Posts Tagged ‘Data’

New Skills ready network Site Highlight: The Attainment Network Seeks to Scale Impact in Denver Statewide

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched the New Skills ready network across six U.S. sites to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways with a focus on collaboration and equity. As a national partner in the New Skills ready network, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities and gain a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country.

This blog series highlights innovative tools and initiatives produced across the six sites that advance the initiative’s four key priorities and serve as a guide for state leaders in their work to create cohesive, flexible and responsive career pathways.

Senior Policy Associate Haley Wing interviewed Rana Tarkenton and Therese Ivancovich of The Attainment Network. The Attainment Network connects partners and drives collaboration to build education-to-workforce systems that support every learner on their path to earning family-living wage employment and economic opportunities through education and skills training. This post highlights The Attainment Network’s contributions to the Denver site as well as their growing impact in the state of Colorado.

 

 

 

 

Background

The Attainment Network, formerly known as Denver Education Attainment Network (DEAN), was founded in 2014 as a direct response to persistent equity gaps in educational attainment and economic opportunity. The Attainment Network is transforming education-to-workforce systems, erasing persistent and pervasive equity gaps, expanding opportunities for learners and meeting the economic demands for a highly skilled and educated workforce.

The Network mobilizes K-12, postsecondary institutions, state agencies, local municipalities, nonprofit, business and learners to ignite and accelerate education-to-workforce systems change.  The Network serves a crucial role in providing strategic consulting, technical assistance, funding and connection to ensure a prioritized and sustained focus on learner-centered, career-connected experiences that strengthen regional and state talent pipelines. The Attainment Network also serves as the site lead for the New Skills ready network Denver site and has supported development and movement toward implementation of high-quality career pathways for learners. 

Vision for Success

The Attainment Network envisions an innovative education-to-workforce system that develops a diverse, talented workforce for current and future jobs, meets economic demands and sustains thriving communities. As The Network pursues this vision, their measure of success encompasses key evaluation questions embedded in equitable outcomes for learners. This includes measuring the number of diverse learners completing high-value credentials and receiving opportunities for high-wage, in-demand careers.

In support of their work to close equity gaps along career-connected pathways, The Attainment Network engages deeply with communities they serve. The team recognizes the importance and impact of learner and community voice. To that end, they have prioritized community engagement in the development of career-connected pathways, both within the New Skills work and beyond.

Unique Components of The Attainment Network

The team identified a need to provide high-level strategy, on-the-ground technical assistance and funding to support partners that are engaging in the education-to-workforce work. The team is especially well-equipped to leverage data, equity and collaboration to guide partners in informing policy and communications. When engaging with partners, The Attainment Network identifies and engages senior leadership and helps to set a shared vision for how multiple organizations work together. The organization also supports education and skills alignment by helping partners to identify the connecting points between education and skills training and how these components can be built into seamless programs of study and coordinated learner supports. 

The Attainment Network is leaning strongly into the learner voice and ensuring that learners are remaining centered in the work. The organization has launched a side-by-side community of practice of learners, as well as their Pathways Leadership Community of Practice. The organization will continue to add more learners to this group over time and in the next few months will have five to seven learners participating in this group. The problems of practice are driven by the needs of learners that arise in the community of practice, and learners will provide their own contemplation and feedback that will then be shared to inform decisions around policies and how programs move forward.

Within their communities of practice, The Attainment Network engages multiple types of organizations, both formal and informal partners, to elevate best practices in career-connected pathways and to problem solve for barriers to learner success. 

The Network prioritizes equity through their use of a data framework which also serves as an equity framework. The data framework was developed in collaboration with New Skills Denver partners and focuses specifically on learner subgroup populations and how those learners are progressing through pathways and into a career. These specific details allow the organization  to target strategies and solutions to close equity gaps. This work is currently being used in the Denver site for the New Skills ready network initiative and in other communities in Colorado as well.

