Posts Tagged ‘career advising’

Learner Perspectives: Tejas Shah, Advance CTE Intern

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Tejas Shah served as Advance CTE’s Spring 2022 Policy Intern. Prior to joining Advance CTE, he interned for elected officials, political candidates and a policy organization at the local level.  He is a rising junior at Cornell University majoring in Policy Analysis and Management. 

Introduction

This spring, I had the amazing opportunity to intern with Advance CTE, and support their state policy team. As I look back on my four months with Advance CTE, I am reflecting on my professional and personal growth. This post gives state leaders a learner’s perspective on being exposed to the field of Career Technical Education policy for the first time.

Where I Started

When I started my internship search for the spring semester, I knew I wanted to get real-world experience in the policy space. As a sophomore at Cornell University majoring in policy analysis, I am at that point in my college career where I am starting to think about my post-graduation plans. Thus, dipping my toes into a policy sphere that I had little experience with seemed exciting. Before interning with Advance CTE, I didn’t know much about CTE. I had heard the terms vocational education and work-based learning, and had a general idea about what that meant. However, my understanding of these topics contained  assumptions and biases that I hoped to, and did, recognize through this internship experience.

Learning About CTE Systems

The first project I was assigned to involved the New Skills ready network (NSrn) initiative. I transcribed interviews with education professionals across one of the six sites,  Nashville, Tennessee. I heard from principals, guidance counselors, and educators, each with a unique perspective on CTE policy within their community and how the NSrn initiative impacted learners and systems. Hearing from such a diverse set of individuals was illuminating. Although I graduated from a public high school, I never truly knew how much goes into ensuring learners have a high-quality education. 

This project made me reflect on my own high school experience. Through this project, I learned that high-quality career pathways would have helped me narrow down my career interests before I entered college. Additionally, hearing from guidance professionals about the significance of a high-quality guidance program was extremely interesting. I did not know career and technical education were options I could take advantage of. My guidance counselor had hundreds of other students to assist – perhaps a guidance department based on academic flexibility and smooth transitions from secondary to post-secondary education would have opened doors I did not know I had access to.

I also had the opportunity to build on my learning about writing a blog by highlighting another New Skills ready network site, Boston, Massachusetts. I heard from experienced professionals within high schools and postsecondary institutions, and learned about a variety of dual-enrollment initiatives in place that link secondary and postsecondary experiences. Like high-quality pathways, ensuring secondary learners have access to college-level learning opportunities significantly impacts postsecondary readiness and completion outcomes. I took a few classes at my high school that offered college credit. However, very few of these credits transferred to my postsecondary institution. Fortunately, I was not relying on these credits to graduate. However, through this project, I came to realize that for some students, getting college credit for high school classes can significantly improve a learner’s chances to succeed in college-level coursework and achieve a postsecondary attainment. I never realized that my college credits not transferring were symptoms of a larger issue that Advance CTE hopes to address.

What I especially enjoyed about my experience at Advance CTE was the infusion of equity in all the projects that I completed. My supervisor always made it a priority to bring equity to the forefront of our discussions. I was exposed to a variety of different readings, resources, and interviews that highlighted the importance of integrity of support for each learner within the education system. For example, I became aware of the importance of wraparound supports for learners. I lived a very privileged life – my parents had access to a vehicle and my house had stable internet. However, for learners who don’t have access to such resources, receiving a high-quality education is much more difficult. Additionally, through supporting  the New Skills ready network project, I was introduced to the systemic racism and inequality that exists within the education sphere, which is reflected through gaps by race and ethnicity in participation in high-demand career pathways. Breaking down these systemic barriers and stereotypes is work that I now realize is extremely important to making sure all students, regardless of background, have equitable access to high-quality education.

