Posts Tagged ‘CTE Without Limits’

Vlog: Opportunity America on Leveraging Non-degree Programs During Workforce Development

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

Opportunity America in partnership with Lumina Foundation and Wilder Research set out to explore the role of community colleges in providing job-focused education and training in their new community college study, The Indispensable Institution. Opportunity America is a Washington think tank and policy shop promoting economic mobility – work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans. 

Advance CTE’s newest video blog features Tamar Jacoby, President of Opportunity America, as we discuss the report and in particular delve into the study’s exploration of the potential of non-degree programs to serve the needs of a national workforce realignment.  

Our conversation focuses on the profile of a non-degree learner and the next steps for state leaders in greater utilization of non-degree programs, particularly in the areas of funding, data, and industry alignment.

The study reinforces that significant work ahead for the attainments of non-credit learners be fully counted by institutions in degree and non-degree pathways, as well as a high need for data infrastructure that fully documents participation in and outcomes of non-degree learners. The good news is that this study indicates non-credits learners are strongly aligned to job-focused programs, and there is great potential to strengthen and align these programs with industry as labor realignments continue. 

Gaining a better understanding of non-credit learners is critical for each learner’s skills and learning to be fully valued, counted and portable as outlined in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits)

It is clear there is more to learn about the non-degree arena and its learners in community colleges. Visit the Opportunity America report site to view the full study and interactive data portal.

Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate 

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Advance CTE 2021 Fall Meeting Staff Reflections

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

On October 27 and 28, over 270 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders gathered for Advance CTE’s 2021 Fall Meeting. Through timely plenary discussions, breakout and networking sessions, members and supporters were able to reflect on the transformations of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, gain knowledge on the latest research and promising practices in states, and create community by building networks with leaders in similar roles. 

Advance CTE staff departed the meeting feeling energized and excited about the many ways our members are going above and beyond to advance the event theme, “Meeting CTE’s Moment”. This post shares top outcomes of Fall Meeting with reflections from Advance CTE staff. 

1. Highlighting High-Quality, Equitable State Practices: Speakers from 22 states and 19 national organizations highlighted innovative state practices, and more importantly provided tangible lessons learned and first steps for leaders to implement the initiatives in their own state. 

“The amazing work being shared by CTE leaders across the country was truly inspiring. The statewide mentorship program and New Teacher Institute in Missouri are best practices models for the nation to emulate. Allowing Local Education Agencies (LEA) to serve as an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) is an outstanding example of out-of-the-box thinking. Despite the crippling disparity in pay compared to the surrounding states, the program has yielded high retention rates by providing new teachers with the supports necessary to be effective practitioners. The jewel of the Fall Meeting, in my opinion, was South Carolina’s presentation on the combined efforts between the state’s CTE and Special Education departments to provide access to high-quality programs of study. The innovative process of evaluating the enrollment and performance of students with disabilities by specific disabilities is a model for developing equitable systems for all learners. I’m excited to see the strategies for improving academic success developed from the analysis and I hope the methodology becomes a national trend.” – Dr. Kevin Johnson, Sr., Senior Advisor

“One of my favorite parts of the Fall Meeting was the opportunity state leaders had to share challenges they were facing with top of mind topics and directly problem-solve with national CTE leaders. In a breakout session sharing the latest research on employer engagement, Director of Public Policy James Redstone from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offered advice to states on how to structure programs and outreach to better meet employer needs. In a session on connecting Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and CTE, renowned national SEL leader Dr. Scott Solberg was able to share best practices and common challenges gained from a network of over 20 states led by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Despite limits to capacity, our members are always so eager to keep innovating. Hearing lessons learned in states from a national perspective is so valuable in order to make the most of the resources and take the work on these topics and more to the next level.” – Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate, Communications and State Engagement

2. Elevating Learner Voice and Learner-Center Systems: Fall Meeting featured a dedicated    series of breakout sessions focused on elevating high-quality examples of national tool and state initiatives that centered learners in policy and practice. Sessions on Advance CTE’s recently released learner voice toolkit  and social capital featured CTE learners.