The Attainment Network is also elevating work-based learning as an accelerator to help learners on their career journey. The organization’s investments in data with intentionality around how they work with partners to build capacity and alignment has been instrumental in the team’s learnings. For example, The Network now requires data-sharing agreements as a funding condition for all partnerships. 

New Skills ready network Impact

The success of the New Skills Denver partnership led to an opportunity to expand The Attainment Network’s impact beyond Denver. With its recent expansion to a statewide organization, The Attainment Network now has more resources to support the Denver New Skills ready network site because the organization has a statewide network and a larger footprint in the state of Colorado. The transition brings more focus to the New Skills site to further highlight important relationships and varied strategies the organization and its partners are leveraging in continuous development of high-quality career pathways for learners. 

The site’s success has allowed The Attainment Network to refine their strategies and highlight the impact of the organization’s approach and pathway strategy to expand to other communities. The investment from JPMorgan Chase in the New Skills ready network initiative helps solidify the value-add with partners and scale the framework to support broader work in the state of Colorado. In the coming years, the organization will help the Denver site to expand their reach by lifting up the work that is being achieved and eliminating policy barriers to learner success.

Visions for the Future

Looking ahead to 2023, The Attainment Network is focusing on streamlining data collection and utilization, building models that can be successfully replicated and leveraging statewide collaboration opportunities to scale impact. The Network is focusing on connecting career pathways data to wage data in order to understand how education and skills training are contributing to the promise of family living wage employment. As the organization expands to a replicable model, a cornerstone of the work will be centering alignment between policy and practice. The transition to a statewide focus opens opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas from Denver to other communities.

Additionally, The Attainment Network is entering phase two of  their Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) pilot, which demonstrated the value of K-12 ICAP data to learners and advisors during learners’ transition to postsecondary. The pilot will now be named the Student Transitions pilot. In phase one, the pilot was well-received by partners and the organization learned the usefulness of the data and the impact on the postsecondary advising sessions with learners. In phase two, the focus will be on scalability, streamlining the data sharing process and developing a “pathways indicator” to be included in student records. The organization plans to include opportunities for counselor/advisor professional development to increase the impact of the pilot across K-12 and postsecondary institutions.

For more information about initiatives being pursued by Denver and the five other sites that are part of the New Skills ready network, view Advance CTE’s Year Two snapshots.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Elevating the Story of Career Technical Education: June Meeting Series Day 3 Highlights

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

On June 22, Advance CTE hosted the third and final event in its three-part June Meeting Series. The day focused on the theme of “Elevate,” and offered knowledge about raising the profile of Career Technical Education (CTE), so that key stakeholders and the public support and engage with the field. 

The opening keynote session, “Breaking Through: Making CTE Resonate in a Noisy World,” was built around the fact that Americans are bombarded with thousands of messages a day, from advertising to social media to the news. That makes it difficult to build awareness of and support for CTE. The session provided insights on how to break through, by becoming expert storytellers, sharpening messaging and speaking directly to the issues that matter most. Panelists included Teresa Valerio Parrot, Principal of TVP Communications; Leslie Slaughter, Executive Advisor to the Office of Career & Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Education; and Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director of Advance CTE. 

Two key quotes from the panel included: 

The keynote session was followed by content-rich breakouts and discussions to build connections and knowledge. Each breakout session was aligned to one of the five foundational commitments of CTE Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education

Breakout highlights included:

“Quality: Maximizing Limited Time for Media Relations” elevated efficient methods to start and sustain meaningful relationships with local and regional media. Expert panelists included national reporters Derricke Dennis, Anchor and National Correspondent for ABC News, and Rebecca Koenig, Editor for EdSurge. Both encouraged attendees to understand the demands on journalists, and be mindful of their workflows when pitching stories.

“People are writing about education and others are writing about the workforce,” Koenig said, “but there is an opportunity to meet in the middle to tell stories about CTE.”

One practical tip Dennis offered: “Start your email subject line with the words ‘STORY IDEA.’” Something that simple can make him jump right to the email. 

He continued, “Real stories are worth repeating. CTE is really an American story which exists all around us!”