Skillbuilding Journey

My experience at Advance CTE was a great opportunity for me to build my professional skills. This internship was the first time I was charged with managing projects. At first, it was a challenge to have the confidence to take on projects with a lot of responsibility. However, the staff at Advance CTE gave me plenty of resources to help me to be proactive in my task management. For example, I utilized Basecamp to remind myself of the checkpoints I needed to complete for a project. Breaking down a daunting assignment into smaller, more digestible pieces made it much easier for myself to understand what needed to be done. Additionally, splitting up projects into smaller portions made it easier to notice when I was falling behind. Coming out of this experience, I feel much more confident in my proactive communication skills. I have found myself applying these strategies to my college work as well. I have started to map out my assignments on Google Calendar. I can look a week, a month, or a whole semester ahead to make sure I am prioritizing my tasks and budgeting my time efficiently and effectively. 

In addition to my project management development, this opportunity has strengthened my adaptability skills. Many of the deadlines set at the beginning of projects changed, some of which were last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. In some cases, receiving information or feedback from outside sources took longer than expected. In others, staff changes meant changing project roles. Though some of these changes could be dizzying, it helped strengthen my ability to be flexible. Projects and the needs of Advance CTE’s members constantly evolve, and being able to adapt to such changes is important. For example, I was tasked with updating pages on the Advance CTE website. However, during the project, the manager left Advance CTE, so my supervisor and I had to learn together to execute the project. This was intense at first, but it was a great learning experience as well. Proactive communication and collaboration allowed me to adapt and carry out the project successfully. 

At the end of every month, I would have a check-in with my supervisor where we pinpointed skillbuilding areas that I have excelled in, and skillbuilding areas that I could improve upon. These monthly meetings were extremely beneficial in my development as a professional. I was given the ability to see my progress firsthand. We would brainstorm strategies to implement over the course of the following month to bolster my skillbuilding process. Through discussing hypothetical situations and deconstructing problems that occurred during the previous month, these monthly meetings were especially important in increasing my confidence within the internship program. Guidance and constructive criticism are paramount for learner development, in and out of the classroom.

Appreciation and Next Steps 

I want to thank all the staff at Advance CTE. Their constant support and direction has been extremely helpful in my career exploration and development. This internship solidified my interest in researching and communicating policy. This summer I will serve as an intern for the Office of the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. I look forward to continuing to broaden my skill set and policy experiences! 

Tejas Shah, Spring 2022 Policy Intern

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Walsh Testifies on FY23 as FCC Releases New Funding

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before Congress on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request while lawmakers in the House advanced FY23 appropriations legislation with implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding. Advance CTE also endorsed legislation aimed at promoting career awareness this week, while the Senate held a hearing on the pandemic’s impact on students’ learning. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission disbursed additional connectivity funds as part of a wider effort to provide affordable access to high-quality internet connections and devices, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published new rules for Title IX. 

Labor Secretary Walsh Testifies on USDOL FY23 Budget Request 

Last week U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding his Department’s FY23 budget request. Secretary Walsh and members of the committees discussed a wide range of topics including apprenticeship programs and other issues impacting workforce development efforts. Archived webcasts of these hearings, including testimony, can be found here and here

House Lawmakers Release and Markup FY23 Education Funding Bill

On Thursday, June 23, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing to consider and markup the FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill. If enacted the bill would provide a 13 percent increase for ED and a nearly 12 percent increase for DOL over FY22 enacted funding levels. According to a preliminary summary document from the committee, the legislation proposes a $45 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) basic state grant program a 3.3 percent increase over FY22 enacted levels. The bill would also provide an additional $75 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants– a program authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act.  In addition, the legislation proposes significant increases to core formula programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as well as for apprenticeship programs. 

Late Thursday evening the subcommittee advanced this legislation by voice vote for further consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee—a next step that is currently scheduled for June 30. An archive webcast of the markup, including bill text, can be found here. Additional details about this spending package are still forthcoming and Advance CTE anticipates having additional clarity regarding the committee’s priorities next week ahead of the full committee markup. 

