Vision Spotlight: Implementing CTE Without Limits at the Local Level

September 27th, 2022

In March 2021, Advance CTE released Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) to empower “leadership at all levels to reflect on, refine and even rebuild many of the systems and structures that are limiting learner success.” Later that year, we subsequently released Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits to help leaders assess, prioritize and implement strategies for one or more vision principles.

One school district – Utah’s Davis School District (DSD), just north of Salt Lake City – has taken both CTE Without Limits and Pushing the Limits to heart. DSD is recognized across the state for strong pathway programs. After their Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) process revealed achievement and enrollment gaps for special populations in CTE, DSD administrators sought bold solutions and turned to CTE Without Limits as a framework to close these gaps. Leveraging these resources, DSD supported professional district training and strategic school plan development with the express purpose of increasing equitable enrollment in CTE programs districtwide. 

Implementing CTE Without Limits

Once DSD administration began conversations with educators and staff, they recognized the need to create schoolwide “Without Limits Teams,” comprised of a school administrator, special education staff, school counselors, and the school’s CTE coordinator. Last spring, school staff from each of the 25 DSD schools were each brought together in full day district-wide workshops structured on the five CTE Without Limits principles and designed using Advance CTE’s CTE Without Limits implementation assets. After the training, the teams were asked to create a Without Limits plan to implement these principles in their building; 19 of the 25 have already submitted their plans as a result of the training.

The plans were created using a district-wide rubric to help sharpen and focus action areas. Learner voice was also incorporated into the conversation, with the district conducting twelve focus groups with 54 students, asking similar questions as the workshops for district staff. The district also conducted pre- and post-surveys to help develop priorities for these action plans and help administrators learn where schools need the most support. 

Collaboration is Key

In a recent interview with Advance CTE staff, Davis School District CTE Supervisor Tim Peters and Without Limits Project Lead Melanie Allen reiterated the value that the collaborative nature of these Without Limits Teams has for CTE district-wide and with state and community partners. Because of the composition of the Without Limits Teams, the cross-departmental work has become a key strength of this initiative. The Layton High School team gave high praises to the Without Limits initiatives and said, “The impact of everyone being on the same page can’t be overestimated for the teachers and the students. We are already seeing growth in course requests for welding tech, accounting and computer programming.”  Local CTE Coordinator Kristen Davidson noted, “We’re having conversations now that we’ve never had before, and it’s changing the way we serve students.” 

Utah State CTE Director Thalea Longhurst is a strong supporter of DSD’s model. “Davis School District is leading our state in focusing on truly embedding CTE Without Limits in their daily work,” she shared. “Their work is led by strong leaders who understand the importance of collaborative conversations and truly using data-driven decision making to improve programs. They have shown that even small changes can be incredibly impactful while still considering and implementing larger systemic changes. Their work is exactly what we hope others will follow as we all strive to implement this vision for the future of CTE.”

Lessons Learned

After their first iteration of workshops, DSD shared a few lessons learned that they hope other Utah school districts or other districts nationwide consider before starting this work in earnest. 

  • Plans don’t have to make world-changing shifts. Instead, these workshops and subsequent action planning helped the district see the small, most impactful changes that could happen first while working toward larger systemic changes. 
  • Workshops also revealed the necessity of reviewing data as a part of the process. Because the district considered their data and opportunity gaps in conjunction with action planning, they could focus their efforts on learner populations that require the most support. 
  • A shared framework and regular collaborative conversations served as a forcing event to share important, consistent information with school educators and staff, disseminate resources, and provide updates about CTE programs. This allowed for opportunities to address myths about CTE programs and initiatives.

Next Steps

As a result of the workshops, plan feedback, and learner focus groups, the district is working on a toolkit to support the school plan action steps. DSD administrators also hope to make this an iterative process, conducting ongoing training and coaching to help their Without Limits Teams revise and refocus their plans on a yearly basis. 

For more information about CTE Without Limits as well as communication and implementation resources, please visit the CTE Without Limits page on our website.

Learn more about Career Technical Education at Davis School District in Farmington, UT.

