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!

Welcome Jennell Ives as the New State CTE Director in Oregon

November 8th, 2021

Advance CTE commits to investing in formal leadership development for our members. The New State Director Institute (NSDI) uses a cohort model to welcome and support first-year State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors. Each cohort is connected with mentors and other national leaders; provided leadership tools and resources; and offered instructional workshops designed to assist them as they develop and implement their state-wide visions for CTE. This and upcoming blogs in the Getting to Know blog series will introduce you to the Fall 2021 NSDI cohort! 

This summer, Oregon welcomed Jennell Ives as the new Director of the Secondary Postsecondary Transitions Team. In this position, located in the Oregon Department of Education, Jennell is also the designated State CTE Director. She is a leader and innovator with a relentless commitment to improving the educational experiences of learners. She has a passion for building direct connections between learning during school and the lives and futures of Oregon’s youth. Jennell has been with the Oregon Department of Education for 11 years and served the agency in various capacities: Health Science Specialist, Accelerated & Personalized Learning Specialist, leading the Standards and Instructional Supports team, launching High School Success, and Perkins Grant lead & Career and Technical Education Investments.  Prior to moving to Oregon, she was director of Global Education at the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York.

Jennell’s priorities for the state are deeply rooted in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) and increasing equity and access for each learner. With the implementation of Oregon’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plan and CTE Without Limits, Jennell and her team will focus on: 

  • Building state-wide CTE programs of study;
  • Establishing flexible learning opportunities for learners that extend access across school districts;
  • Increasing opportunities in CTE for learners with disabilities;
  • Prioritizing funding approaches to support and sustain professional development in rural CTE; and
  • Expanding career guidance for learners to start in elementary/middle school and extends through work-based learning and postsecondary opportunities.

Jennell anticipates the biggest challenges for this role to be CTE teacher recruitment and retention (which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic), expanding the involvement of stakeholders in shaping CTE in Oregon and communicating the value of CTE to learners and their families. 

However, these challenges come with much opportunity! Jennell is most excited about the opportunity to engage with employers and the workforce industry to create CTE statewide programs of study and the opportunity to build regional networks for teachers to be supported delivering such programs of study.

We asked Jennell to share one thing she would wish to be an expert in at the snap of her fingers. While we were expecting to hear about having gold medal talent in an Olympic sport, Jennell answered in true leadership fashion with the wish to communicate and build strong relationships and networks. She is rolling up her sleeves and is ready to do the “slow and hard work” to ensure the career preparation ecosystem in Oregon meets the needs of each learner. 

Please join us in welcoming Jennell to Advance CTE!

Learn more about the work happening in Oregon by viewing their CTE state profile and the state resource page in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

14 States Recognized in 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

November 3rd, 2021

Our new career preparation ecosystem, designed under Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) must ensure each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed. As stakeholders continue to implement this new shared vision, the field calls for state and local leaders to remain committed to high-quality programs and instructors that build a competitive talent pipeline. There also remains an ongoing need for federal, state and local investments in those individuals working directly with learners. 

Last month, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools announced their 2021 Prize for Teaching Excellence winners! This award invests in quality programs and instructors who work directly with learners, a foundational commitment to achieving CTE Without Limits. Annually, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools awards more than $1 million to 18 outstanding skilled trades instructors and programs in public high schools across the country to increase the understanding, support and investment in skilled trades education. Since its inception five years ago, 89 high-quality skilled trades instructors nationwide have been recognized and more than 100,000 students in career pathways have been impacted by these investments.

Teachers and schools awarded have full autonomy over how the prize money can be spent to advance their skills trades education program. As an example from earlier this year, two previous winners used their prizes to develop and implement apprenticeship programs. Both were recognized nationally for their programs.

2019 Prize winner Brent Trankler of Missouri used grant funding from the local Workforce Development Board to develop and implement a Youth Registered Apprenticeship at the Sikeston Career and Technical Center (Sikeston, MO). Trankler has leveraged employer relationships to build the learn-as-you-earn program for learners, allowing for clear pathways to career opportunities after graduation.  

