate future, and to imagine life and our potential impact beyond that of our generation, or our children’s generation, or even our children’s children’s generation. In education, and in Career Technical Education (CTE) specifically, adopting this mindset will help us make choices that last “beyond the ages” and continue to shape our world far into the future.

10,000 years ago dates back to the Middle Stone Age, or Mesolithic Period, when nomadic hunter/gatherers roamed the land and lived drastically different lives from our own. Life as we know it today resulted from the events of thousands of years in the past. The seeds of our reality were planted millennia ago, when agriculture was just being introduced—and our lives are a product of their germination. 

So, the big question now is this: How will we look back at ourselves 10,000 years from now? I hope we look back with appreciation at the choices we make today. 

CTE students now have so much to learn—the world is changing so quickly. It’s hard to think about the “long now” versus just “now.” We will never really know if we can make a 10,000-year impact. But just in case—just on the off chance that we can make a difference—why not infuse ethics education into our classrooms now in hopes of leaving a legacy based on ethical decision making (in business and in life) for generations to come?

MBA Research is working with the Daniels Fund in Denver, Colorado, to bring ethics education into classrooms in middle school, high school and community college. We have developed numerous resources for use in classrooms in CTE and beyond. The materials range from individual instructional modules to semester-long courses on ethics.

We also have videos highlighting the Daniels Fund Ethical Principles, an Ethics Boot Camp with immersive, interactive ethics-based learning activities. The boot camp also includes a free, certification-based assessment for use after ethics-based learning in the classroom utilizing our materials. The best part? All of these resources and materials are FREE to download and use in the classroom or for Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO)-based activities.

Can we make an impact 10,000 years in the future? We don’t know—but it’s absolutely worth a try. 

Visit MBAResearch.org/Ethics to learn more about integrating our ethics materials into your classroom and to access the free resources available for students in your state.

Welcome Dr. Kevin Johnson to Advance CTE!

October 8th, 2021

Advance CTE welcomes Dr. Kevin R. Johnson Sr. as a Senior Advisor for Equity. Dr. Johnson oversees and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE), including overseeing Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. Two of the first and major priorities in this role for Dr. Johnson will be leading and managing the inaugural cohort of Fellows for the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation and the Opportunity Gap Analysis Technical Assistance work within states.

Dr. Johnson is a native of Monroe, Louisiana, and an Iraqi War Veteran who served 10-years in the US Army as a Respiratory Therapist.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University, a Master of Education in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Doctor of Education P-12 Concentration from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor.  Dr. Johnson has served as an Assistant Principal at Lyndon Baines Johnson Early College High School (Austin, Texas) providing administrative support to the CTE, English and Science Departments; a CTE/Academy Specialist at Stony Point High (Round Rock, Texas) for two-years; and as a Health Science Technology teacher for four-years.  

His professional interests are CTE data policies, school law, school finance and P-12 educational leadership. He is a current member of the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) and an ACTE Inclusion Access Equity and Diversity Advisory (IAED) Group member and mentor. Dr. Johnson most recently served as a Statewide CTE Coordinator at the Texas Education Agency in the College Career and Military Preparation division responsible for supporting the Health Science and Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics Career Clusters while providing CTE program assistance to Regions IV (Houston, TX), V (Beaumont, TX), and VI (Huntsville, TX).  

Welcome, Dr. Johnson!

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

New Skills ready network Site Highlight Blog: Nashville Career Advising Framework

September 30th, 2021

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

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

For this post, Senior Policy Associate Jeran Culina interviewed two leaders from the Scarlett Family Foundation, Consultant Jenny Mills McFerron, and COO Tom Parrish to learn more about the career advising framework in development for four Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) high schools with the goal to scale it to all MNPS-zoned high schools in future years. 

Purpose and Components 

Too few learners in Nashville have access to consistent advising experiences across secondary, postsecondary and community-based levels. When systems fail to provide students with equitable and high-quality career advising, they make it challenging for students to skillfully navigate a path to career and college success. Additionally, education leaders lack access to fully integrated data to track and evaluate learner outcomes. 

With this in mind, Nashville’s New Skills ready network team is creating a career advising framework that seeks to provide a seamless and consistent career advising experience across K-12, postsecondary, and community offerings through shared language and practices as well as intentional spaces for counselors and other advising professional to share best practices as the framework is implemented. 

At the same time, Nashville is pursuing an initiative to place college and career counselors at secondary and postsecondary institutions, with equity being a leading factor in the pilot schools’ selection. Four college and career advisors have been placed at the four high schools participating in the New Skills ready network grant to advance high-quality advising with the intention of eventually scaling these efforts to all Metro Nashville public school high schools. These positions will support the existing advising staff and actively share their experience with site partners to inform the career advising framework. 