In “Systems Alignment: A View From the Hill: A Federal Policy Update,” attendees heard from an expert panel consisting of Advance CTE’s Policy Advisor, Steve Voytek, Dr. Alisha Hyslop of ACTE and José Miranda of the Associate of Community College Trustees. Topics ranged from current priorities in Congress to the midterm elections. 

Two key takeaways from the session included the effort to l extend Pell Grant eligibility to short-term workforce training programs is moving through Congress and there is likely to be an increase in the Perkins Basic State Grant funding.

In the breakout “Equity: Student Voices: What Clicks with Me,” secondary and postsecondary CTE learners shared how they learned about CTE, what it felt like/feels like to be a CTE learner, and barriers to full program participation and success. Panelists included Technology Student Association President Gowri Rangu, 2021-2022 Future Farmers of America Utah state officer Kenadee Stubbs and CTE alumni Kendall Brown from Alabama and Faith Lanzillo from New Hampshire. 

The panelists talked about overcoming the obstacles they faced and envisioned what we can do, as state leaders, to diversify and strengthen CTE enrollment.

The panelists agreed that mentorship is essential: they were able to see themselves in career paths through diverse ambassadors, learners and professionals, who helped them choose and stay on a career path. Some shared the obstacles they had to overcome, such as lengthy application processes and difficulty changing programs, but all expressed gratitude for having found a path to a fulfilling and rewarding career. 

“Public-Private Partnerships: Centering Equity to Address Our Talent Pipeline Shortages” focused on how industry needs to think differently about how they attract, hire and retain talent. Bridgette Gray and Kate Naranjo, leaders from Opportunity@Work, an organization committed to changing hiring practices across the nation, provided expert insights. Opportunity@Work is a strong advocate for  more skills-based hiring practices, a policy construct advocated for in CTE Without Limits. These practices have the benefit of broadening and diversifying the talent pool for the private and public sectors. Recently, the state of Maryland adopted a skills-based hiring strategy and can be a key tool to ensure a more equitable and diverse workforce. 

Skill-based hiring promotes hiring based on demonstrated competencies, lived experiences and credentials. Some years ago Advance CTE shifted its language in position description to allow for lived experience equivalency when assessing new candidates and position announcements do not generally list degree requirements. 

“Communicating With Data to Drive Policy and Practices and Inform Stakeholders” rounded out the breakout offerings. The session focused on the story CTE administrators are able to tell with data, which can invoke a sense of urgency in addressing the needs of learners and the economic ecosystem. Panelists included Josie Brunner, Data Strategist in the College, Career and Military Preparation Division at the Texas Education Agency; Scott U’Sellis, Data Manager at the Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education; and Brennan McMahon Parton, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign. 

“The average person is not going to go looking for nine different tools,” U’Sellis said. “You need one tool that gives them the answer they want. Ask people, is this interesting data to you, does this help you find what you really want to know?”

Brunner boldly asserted that the storytelling power of data is full of potential: “We need our data to say to learners that no matter where you are in your career journey, there’s a place for you,” she said. 

Taking a step back, the panelists agreed that there is always a human element to the data, and that’s what can make storytelling so powerful. When looking at data, they noted that it’s easy to forget that data points represent whole people who are so much more than the data that represent them.

Further learning ahead

More than 200 people from across the country tuned in to the three-part June Meeting Series. The event will be complemented by Advance CTE’s Virtual Learning Series, a year-round webinar sequence for the general public and members. We also recently announced our first large in-person gathering since the pandemic started, our Fall Meeting, which will take place in October 2022 (more details coming soon)! 

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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‘We Must Move Beyond Compliance’: Top Moments from Advance CTE June Meeting Series Day One!

Monday, June 13th, 2022

On June 8, Advance CTE held the first of three events that encompass our Virtual June Meeting Series. The series offers three opportunities to equip Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders with the latest research and innovations, empower them to succeed, and elevate their work to raise awareness of the value of CTE. 

