Posts Tagged ‘CTE Month’

Lawmakers Celebrate CTE Month, Progress on FY24 Remains Uncertain | Legislative Update

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House and Senate have continued to formally recognize the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) and celebrated February as CTE Month® in a number of ways. Elsewhere, appropriations leaders continue to work on federal funding measures, Advance CTE endorsed several new pieces of legislation and federal agencies released new equity plans. 

New Challenges Emerge in FY24 Funding Process

The Senate remained in session last weekend to pass a highly anticipated supplemental national security aid package. Following that action, the Senate adjourned and is not expected to return to Capitol Hill until February 26. Meanwhile, the House met for an abbreviated work period this week where Republican lawmakers impeached Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This action in the House will trigger a trial in the Senate when lawmakers return later this month. Due to Senate rules that require addressing this issue upon their return, this upcoming trial may impact ongoing negotiations, largely occurring behind the scenes, on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) spending, including the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations measure that funds the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs administered and overseen by the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL).

At this time, it remains unclear how lawmakers will ultimately move forward with FY24 appropriations legislation beyond the upcoming expiration dates of current funding rapidly approaching on March 1 and March 8. Reportedly, appropriations leaders are currently negotiating potential “policy riders” that some lawmakers are seeking to attach to these funding measures, including Labor-HHS-ED. House lawmakers are currently scheduled to return after a recess period on February 28, leaving only a few days to determine a pathway forward. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for robust funding for Perkins V’s formula grant program.

CTE Month Continues With Co-Chair Appearances and a New Senate Resolution

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) made an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program to talk about the importance of CTE and the role it plays in the wider economy. The two leaders fielded questions from viewers and spoke at length about their experiences with CTE, the importance of the federal investment made by Perkins V and highlighted the immense value CTE programs provide to learners, especially by providing multiple pathways to postsecondary education, training and careers. These lawmakers also introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen career counseling services available to K-12 students. Advance CTE was proud to endorse this legislation upon introduction. In addition, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) provided floor remarks celebrating CTE month and emphasizing the important role CTE programs have in providing learners with valuable and durable skills. 

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate CTE Caucus co-chair Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced and passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing February as CTE month within the chamber. “This month and every month, let’s work to expand access to CTE, including by passing my JOBS Act to allow students to use Pell Grants for job training programs, and build an economy that works for everyone,” Senator Kaine remarked upon its passage. 

Advance CTE applauds all of these lawmakers for their ongoing leadership on this issue and extends our community’s deep appreciation for continuing to elevate and highlight the significant importance of CTE this month and throughout the year.

Bipartisan Childcare CTE Bill Introduced

Earlier this week, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Bonamici introduced the Early Childhood Workforce Advance Act. The legislation would provide new resources for CTE programs and aims to address significant workforce shortages in this critical sector of the economy. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act intentionally leverages CTE programs and ensures that these efforts are connected to ongoing state and local efforts to strengthen early educator workforce pipelines,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared upon the bill’s introduction. More information on the proposal can be found here.

ED Publishes Updated Equity Action Plan

At the beginning of the week, ED formally released its 2023 update to the Department’s existing “Equity Action Plan,” outlining new commitments to advance equity in education. ED identified five key focus areas: improving college access and completion rates for underserved students; ensuring equitable resources for learning recovery; expanding educational opportunities for justice-impacted individuals to improve outcomes; advancing equity in career and technical education; and increasing mental health resources in underserved communities. In the plan, ED notes that it hopes to improve data transparency with regards to Perkins V data, host a future webinar series on equity in CTE and propose broadened equity indicators as part of its priorities for potential legislative updates to Perkins V in the years ahead. Read the full plan here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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CTE Month Gets Underway, FY24 Negotiations Continue | Legislative Update

Friday, February 2nd, 2024

This week marks the formal start of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month® which lawmakers have started to formally recognize on Capitol Hill. Elsewhere appropriations leaders continue to negotiate full-year funding for the current fiscal year. 

Congress Continues to Negotiate FY24 Budget

This week, appropriations leaders continued negotiations on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies. As shared previously, lawmakers recently extended federal funding on another short-term basis through March 1 and March 8 of this year to allow more time for negotiations on this critical issue. Lawmakers have reportedly come to an agreement on allocations for each of the dozen spending bills that compose the federal budget, known as 302(b) allocations. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) state grant program along with other important federal investments in education and workforce development. 