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

 

 

 

 

CTE Without Limits Spotlight: Panel Highlights Leadership Priorities for Vision Implementation

May 25th, 2022

On Friday, May 13, attendees at Advance CTE’s Spring State Leadership Retreat heard from three State CTE Directors participating in Advance CTE’s state cohort to begin implementation of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). Moderated by Advance CTE Senior Advisor Nithya Govindasamy, panelists shared how CTE Without Limits has inspired meaningful cross-sector conversations, and key leadership lessons to build trust, center learners and sustain partnerships. 

Background 

The panel consisted of three state directors: Sarah Heath of Colorado, Katie Graham of Nebraska and Maria Swygert of South Carolina. At the start of the panel, each leader provided a brief overview of the focus of their initial vision implementation work. 

Colorado’s focus is Principle 2: Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem to empower state and local leaders to have knowledgeable and meaningful conversations about equity gaps in data. Heath shared “we saw the work isn’t working,” that too many leaders could interpret the data but didn’t feel empowered to discuss and act on it. Through participation in the cohort, Colorado strives to build will and support for change through a statewide equity action plan with a focus on expanding equity-focused professional development opportunities for state and local CTE leaders. 

Nebraska’s focus is advancing Principle 3: Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey with a focus on learners with disabilities. State CTE staff will partner with special education and vocational rehabilitation services agencies to scale strong existing state collaboration to the local level. This includes alignment of policy, communications and professional development initiatives.

South Carolina’s focus is Principle 1: Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem to achieve ‘next-level collaboration’ through more uniform processes and local support for conducting the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) process. This will be accomplished through an assessment survey to each of their twelve cross-sector regional teams consisting of secondary, postsecondary and workforce leaders, as well as a state-level meeting to create an action plan based on survey results. 

Building and Sustaining Meaningful Cross-Sector Partnerships 

Each leader shared strategies they found to be effective in building and sustaining meaningful cross-sector partnerships. State Director Katie Graham emphasized the importance of cultivating personal relationships with leaders before you need them for project work. She shared that her choice to focus on learners with disabilities was inspired in part by her strong personal relationships with state staff connected to special education and vocational rehabilitation that simply started with conversations about their work years ago, rather than a specific request to share funding or resources. 

State Director Sarah Heath elevated that building partnerships requires several steps, and should not begin with an ask for shared funding. Using a “gather, train, then share” approach, Colorado began their partnerships by finding shared goals and planning meetings and initiatives together. This was followed by providing mutual support on logistics and information, including conversations on common definitions, data collection and use, and data metrics to find common ground. 

The directors also highlighted the importance of establishing intentional strategies that build trust and provide information that reinforces shared goals. State Director Maria Swygert shared that each quarter her office compiles a two-page report connecting the latest employment, graduation, placement and other key data points. This tool is shared with more than 70 partners statewide to reinforce the shared goal of improving learner and workforce outcomes. Graham shared that the growth of her partnership with those serving learners with disabilities resulted in a meeting where 19 needs assessment plans, including the CLNA, were streamlined to reduce the burden on local leaders and make connections among the data being collected. 

Leadership Lessons Learned 

Each leader was asked to share leadership lessons learned as a result of this work to build and sustain meaningful, learner-centered partnerships. Acknowledging and addressing capacity issues rose to the forefront. For states that may view the vision as yet another item for their to-do list, Heath emphasized that CTE Without Limits should not be seen as a separate approach, but rather a ‘value-add’ that takes the intent and goals of existing strategic plans, state vision statements, and other planning document to the next level and keeps learner needs at the center of all conversations. 

Heath also shared that vision implementation work made her more comfortable with learning to let go of work, even though it may be important, that did not specifically advance learner needs or their state strategic plan. Swygert shared that the relationship-building conducted through this cohort allowed her to feel more comfortable not doing all the work alone and trusting the expertise and leadership of other state staff serving learners, including those not directly involved in CTE. 

Each leader emphasized the value of vulnerability, transparency and honesty, especially in the early stages of relationship building with other state leaders, so that no damaging assumptions are made. Heath shared her mindset of “we all have room to grow in the work, and we want to grow together.” Graham shared a conversation she had with a state leader where she was only seeking to learn more about their role, but the latter assumed they were seeking funding instead of a meaningful partnership. So additional time was needed to build the trust to share the desired information. 

