Posts Tagged ‘CTE Without Limits’

CTE Without Limits Spotlight: Q&A with Nancy Hoffman of JFF on ‘No Dead Ends’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Earlier this year, Jobs for the Future (JFF) issued a policy brief, “No Dead Ends: How Career and Technical Education Can Provide Today’s Youth With Pathways to College and Career Success.” This resource aligns with the current vision for the future of Career Technical Education (CTE), Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education  where each learner is able to navigate their journey to career success without limits. 

“No Dead Ends” offers a series of federal and state policy considerations that are informed by the insights of leading secondary and postsecondary practitioners. The brief also spotlights several states with strong policy conditions.

Advance CTE spoke with college and career pathways expert Nancy Hoffman of JFF to learn more about the report. Below, she shares her reflections, research, and policy recommendations for how state and local CTE leaders can realize the mindset of “without limits.”

The Advance CTE team encourages members to draw on the ideas and evidence in this blog to advance aims around equity, economic mobility, and systems alignment. 

Advance CTE: It’s great to speak with you, Nancy. Can you share what a “without limits” vision means to you and how it ties into JFF’s call for “no dead ends”? 

Nancy Hoffman: The first time I heard the phrase “no dead ends” was in 2005 on a tour of Switzerland’s vocational education and training (VET) system. Swiss VET engages the majority of Swiss teenagers in a mix of school and paid apprenticeships with two to three days of paid work each week. The VET system is designed to provide youth with multiple pathways (see graphic  and page 6 of this report). All progression routes are open to all youth “without limits” as aligned with the CTE Without Limits vision, and the system is “permeable,” meaning there are “no dead ends” to pathways that a 15-year-old VET student chooses. Career exploration begins early with all middle schoolers spending a week with an employer in an occupation of interest.  Students get help understanding choices in the school curriculum as well as in each town’s career advising center. The apprentice may end up, as many do, with a bachelor’s degree from a university of applied sciences, even a Ph.D., and may change from one field or company to another. 

While the United States has come a long way in embracing a new narrative about career and technical education (CTE), dismissive attitudes remain. Unlike in Switzerland, our public discourse separates going to college from career preparation, despite the fact that everyone goes to college to get a career—whether pursuing an industry certification or a Ph.D. JFF’s No Dead Ends publication takes a hard look at how to remove the remaining stigmas seen in policy, in practice, and in the public perception that CTE students are “not college material” and are in a “remedial” pathway that will lead to jobs with low wages demanding only basic skills.

To continue to move CTE perceptions in a positive direction, the JFF brief requires action on three levers: higher visibility for CTE, better allocation of resources, and incentives that reward CTE programs in the same way as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other such markers of readiness for postsecondary education. No Dead Ends also demands that all programs for college and career preparation be assessed with an equity lens. Ironically, the institutional racism that historically funneled students of color and low-income students into CTE is now shutting them out in some states. In many regions, CTE is becoming an attractive way for privileged students to get hands-on experience in high tech, engineering, health care, and the like. 

Advance CTE: JFF’s No Dead Ends report emphasizes the importance of “career identity,” which corresponds to Principle 3, “Each Learner Skillfully Navigates Their Own Career Journey.” What does career identity mean, and how can it be supported for each learner? 

Nancy Hoffman: As we have come to learn, career advising is not the same as supporting a young person’s journey to career or vocational identity. At JFF, we define career identity as the link between a person’s motivations, interests, and competencies and their potential career roles. 

Child development researcher Dr. Robert Halpern has written extensively on the need for schools to nurture the vocational identities of teenagers. He notes how little support most schools provide in helping young people “attend to their vocational selves: to confirm and disconfirm interests; think about and understand vocation (and vocational knowledge) in deeper, more differentiated ways; learn about vocational possibilities and understand what it means to be prepared for specific kinds of work; and understand how to prepare for work and the length of time that requires.” Halpern put it, “When thinking about career paths, young people are asking not simply ‘what do I want to do?’ but ‘who do I want to be?”  Young people begin to ask such questions as early as middle school, but most middle school curriculum does not integrate the study of careers and career exploration into the curriculum. Indeed, this gap inspired JFF to create Possible Futures, a program for grades 6 through 10 that provides a fun and engaging career exploration program, helping young people gain the foundational knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to make critical decisions about their future with confidence.