While the specific allocations have not yet been made public, this agreement represents a critical next step in the wider FY24 process and is an indication that these discussions are progressing toward an expected resolution ahead of the upcoming funding deadlines in early March. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE and partners are continuing to advocate for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s formula grant program. 

CTE Month Kicks-Off 

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) formally introduced a Congressional resolution recognizing February as CTE month. “We are pleased to support the 2024 Career Technical Education Month resolution as a celebration of CTE’s contributions to our learners and communities, and applaud the leadership of the House CTE Caucus, led by Representatives Thompson and Bonamici, to highlight CTE’s central role in advancing economic opportunity for every learner across the nation,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, said upon introduction. The House caucus is currently circulating this resolution for additional support. Be sure to ask your representative to co-sponsor this year’s CTE month resolution.

In addition, co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus led by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), R. Michael Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) are leading a similar CTE Month resolution in the chamber. More information on the status of this resolution can be found here with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Be sure to encourage your senators to support this effort if they have not done so already! 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Spotlight on CTE Month: Celebrating the creative ways states engaged with stakeholders

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

February’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Month celebrations illustrated CTE’s continued spotlight in both federal and state communications and policymaking. This post recaps some of the inspiring activities from across the nation elevating both the value of CTE and the learners it serves.

Spotlight on CTE in the Nation’s Capital

CTE Month started strong this year with a major policy speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, during which he highlighted the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE): “We must challenge our myopic view that emphasizing the importance of career pathways is about limiting students, or the view that its four-year-college or bust. Advancing career pathways in high schools is about more options for students, not less. What it does is prepare them for the careers of today with options, and in some cases, their employer will pay for their future education. If we do this well, our graduates will be able to compete on a global stage. It’s my intention to Raise the Bar so we can lead the world in advanced career and technical education.” 

Just two weeks later, First Lady Jill Biden’s guests for the State of the Union (SOTU) address included Kate Foley– a 10th-grade computer-integrated manufacturing student who the First Lady had met last year during a visit to CTE programs in Rolling Meadows High School. In addition, Rep. Glusenkamp Perez (D-WA) brought Cory Toppa, a construction, engineering design, and manufacturing teacher at Kalama High School and the director of CTE for the Kalama school district. 

During the SOTU, President Biden highlighted how the intersection of education and workforce development is integral to America’s ability to compete within the wider global economy. The President mentioned career-focused education saying, in part, “Let’s finish the job, and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school, provide access to two years of community college, the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree. Let’s offer every American a path to a good career, whether they go to college or not.” 

Finally, support for CTE  extended to Capitol Hill, with both the House and Senate passing resolutions supporting CTE that achieved a high water mark for the number of co-sponsors.

Spotlight on CTE in State Capitols and Beyond

Outside of the U.S. House, 25 states and at least 1 U.S. Territory had proclamations designating February as CTE Month, and many state capitols hosted CTE students for showcases and meet and greets.

 

Spotlight on engaging with CTE stakeholders

Many states used CTE Month as an opportunity to connect with learners, families, employers and other stakeholders.

Louisiana hosted a roundtable discussion featuring panelists from K-12, postsecondary and industry professionals at their annual conference. Michigan hosted a Value of CTE virtual conference for employers and Missouri launched their CTE Perceptions Survey to learners, families, educators and business leaders.

 

States used a variety of marketing channels to share stories and promote CTE. Wyoming released a CTEZine published in local newspapers. South Carolina created My CTE Story videos featuring learner stories. North Dakota shared tips for maximizing messaging during CTE Month in their monthly newsletter. Oklahoma created a week’s worth of suggested activities that fostered pride in and self-promotion of local programs during #ILuvOKCTE week.

Through social media posts, many states shared information on the power and purpose of CTE as well as success stories and celebrations of CTE learners.

 

 

While CTE Month is a great opportunity to promote and educate those not familiar with the opportunities within and successes of CTE, our advocacy and education efforts should continue year-round. For information on how you can more effectively communicate CTE, check out the following resources in our Resource Center:

Jodi Langellotti, Communications Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Introduce Proposals to Expand Pell Grants for CTE Programs as CTE Month Begins 

Friday, February 3rd, 2023

This week lawmakers in both Chambers introduced proposals to expand federal Pell grant eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Elsewhere, the House and Senate CTE Caucuses are seeking support for a resolution in honor of CTE Month this February. Lawmakers have also finalized committee assignments for entities that will determine CTE funding and policymaking over the next two years.