The first week ‘s sessions centered around the theme EQUIP: Building Our Capacity to Lead With A Focus On Quality and Equity. Attendees heard from inspiring keynote speaker Drexell Owusu, Chief Impact Officer for the Dallas Foundation, followed by content-rich breakouts and discussions to build connections and knowledge. Each breakout session was aligned to one of the five foundational commitments of CTE Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education

Keep reading for top moments and quotes from the day! 

Keynote: Pursuing Next-Level Collaboration to Jumpstart Systems Change

(We are in) a game of influence. I can’t tell an employer what to do … and I can’t tell my school district, or city, or county what to do. This is all about making the case for change through data management and influence through relationships.” – Drexell Owusu 

Dallas Foundation Chief Impact Officer Drexell Owusu was candid about the equity and quality of life challenges facing residents of Dallas. However, he was equally optimistic about the role that CTE can have in providing high-quality pathways to maximize recent economic growth and increase the number of young adults achieving a living wage to 50 percent within one generation. He identified five strategies that comprise the Dallas Thrives initiative to achieve this goal. 

Taking Dallas’ learnings and applying them to a state audience, Owusu shared that state CTE leaders are crucial in using existing convening levers to connect systems and share information; bringing and keeping employers and staff beyond the CEO at the table; providing capacity to analyze and share data; and “democratizing” information about CTE programs.

 

Data Breakout: Developing Data Policies and Procedures to Monitor, Evaluate and Improve Postsecondary CTE Programs

So much data use is focused on compliance and descriptive analysis. That’s not all that actionable. We can do so much more to deepen analysis if we make the time and space.” – Miriam Greenberg 

Miriam Greenberg, Director of the Strategic Data Project at the Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research, shared their Strategic Data Project CTE Diagnostic Tool as a means to evaluate current data components and how that data is being used. Montana State CTE Director Jacque Treaster shared how their state team leveraged Advance CTE’s Opportunity Gap Analysis Workshop to transform their professional development, cross-team collaboration and staff structure to create a data-informed culture. 

Equity Breakout: Equity in Education: Building Inclusive, Equitable, and Responsive CTE Programs

In the 1980s, we heard  a lot about diversity. We still have a challenge there. But we realized it’s not simply getting folks around the table or in the classroom. It’s also ensuring that those who are there are fully engaged, are welcomed and have the opportunity to use all their skills and talents.” – Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden 

Advance CTE’s Equity Coach, Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, led a nuanced and timely discussion on today’s challenges in conducting meaningful equity work. She guided attendees on the differences between equity and equality and emphasized the crucial triangle of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Lane Community College Director of High School School Connections and Advance CTE-ECMCF Fellow Justin Chin led an illuminating presentation on Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) learners and their unique assets and barriers to achieving college and career success. In particular, he focused on how the ‘Model Minority Myth’ and the concept of social capital impact this this population’s perception of CTE, and provided culturally responsive strategies to help these learners see themselves in CTE.

Public-Private Partnerships Breakout: Cultivating Public-Private Partnerships to Maximize Learner Access, Social Capital and Opportunity

“We quickly realized that we need to bring people to help speak to students in a way they understand and connect with. That’s part of the shifting that industry and adapting that we had to do to make. We had to personalize the experience for the students.” – Gabe Madison 

Thomson Reuters Director of Community Relations Gabe Madison shared an industry perspective on strategies that states can pursue to help employers personalize their interactions with learners and maximize feedback loops, such as convening industry leaders organized by sectors to gather feedback on program design. She also broke down Thomson Reuter’s partnership Dallas Independent School District (ISD) P-Tech program and their focus on helping learners explore careers and build social capital. 

 

Quality Breakout: Designing Learner-Centered Career Navigation and Support Structures for Marginalized Learners

[Our institution] is driven by five lenses: student focus, success focus, future focus, work focus and community focus.– Deanna Strauss Hersko 

Lorain County Community College Manager of Career Technical Pathways & Programs Deanna Strauss Hersko framed improving CTE program quality as a focus on five lenses and tailoring supports to meet both learners and staff where they are. She provided a rich breakdown of institution-level supports, such as the Careers by Design badge to support each learner in exploring careers, reducing barriers to participating in CTE programs and informing learners on education options. 