Advance CTE Endorses Career Counseling and Awareness Legislation 

This week, Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Creating Opportunities to Thrive and Advance Act (COTA)– legislation that, if enacted, would expand career counseling and awareness efforts funded by WIOA. Specifically, the legislation would allow certain WIOA funds to be used to allow for public outreach efforts highlighting CTE programs that lead to in-demand occupations and sectors. Advance CTE endorsed this legislation this week with the organization’s Executive Director Kimberly Green commenting, in part, “Understanding the career options available in high-growth, high-wage and in-demand fields is crucial for success in today’s economy. Advance CTE commends the introduction of this legislation which will promote awareness of the Career Technical Education programs that lead to these opportunities, helping to ensure more learners are empowered to pursue rewarding careers now and in the future.” More information about the bill can be found here.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Pandemic Learning Hearing

On Wednesday, June 22, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled “Supporting Students and Schools: Promising Practices to Get Back on Track.” The hearing focused on the impact of the pandemic on student learning and how schools are working to reverse student learning loss and get them back on track. During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) raised the issue of teacher shortages in critical areas such as CTE. She noted, in part, that “in Nevada, we’re hearing that we have about 1500 CTE educator positions, currently unfilled due to insufficient resources” and asked witnesses how best this persistent challenge could be addressed moving forward. An archived webcast, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Department of Education proposed a set of changes to Title IX regulations—rules that are intended to prohibit sex discrimination at federally funded schools. The announcement coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Title IX and would expand these protections for transgender students among a host of other changes that determine how K-12 and postsecondary institutions must respond to complaints of sexual discrimination, harassment, or assault. The proposal will be published on the Federal Register soon, with ED inviting the public to comment and provide feedback on the proposal. In the meantime, an unofficial version of the proposal can be accessed here.

ED Hosts Pathways Event

On Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Education hosted a virtual event titled “Pathways in Action.” The event convened experts and stakeholders including community colleges, employers, school districts, workforce development boards, and community-based organizations to share perspectives and best practices for how to advance high-quality career and college pathways for more learners. The event also emphasized the various roles that federal agencies have in implementing these pathways efforts as well as identifying areas where more improvements are needed to ensure that each learner can benefit from these opportunities. The convening is part of ED’s wider efforts to promote a proposed “Career Connected High Schools” initiative as part of its FY23 budget request. More on the event can be found here.  

DOL Hosts Good Jobs Summit 

Also on Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a “Good Jobs” summit– a full day event highlighting how the Biden Administration is administering and prioritizing job quality through federal investments. The summit featured the release of a “Good Jobs Principles” which identifies specific aspects of what constitutes quality employment. Launched at the start of 2022 and led by DOL, the Good Jobs initiative is a multi-agency effort to promote and improve quality employment opportunities for more workers. More information can be found here. In addition to these efforts, President Biden recently announced a Talent Pipeline Challenge which encourages stakeholders to commit to supporting workforce development efforts, including aspects of these ongoing initiatives. 

FCC Announces New Funding Commitments

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the first wave of funding commitments from its most recent third filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). Created as part of the American Rescue Plan, the ECF Program allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the public health emergency. This new wave of funding includes over $244 million in funds to support 259 schools, 24 libraries and 1 consortium. $5.1 billion in total funding has been approved to date as part of previous ECF funding windows.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Early innovations and lessons emerge in Year Two New Skills ready network Annual Report and Site Snapshots

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Today, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) released an annual report and site snapshots for year two of the New Skills ready network initiative. The five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase and Co.’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program and $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, aims to improve student completion of high-quality, equitable career pathways to gain skills needed for the future of work, particularly among learners of color and other historically marginalized learners. 

The New Skills ready network focuses on six domestic sites as illustrated in the graphic below. As a partner in this initiative, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities. Additionally, we have gained a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country. 

Looking across each of the snapshots, key priorities emerged as trends for the six sites. 

First, many sites continued or finalized the mapping and analysis of career pathways to determine alignment and quality across learner levels. Indianapolis, Indiana, for example, completed their process that was started in year one of evaluating their career pathways against a criteria review tool, which examined access for non-traditional populations, credential attainment, course sequencing, and connection to labor market information, among other criteria. The review also aligned the pathways with the state’s Next Level Programs of Study (NLPS), statewide course sequences which aim to improve consistency, quality, and intentionality of CTE instruction throughout Indiana.