“The 2021 Fall Meeting intentionally focused on leveraging the learner voice within state CTE decisionmaking. I was thrilled to witness Advance CTE being joined by two esteemed learners over the two-day meeting: Autumn Steffens and Daraja Brown. Secondary learner Autumn shared her hopes for future learner engagement, “It makes me feel seen as a learner and will help with my decisionmaking in the future.” Postsecondary learner Daraja shared how she has leveraged her social capital to advance through career pathways, “It is important for me to find the different professionals, teacher and mentors that I connect with on a personal level…someone that is in my corner and cares about me and my professional development.” Ultimately, it is important that state and local CTE leaders with the ability to influence CTE policy and programming leverage stakeholders from all levels, including learners. By these actions, state and local CTE leaders are taking every opportunity to advance CTE, particularly under the new shared vision, to ensure each learner achieves career success.” – Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate, Digital Media

“Beyond reconnecting with so many familiar faces, I always love the opportunity to hear from national researchers and partners about exciting or important work in the field, especially those that highlight inequities or illustrate how to better leverage the work we all do to support all learners. Timely research from Strada Education Network and the Urban Institute really demonstrated for me the importance of reaching out to learners at the margins of education, whether they are learners disrupted by the pandemic or learners who don’t have access to high quality postsecondary CTE due to gaps in technology access. At the same time, our members bring these learners to the forefront and are working to design CTE programs that are high-quality and equitable. I always leave our meetings excited about the future of CTE!” – Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate 

3. Building Community: Fall Meeting not only provided an engaging chat feature where attendees routinely shared ideas and celebrated their peers, but also featured two role-alike sessions where leaders networked by professional role, identity and stakeholder level. For the first time, leaders of color also had a dedicated space to connect.

“Advance CTE members are no strangers to virtual meetings, and yet no one felt like strangers to each other. The sense of community and camaraderie was apparent via warm “good to see you” chats and among presenters who were meeting for the first time or reconvening for the hundredth time in a breakout session. We know that members have missed being in person together, but I find encouragement and meaning in the Fall Meeting as a culmination of building a virtual community over the past two years.” – Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

“The highlight for me was watching our members shout out each other and other members of their team for their incredible work to advance high-quality and equitable CTE! It was heartening and refreshing to see so many old and new colleagues and peers recognize their fierce commitment to CTE and innovative practices for a wide array of policies, such as establishing standing up new advisement systems, expanding equitable early postsecondary opportunities, building local capacity for identifying and closing opportunities gaps, and recruiting and retaining a more diverse CTE workforce, to name a few! Our members are doing amazing work and I love seeing that work recognized and celebrated by their peers across the country.” – Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

4. Advancing CTE Without Limits and Exploring the Future of CTE: Fall Meeting was grounded in the five principles that comprise Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), and each series of breakout sessions sought to challenge the limits of state leaders to transform systems so that each learner can achieve success in the career of their choice. 

“Just seven months after CTE Without Limits was released, it was incredible to see how state CTE leaders are thinking about operationalizing the principles. I had the privilege of listening in on Lisa Stoner-Torbert’s session on Delaware’s PIPEline for career success program for learners with disabilities, which demonstrates how flexible career pathways, aligned funding and cross-sector partnerships can provide historically marginalized learners the means to succeed in their chosen career pathways.” – Austin Estes, Data & Research Manager

“Another standout moment was during the Ensuring Access to CTE for All Learners Through Equitable Recruitment and Admissions Requirements session. The speaker, Ms. Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Assistant State Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education, so eloquently shared the importance of diversity in advancing our vision for CTE through a visual “band” analogy. She explained the need to have “all instruments” represented in order to produce great music and how the lottery system in their state was not allowing for “all instruments” to have a chance to be part of the band. Her example provided the why behind the work as she shared policy and practices their state edited to create more equitable access to programs. The co-presenters for the session from the state of Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner and Elizabeth Bennett, Associate Commissioner of CCTE, also incorporated CTE Without Limits in their concrete examples of how they have revised state policy and law to create a path for all learners to be recruited and admitted in high-quality CTE programs in their state. 

It was great to hear and learn from state leaders and funders who believe and are invested in the CTE Without Limits vision. State leaders were inspired to innovate, be bold and take action to execute the vision without limits in their respective states.”  – Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

5. Connecting Federal Policy to State Action: Fall Meeting attendees had the opportunity to receive updates on the latest federal policies and supports from senior officials at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). 