Advance CTE: No Dead Ends tackles how to make sure all high-quality pathways are accessible to each learner. Looking through an equity lens, what issues commonly arise with CTE generally and work-based learning experiences, more specifically?  

Nancy Hoffman: As the Gates Foundation’s Striving to Thriving project powerfully documented through thousands of interviews, Black and Latinx young people see their race or ethnicity as an asset. Yet our education and employment systems are sending them contradictory signals about what their proper aspirations ought to be, where they will be welcomed, and most important, whether they will be welcomed for who they are.   

As researcher Nat Malkus notes, schools may fail to notice the “hidden tracking” within CTE. Students headed to four-year colleges tend to enroll in what Malkus calls “New Era CTE” (e.g. computer science, engineering, health care) and students wanting a certification or unsure of their next steps, are guided toward traditional trades course– not all of which provide access to well-paying jobs. The distribution of students within CTE can mirror the domination of an occupation by a particular race/ethnicity, gender, or other personal characteristic. This means, for example, populating IT and computer science courses with college-bound white males, while young women of color take internships in helping professions. 

Local and state leaders must be alert to sorting mechanisms within CTE. Do privileged students get the high-tech internships while low-income students take on jobs where there may be a lot to learn? And then do they continue on such a path to a career that almost guarantees low wages? Equity gaps widen especially when schools lack a placement system and ask students to find their own employer-supported internship. Most challenging is how schools identify, respond to, and take action to prevent placing students in unwelcoming or even racist workplaces or unwittingly reinforcing occupational segregation. A recent JFF blog, “Identifying the ‘Fruit and Root’ of Systemic Racial Inequity,” notes the pernicious use of the word “fit,” which can be a cover for racism, as in “she won’t fit into our company’s culture.” The authors argue that “the seemingly neutral concern about “fit” has proven to be problematic, and tends to cover for a preference for a homogenous culture in the workplace. Employers want to hire people of color, but the people of color they hire are subtly forced to conform to existing norms—of dress, behavior, speech–to truly belong.”  

Advance CTE: No Dead-Ends lays out several key policy considerations for strengthening college and career pathways, supporting career identity developing, and expanding access to high-quality work-based learning experiences. To conclude our conversation, could you share a couple of these policy recommendations? 

Nancy Hoffman: Defining a high-quality CTE program is a foundational step for developing state systems that better serve learners. In No Dead Ends, JFF suggests that states should consider clearly articulating key quality standards for “fundable” CTE programs. States should also consider tying funding eligibility to these quality standards to ensure resources are used effectively. For example, Delaware not only created a statewide definition of CTE but required each program of study to adhere to three key principles: (1) prepare students for career success and post-secondary education; (2) align with workforce needs and are developed in partnership with relevant stakeholders; and (3) improve student achievement by connecting academic and career success measures. However, states don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Perkins V has a good definition for CTE, and states can use that as a jumping-off point to ensure high-quality programming. 

In the brief, JFF also recommends that the federal government define career identity development and give states guidance on how to operationalize this aim. Current definitions coming out of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) note that a high-quality program of study includes career and academic guidance. However, while advising is critical, policy must more deeply encourage the development of career identity which should be framed as a key aspect of adolescent development overall. When Perkins is reauthorized in a few years, JFF believes the law should include a definition of this term, and OCTAE should release clearer guidance. These efforts will help promote more robust college and career coaching for students.

Visit Advance CTE’s website to learn more about the CTE Without Limits vision, and the Learning that Works Resource Center for more guidance on  advancing equity in CTE experiences. 

Nancy Hoffman, JFF and Stacy Whitehouse, Advance CTE

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy, Research
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Getting to Know Advance CTE’s Strategic Priorities: Equip, Empower, Elevate

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kimberly Green, Executive Director

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Resource Recap: 5 Steps to Get Started with the CTE Without Limits Roadmap Tool

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

March 2022 marks one year since the release of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). CTE Without Limits positions CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success.