Career advising initiatives were also a major theme for sites in year two, as sites considered how to expand support for learners through a career journey. The Nashville, Tennessee, team prioritized aligned career advising from middle school through postsecondary, with the goal of expanding individualized support. This work, built upon a college and career advising framework developed in year one, was implemented by College and Career Readiness Coaches embedded in select Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Boston, Massachusetts, set expansion of work-based learning as a key focus for year two, as multiple sites discussed how to align work-based learning efforts across learner levels and open more apprenticeship and virtual learning opportunities. The Boston Private Industry Council, the Workforce Investment Board and Boston Public Schools collaborated to ensure a shared commitment to work-based learning and strengthen data collection efforts surrounding participation in work-based learning. Other sites established common definitions of work-based learning to ensure that all partners were consistent in discussions about access.

The snapshots also previewed work for year three of the initiative, as each site recently participated in action planning processes that informed future work. Each site has ambitious goals for year three, largely informed by lessons learned in preceding years. Some sites, like Columbus, Ohio, are continuing communications and messaging work supported by learner-tested messages that seek to inform learners about available career pathways supports and opportunities. Other sites, like Denver, Colorado, are continuing data collection and analysis efforts, finalizing data frameworks, and aligning data systems across institutions. Finally, some sites such as Dallas, Texas, are aligning their efforts with other initiatives in their cities and ensuring that all partners can equitably support learners citywide. 

Visit Advance CTE’s New Skills ready network series page to read the full annual report and a snapshot of each site’s innovative partnerships and early accomplishments across the four project priorities. Our New Skills ready network collection page provides additional resources for strengthening career pathways.

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources
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Coronavirus Relief Funds: Challenges and Missed Opportunities in Leveraging Federal Funds for CTE

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

This blog series examines trends in state uses of federal stimulus funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Stimulus funds were appropriated for emergency relief related to the coronavirus pandemic through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The five major stimulus funding streams for states and educational institutions include the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Federal coronavirus relief funds provide a critical avenue for states to invest in equitable, high-quality CTE programs to help learners and workers recover from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. Although many states have successfully leveraged these funds to introduce or expand initiatives related to CTE, there have also been various challenges and missed opportunities in relief spending. 

Missed Opportunities

Based on Advance CTE’s analysis of spending trends, states generally placed a disproportionate emphasis on short-term postsecondary education and workforce development initiatives over long-term pipeline programs and opportunities at the secondary level. Many states did not mention CTE in their ESSER plans, which address elementary and secondary funding, and several others made only passing references to CTE and did not include specific funding commitments. 

Additionally, there has been a general lack of investment in addressing the significant educator shortages that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While many states mentioned these shortages in their funding plans, few explicitly committed to allocate federal relief funds toward systemically addressing these shortages. Indiana is one state that took a longer-term approach to strengthening educator pipelines by using ESSER funds to create grow-your-own “teacher cadet” programs targeted at attracting underrepresented candidates into the teaching profession while still in high school. By creating pathways for future educators at the secondary level, Indiana is taking a systemic approach to addressing its identified educator shortage.

Challenges

From what Advance CTE has learned in interviews with State CTE Directors, it seems that many of the problems that have arisen in directing federal funding toward CTE results from the short deadlines for submitting relief spending plans to the federal government and spending the funds states receive. Many states do not feel that they have enough time to coordinate with all relevant state agencies and solicit input from stakeholders. If the necessary infrastructure for rapid cross-system collaboration was not already in place, states found it much more difficult to share information and ideas with partners in time to meet early deadlines. While the latest round of ESSER and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds must be obligated by September 2024, GEER funds must be obligated by 2023.

Further, federal relief funds are limited and consist of a one-time infusion of dollars into education and workforce systems. Many states feel that they do not have the money in their own budgets to sustain continuous investments that may be necessary to maintain new programs and initiatives. These challenges ultimately obstruct innovative, long-term strategizing.