Ohio Department of Education Program Administrator Catherine Allen shared the state’s innovative approaches to building cohesive and responsive career preparation ecosystems that engage all stakeholders. This includes a tax incentive pilot for employers to expand work-based learning experiences and a program quality focus group that is exploring innovative CTE delivery models. 

Systems Alignment Breakout: Systems Alignment that Benefits Learners Through Collaboration and Coordination of Federal Policy

“We recognize this work cannot happen overnight but will require a shared commitment and shared ownership among our leaders ….across education, workforce development, industry and philanthropy. Only together – through persistence, resilience, bravery, boldness, and commitment – can we realize the possibility and aspiration of a new career preparation ecosystem that provides each learner with limitless opportunities.”  – CTE Without Limits

Systems alignment is a seemingly elusive yet long-sought after goal among federal education and workforce programs. New America Senior Policy Advisor Lul Tesfai and National Governors Association Program Director Amanda Winters shared best practices from states like Arizona, Indiana, and Pennsylvania and others that have leveraged funds provided through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to meet complex learner and worker needs through multiple systems and programs. In particular, they encouraged centering decisions and investments on the needs of learners and workers and including their voices in system redesign. Advance CTE has the following related resources available: Coordinating across WIOA and Perkins and State Uses of ARP Funds.

It is not too late to register for the remaining Empower and Elevate session of the June Meeting Series, scheduled for June 15 and June 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET, respectively. Visit the June Meeting Series event webpage to view the full agenda and to register. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Meetings and Events
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Translating Insights to Action: Using Data to Identify and Address CTE Opportunity Gaps

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

State and local leaders should always center equity when making decisions related to Career Technical Education (CTE) to ensure that each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. This approach is called using an equity lens. But without access to reliable, comprehensive and disaggregated data, it can be challenging to understand when and where equity gaps occur.

To help state and local leaders better access and understand their data, Advance CTE developed a suite of tools — including a dynamic and customizable dashboard — that can be used to facilitate a comprehensive CTE opportunity gap analysis process. After more than a year of development and piloting, Advance CTE is accepting applications for a Train-the-Trainer workshop on conducting an opportunity gap analysis in September. Registration for the training program closes this Thursday, August 12.

Opportunity Gap Analysis Dashboard ScreenshotThe CTE opportunity gap analysis training was piloted last summer in partnership with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Minnesota is organized into 26 consortia to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), each representing the community or technical college and school districts in their service area. Each consortium sent secondary and postsecondary representatives to the pilot workshop.

The training was conducted in two parts. In the first session, participants learned about the CTE opportunity gap analysis process, a four-step, inquiry-based process to unearth, prioritize and address the most urgent CTE opportunity gaps.

Reflective Approach to Equity in CTEIn the second session, participants reviewed their own dashboards — which they prepared in advance with data from the state office — in order to identify learner subgroups that were over- or under-represented across different CTE programs compared to the overall learner population. Participants used a fishbone diagram to identify and map underlying root causes and reviewed intervention strategies and supporting evidence to target recruitment, enrollment and inclusivity of diverse learner populations in CTE. Using this information, they began to develop equity-focused action plans. The workshop, which was aligned with Minnesota’s Perkins V professional development series, was designed to help participants center equity in their Perkins V applications and action plans.

One lesson participants learned from the workshop is that too much data can be overwhelming. The dashboard helped local district and college leaders focus their attention on the data that matters the most and use that data to glean insights and take action.

Next month, Advance CTE is offering the CTE opportunity gap analysis training to state CTE leaders, free of charge. Selected participants will receive a five-hour training, access a suite of materials, and conduct their own opportunity gap analysis process in their own states. A stipend and technical support will be provided to support implementation.