“The highlight of the Fall Meeting for me was the opportunity to facilitate a discussion with DOL on the lasting effects of the pandemic on the labor force and the future of work. The discussion elevated the necessity for alignment across secondary, postsecondary and the workforce and the opportunity for CTE to bridge that alignment. It was clear that DOL is supportive of the work our members are conducting in all states. and that the administration wants to continue to fund initiatives that support the economic recovery of our nation and challenge our limits on innovative programming and learner engagement in high-quality career pathways.” – Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate  

If you were not able to attend the Fall Meeting, don’t worry – Advance CTE’s Spring Meeting is not too far away. Advance CTE is carefully considering the safety and needs of members as we determine the best format and capacity for this event, and more information will be coming soon. In the meantime, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center to access the reports, resources and tools shared during Fall Meeting. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Welcome Dr. Tunisha Hobson to Advance CTE!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Advance CTE welcomes Dr. Tunisha Hobson as State Policy Manager.  Dr. Hobson will support the New Skills ready network, an initiative under the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Global Career Readiness investment, while working to provide equitable opportunities for each learner. Dr. Hobson will manage and support the state policy team at Advance CTE; she will lead state policy strategy, overseeing efforts for providing technical assistance to states, track state policy and elevate best practices for high-quality, equitable career pathways under Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). 

Dr. Hobson is a native of Memphis, TN and earned a Bachelor in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Marketing, Master in Education Curriculum and Instruction, Education Specialist in Administration and Supervision, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Tennessee State University. She has almost two decades of experience working with students and educators in all levels of education within areas ranging from literacy improvement initiatives to Career Technical Education (CTE).

Dr. H, as she is affectionately called by colleagues and learners, has worked in charter and traditional public, urban and suburban districts serving as a school administrator, marketing teacher, CTE high school department chair, DECA advisor, work-based learning coordinator, and a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s work-based learning leadership council along with the textbook adoption panel. She is also a graduate of the Relay Graduate School Instructional Leadership Professional Development Program where she has gained experience in providing quality instructional leadership practices. Dr. H is an education advocate, specifically in the CTE realm, and has worked with Tennessee SCORE as a Fellow where she focused on strengthening work-based learning practices in Tennessee. Dr. H went on to become a regional lead within the fellowship program, supporting fellows along their advocacy journeys. Outside of the school building, Dr. H became a published author! Leveraging her career experiences, Dr. H released her book, Take Notes, This Is On the Test

Dr. H has traveled to five continents beyond North America and believes in expanding her cultural experiences while helping others. She enjoys traveling the world, watching sports, reading a good book, spending time with family and friends and documenting her journey. She is excited to join the Advance CTE team and continue supporting learning that works!

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Welcome Nithya Govindasamy to Advance CTE!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Advance CTE welcomes Nithya Govindasamy as a Senior Advisor. Nithya leads and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE), which includes: workforce development, education and equity initiatives; technical assistance for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), Stimulus Collaborative and the New Skills ready network; and Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. Nithya will also support national and state CTE leadership, policy, and implementation.

Nithya was born in Chennai, India and immigrated to Ohio in the early 90s with her family. She considers Ohio “the Buckeye State” to be home, but relocated to Dallas, Texas in 2016. 

Most recently, Nithya was the Director of Workplace Learning for P-TECH and Early College Programs (a CTE program) at Dallas Independent School District (ISD), where she was responsible for the design and implementation of workplace learning programming and activities districtwide. In this role, Nithya established partnerships with industry to prepare students and equip them with the skills and social capital needed to access in-demand careers. 

Before joining Dallas ISD, Nithya was the Dean of the Work Program at Paul Quinn College, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) located in southern Dallas, where she implemented the Urban Work College program model that integrated paid internships, pre-professional work experience and skill development as part of their academic degree for first-generation, minority college students.

Prior to relocating to Dallas, Nithya was the Assistant Deputy Chancellor of Higher Education & Workforce Initiatives at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). During her tenure at ODHE, she served on the Governor’s Workforce Transformation team and helped design and implement innovative workforce education programs to address employer critical skill needs in collaboration with the University System of Ohio.

Nithya completed higher education in Columbus, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-law/Political from Capital University and a Master of Science in Marketing and Communications from Franklin University. 