To celebrate this milestone, Advance CTE elevated the work of vision partners through a Twitter chat, announced three states participating in a state cohort for vision implementation, and held a vision-focused Ask an Expert session. The event delved into Advance CTE’s hallmark vision implementation resource released last fall, Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits

This resource recap post breaks down the roadmap resource and provides first steps for state CTE leaders to prepare for and use this comprehensive tool. 

Resource Background 

Achieving CTE Without Limits is only possible through shared commitment and action among all CTE stakeholders The Pushing the Limits roadmap serves as the primary evaluation and planning tool for state and local CTE leaders to conduct a collaborative process that: a) provides an initial assessment of state policy and practice; b) identifies top areas for action; and c) develops implementation strategies for one or more vision principles.

The document is provided in both a combined format as well as separate by each of the five vision principles. The three to four action steps recommended for each vision principle can be evaluated by state leaders through five activities:

Getting Started 

Effective use of the roadmap requires intentional planning and collaboration. Here are five ways to get started: 

  1. Select your core state or local team that includes representatives with deep experience in K-12, postsecondary and workforce policy and practice through the lens of CTE. 
  2. Complete Advance CTE’s State Capacity Tool to determine which vision principle(s) to focus on. 
  3. Gather data and guiding documents to inform the self-assessment, including program participation and outcomes, statewide and regional agreements across system, statewide and department initiatives and goals, etc. 
  4. Complete the self-assessment as individual core team members and share answers prior to soliciting additional input. 
  5. Identify priority principles and action areas to address first based on conditions in your state.

Maximizing the Resource 

CTE leaders can take several steps to maximize this resource to realize systems change at all levels, including: 

Advance CTE staff are available to support CTE leaders in this important work. Visit Advance CTE’s staff web page for contact information. Visit Advance CTE’s vision web page for additional vision education, assessment and implementation resources. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits, Uncategorized
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New Report: 5 Strategies to Strengthen Equity in Early Postsecondary Opportunity Participation and Completion

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

Every year, more than 5.5 million secondary learners take advantage of Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSOs), including dual and concurrent enrollment and exam-based courses, like International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP). EPSOs aim to provide high school learners with an intentionally designed authentic postsecondary experience leading to officially articulated and transferable college credit toward a recognized postsecondary degree or credential. Career Technical Education (CTE) courses make up approximately one-third of all EPSO enrollments and are a critical component of a high-quality CTE program of study, bridging secondary and postsecondary learning. 

Advance CTE’s vision, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, calls on states to ensure that each learner’s skills are counted, valued and portable. At the state level, systems are needed to translate competencies and credentials into portable credit and to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to participate in high-quality and equitable EPSO programs. To this end, Advance CTE, in partnership with the College in High School Alliance, surveyed State CTE Directors to better understand state policies that support EPSOs in CTE. The survey revealed key findings, which subsequently led to recommendations for steps to better advance and support CTE EPSOs, ensuring equity and access to EPSOs for all CTE learners. To read more about the results of the survey and our resulting findings and recommendations, or to learn more about the following actions, read the executive summary and associated full report, The State of CTE: Early Postsecondary Opportunities.

To better ensure equitable access for all learners, particularly in CTE EPSO programs, states can take the following actions:

1.Identify and highlight equity goals in statewide EPSO programs and target specific learner populations for recruitment. States with statewide EPSO programs, particularly those with targeted equity goals, have been able to reduce equity gaps by adjusting funding and tuition models, standardizing entrance requirements, providing statewide navigational supports and centralizing articulation agreements. A critical review of state-level data, including conducting opportunity gap analyses, can allow states to target historically marginalized populations for participation while simultaneously ensuring that these learners have access to high-quality EPSOs. Utah has a long-standing statewide concurrent enrollment program that focuses on continuous improvement, particularly for learners of low income, who attend postsecondary institutions at more than twice the rate of learners of low income who do not participate in the program.

2.Increase publicly available and actionable information for learners and their families. Access to high-quality EPSOs for every learner is just one part of equity; equally important is ensuring that every learner is successful by increasing transparency around opportunities and outcomes in EPSOs, including providing state-level outcome data, navigation assistance and career advising throughout the EPSO experience. Increasing communication with parents and learners about available EPSOs, their requirements and available supports will help first-generation learners and under-served groups not familiar with the postsecondary process access these programs and know how the associated credit transfers. States like Indiana, Maryland, and Kentucky all have public dashboards that share both enrollment and outcome data, disaggregated by learner population and program type. Other states, like Massachusetts, aggregate their EPSO programs through an online catalog, with filters for subpopulations, to demonstrate the range of opportunities available statewide.