2020 Prize winner Chad Sutton of Indiana recently received approval on his Welding Apprenticeship from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. With ongoing stakeholder collaboration between Sutton and his school administration, the local workforce board (NE Indiana Works), the Indiana Office of Work Based Learning and employers from the industry, 40 high school juniors and seniors will be able to participate. Sutton’s welding apprenticeship will be the first of its kind in the state and can serve as a model for leveraging partnerships to scale apprenticeship programs.

This year, winners span across the following 14 states:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

For more information on the 2021 Prize for Teaching Excellence winners click here

Meet the grand prize winners here

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for state resources on program quality and work-based learning, including apprenticeships. 

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media

RFP: States Advancing CTE Without Limits

October 14th, 2021

Today, Advance CTE released its primary implementation tool and Request for Proposals (RFP) to support states in transitioning from the education and awareness phases of the past six months to evaluation and implementation phases of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits)

Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits is a step-by-step guide to help states conduct an initial alignment test of current policies and practice with vision principles, identify top areas for action, and develop an action plan of near and long-term implementation strategies for one or multiple vision principles. 

The States Advancing CTE Without Limits RFP allows states to be early leaders in deeper implementation work of 1-2 vision principles and related actions through funding, intensive technical support, and a community of practice with other state teams. 

The following Q&A with Executive Deputy Director Kate Kreamer provides guidance on how states of all capacities can leverage the roadmap and RFP opportunity to make meaningful first steps towards implementation. 

Let’s explore the roadmap, which is going to be a useful tool for states for years to come as they work to realize CTE Without Limits. What was the idea behind the roadmap design, and how is it tailored for use by any state? 

CTE Without Limits is intentionally ambitious, and we knew it may be difficult for states to determine the best place to start in transforming their systems. We listened to Advance CTE’s Board of Directors and our vision kitchen cabinet of thirteen state leaders committed to bringing the vision to life – they asked for a step-by-step process to evaluate their current systems against the vision, as well as an action plan down to the month and week as a manageable means to carry out the work. We heard loud and clear that our members wanted a “roadmap” to help them accomplish the principles and actions within the vision.

Advance CTE is proud to serve all 50 states, DC and territories. The roadmap is designed to meet states at their capacity. For example, states can choose to tackle just one principle or all of them. The tool is broken down by action area, which is a more manageable grain size than a principle, and allows for deeper reflections. Importantly, we kept each set of questions limited to no more than ten to allow states to work at their own pace and collaborate without getting too overwhelmed. Additionally, we combined scoring with the qualitative evaluations to make it easier for states to identify the most urgent and/or achievable areas for action. 

At first glance, the roadmap can seem a little overwhelming. What are some easy first steps that state leaders can take to prepare to conduct the self-assessment in this tool? 

I want to be candid that the roadmap is just the first step of what will be a long road towards implementation for both states and the more than 40 vision partners. This roadmap is meant to be returned to and used in multiple ways over time. 

That being said, one of the easiest steps states can take is to conduct partner mapping. Who do they need to have at the table to conduct a complete, honest assessment of systems through this roadmap? 

Next, states can determine how this roadmap connects to pre-existing evaluation checkpoints. Use those checkpoints to create a schedule where pieces of the roadmap can be incorporated into existing meetings about a state vision, strategic plan, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) planning, etc. 

Finally, we understand that most states will address one or two principles at a time, not all five – or even just some of the highest impact actions within the vision. Advance CTE’s CTE Without Limits State Capacity Tool is part of our grant application for vision implementation assistance, but it is also a great first step for any state whether or not they apply to quickly determine which principles are most attainable and which principles require the most urgent action. 

Speaking of the grant application, let’s discuss States Advancing CTE Without Limits, which is an opportunity for states to apply for more direct and intensive vision support. What is the time commitment and expectation for states in the cohort? 

This RFP is open to any state and is intended to provide a dedicated, collaborative space to receive intensive vision through a cohort of up to five states. I’m really excited about this cohort because they will be the early adopters and national models for vision success with a lot of lessons learned along the way. 