Short-Term Pell Proposals Introduced

Earlier this week,  Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. This legislation has been a longstanding federal priority for Advance CTE as a key way to provide more learners quality postsecondary pathways that lead to jobs in growing sectors of the economy. A bipartisan group of 36 Senators also co-sponsored the legislation upon introduction, underscoring the significant level of support the proposal continues to have in the chamber. A one-page summary of the bill can be found here.

Additionally, late last week House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC), along with several Republican colleagues, introduced the Promoting Employment and Lifelong Learning (PELL) Act (H.R. 496)– legislation that also seeks to expand federal Pell grant eligibility for certain short-term postsecondary CTE programs. This legislation differs from the JOBS Act in several ways and is a competing proposal to the bipartisan JOBS Act which is also expected to be reintroduced in the House this Congress. The text of the bill can be found here and a summary of the proposal can be accessed here

Be Sure to Encourage Congress to Support CTE Month Resolutions!

Co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are currently circulating a resolution designating February as CTE Month. These leaders are asking their colleagues to co-sponsor this resolution and Advance CTE encourages members to reach out to your Senators to encourage them to sign on to this resolution as soon as possible. 

Concurrent to these efforts, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Thompson (R-PA) and Bonamici (D-OR) are also circulating a resolution in the chamber for this same purpose and are seeking co-sponsors ahead of planned introduction on February 8th. However, the resolution will be open throughout the month to add more co-sponsoring members ahead of planned passage at the end of the month. Be sure to encourage your members of Congress to co-sponsor by clicking here!

Both of these resolutions are important ways in which CTE can be elevated amongst federal policymakers and allows Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education to continue to highlight the benefits CTE programs provide for learners and the need to continue to invest in these efforts. 

House Education Committee Lays Out Vision for New Congress

The newly renamed Education and the Workforce Committee—the House entity responsible for CTE policymaking—has continued to take important steps this week to organize and map out an agenda for the 118th Congress. Earlier in the week, House Democrats, led by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), announced committee assignments for the new Congress. This comes after Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced her party’s members slated for the committee last week. Following these necessary first steps, Chair Foxx held an organizing meeting this week where the committee adopted a set of rules and a related oversight plan for the coming year. 

“Oversight will be a major priority for this Committee in the 118th Congress. . . Federal agency heads might as well get comfortable with this hearing room—they are going to be here a lot” Chair Foxx said, in part, at the outset of the meeting. The oversight plan includes a wide range of issues that will likely be focused on by the committee this Congress including an examination of how pandemic relief funding for education was used, as well as several workforce programs authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). In a separate interview this week, Chair Foxx also shared that she plans to prioritize higher education and workforce development legislation this Congress and is hopeful about finding consensus on short-term Pell grant proposals outlined above. Committee leadership has also shared that the Education and Workforce Committee will hold its first hearing of the new Congress titled, “American Education in Crisis”, scheduled for February 8th. 

Senate Organization Take Shape

On the other side of the Capitol, the 118th Congress has gotten off to a slower start than the House. This has been due, in part, to efforts to determine where newly elected Senators would be assigned for the coming Congress, particularly amongst Republicans who have six new members joining the caucus this year. Late last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced committee assignments for Democrats, including for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee—the entity with responsibility for K-12 education policymaking. 

Of note, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will chair the HELP committee, replacing longtime Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who will be leading the Appropriations Committee in the new Congress. In addition, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) will be joining the HELP Committee this Congress, filling a vacancy left by Sen. Jackie Rosen (D-NV) who has been assigned elsewhere. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) similarly announced assignments for committees in the upper chamber this week, including HELP. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are set to leave the committee and will be replaced by freshman Sens. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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5 Tips to Create Year-Long Impact Through CTE Month

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

February 1 marks the start of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, a national celebration of the impact of CTE on learners, families, educators, our workforce and our communities.  It is a critical opportunity to conduct communications and outreach to introduce CTE to audiences who may not be aware of it or may have historical stigmas about its value. In doing so, you can cultivate more diverse interest in your programs and cultivate new CTE champions. 

We asked states what they already have planned, and these were some of their responses. 

Here are five tips to help you push the limits and maximize your CTE Month Activities to create impact not just in February but all year long: 

Tip 1: Use Your Activities to Tell A Story

Your CTE Month activities should be designed to advance your top legislative, strategic plan and programmatic goals. Consider who is invited to your events, who is featured as speakers and what materials should be shared. Combine your top quantitative outcomes with impactful stories from CTE stakeholders to proactively address stigmas or opposition to your goals and reach audiences needed to advance these goals. 