Additional Resources 

The CTE Without Limits cohort will receive funding, individual coaching and intensive technical support from Advance CTE through October 2022. An additional CTE Without Limits Community of Practice is open for state leaders to participate in bimonthly cross-state calls to share challenges and solutions aligned to the five vision principles. Sixteen states are currently participating — those interested in joining can contact Senior Policy Associate Hinderliter at dhinderliter@careertech.org

For additional conversations with state and national leaders on advancing CTE Without Limits, visit Advance CTE’s webinars page for recordings of a spring virtual learning series aligned to each of the vision’s five principles. 

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for 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.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

Getting to Know Advance CTE’s Strategic Priorities: Equip, Empower, Elevate

May 5th, 2022

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 Kimberly Green! Kim is the Executive Director of Advance CTE. Kim’s role at Advance CTE is to provide strategic direction to all of the organization’s workstreams to ensure Advance CTE is boldly advancing toward the accomplishment of the strategic priorities and theory of action, both of which aspire to ensure equitable career success for each learner. 

Q: Given your history and tenure at Advance CTE and in the field, how have you seen the organization evolve into what is now the 2021-2024 strategic plan?

A: January 2023 will mark 30 years for me at Advance CTE; that is a lot of time and tenure to have seen things change. The name of our organization changed (NASDCTEc to Advance CTE). We expanded state memberships to cover a “team” rather than just one individual from each state. Internally, our staff has grown significantly, with our team members living and working literally across the entire country. The breadth and depth of our work shifted to reflect the evolving needs of our members and the CTE community. We deepened and expanded our federal policy work and added in robust state policy, communications, data/accountability, equity,  etc. research, professional development and technical assistance. We launched revolutionary and impactful streams of work like the National Career Clusters Framework ® and the CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign, etc.; these efforts have incubated and supported a significantly increased level of support and interest in CTE and career readiness among the public and state policymakers.

What hasn’t changed is our steadfast commitment to serving our members. For nearly every year of these 30 years, all states were members of Advance CTE. This is something I am extraordinarily proud of! We are steadfast in our commitment to supporting leaders, encouraging transformative leadership and “be(ing) the change we want to see in the world” (quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi). Our efforts to coalesce our community and stakeholders toward a common, bold vision is a hallmark of who we are at Advance CTE.  We don’t shy away from taking on the important and difficult work, like efforts to address the legacy and currency of racial equity gaps in CTE, all the while remaining vigilant to hold the bar high in terms of quality expectations. 

Q: If you had to choose, which accomplishment from 2021 are you most excited about?

A: This is hard! There is much to choose from but I’d probably have to say releasing CTE Without Limits, which is a north star for our work and launching the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leadership Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation which will help to strengthen and diversify the pipeline of talent to fill state leadership positions in CTE. 

Q: What do you see as the major priority for the organization moving into the second quarter of 2022? 

A: We are getting ready to host our Spring State Leadership Retreat this month (May 2022). I am excited to see our members again – in person! I am also excited to re-connect and build new relationships, strengthen existing relationships, and to learn from and alongside our members. 

Q: CTE Without Limits states that the work ahead will require commitment and shared ownership from all stakeholders. Are there any upcoming opportunities that will equip, empower and elevate the field? 

A: Our Virtual June Meeting Series is going to be amazing! This three-event series will offer premier professional content to inspire attendees and arm them with replicable polices and practices to advance high-quality and equitable CTE, plus the opportunity to build their peer network across the country.

Every day, I am honored to serve our members in the CTE community. I am inspired by their commitment to be bold, lead change and to do the work that requires a deep and abiding persistence. In some ways their work is hidden; learners and other stakeholders often don’t know the important role that state leaders have in setting policies that close equity gaps or ensure their classrooms have qualified instructors and latest equipment. They don’t know the advocacy efforts state leaders lead to to build supportive environments in order to secure the investments needed so that more learners can have access to CTE. But I see the work our members do … and I am grateful.

Kimberly Green, Executive Director

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 

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

“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 

Getting to Know Advance CTE and CTE Month Celebrations

February 17th, 2022

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 Stacy Whitehouse! Stacy is the Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement at Advance CTE. Stacy works to develop and implement communications and outreach strategies that support state CTE leaders. Some of her most recent initiatives include communications research for recruiting and retaining families and learners into CTE, and employer engagement. Stacy also develops and implements strategic communications for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). 