The grant is a significant time commitment – work must be completed between December 2021 and October 2022, but it is designed to empower the state to continue the work for years to come.  States must provide a single point of contact for the project who is expected to attend monthly and bi-monthly calls. Collaboration is also a key focus of this grant – we expect states to not only develop a cross-sector team within their state for this work, but also be active participants in cross-state spaces to ensure the models developed from this work can be utilized by all members. 

I want to emphasize that states are not expected to conduct implementation activities for all five principles. Part of the application process is using the capacity tool to determine one to two principles and the related actions that will be the focus of the project during the grant period. 

Can you give a little more detail about the supports participating states will receive? 

We know states struggle with capacity building across all facets of systems transformation, so this grant focuses on providing intense, individualized support while also facilitating broader knowledge-building across all five vision principles through the cross-state community of practice. 

Selected states will receive funding up to $25,000; a dedicated coach with monthly check-ins and intensive technical assistance; one in-state or virtual visit; dedicated spaces to connect with other states in the cohort and complete the vision roadmap; and opportunities for national recognition and presentations to share the work with members and stakeholders. Visit the vision webpage to access the roadmap, RFP application, and additional vision education and implementation tools. The deadline for states to apply for States Advancing CTE Without Limits is November 9, 2021 at 5:00PM ET.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

CTE Without Limits Summer Lunch and Learn #5 Recap: Rethinking Challenges as Opportunities to Build CTE Without Borders

September 8th, 2021

Advance CTE wrapped up its five-part summer lunch and learn series delving into each of the five principles of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). Each session features a panel of leading voices from organizations across learning and work followed by interactive group discussions on the information shared and next steps.

The fifth principle of CTE Without Limits aims to advance policies and actions that enable mobility and access to high-quality education experiences for each learner, with a particular focus on interstate compacts and investment in research and development to advance quality and equity in virtual learning. The August 31 panel featured Stephen Pruitt, President of Southern Regional Education Board (SREB); Dale Winkler, Vice President of Student Improvement for SREB; and Christina Sedney, Director of Policy Initiatives and State Authorization, Policy Analysis and Research for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). 

Both organizations named CTE Without Limits as a valuable opportunity to apply a CTE lens to decades of work with states to remove geographic and policy barriers to expand education opportunities for each learner in their respective regions. 

Key Themes 

Establish shared goals with individual value – Sedney and Pruitt acknowledged that expanding the borders of CTE delivery both within and beyond state borders is complex and involves the input and commitment of many stakeholders. Sedney offered several tangible tips to build effective interstate stakeholder collaboratives, including establishing shared goals early in the process with an extra step – communicating the value of the goals to each stakeholder to encourage long-term commitment. Winkler reinforced the value of shared goals as a means to change how this work is approached from a limited, barrier-based mindset to a transformative, goals-centered mindset. 

Leverage challenges as inter- and intrastate opportunities – In the breakout session, Pruitt pointed to the potential of this principle to address some of the most pressing issues facing the field, including instructor shortages and program access for rural learners. He provided the example of an instructor living in a border town that with effective interstate agreements could split teaching time between multiple states. Sedney named the recent influx of federal investment in broadband access as a “real moment of opportunity” to allow populations historically marginalized from accessing more flexible and virtual program delivery in both urban and rural areas to be able to do so. 

Keep quality and equity at the forefront –  Pruitt and Winkler elevated the importance of robust professional support for instructors to ensure that the current “crisis delivery model” of many virtual CTE offerings can transition to meaningful, high-quality programming for each learner. They also called out the need for further data analysis and research on outcomes from virtual learning to determine optimal curriculum structure and engagement models as well as to measure the impact of models on program completion and credential attainment.  Disaggregation of this data is pivotal to learning the full story of these outcomes. 

Resources to Get Started 

SREB and WICHE provide multiple resources that apply lessons learned from decades of practice building effective interstate connections and systems. Additional resources from other partners aligned with Principle 4 can be explored in Advance CTE’s vision partner initiative repository

SREB has a variety of resources aligned to Principle 5, including a listing of CTE-focused virtual labs and activities, as well as webinars and reports exploring the opportunities and challenges of open educational resources (OER). 

WICHE leads multiple regional initiatives that can be considered as models for the state level across multiple vision principles, including the Interstate Passport for postsecondary transfer and a Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange piloted in six states.  