Tip 2: Choose Impact over Quantity

We know staff capacity is limited. Therefore, it is important that work invested in your CTE Month events and activities are not done just only of tradition, but also because they are impactful in advancing goals and reaching your target audience. 

Here are some questions to ask: What audiences do you need to reach during CTE Month? Do your current activities equitably reach those audiences? Do your activities reach new audiences? 

Tip 3: Be Intentional About Who You Spotlight 

Equity and access should be embedded in all CTE Month activities. Consider whether the visual representation, wording used, languages and formats allow your intended audiences to fully know about and participate in the activities. 

Additionally, consider whether all audiences are represented in your events, and if there are specific voices you need to add to your table. Perhaps you have an event for all employers, but are there employers with internship or placement programs supporting special populations that you should target to connect to current work? would it be more impactful to engage specifically with employers with existing programs to support learners transitioning out of foster care or learners with disabilities? 

Tip 4: Activate your CTE Champions

You don’t have to do all CTE Month activities yourself! Consider how your existing champions across policymakers, educators, employers, etc. can hold their own events, leverage existing events to highlight CTE, and/or make introductions to bring new CTE champions to the table. This is particularly important to closing representation gaps in your programs or garnering support for legislative or policy initiatives. 

Tip 5: Make CTE Month Year Round!

Make sure your events aren’t a one-time impact! If some of these tips are causing you to reevaluate your current activities, consider if there are adjustments or new events that can be held throughout the remainder of 2024 to make CTE a larger story that builds toward advancing your goals and initiatives. 

Use Advance CTE’s communication and advocacy resources to reach families, employers and policymakers: 

Stacy Whitehouse, Communications Manager 

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE: National FFA Advancing CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 25th, 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 learner-centered and learner-led education, 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. 

Throughout 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. Today, we highlight National FFA, who celebrated the 75th anniversary of National FFA Week February 19-26, 2022, with the social hashtag #FFAWeek. Each day of National FFA Week was supported by a student-led video that shared hands-on learning experiences, learner success stories, teacher appreciation and much more! 

 

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

Laura Beth from Texas FFA noticed a barrier to each learner reaching their full potential within their career journey. Her commitment to CTE Without Limits led to stakeholders’ awareness of the issues and a change in policy!

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

On Alumni Day, National FFA invited alumni chapter members to participate in telling their FFA story. Alumni leveraged the National FFA Alumni and Supporter Toolkit which outlined activities such as, “Take a group picture of your chapter members wearing blue using #FFAWeek and #FFAAlumni.” 

Alumni stories are vital to recruiting and retaining CTE learners and their families. Recent research shared that more than 80 percent of current parents/guardians chose CTE leaders and alumni as a likely source of information when learning about CTE and its programs. Alumni help to ensure each learner feels welcomed in the career preparation ecosystem and can envision themselves being successful in a career of their choice. 

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

FFA is known for their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) that each learner embarks upon when participating in the CTSO. On SAE Sunday, National FFA shared this video to aid chapter members, nationwide, in selecting their own SAE project. The tips shared by the student leader allows for other chapter members to make informed decisions when selecting their own SAE. 

The video from National FFA Week is also supported by this article, Tips for a Successful SAE.

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

On Give FFA Day 2022, corporate donors from industry showed their value in the skills learners receive when participating in FFA. Donors participated in donation matching challenges throughout the day to support the CTSO and ultimately the learners served. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

Virtual engagement opportunities are something we have all witnessed during the current pandemic. National FFA was no different in providing the same for their members this week. A connection room welcomed chapter members, near and far, to network and learn from each other. 

Future dates for National FFA Week are below:

Feb. 18-25, 2023
Feb. 17-24, 2024
Feb. 15-22, 2025

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

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media

 

By admin in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

Friday, February 18th, 2022

This week the Advance CTE and ACTE co-hosted a Congressional briefing with Career Technical Student Organizations, while over two-thirds of the Senate supported a resolution designating February as Career Technical Education (CTE) month. The Senate HELP Committee also held a briefing exploring issues impacting workforce development while lawmakers worked to extend current funding levels through mid-March. In addition, the FCC announced the disbursement of additional connectivity funding while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made important updates to its College Scorecard.

Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

On Tuesday, February 15, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) hosted a bicameral Congressional briefing featuring learners from several Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs): 

Moderated by Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, the briefing highlighted the value of CTE and elevated CTSO learner experiences from both K-12 and postsecondary perspectives. The event also featured remarks from CTE Caucus Co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). During Rep. Langevin’s opening comments, the long-time House CTE Caucus co-chair noted, in part, that “A dependable, skilled, and prepared workforce is more critical to our economy than ever, and CTE lays the foundation for students to succeed both now and in the future.” Sen. Young emphasized his ambitions to grow CTE opportunities throughout the nation by co-chairing the Senate CTE Caucus noting that, “3 of 5 jobs in Indiana require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four year degree. More than half of workers in the state do not yet have this level of education.”

Following these remarks from congressional CTE champions, Green posed a series of questions to the CTSO student panel. For Deddens, the FCCLA First Vice President noted that “. . . being a national officer has allowed me to advocate for change in community and state and meet people of diverse backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Being in CTSOs opens these lines of communication.” National TSA President Rangu noted the impact her first national TSA convention had on her, noting “It was empowering for me to see someone that looked like me [be a national leader] so I felt confident to step into that position and serve as a role model for others.” Tyagi, HOSA’s International President Elect, emphasized the importance of his mentors noting “…[they]  instilled the importance of giving back to communities to secure a future of health that has no boundaries and will take care of every individual.” DECA Collegiate President Spohn emphasized how CTE was “. . . the first time I was in a classroom where what I was being taught was applicable to what I wanted to do with my life and career.”

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

In the evening following the CTSO panel, the Senate considered a bipartisan resolution designating February as CTE Month. The Senate unanimously passed this resolution without objection which garnered the support of over two-thirds of the Senate with 68 total co-sponsors. In a speech just before the resolution’s passage Senator Kaine (D-VA), the lead sponsor of the resolution remarked , “By formally recognizing CTE Month through this resolution, we hope to bring greater awareness to improving access to high-quality career and technical education for millions of America’s students and our Nation’s ongoing economic competitiveness.” The House recently introduced a similar resolution and is in the process of recruiting additional co-sponsors. Be sure to encourage your Member of Congress to support this resolution by the end of the month by clicking here

Senate HELP Committee Holds Workforce Development Hearing 

On Tuesday, February 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to examine workforce development policies and related strategies collectively aimed at helping workers find and obtain family sustaining employment. The hearing focused particularly on individuals with barriers to employment and the value and impact wraparound support services–like childcare, transportation, and career navigation supports–have in helping workers overcome these existing challenges. 

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) highlighted his and Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) ongoing sponsorship of the JOBS Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide Pell Grants for high-quality, shorter-term training programs at postsecondary institutions to more effectively support workers and learners. Advance CTE has long supported this legislation and continues to call for its enactment by Congress this year. A video archive of the hearing, including related written testimony, can be found here.  

Congress Passes FY22 Funding Extension Through Mid-March 

The formal start of the current federal fiscal year 2022 (FY22) began on October 1, 2021. Since that time, lawmakers in Congress have been unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). Congress has passed a series of short-term funding measures—known as a continuing resolution (CR)—to extend current FY21 funding levels through FY22. To date, these actions have averted a federal government shutdown and lapse in appropriations for laws like Perkins V. However, the most recent of these CRs is set to expire February 18, 2022. 

Last week, lawmakers in the House passed another CR to extend current funding levels, yet again, for federal operations and programs through March 11. This measure passed the chamber by a margin of 272-162 and is intended to provide lawmakers additional time to work out a full-year funding agreement for FY22. Late last night, the Senate followed suit passing the legislation by a margin of 65-27. Focus now turns back to Congressional appropriators who are reportedly working to finalize full-year funding for programs like Perkins V’s basic state grant program. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a comprehensive FY22 funding bill and a robust investment for the CTE. 

ED Makes Updates to College Scorecard

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced several enhancements to the College Scorecard broadly aimed at making it more useful for prospective learners and their families. Among the changes made is a new earnings threshold metric, which shows the percentage of former students whose earnings exceed those of the average high school graduate. This measure is intended to demonstrate a return on investment for entering postsecondary education. A similar measure is currently being considered as part of forthcoming changes to “gainful employment” rules which ED is currently negotiating with stakeholders. A recent examination of these updated College Scorecard data by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that more than half of students at roughly 30 percent of postsecondary institutions earn less than a high school graduate after 10 years. 