Looking Ahead

State Directors have highlighted various priorities in federal relief spending moving forward. First, many have identified a continual need for more intentional programming and wraparound support for learners in rural areas. These learners often lack access to high-quality CTE program options and broadband internet, both of which are more important now than ever as the pandemic re-shapes labor market demand and program delivery models.

Additionally, State Directors have identified work-based learning and career advising as two key priorities in mitigating the long-term impacts of the pandemic on learner preparation and engagement. These will be especially important from an equity perspective to address opportunity gaps and ensure that each learner has the experience and supports they need to succeed. 

Looking ahead, coronavirus relief funds continue to provide states a vital opportunity to invest in CTE and career pathways. These funds can act as a springboard for addressing systemic barriers to learner and worker success by providing initial investments for longer-term pipeline initiatives. Most importantly, states can leverage funds to not only mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, but to adapt to new labor market realities, innovate, and build stronger education and workforce systems that meet the needs of every individual they serve.

To learn more about how states have spent federal relief funds on CTE, check out the Coronavirus Relief Funds blog series and visit Advance CTE’s coronavirus resource page for additional resources.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation
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Coronavirus Relief Funds: States Leverage Federal Funds to Expand Equitable Access to CTE and Career Advisement Opportunities

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

This blog series examines trends in state uses of federal stimulus funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Stimulus funds were appropriated for emergency relief related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The five major stimulus funding streams for states and educational institutions include the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Amid the disruption that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the U.S. labor market, federal stimulus funds are a crucial mechanism for not only mitigating the adverse impact on schools, businesses and learners, but investing in innovating and transforming our education and workforce development systems. CTE is a key component of economic recovery and revitalization that can help bridge the skills gap, bring down unemployment, and address systemic inequities that persist in access to high-quality college and career pathways. 

To that end, states are beginning to leverage their coronavirus relief funds to expand equity and access to CTE opportunities. One key area of focus for these dollars is expanding program delivery models to reach learners where they are. Arkansas invested in digitizing CTE programs through three separate ESSER allocations totaling nearly $4 million. The state spent $2.3 million on creating pathways of virtual CTE courses that count towards learners’ concentration status under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Additionally, Arkansas is investing $950,000 to provide digital curriculum for all Career Clusters and access to industry-recognized credential assessments for CTE-enrolled learners, as well as $475,000 to provide virtual work-based learning simulation for all school districts to facilitate remote engagement with industry professionals. 

Similarly, Rhode Island expanded summer learning opportunities through a $3 million ESSER allocation for the state’s All-Course Network platform, which provides free online courses to students of all grade levels. Offerings include both traditional academic coursework such as Advanced Placement classes as well as a range of other college and career readiness-based programs and classes centered on industry-recognized credentials, work-based learning, dual enrollment and financial literacy. The enrollment system reserves a number of seats for learners from “priority groups” who are most likely to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, leveraging the Rhode Island Department of Education’s statewide data system to ensure equitable access.

Pennsylvania used both ESSER and GEER funding to support Career & Technical Education Centers (CTCs), including $10.5 million in GEER-funded equity grants to promote continuity of education and industry credentialing services for learners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant funding process included consideration for buildings with 20 or more English Learners. Ultimately, 78 of the state’s CTCs received funding, using it to offer summer programs and industry-recognized credential assessments, as well as to expand CTE program delivery through hybrid coursework.

Finally, some states are working to enhance statewide data systems and invest in career advising to set learners up for success. Texas invested $15 million in GEER funding for “strategic education and workforce data infrastructure” to equip learners, institutions, employers and policymakers with accessible, actionable information for decision making. The modernized data architecture will expand tools for college and career advising, allowing institutions to identify and target learners who may need additional assistance to stay engaged and on-track to earn industry-recognized credentials. 

Both North Carolina and Tennessee allocated GEER funding for their Jobs for America’s Graduates affiliate programs, which provide employability and professional skill-building opportunities for 11th and 12th grade learners identified as at risk of not completing high school or making a seamless transition into the workforce. North Carolina allocated $825,000 to expand the program and place college and career coaches in more high schools throughout the state, while Tennessee appropriated $750,000 to maintain program operations during the 2020-2021 school year.