Unique Features 

Nashville’s approach to this work is unique in several respects: 

  • Community Relationships: Community organizations in Nashville have robust offerings for community-based advising programs and a strong relationship with MNPS. 
  • Research: Prior to launching this initiative, the project team worked with Advance CTE to collect best advising practices from around the country as well as conduct a regional landscape study of existing advising practices at the community and district level. 
  • Systemic Alignment: This initiative intentionally focuses on connecting career advising at not only K-12 and postsecondary levels but also community-based advising and mentoring programs. 

Vision for Success

The Scarlett Family Foundation strives to facilitate the development of a framework across the K-12, postsecondary, and community systems that would support each Nashville learner’s ability to successfully access high-wage, high-demand jobs. 

For the framework itself, McFerron strives for this model to create consistent and systemic advising transition points for each learner from middle school, high school and postsecondary stages, provide adequate support for learners to smoothly navigate these transition points, and ultimately improve student outcomes. She also elevated the importance of involving more stakeholders in career advising support, including teachers and administrators, to provide much-needed capacity for advising.  

We want to see continuous improvement over the very long term and have that success sustained and built upon over time, and helping students successfully navigate [key education] transition points is critical to that.” – Jenny Mills McFerron, Scarlett Family Foundation 

Next Steps and NSrn Impact 

The next phase will focus on collecting input from a variety of stakeholders, including learners and their families. Three affinity groups consisting of K-12, postsecondary, and community organization leaders will provide during the formulation and execution of the framework as a draft is written over the next six months.

Parrish praised the New Skills ready network’s focus on long-term, sustained change as a key benefit of the site’s involvement that he hopes will reverse the recent cycle of short bursts of progress that are not realized for each learner. 

I think doing this grant over five years with its intentional focus, you are forced to come back to talk about what’s working and what is not working, and over time you spread and institutionalize some of these practices, tweak them as needed, and ultimately provide the evidence that this model is working even as other initiatives and people come and go.” – Tom Parrish

For more information about the early accomplishments of Nashville and the five other sites that are part of the New Skills ready network, view Advance CTE’s Year One snapshots. Previous entries for this series highlighting Indianapolis’ pathways evaluation framework can be found here

For more resources on advancing quality and equity in career advising, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

Welcome Allie Pearce to Advance CTE!

September 29th, 2021

My name is Allie Pearce, and I am so excited to join Advance CTE as the 2021-2022 Graduate Fellow, helping to advance the organization’s federal policy priorities and initiatives. My work will be anchored in the organization’s federal policy agenda, specifically the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). While completing this fellowship, I will also lead work centered on federal stimulus funding and equity-based initiatives. 

I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Transformation at Georgetown University, with a concentration in Advocacy and Policy. My experiences allow me to approach Career Technical Education (CTE) from an education policy perspective. While attending Grinnell College in my home state of Iowa, I volunteered on a local school bond campaign and worked as a preschool teaching assistant. From there, I worked for a variety of organizations, including the Learning Policy Institute; the Food Research and Action Center; and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Through these opportunities, I examined issues of equity and access in public education through policy research and advocacy. 

Increasing equity and access to high-quality CTE will be more important than ever as the labor market continues to respond to the persisting skills gap and systemic inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. I am humbled to join Advance CTE at such a critical time, and I look forward to being a part of innovative systemic change.

In my free time I enjoy visiting the national monuments, hiking with my two dogs, checking in virtually with my family back in Iowa and watching women’s college basketball (go Hawkeyes!).

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

Legislative Update: Next Steps for Congress to Avoid a Government Shut Down and FCC Grants to Close the Homework Gap

September 24th, 2021

This week, funding legislation moves through Congress to avoid a government shut down. Read below to learn about the next steps needed, as well as Advance CTE’s support of proposed funding for Career Technical Education (CTE), newly announced awards for exemplary CTE programs and the first wave of grants to close the homework gap. 

Debt Ceilings, Reconciliation, Infrastructure and Avoiding A Government Shut Down

There are a number of related but separate spending measures working their way through Congress, which create for a confusing and volatile federal landscape. 