FCC Announces Ninth Wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund Commitments

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a ninth wave of funding commitments totaling over $125 million as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan and 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 ongoing pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of commitments will support 270,00 students by providing funding to over 340 schools, 20 libraries, and 6 consortia who are set to receive 330,000 connected devices and over 39,000 broadband connections. More on the announcement can be found here

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
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Getting to Know Advance CTE and CTE Month Celebrations

Thursday, 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

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Legislative Update: House Passed America COMPETES Act

Saturday, February 5th, 2022

This week, the House passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, which now includes critically important changes to postsecondary data systems and would provide an expanded eligibility for shorter-term Career  Technical Education (CTE) programs. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new guidance for using pandemic aid funds to address teacher and staff shortages, while CTE stakeholders convened for an equity summit and the school counselor of the year was honored. 

House Considers America COMPETES Act  

As we shared last week, House Democratic leadership introduced the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521)– legislation intended to increase the nation’s global competitiveness by making targeted investments in the nation’s technology, research, and manufacturing capacity among other efforts. Of interest to the CTE community, the America COMPETES Act includes the House-passed reauthorization proposal for the National Apprenticeship Act, proposed new funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, and new competitive grant programs intended to expand student access to STEM and computer science coursework. 

As lawmakers debated changes to the America COMPETES Act on the House floor this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Reps. Levin (D-MI), Gonzalez (R-OH), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Steil (R-WI) put forward an amendment to include the College Transparency Act (CTA) and the JOBS ACT– two pieces of legislation that Advance CTE has been strongly supportive of and endorsed over several Congresses. These legislative proposals would make significant improvements to the nation’s postsecondary data systems while also expanding Pell grant eligibility to shorter-term job training programs, respectively. Earlier this morning, February 4, the full House chamber voted on this amendment, passing it 238-193. 

Shortly after this vote, lawmakers passed the America COMPETES Act, as amended during this week’s debate. Advance CTE applauds the passage of this legislation and looks forward to conference negotiations with the Senate where lawmakers will need to reconcile differences between the House’s legislation and a more narrow proposal passed by the Senate last year. 

ED Releases New ARP Tool and Guidance to Address Teacher and Staff Shortages

On Monday, January 31, ED released new guidance resources to state and local stakeholders aimed at helping school districts leverage federal pandemic aid to address critical teacher and staff shortages. Nearly every community in the country is facing shortages of qualified teachers and staff and these are felt even more acutely within harder-to-fill positions such as CTE. The Department’s new guidance outlines ways schools, districts, and states can make use of federal pandemic aid funding—made available via the American Rescue Plan (ARP)— to address these shortages. These new resources can be accessed here and here. In addition, this week the Department also launched a new peer-to-peer learning network, encouraging recipients of the ARP’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund to share innovative use cases and best practices for using these resources. The new tool can be found here.

OCTAE Hosts Equity in Career-Connected Education Summit

On Wednesday, February 1, ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) hosted a summit focused on efforts to advance equity within Career and Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kimberly Green, along with a number of Advance CTE members, served as panelists for the event, focusing on issues ranging from CTE data usage to supports for community college learners. The convening was part of the Department and OCTAE’s ongoing efforts to implement President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, which seeks to advance racial equity and provide support to underserved communities through federal efforts and initiatives. The event also coincided with the beginning of CTE Month which lasts throughout February. Secretary Cardona provided opening remarks as part of the summit saying, in part, that access to “high-quality CTE is life-changing” for students. More on the event can be found here

Education Leaders Gather to Honor School Counselor of the Year

Yesterday, February 3, the American School Counselors Association hosted an event at the National Press club exploring critical issues facing school counselors. The event featured the announcement of the 2022 School Counselor of the Year– Alma Lopez, Livingston Middle School–who provided remarks at the forum saying, in part, “Today’s young people are our future and we want to set them up for success.” Advance CTE was honored to be part of the related selection committee for this award. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona participated in a panel discussion where he re-emphasized his calls to invest in school counselors and noted his recent call to action to ensure every high school in the nation has at least one career counselor. 

USDOT Announces New Grant Funding 

Recently the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced the availability of $1.5 billion in new funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. The RAISE program was established by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress last summer. Of particular note, the program’s formal notice of funding opportunity embeds workforce development and related strategies as a key piece of criteria used to evaluate grant applications. This is an important acknowledgement that the success of the infrastructure investments authorized by Congress last year will hinge on a highly-skilled workforce. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

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

Friday, 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

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