Recordings of all previous Lunch and Learn sessions and additional vision implementation resources can be found on Advance CTE’s vision page.

Continue your journey of deeper learning and evaluation of CTE Without Limits at Advance CTE’s virtual Fall Meeting October 27-28, 2021. The theme is “Meeting CTE’s Moment”, with plenary and breakout sessions highlighting top-of-mind areas for implementation and featuring current state practices aligned with vision principles. Visit the Fall Meeting page to view the full meeting agenda and register today to secure early bird registration savings of $50.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

  

 

CTE Without Limits Summer Lunch and Learn #4 Recap: Knowledge Building and Transparency Key Themes for Implementing Fourth Vision Principle

September 2nd, 2021

Advance CTE continued its five-part summer lunch and learn series delving into each of the five principles of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). Each session features a panel of leading voices from organizations across learning and work followed by interactive group discussions on the information shared and next steps. 

The fourth principle of CTE Without Limits aims to fully count, value and transport each learner’s skills through systematic transformations that capture learning at stages and settings, build systems that translate competencies into portable credit, and advance a culture of hiring that values skills over degrees. The August 17 panel featured Jonathan Alfuth, State Policy Director, KnowledgeWorks; Molly Bashay, Senior Policy Analyst for Education, Labor & Worker Justice, The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); and Niki DaSilva, Manager of Programs and Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. 

Throughout the session, it was clear that equity must be a key driver for this principle to be fully realized. When each learner’s skills are fully counted, valued and portable, systems will be able to respect and validate all skillbuilding experiences and remove historic barriers to paths to career success with family-sustaining wages. 

Key Themes 

  • Transparency and flexibility are key to learner-centered systems: Creating systems that make it easy for both employers and learners to value all prior learning requires flexibility both in remaining responsive to evolving workforce needs and in piloting intentional strategies to engage learners historically marginalized from opportunities to fully count skills and experiences. Alfuth elevated the importance of easily accessible and transparent policies on how prior learning is counted, valued and transferred to aid learners as they navigate their path to career and college success and offered work in California as a promising example. 
  • The need to overcome information and administrative barriers: Bashay identified one the greatest challenges to fully leveraging credit for prior learning is lack of learner knowledge about these opportunities. In many cases, system are too complex and create significant  barriers for learners, particularly those from historically underserved populations, from taking the extra steps to have experiences fully counted. Similarly, DaSilva pointed out that many employers often narrow their talent pipeline due to lack of knowledge about changing opportunities for learning and how to leverage data to identify skill needs and incorporate them into the hiring process. CTE partnerships with employers are a valuable avenue for states to streamline systems and close these knowledge gaps. 
  • Quality standards are critical to fully counting learning: Alfuth elevated the importance of establishing clear quality standards both in state policy and in memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between secondary and postsecondary institutions to ensure credit for prior learning and particularly early postsecondary opportunities are fully valued. These standards can also help employers make better connections between credit and the skills they are seeking in new hires. 

Recommendations for Implementation

  • Start by redefining academic success as a first step: Bashay emphasized that a key first step to expanding access to credit for prior learning and early postsecondary opportunities is changing mindsets so that all, not just ‘some’ or ‘advanced’ students, can access these opportunities. This includes state CTE leaders taking steps for CTE coursework and experiences to be valued at the same level as core academic coursework. 
  • Utilize existing resources and best practices: Alfuth and DaSilva both lifted up state policy frameworks created by their respective organizations as valuable starting points as states consider how to include credit for prior learning as part of systems transformation for personalized learning and competency-based hiring.
  • Interstate transfer key area for growth: While the session reinforced the robust work that is being done to study and advance credit for prior learning, panelists and participants pointed out several areas to take current progress to the next level, including moving beyond intrastate connectivity to include out-of-state institutions. 

The fifth and final lunch and learn held August 31 featured Stephen Pruitt, President of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB); Dale Winkler, Vice President of School Improvement for SREB; and Christina Sedney, Director of Policy Initiatives and State Authorization, Policy Analysis and Research for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). 