In this month’s edition of the CTEWorks Newsletter, we are continuing our celebration of CTE Month! In the interview below, Stacy shares what lies ahead for the field as we use this month to increase our advocacy and awareness of high-quality CTE programs that allow for each learner to find success in a career of their choice. 

Q: How have you seen states innovatively celebrating CTE Month? 

A: States have had to continue to hold primarily virtual events this year, but it’s exciting to see so many well-designed social media campaigns highlighting the accomplishments of CTE learners and alumni! 

Oregon has gone the extra mile and is using CTE Month to organize a multimedia campaign to introduce CTE to populations historically underrepresented in their programs. They will be running audio, video and print ads on Hulu, Pandora, radio stations and news outlets in tribal communities as well as Chinese and Spanish language publications.  What I especially like about this campaign is how utilizing multiple channels allows the state to compare reach across these mediums to inform future campaigns and outreach efforts. 

Q: Are there any key communications themes from CTE Month that state and local leaders can carry with them past February? 

A: One of the wonderful things about the month is it’s a high-profile opportunity to reintroduce CTE to learners, families, employers and other key stakeholders. There’s no reason to stop! 

If you did a social media campaign, advertise a sign-up form so families can receive emails or mail with additional updates about CTE program exploration and enrollment. Additionally, use the same videos and graphics at in-person events to gauge real-time reactions from families and get more mileage from your resources. If Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) leaders visited legislators, use that as a launchpad to include learners in the policymaking process outside of CTE Month. 

I am always glad to talk to state about creating communication strategies and campaigns that include meaningful metrics for success that support larger program enrollment, quality and equity goals. 

Q: We are approaching the one year celebration of CTE Without Limits. How can stakeholders plan to participate? 

A: The commitment of our local and state leaders to promote and learn about this new vision for CTE and keep pushing the envelope on program quality and equity despite all the capacity challenges they face has been really inspiring.

The easiest way vision supporters can celebrate is to continue educating stakeholders about CTE Without Limits by using Advance CTE’s communication resources. If you’re ready to go to the next level, start your vision assessment journey with Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits that provides a step by step guide for CTE leaders to assess one or more vision principles against existing policy and practice.

We also want to hear stories of your ‘why’ for pursuing CTE Without Limits – post a photo and use the hashtag #CTEWithoutLimits to share your story of who inspires you to realize systems where each learner can achieve college and career success without limits.

Finally, save the date for our Twitter chat co-hosted with several national organizations who are vision supporters on March 8 at 1PM ET. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their insights and progress on implementation. Be sure to follow Advance CTE’s Twitter page.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

This Week in CTE: FBLA-PBL Creating a CTE Without Limits

February 4th, 2022

While stakeholders across the Career Technical Education (CTE) continuum celebrate CTE Month®, Advance CTE will join in the celebration by uplifting Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) student leaders and their national advocacy weeks. 

These organizations are a powerful model for the potential and impact of learner-centered and learner-led learning, and Advance CTE is pleased to be joined by seven national CTSOs in supporting the national vision for CTE. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) places CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive career preparation ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success. 

This February, the This Week in CTE blog series will highlight the activities of several CTSOs and their alignment with the five interconnected principles of CTE Without Limits. This week highlights the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), who will celebrate their national week February 13-19, 2022, with the theme “Success Starts Here.” 

Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem

FBLA-PBL encourages high-quality CTE experiences as early as middle school through its FBLA Middle Level chapters that provide education programs, awards and competitive events. 

Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem

CTSO leaders can be impactful ambassadors to help each learner feel welcome not only in CTE, but in their school and community. FBLA members at a Georgia middle school used their state chapter’s monthly service challenge as an opportunity to help fellow students feel seen and welcome. 

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

FBLA-PBL’s celebration includes opportunities for CTSO leaders to connect with both chapter members and national leaders to develop meaningful relationships that are crucial to achieving college and career success. On February 15, FBLA National President Jaya Singh and PBL National President Andre Davis will host a national forum, and Regional Networking events will be held on February 18. 

Meaningful connections are also being pursued through programs at the state level, such as New Jersey FBLA’s Chapter Connections initiative and local chapter texting group. 