Throughout her career, she has worked collaboratively with industry, education and community leaders to develop and implement innovative workforce and career-focused education programs that connect employers with their future “qualified” workforce. She remains passionate about bridging economic opportunity and equity gaps for underrepresented populations.

“I believe that building mutually-beneficial public-private partnerships and career pathway programs are necessary to impact and drive meaningful systemic changes that address access and equity. I look forward to collaborating with you and advocating for increasing high-quality career technical education in all forms as it is the gateway to economic mobility for all learners.”- Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor, Advance CTE

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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RFP: States Advancing CTE Without Limits

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits
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CTE Without Limits Summer Lunch and Learn #5 Recap: Rethinking Challenges as Opportunities to Build CTE Without Borders

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

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

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

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

Key Themes 

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

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

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

Resources to Get Started 

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

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

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

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

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

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

  

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources, Webinars
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CTE Without Limits Summer Lunch and Learn #4 Recap: Knowledge Building and Transparency Key Themes for Implementing Fourth Vision Principle

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

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

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

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

Key Themes 

Recommendations for Implementation

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

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

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits
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Brave Dialogues to Advance CTE Without Limits

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources, Uncategorized
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Highlighting Equity in State Policy

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

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

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

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources
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Communicating CTE: Recruitment Through Social Media

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

In April 2021, Advance CTE released Communicating Career Technical Education: Learner-centered Messages for Effective Program Recruitment and updated resources on messages that resonate with families about the value and benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE) and how they should be communicated to each learner to achieve effective and equitable recruitment into secondary CTE programs.

Among the updated resources for states to leverage is Promoting Career Technical Education: Social Media Guide. Social media is an important communications tool that can be used by states and local CTE intermediaries to effectively recruit learners into high-quality CTE programs, build and strengthen relationships with industry, extend advocacy to reach policymakers and build a network with other audiences about the value and promise of CTE. 

Below are some of the key findings from Advance CTE’s recent research, as well as examples of how states used social media in response.

Participation in CTE increases satisfaction for families across all aspects of their education, but equity gaps exist in the levels of satisfaction reached in some aspects of CTE by historically marginalized groups.  

With a focus on recruitment and retention, it is important for learners and families of CTE to see success stories of individuals who look like them and share similar educational, racial, socio-economic, gender and geographic backgrounds.

Make an effort to provide an equitable lens across your content when sharing over social networks. Including learner photos that represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds, learner ages and learner needs is a great place to start. For example, the National Technical Student Association (TSA) used images of historically marginalized communities by race to recruit for the Technology Honor Society. 

The vast majority of parents and learners (78 percent of prospective families and 85 percent of current families) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration, but are more open to paths other than a four-year degree.

Families and learners both participating in and considering CTE highly value an education experience that allows learners to explore opportunities after high school that lead to college and career success. In this example, Utah used graphics of learners engaging in real-world skills training to promote its Auto Mechanics and Repairs career pathway. This is a way of demonstrating the connection from CTE courses, work-based learning settings and youth apprenticeship programs to career success.

Tag industry and workforce partners in your social media posts. They are more likely to share social content that directly includes them, increasing your post engagement. 

Across the board, CTE programs are most valued and attractive for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits that lead to college and career success. 

Using local examples can help explain the nuts and bolts of how CTE delivers success by making the connection between CTE and a specific career or industry, as well as highlighting partnerships with local colleges and employers that are recognizable to parents/guardians and learners.

For example, Jordan CTE localized its tweet by tagging the medical facility where learners were able to receive on-the-job training through their CTE experience and connect their passion to a career right in their community. 

While teachers, school counselors and CTE learners and alumni continue to be the sources most utilized by parents/guardians and learners for information about CTE, online sources also emerged as an important access point.

Wisconsin CTE showcased CTE to parents/guardians and learners by lifting up student success stories. One avenue to find compelling learner examples is to coordinate with statewide or local Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) and gather testimonials, photos and stories to share on social media. This tweet focused on a local learner success story to create human interest in CTE. To help expand the reach of this tweet, Wisconsin CTE used relevant hashtags and tagged the state CTSO and the university the learner was attending. This type of post is a great way to highlight CTE and the many ways CTE benefits learners. 

To understand more about the major social channels, how to create a compelling post, when to engage key audiences and how to build your CTE network, read the full social media guide here.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Communicating CTE
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