3.Identify and remove barriers to access, including restrictive costs or entrance requirements, and target specific learner populations for recruitment. Data demonstrates significantly higher gains for learners of color in dual enrollment programs compared to their peers not enrolled in EPSO opportunities. While states noted that scholarship and tuition supports reduce barriers to entry, burdensome entrance requirements and a lack of information about EPSOs limit a learner’s ability to participate. For example, Tennessee’s statewide EPSO program offers grants that allow learners to take up to 10 dual enrollment courses for free. As states look to increase postsecondary attainment goals, they can leverage enrollment and outcome data to identify opportunity gaps and examine root causes, such as restrictive admissions requirements that may affect learners disproportionately. 

4.Increase supports for learners enrolled in EPSOs to ensure completion. While capacity challenges do exist, research indicates the value of early warning systems, counseling programs, and financial supports that remove or overcome barriers to completion. Statewide incentives can encourage districts to expand these types of systems that allow secondary learners to be successful in EPSOs. Alaska’s Acceleration Academy helps high school learners complete math or science courses over the summer to prepare them for participation in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, an EPSO partnership with the University of Alaska-Anchorage. 

5.Expand statewide and inter-state articulation agreements to account for all types of CTE EPSOs. Statewide agreements can help guarantee recognition of CTE EPSO credit and facilitate automatic transfer between a secondary institution and a corresponding postsecondary institution of the learner’s choice. Ensuring that the transfer of credit is as frictionless as possible is vital to supporting learners as they transition into postsecondary education and continue in a degree program. As states work to ensure that each learner’s EPSO experiences consistently are counted toward articulated credit, they should also ensure that this credit contributes to core credits in a CTE program of study and not just elective credit. States can develop additional guidelines and legislation that ensures the connection between an EPSO and a program of study. Ohio has Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs) that provide automatically articulated and transferable credit upon completion of CTE coursework.

Visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resource related to specific EPSOs and equity and access supports.

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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“Be a Network Facilitator”: Inspiring First Steps and Common Challenges Emerge in CTE Without Limits Community of Practice Kickoff

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

“Go forth without limits!” was an apt parting chat message as over 70 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across 16 states convened virtually last month to launch the community of practice for Advancing CTE Without Limits, a cross-state implementation initiative that provides a dedicated space to foster collaboration and problem solving to advance vision principles. 

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) was developed with the input of nearly 200 contributors representing national, state and local CTE leaders and stakeholders and anchored in the belief that each learner must have access to and the means and succeed in the career of their choice, with CTE serving as the catalyst for that journey. Since its release a year ago this month, Advance CTE has conducted a robust awareness campaign that has gained the support of over 40 national partners, and is now transitioning to meaningful state assessment and implementation work. 

The kickoff served as an initial networking session for states and an inspirational launch point to prepare for the work ahead. Attendees had the pleasure of the hearing from JFF Vice President Joel Vargas, who shared how JFF is advancing the vision through its recent research and report The Big Blur: An Argument for Erasing the Boundaries Between High School, College, and Careers —and Creating One New System That Works for Everyone

Vargas highlighted promising first steps in Idaho (Financing Students Directly), Tennessee (Ready Graduate Indicator), Texas (P-TECH and and Early College High Schools) and Washington (Mandatory Acceleration) that are blurring the lines among secondary, postsecondary and career preparation systems. 

Vargas challenged attendees to dream big and be the new models for scalable solutions by being a “network facilitator,” by combining career pathway expansion with intentional investments in collaboration and sustained partnerships. He connected the vision to a world where policymakers “boldly reimagine public responsibility” where providing two years of higher education and training for careers is seen as a public responsibility that is not just affordable or free, but structured to provide full support for each learner on their career journey.  