  • Congress needs to enact a spending bill to keep the federal government open past the fiscal year end – Thursday, September 30. This bill, called a Continuing Resolution, has been bundled with conversations related to raising the debt ceiling, which also needs to be acted upon sometime in October or the federal government goes into default. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved (220-211) a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until December 3. The bill also suspends the federal debt limit until December 2022. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle. Senate Republicans vowed to oppose the CR because of the debt limit provision, creating the possibility of government shut down beginning October 1. 
  • Next up is the reconciliation bill, which is the vehicle being used to move forward a big portion of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The House Budget Committee is scheduled to markup the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act, over the weekend. The spending bill, which was detailed in last week’s legislative update, includes $3 billion in funding through the Perkins Basic State Grant funding stream, with an additional $1 billion in funding for the existing Innovation and Modernization fund, for a total of $4 billion to be distributed through Perkins V. In addition, there is funding for universal pre-K and childcare subsidies for eligible families, two years of free community college, a $500 increase to Pell grants, K-12 school infrastructure, workforce development programs, teacher residency programs, school leadership programs, and Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 
  • The House is scheduled to vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Monday, September 27.  Progressive and moderate House Democrats are vowing to vote against the bill if the House does not to first vote on the reconciliation bill which includes the “human” infrastructure investments mentioned above. However, the reconciliation bill will not be ready for a floor vote by Monday; in fact, it is likely not going to be ready for vote for several weeks as Democrats negotiate behind the scenes to pare back the top line numbers in order to secure Senate Democrat support. If the progressive Democratic Caucus members votes against the bill on Monday, it will fail on the House floor.  

Advance CTE Joins Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in Applauding Committee Passage of the Build Back Better Act

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) applauded the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee on passing its portion of the Build Back Better Act, which includes $4 billion in dedicated funding for CTE programs, and nearly $80 billion total in funding for workforce development programs. Advance CTE joined Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s press statement celebrating the robust funding levels for CTE and workforce development programs. Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green shared that “this legislation includes significant, increased funding and new investments that are crucial for states, schools and colleges to deliver high-quality CTE programs that are responsive to the evolving needs of industry and to close skill gaps.” Advance CTE is calling on the Senate to maintain or exceed these levels in the Build Back Better Act. Lend your voice and advocacy of this funding level through ACTE’s advocacy portal

U.S. Department of Education announces Blue Ribbon Schools

U.S. Secretary of Education announced the 325 schools that were selected as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The selection is based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups. Additional criteria were added for this year’s secondary school applicants to describe the “curriculum supports college and career readiness (e.g., dual credit courses, college prep classes, Career Technical Education (CTE), apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship opportunities, industry-recognized credentials). This may also include student leadership, community and civic responsibilities, entrepreneurship skills, or work-based learning opportunities that align with essential or emerging careers.” Check out the database of schools to see if any of your state’s schools that offer exemplary CTE programs were selected for this honor. 

First Round of Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Announced

Today, the FCC announced an initial wave of $1.2 billion from the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to support 3,040 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia across all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. “The funding will support 3,081,131 devices and 774,115 broadband connections and help connect over 3.6 million students who, according to their schools, would otherwise lack devices, broadband access, or both.” second application filing window will open on September 28, 2021 and close on October 13, 2021.  During this window, applicants can submit requests for funding for purchases through June 30, 2022 to meet the needs of learners, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to basic educational opportunities and library services.   

Kimberly Green, Executive Director

Getting to Know CTE in Michigan

September 23rd, 2021

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet CTE in Michigan!
The Michigan Department of Education – Office of Career and Technical Education (MDE-OCTE) works closely with regional CTE administrators to provide support and technical assistance to implement and improve current operating CTE programs, as well as to support the development of new CTE programs. CTE Secondary Programs are intentionally structured into 27 Perkins regions and 53 Career and Education Planning Districts. This regional structure provides access to state-approved CTE programs for students throughout the state of Michigan. Programs for secondary students are available through area career centers, intermediate school districts, public school academies, and local education agencies. 

Postsecondary CTE Programs in Michigan are structured into 28 community colleges, three postsecondary associate-degree-granting institutions, and one Tribal College. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Workforce Development (LEO-WD) works in close collaboration with the MDE-OCTE to implement postsecondary CTE programs.

Q: What are a few ways Michigan uses learner data to inform policy and practice?

A: Michigan uses learner data to help Perkins subrecipients prioritize use of their Perkins funds through the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment. Data on student enrollment and completion by CIP Code, race, gender and special populations are compared to labor market information and other data to identify areas of need. At the state level, learner data helps to identify professional development needs and are used in evaluation of Perkins grant applications to ensure that Perkins-funded activities align with areas of greatest need. Michigan also utilizes learner data to assess equity and access in CTE.

Q: What partnerships within your state have been most impactful in developing your data ecosystem? 

