ECMCF Fellow Feature: Kayla Brossett

In September 2022, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the second cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE — ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories reflecting the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in Career Technical Education (CTE) that closes racial representation gaps and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement. This month, we’re excited to highlight two members of Advance-CTE’s second cohort of Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellows. ECMCF Fellow Kayla Brossett (LA) is passionate about expanding access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for every learner, and creating strategic partnerships across industry groups to achieve this goal.

Tell me more about your journey to the Fellowship.

I discovered the Fellowship through my previous role with ECMC Foundation in their education solutions division. As a woman of color, I’m very passionate about finding ways to address the lack of racial diversity that I’ve observed in state leadership and throughout my own career as I’ve advanced to different leadership opportunities. I want to find ways to elevate women of color into important decision-making roles in CTE, especially since they are involved in the delivery of these programs. This demographic is underrepresented in workforce development and STEM, so the Fellowship provided an exciting opportunity to expand my network and connect with people who not only look like me, but share my passion for this work. 

What skills or areas have you experienced the most growth in the program?

Through the Fellowship, I’ve had the chance to learn and interact with my cohort and expand my knowledge of the work happening in other states. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other Fellows who are also doing work around registered apprenticeships. It is fascinating to see how different cities, like Denver, are able to achieve high completion rates for African American women.

The panels have been informative and having this interactive component to the workshops has made connecting with the speakers to learn more about their work more accessible and more effective in developing my own understanding of the discussion topic.

I’ve also learned a lot through working with my coach and her perspective on my process for completing my real-world project has been invaluable. As a consultant that specializes in DEI work, she’s helped me apply an equity lens to the design of my work and iron out details to narrow my focus, and I think the impact will be much stronger for it. I’m focusing in on a more specific demographic of African American women in a certain age range and a certain economic class, and she encouraged me to make these changes because it will lead to more specific measures and higher-quality data collection.

Have you been tapped for new or more advanced roles within your organization as a result of your experience in the Fellowship? 

I am excited to announce that I’ve recently launched my own workforce development firm, Brown Skilled Girl. The idea for this business stemmed from early work on my Real World Project which focuses on gathering data from 500 African-American women to inform interest in training and registered apprenticeship programs for the state of Louisiana. Brown Skilled Girl is a workforce development intermediary firm that aims to elevate African-American women into high-paying career pathways through data analysis, professional mentoring, registered apprenticeship programs, targeted core and soft skills training solutions, and strategic corporate partnerships. Our vision is to advance 1 million Black and Brown American women into diverse and future-ready careers paying a salary over $100,000 USD in 10 years. Our mission is to empower women of color to achieve their full potential by creating pathways to high-paying, fulfilling careers and ensuring that they receive the training and support they need to succeed.

How has your experience in the fellowship helped you explore new spaces or positions in postsecondary state CTE leadership?

I’ve learned a lot about the different funding streams involved with implementing CTE programs. Developing this knowledge will allow me to empower learners through the different opportunities for funding to return to school to earn their credentials and complete their program without debt. That is really powerful and certainly something that I will take with me into my work with Brown Skilled Girl.

I am very interested in working across states to build coalitions to drive strategic outcomes for learners. Prior to the Fellowship, I thought I had to solve all the problems at once, and now I have a more comprehensive view of the different pieces that need to come together to build these solutions. Maybe there is an issue with data use or quality, maybe the issue is due to low awareness, or maybe communication and marketing is the problem. By understanding the root cause, I feel more equipped to develop a plan and identify the right team need to solve specific problems.

I’m currently looking at how I can support companies in securing grants to support their ability to be apprenticeship partners. Registered apprenticeships have demonstrated strong outcomes for learners, particularly in IT.  Studies have shown that there are so many positive outcomes in their placement and their job advancement that I think that every student should have the opportunity to at least decide if that’s something that they want to enroll in.

Have you discovered new opportunities for what a role in postsecondary CTE could look like/ the responsibilities of such a position?

I envision working within state government, and my goal is to create coherent connections between workforce development and economic development to increase the health and responsiveness of the state economy. I see an opportunity to broker partnerships with near-peer states, like Texas, to learn more about how Louisiana could emulate the systems that have been successful in increasing employment opportunities. People are a critical piece of this work and economic development needs to merge so that locals are being trained to assume these new jobs that will improve the economic outlook of the state as a whole. 

To connect with Kayla, email

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