“Partners have to focus not just on the technical work, but also on building relationships and trust. Systems change is also people change.” – Joel Vargas, Vice President of Programs, JFF 

Following the keynote, leaders participated in two breakout sessions within and across states to identify promising first steps and common challenges to realizing the action areas of Principle 1: Each Learner Engages in a Cohesive, Flexible and Responsive Career Preparation Ecosystem. States raised common challenges of designing and securing funding models that prioritize collaboration and learner-centered policies and sharing learner-specific data among state agencies and education institutions. However, they also shared initiatives that could be meaningful first steps towards systems change, including partnerships to improve connections to postsecondary career pathways for learners with disabilities; combining CTE and counseling in one department, and statewide articulation and transfer agreements to fully count all learning. 

Participating states will be engaged in bimonthly cross-state calls to share challenges and solutions aligned to the five vision principles. Three states, Colorado, Nebraska and South Carolina, applied for and were selected to participate in a state cohort and will receive additional resources including funding, individualized coaching and intensive technical support. 

Sixteen states are participating in the CTE Without Limits Community of Practice: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The community of practice is still open for additional state participation – state staff can email Senior Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter for additional information. 

Advance CTE’s vision page offers a variety of awareness and implementation resources, including its step-by-step assessment and action planning guide, Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits that will be the basis for Advance CTE’s state cohort work. 

CTE leaders are also encouraged to participate in activities to commemorate the first anniversary of CTE Without Limits, including a Twitter chat on March 8 at 1:00 p.m. E.T on Advance CTE’s Twitter page, and webinars aligned to the vision principles throughout the spring.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits, Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE: FCCLA Advancing CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 18th, 2022

Advance CTE continues to celebrate CTE Month® 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 has highlighted the activities of several CTSOs and their alignment with the five interconnected principles of CTE Without Limits. Today, we highlight Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), who celebrated their national week  this week, February 14-18, 2022, with the theme “Make It Count” and social hashtag #FCCLAWeek.

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

FCCLA members at New Horizons Regional Education Center: Woodside Lane in Newport News, Virginia participate in flexible, responsive CTE programs.  Internships at a local elementary school provide these learners with hands-on experience and real-world skills  in early childhood education.

 

 

 

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

Griffin Middle School in Georgia elevated learner voices and cultural experiences by incorporating commemoration of Black History Month into their celebration of FCCLA Week. 

The national branch FCCLA is also dedicated to retaining and supporting FCCLA advisors through their annual Chapter Advisor Summit held in January. 

 

 

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

FCCLA strives for FCCLA members to have clear paths for their skills to be valued and counted. FCCLA has identified four career pathways that align to key technical and “employability” skills gained through FCCLA experiences, listed below. Members also have the opportunities to test and display skill competencies at competitions at the regional, state and national level. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

FCCLA members have the opportunity to share their skills and make connections beyond the classroom and even their state. National FCCLA leader Hayley Reid participated in a federal policy panel held by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

FCCLA Real-World Skills: 

Applied Academic Skills: Communications, Math, Science, Basic Literacy

Critical Thinking Skills: Problem Solving, Organization & Planning

Resource Management: Time, Money, Materials & Personnel

Information Use

Communication Skills

Interpersonal Skills: Leadership, Teamwork & Negotiation

Personal Qualities

Systems Thinking: Teamwork & Project Management

Technology Use

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 Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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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

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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This Week in CTE: SkillsUSA Creating a CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 11th, 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 SkillsUSA, who celebrated their national week February 7-11, 2022, with the theme “United as One” and social hashtag #SkillsUSAWeek.

 

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

On Recognition Day, SkillsUSA took to social media to recognize and honor members, advisors, administrators, business partners, community leaders and supporters who are impactful in the career preparation ecosystem and within their local SkillsUSA chapters. Honorees were presented with a SkillsUSA Certificate of Appreciation.

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

On Advocacy Day, National SkillsUSA officers advocated for policies that are inclusive of CTE and career readiness opportunities for all learners at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Complementing national advocacy efforts by the CTSO, many SkillsUSA state associations hosted their own CTE Days on Capitol Hill, as seen by SkillsUSA Iowa.

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

In California, Dinuba High School’s SkillsUSA Advisor Nikki Gerner is highlighted for keeping real-world skill building at the core of her instruction for learners. During the 2021 school year, despite the challenges of remote learning, membership at Dinuba increased from 150 to more than 450 active members. New chapter members gained access to the SkillsUSA Framework to make informed decisions while navigating the career preparation ecosystem. 