To learn more about how states have spent federal relief funds on CTE, please stay tuned for future Coronavirus Relief Funds blog posts and visit Advance CTE’s COVID-19 page for additional resources.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation
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Five Strategies to Scale Individual Career and Academic Planning

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

When the Oklahoma Department of Education launched Individual Career and Academic Planning (ICAP) in 2017, the intent was to support learners along their entire career journey to make informed choices about their future academic and career goals. Today, ICAP is firmly rooted in policy and practice. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, learners entering the ninth grade in Oklahoma must complete an ICAP to graduate from a public high school. 

ICAP report thumbnail

What is remarkable about Oklahoma’s ICAP process is that the process supports learners to and through high school graduation, helping them transition to postsecondary education or into the workforce. Learners who enroll at the University of Oklahoma can identify a major by comparing their ICAP personal interest survey results or Career Clusters survey results from high school with the university’s career pathways major planning tools. Too often, career and academic planning is siloed between secondary and postsecondary education, but Oklahoma is working to break down these silos and ensure ICAP supports learners even after they graduate from high school. 

ICAPs have different names in different states, including Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) and Individual Graduation Plans (IGPs). They refer to both the process of engaging in individualized academic and career development activities as well as the product: a living, usually online, portfolio that is created by each learner and regularly updated as they advance through school and transition into the workforce.

While ICAPs have been adopted by at least 38 states, they are often layered on top of the myriad other commitments that under-resourced and under-staffed schools and districts are responsible for, making them more of a box-check activity than a meaningful career planning process. When implemented with fidelity, ICAPs can enable learners to skillfully navigate their own career journeys and build occupational identities that span their lifetimes. State leaders play a critical role in ensuring that ICAPs are implemented effectively, that academic and career planning is integrated into state-level initiatives, and that each learner is provided coordinated supports to help them navigate their career journey. Specifically, state leaders can support ICAP implementation by: 

Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group’s new resource, Implementing Individual Career and Academic Plans at Scale, highlights promising practices for ICAP implementation at the state and local levels and provides recommendations for further state and local work to scale ICAPs. The brief features promising state and local practices in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin. It was developed through JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s New Skills ready network, a partnership of Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group. For more resources on career advisement, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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High School Graduates Reassessing Postsecondary Plans During COVID-19, Prioritizing Real-World Skills and Alternate Career Pathways

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

Postsecondary enrollment has seen dramatic declines during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, particularly for learners with low incomes and learners of color. A report recently published by the Strada Education Network sheds light on the experiences of high school graduates who have delayed their postsecondary education plans in 2020 and 2021. The report builds on survey data of 1,000 recent graduates previously covered by Advance CTE, as well as 17 in-depth interviews with learners. Strada finds that while these high school graduates remain committed to continuing their education, pandemic-related disruptions have caused them to reassess their initial plans and explore alternate pathways to career success. 

Learners across the board have experienced heightened uncertainty about college affordability and traditional career pathways as the labor market destabilized as a result of the coronavirus. Some learners said they were hesitant to enroll in coursework that would likely be conducted online, and concerns about taking care of family members amidst the health risks associated with the pandemic were also prevalent reasons for delaying enrollment, particularly among Black and Latinx learners. The report highlights three major priorities of high school graduates when considering when and how to re-engage with higher education: 

These priority areas shed light on effective supports that state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders and educational institutions can implement to promote the success of aspiring postsecondary learners disrupted by the pandemic. Financial assistance, mentoring relationships and personalized advising supports are especially powerful tools for closing the opportunity gaps that hinder the success of learners with low incomes, learners of color and first-generation college students. Despite the uncertainties of today’s labor market, recent high school graduates still believe that postsecondary educational opportunities are essential for both personal and professional development, as well as preparing for and transitioning to meaningful careers. Recognizing the future-focused resilience of these recent graduates and addressing their central areas of concern are important first steps for re-engagement in postsecondary education and career pathways.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Brittany Cannady in Research, Resources
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New Skills ready network Site Highlight Blog: Nashville Career Advising Framework

Thursday, 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: 

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

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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