A: MDE-OCTE partners with other state agencies, as well as with university researchers, to create data reports that inform policy, promote program improvement and support effective program evaluation. A major partner is the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI). CEPI is responsible for collecting, managing, and reporting K-12 and postsecondary education data in Michigan. MDE-OCTE links CTE data to other K-12 and postsecondary data to compare CTE students to all students and to evaluate post-high school outcomes. CEPI produces data reports based on linked secondary, postsecondary and wage record data. These reports are available on Michigan’s student data portal www.MISchoolData.org

See for example: Median Annual Wages by Educational Attainment and High School CTE Status2, https://www.mischooldata.org/high-school-cte-status-by-educational-attainment/ and https://www.mischooldata.org/cte-programs-offered/

MDE-OCTE also partners with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development which oversees postsecondary CTE programs and collaborates on CTE reporting. 

MDE-OCTE partners with the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab (YPL) on collaborative projects to better understand CTE in Michigan. YPL is currently working with MDE-OCTE to describe CTE delivery models in Michigan and develop a picture of access to CTE throughout the state. Other projects have included examination of CTE in Michigan for students with disabilities, and access to CTE in Michigan by race and gender

Additionally, MDE-OCTE is a member of the Career & Technical Education Policy Exchange (CTEx)–a multi-state policy lab dedicated to improving the quality of high school career and technical education (CTE) programs. CTEx has provided MDE-OCTE with valuable data-based insights and improved the department’s ability to collect data of value to districts and policymakers. MDE-OCTE’s research partnerships extend the department’s data analysis capacity and support work such as analyses for the Perkins State Plan.

Q: What challenges and opportunities are there for data sharing between the state and local levels? 

A: The greatest challenges to sharing data for program evaluation and decision making are handling small cell sizes and accessing and linking to employment data. In order to protect student privacy, cells with fewer than 10 students are suppressed. This makes it difficult to analyze data for small groups of students such as by race or special populations, or at the program level. This can be overcome by summarizing data over multiple years, but this could mask changes over time. Legal and policy limitations on the use of employment data and logistical challenges in linking education and employment data prevent many states, including Michigan, from fully utilizing employment data to evaluate educational outcomes, including outcomes of CTE.

Q: What advice would you give to state CTE leaders regarding data-driven decisionmaking? 

A: Effective data-driven decisionmaking requires investment in data and research capacity–both within the state education agency and in partnerships with other state agencies and outside partners. Investing in capacity and partnerships enhances our ability to carry out meaningful analyses that lead to new insights. In order to maximize understanding of the data, individual student data are needed to break the data into key groups and understand impact. The ability to accurately link secondary CTE student data to other K-12 and postsecondary education data, as well as to wage and employment data, is required to be able to effectively evaluate CTE outcomes.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media, Advance CTE
Jill Kroll, Supervisor, Grants, Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, MDE-OCTE
Brian Pyles, State CTE Director, MDE-OCTE

Reflections from CTE Leaders on 6 Months of CTE Without Limits

September 20th, 2021

Six months ago a new, shared vision for Career Technical Education (CTE) was released, 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. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education was developed with the input of over 200 contributors representing national, state and local CTE leaders that convened in Fall 2020 at the virtual CTE Forward: A Summit on CTE’s Impact & Promise hosted by Advance CTE and nine other national co-convening organizations.

Since its release, CTE Without Limits has served as a force for CTE leaders to reconnect and recommit to strategic priorities outlined in their The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans and state vision, while also leveraging lessons learned from continued crisis response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and national conversations on equity and racial justice. It has also served as the foundation for initiatives pursued by Advance CTE, including a new strategic plan, biannual Spring and Fall meetings, and equity-focused initiatives including a Brave Dialogues equity discussion guide and new Fellowship aimed at addressing diversity and equity barriers in state postsecondary CTE leadership.

We asked state leaders to offered their reflections on the impact of CTE Without Limits over the past six months and elevated impactful quotes from our March vision release celebration that are shared throughout this post. 

By the Numbers 

  • Vision celebration event attended by over 400 vision supporters and partners
  • 42 national organization vision partners 
  • 13 states represented on Vision Kitchen Cabinet as initial space for leading states to analyze and evaluate vision principles 
  • Vision summer lunch and learn webinar series featuring national voices across learning and work attended by 41 states/territories and almost 400 state and local CTE leaders 
  • 10 resources published to aid state and local leaders in raising awareness of the vision and conduct deeper knowledge-building about vision principles and action areas 

CTE Without Limits is approaching the evaluation and implementation phase that will occur over the next several years to be realized. Advance CTE looks forward to the release of a roadmap tool next month that provides guiding questions, rankings and action plans for states to evaluate vision alignment across one or all principles. The tool is designed to meet each state at each stage and capacity for vision implementation, and additional opportunities will be available for states interested in conducting deeper implementation work.

Visit the CTE Without Limits web page to access resources to communicate and implement the vision. Advance CTE looks forward to another 6 months of incredible milestones! 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

 

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