View this video to learn more about Gerner and her impact on the learners she teaches. 

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

On Partner Day, National SkillsUSA asked state associations and local chapters to connect with partners in their communities. National SkillsUSA hosted a live interactive session for CTSO members to engage with business and industry leaders. Learners were able to hear what it means to be workforce ready and which skills are valued by employers that ultimately lead to career success in their respective industries.

Each learner can access CTE without borders

National SkillsUSA has a free and accessible podcast for chapter members across the nation. The SkillsUSA podcast focuses on delivering basic “how to” information for learners to be successful at skills competitions. View more on the podcast here

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 Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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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

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Getting to Know Advance CTE and State Technical Assistance

Thursday, January 20th, 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 Nithya Govindasamy! Nithya is a Senior Advisor at Advance CTE; she recently joined the organization in October 2021. Nithya leads and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality CTE, which includes: workforce development, education and equity initiatives; technical assistance (TA) for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits); efforts to maximize the stimulus investments; and Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. 

In this month’s edition of the CTEWorks Newsletter, we share resources, tools and supports to foster continuous improvement and collaboration among stakeholders in the career preparation ecosystem. This work includes the TA Advance CTE will deliver to states implementing CTE Without Limits. Learn more in the interview with Nithya below: 

Q: How does the shared vision, CTE Without Limits, promote the value of collaboration, equity and innovation in states? 

A: CTE Without Limits lays out a bold vision for a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage CTE to ensure that every learner can reach success in the career of their choice. 

The five inter-connected and equally critical principles call for our education and workforce system to collaborate and leverage their assets and take an innovative approach to ensuring that the learner can achieve career success. 

Q: What are the benefits of statewide structures that increase collaboration and coordination across K-12, postsecondary and workforce development to support a career preparation ecosystem?

A: States that invest in structures and systems to increase strategic collaboration and coordination across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce development continuum will be able to better serve the needs of each learner and the employer community. 

Each partner within the statewide structure serves a unique role in the career preparation ecosystem and greater connectivity means learners can access the support they need at any of the entry points. Collaboration between the education and workforce system also provides an avenue for industry to connect with future talent in a systematic way. Statewide structures that build these meaningful interconnections can benefit by accessing additional non-traditional funding and resources that are targeted towards incentivizing collaboration and establishing and meeting aligned goals.  

As a benefit all CTE leaders across the 50 states and territories, Advance CTE shares best practices and policy innovations from exemplar states (and partnering organizations) that have successfully embraced collaboration and partnerships, coordinated services, and support to benefit each learner (especially those from historically marginalized populations).

Q: As the organization begins to provide technical assistance to the cohort of states, what are the objectives and goals that Advance CTE hopes to achieve? 

A: Advance CTE hopes to assist states and our members to advance and implement the principles in CTE Without Limits within their state. Our goal is to support states, and their cross-sector teams, to bridge gaps in their systems to ensure all learners have equitable access to and can benefit from high-quality CTE. Through the community of practice that will be launched this February, we hope to identify and lift up best practices among states and inspire leaders and practitioners to take bold actions to design and implement a new career preparation ecosystem that is learner-focused and can offer endless opportunities.   

Q: How will the TA help build capacity within states to develop and strengthen their cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystems?

A: The TA delivered will provide states an opportunity to engage in a deeper needs assessment that will identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as the root causes for gaps and barriers that exist in their current systems. Each state will have access to a dedicated coach as part of this initiative who will work with the state team to develop a strategic and solutions-oriented plan to address the specific needs and priorities expressed by each state. 

Q: Are there resources and supports for state and local leaders outside of the TA cohort who are beginning to implement the principles outlined in CTE Without Limits

A: Yes! The community of practice that will be part of this initiative will be open to all states and not just the TA cohort states. The community of practice will be a great opportunity for states to engage in discussion with other states about how they are tackling various components within the vision as well as learn from fellow members. Advance CTE will also continue to host webinars and post blogs that will focus on CTE Without Limits and share strategies and approaches with state leaders to help implement vision principles broadly across systems. States can also reach me directly at ngovindasamy@careertech.org if there’s a need for specific guidance or assistance.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

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