Advance CTE’s With Learners, Not for Learners: A Toolkit for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE provides a variety of strategies and resources to elevate the learner voice in all aspects of CTE programs and practice.

Each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable

As part of FBLA-PBL Week, the organization is elevating student skills and stories through a multimedia contest that invites members to submit a piece of writing, graphic, video, or speech sharing ‘Success Starts Here’, with that in mind, where does success start for you?”

February 15 is Share Your Story Day which will highlight learner stories and impact via the #myFBLAStory hashtag. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

Over the past several weeks, FBLA-PBL members from across the country have demonstrated their skill competencies and high-quality CTE-focused projects through competitions at the area and regional level. Learners receiving top awards will compete at the state and national level to inspire and advance high-quality CTE without limits.

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for communication and implementation tools for state and local CTE leaders to bring CTE Without Limits to life. 

If you would like to share how your CTE program or CTSO creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

Vlog: Opportunity America on Leveraging Non-degree Programs During Workforce Development

November 17th, 2021

Opportunity America in partnership with Lumina Foundation and Wilder Research set out to explore the role of community colleges in providing job-focused education and training in their new community college study, The Indispensable Institution. Opportunity America is a Washington think tank and policy shop promoting economic mobility – work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans. 

Advance CTE’s newest video blog features Tamar Jacoby, President of Opportunity America, as we discuss the report and in particular delve into the study’s exploration of the potential of non-degree programs to serve the needs of a national workforce realignment.  

Our conversation focuses on the profile of a non-degree learner and the next steps for state leaders in greater utilization of non-degree programs, particularly in the areas of funding, data, and industry alignment.

The study reinforces that significant work ahead for the attainments of non-credit learners be fully counted by institutions in degree and non-degree pathways, as well as a high need for data infrastructure that fully documents participation in and outcomes of non-degree learners. The good news is that this study indicates non-credits learners are strongly aligned to job-focused programs, and there is great potential to strengthen and align these programs with industry as labor realignments continue. 

Gaining a better understanding of non-credit learners is critical for each learner’s skills and learning to be fully valued, counted and portable as outlined in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits)

It is clear there is more to learn about the non-degree arena and its learners in community colleges. Visit the Opportunity America report site to view the full study and interactive data portal.

Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate 

Welcome Dr. Tunisha Hobson to Advance CTE!

November 9th, 2021

Advance CTE welcomes Dr. Tunisha Hobson as State Policy Manager.  Dr. Hobson will support the New Skills ready network, an initiative under the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Global Career Readiness investment, while working to provide equitable opportunities for each learner. Dr. Hobson will manage and support the state policy team at Advance CTE; she will lead state policy strategy, overseeing efforts for providing technical assistance to states, track state policy and elevate best practices for high-quality, equitable career pathways under Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). 

Dr. Hobson is a native of Memphis, TN and earned a Bachelor in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Marketing, Master in Education Curriculum and Instruction, Education Specialist in Administration and Supervision, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Tennessee State University. She has almost two decades of experience working with students and educators in all levels of education within areas ranging from literacy improvement initiatives to Career Technical Education (CTE).

Dr. H, as she is affectionately called by colleagues and learners, has worked in charter and traditional public, urban and suburban districts serving as a school administrator, marketing teacher, CTE high school department chair, DECA advisor, work-based learning coordinator, and a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s work-based learning leadership council along with the textbook adoption panel. She is also a graduate of the Relay Graduate School Instructional Leadership Professional Development Program where she has gained experience in providing quality instructional leadership practices. Dr. H is an education advocate, specifically in the CTE realm, and has worked with Tennessee SCORE as a Fellow where she focused on strengthening work-based learning practices in Tennessee. Dr. H went on to become a regional lead within the fellowship program, supporting fellows along their advocacy journeys. Outside of the school building, Dr. H became a published author! Leveraging her career experiences, Dr. H released her book, Take Notes, This Is On the Test

Dr. H has traveled to five continents beyond North America and believes in expanding her cultural experiences while helping others. She enjoys traveling the world, watching sports, reading a good book, spending time with family and friends and documenting her journey. She is excited to join the Advance CTE team and continue supporting learning that works!

 

Series

Archives

1