Recordings of previous Lunch and Learn sessions and additional vision implementation resources can be found on Advance CTE’s vision page.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

Brave Dialogues to Advance CTE Without Limits

September 1st, 2021

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), calls on leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE) to identify and dismantle the institutional and systemic barriers that limit access, opportunity and outcomes for learners, particularly those who have been historically marginalized and excluded from high-quality CTE programs. While the field has come a long way from the days of tracking learners into terminal vocational programs that denied their full potential, CTE still has work to do to ensure each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. 

State CTE leaders have made commitments to advancing equity in CTE, most notably in their Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) plans. However, there is often a disconnect between these commitments and the data which show persistent opportunity gaps for learners with special population status, learners from low-income families and learners of color. In order to understand this disconnect, state CTE leaders and CTE practitioners must engage in brave dialogues about the systemic and structural challenges facing learners who have been historically marginalized and excluded in order to take bold steps in developing effective policies, programs and practices rooted in equity. 

Brave Dialogues: A Guide to Discussing Racial Equity in Career Technical Education is a resource designed to support state CTE leaders and practitioners in these efforts. Structured around a framework towards critical self-reflection, this guide asks participants to reflect on how they are positioned within organizations that have historically marginalized learners and consider ways they can actively dismantle the systems and structures that still persist today. As part of critical self-reflection, leaders critically examine the role of school programs, departments, hiring practices, enrichment courses and other school structures. In CTE, that may include examining entrance requirements for certain programs of study or whether all learners have equitable access to all programs of study offered by a school or district. 

The primary audience for this guide is state CTE leaders who are encouraged to use this as a resource with their staff and local practitioners including teachers, faculty, counselors, career advisors, principals, deans, instructional staff, work-based learning coordinators, learner support staff, etc. This guide can be used in various contexts including professional development; diversity, equity and inclusion training; exploration of opportunity gaps; data-driven decisionmaking and funding initiatives; and the Perkins V comprehensive local needs assessment. 

Participants in brave dialogues explore important concepts such as identity awareness, implicit bias, privilege, equity vs equality, structural racism, and how to approach policy and practice with an equity-minded lens. This guide recognizes that there is often great discomfort in discussing race, particularly racial inequities. Ultimately, the goal is for users of this guide to become better equipped and motivated to advance anti-racist CTE policies and practices. Anti-racist policies and practices are not race neutral; rather, they are crafted in recognition that historically, CTE — and education more broadly — has systematically perpetuated inequities among certain learner populations. Thus, anti-racist policies and practices are designed to actively dismantle those systems and create an environment where all learners have the resources and opportunities needed to thrive.

Advance CTE hopes this guide can support state CTE leaders in furthering their commitment to advancing equity in CTE. Through brave dialogues, CTE leaders can truly create a career preparation equity system without limits that is fully flexible and responsive to the diverse needs of each learner.

For more resources on access and equity in CTE, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

Highlighting Equity in State Policy

August 25th, 2021

State leaders, particularly state legislators, have a unique role to play in ensuring equitable access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, access and technology gaps have been laid bare, revealing inequities in opportunities for marginalized learner populations. While policies addressing access and equity concerns remained a high priority for legislators in years past, 2021 has been no different; this year to date, almost 30 pieces of state legislation have passed in 17 states addressing this issue. Enacted policies focus on elevating learner voice, examining historically inequitable systems and removing barriers to entry, or providing financial support for historically underrepresented populations. The following policies represent a small sample of equity-focused policies already passed in 2021:

  • Colorado SB119 affirms the value of increasing access to industry-recognized credentials for high school students, especially in the wake of COVID-19. The law also requires districts to communicate specific information about work-based learning opportunities and industry-recognized credentials to students and families, and requires the state Department of Education to submit an annual report and communicate similar data to districts.
  • Louisiana SB148 creates the M.J. Foster Promise Program, which provides financial assistance up to $3200/year to a low-income learner enrolling in a two-year or shorter postsecondary program in a high-demand, high-wage occupational field aligned with Louisiana’s workforce priorities and leading toward an industry-recognized credential. 
  • Oregon SB623 directs the State Workforce and Talent Development Board to establish a Committee for Continuous Improvement to conduct an assessment of the Oregon workforce development system. The assessment must incorporate input from historically marginalized groups and other stakeholders and focus on identifying barriers, improving experiences and access to programs, and improving alignment between agencies and nonprofit organizations to ensure individuals impacted most by COVID-19 are prioritized and served.
  • Virginia HB1820 expands allowable work activities for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to include participation in educational activities that lead to a postsecondary credential from an accredited higher education institution or other postsecondary school. The credential could include a program resulting in a degree or accredited industry-recognized credential, certification or license.
  • Washington SB5194 recognizes the disparate impacts faced by “first-generation college-attending students, students with disabilities, and underrepresented minority students” when applying for or remaining in postsecondary programs, specifically at community and technical colleges. The law announces legislative findings of a need to expand investment in community and technical colleges to guarantee equitable access and requires that all community and technical colleges must submit biennial plans to achieve racial diversity, equity, and inclusion starting July 30, 2022. 

Advance CTE’s 2021 Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) commits to “All dimensions of equity, including educational, racial, socioeconomic, gender and geographic, and meeting the unique needs of each individual learner,” and promotes many of the same actions connected to these legislative outcomes, including elevating learner voice, supporting equity audits and realigning systems to increase access and funding for marginalized learners. Visit our CTE Without Limits landing page for our call to action and the Learning that Works Resource Center for more access and equity resources.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

Vision Commitments ‘Vlog’ Episode 3: Maximizing the Return on Investment for Industry Engagement to Build CTE Without Limits

July 29th, 2021

This summer, Advance CTE is pleased to partner with experts from supporting organizations of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) to conduct video panels to delve into four of the five foundational commitments that connect the vision principles. 

Our third panel featuring the Corporation for Skilled Workforce (CSW), National Skills Coalition (NSC) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation discussed the growth and potential of public-private partnerships and the need for this collaboration across all stages of program development, including design, delivery and evaluation. Each panelist shared their insights on policy frameworks and next steps to more easily facilitate public-private partnerships and better connect systems of education, industry and workforce, as well as recommendations to improve trust-building and communication with industry partners to fully realize the value of CTE. 

All panelists agreed that the positive shift of public-private partnerships towards long-term investments with industry as “end customers” rather than one-time requests for input can strongly benefit CTE, and identified key components to successful partnerships including consistent engagement, braided funding that incentivizes partnership and level-setting on success and performance metrics. Equity was another common theme, with panelists emphasizing the importance of evaluating equity at each program stage, leveraging partnerships to bring diverse voices into program development, and utilizing partnerships to advance skills-based hiring. 

You don’t want to miss CSW’s Vickie Choitz’ road trip analogy as a policy framework for advancing collaboration in purpose, funding and performance metrics in partnerships – it starts at the 8:20 mark! 

Episode Quotes 

“While today the quality of CTE has vastly improved, the involvement of business and other private organizations can act as a way to build trust with those communities that vocational programs of the past failed to appropriately serve.”                                                                  Brianna McCain, State Policy Analyst, National Skills Coalition 

“In order for [employers] to see a positive return on investment they need to capitalize on those relationships. None of us can do this alone – it’s going to take these really effective public-private partnerships to make a difference for learners and ensure their experiences are worthwhile for both educators and employers.”                                                                            Jaimie Francis, Executive Director of Programs & Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce

“It’s important to make sure that your structures support partnership building [so that] partnerships are the default – funding, regular meeting structure, etc. so that partnership is the way of doing business rather than trying to swim against the tide.”  – Vickie Choitz, Director of Federal, State & Local Systems Change, Corporation for Skilled Workforce 

Thank you to Advance CTE’s Meredith Hills for serving as a facilitator and to our panelists for your expertise and insights. 

Watch previous episodes that discuss steps CTE leaders can take to prioritize quality and diversity, equity and inclusion in realizing CTE Without Limits. Our final episode will focus on harnessing actionable, transparent and trustworthy data. 

Visit our vision page to read the full vision, access vision communication and implementation resources, and view recordings of our summer Lunch and Learn webinar series focused on the five vision principles. Vision the Learning that Works Resource Center for tools to evaluate and advance public-private partnerships in CTE systems and programs through employer engagement and systems alignment

 

 

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