The registration deadline is this Thursday, August 12. Applicants should be state CTE leaders with responsibility and influence over Perkins V administration, program design and approval, equity and inclusion, special populations, methods of administration and/or CTE data. Learn more at https://careertech.org/opportunity-gap and direct questions to Austin Estes at aestes@careertech.org.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By admin in Advance CTE Resources
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Improving CTE Data Quality: Information is Relevant, Timely and Disaggregated

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Career Technical Education (CTE) stakeholders — including families, employers and local practitioners at the secondary and postsecondary levels — need access to relevant and timely data to make informed decisions when it matters. For all the data CTE leaders collect, processing, cleaning and sharing relevant information can take a year or more, making it far less useful for practitioners on the ground. State leaders should ensure that information is relevant, timely and disaggregated so that stakeholders can understand and act on the data. This requires states to provide a comprehensive view of their career readiness system; differentiate reports by user; make data available when it matters; and disaggregate data by population, program and institution.

To improve the relevance and timeliness of CTE data, North Dakota created a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) that feeds data into public and internal data dashboards on a daily basis through PowerSchool, a data management system that all public school districts use to collect data on attendance, grades and other metrics. North Dakota’s postsecondary institutions also upload their data to the state’s SLDS, allowing for linkages between the K-12 and postsecondary sectors. These data dashboards provide stakeholders with timely information that they can use to make important education, career and policy decisions. 

The SLDS currently includes data on K-12 student demographics, attendance and enrollment, assessment performance, CTE participation, graduation and dropout rates, historical grades, and college and career readiness. The SLDS also includes postsecondary data on student enrollment, courses, performance, demographics and graduation rates. Workforce data such as wage and employment information are fed into the SLDS by Job Service North Dakota, the state’s workforce development agency. North Dakota’s SLDS also collects data on CTE participation, concentration and completion rates along with credential attainment. Soon, the SLDS will include data on work-based learning completion.

Through a public dashboard tool called Insights, policymakers, agencies, researchers and the general public can access data on preparation and outcomes for education and workforce training programs and use that data to make informed decisions. The reports generated on Insights are user friendly and easily accessible to the general public. Examples of reports and data that users can explore on Insights include the demand for a particular occupation, the average salary of that occupation, the CTE program of study that could lead to a career in that occupation, and which institutions offer that program.

The SLDS also provides data to the North Dakota Education Portal, a set of dashboards available to public school teachers and administrators that provide information on metrics such as predicted learner outcomes, high school and college readiness and historical learner data. The North Dakota Department of Education and its public postsecondary institutions have access to internal data on the North Dakota Education Portal, with levels of access differentiated by user. Additionally, the portal provides learners and families direct services such as access to transcripts and the ability to send transcripts to any postsecondary institution in the state or participating in the National Student Clearinghouse, thereby making applying to those institutions easier. High school students are also able to apply to North Dakota postsecondary institutions for dual credit enrollment and complete some first-year applications online through the student portal.

North Dakota’s SLDS and data dashboards equip stakeholders, including local CTE practitioners, to make data-informed decisions when it matters by providing data in a way that is timely, relevant and actionable.

Read the Advance CTE Case Study North Dakota: Data Dashboards to learn more about how North Dakota’s data dashboards have helped to foster a data- and information-rich culture throughout the state. For additional resources on improving the quality and use of career readiness data, check out the Career Readiness Data Quality microsite

This is the fifth edition in a series of Advance CTE data quality blogs to accompany Advance CTE’s latest releases, Career Readiness Data Quality and Use Policy Benchmark Tool and Data Quality Case Studies. For more resources on data and accountability in CTE, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Staff Reflections from 2021 Spring Meeting Part 3: Celebrations and Challenges in Advancing Equity in CTE

Friday, April 30th, 2021

This post offers reflections from Advance CTE staff on key equity themes from our 2021 Spring Meeting. Visit Advance CTE’s Resource Center for additional resources on equity and access, career advisement and data and accountability. 

Using Data to Identify and Close Opportunity Gaps in Career Technical Education (CTE) Advance Equity in CTE

This year marked my fourth Advance CTE Spring Meeting, but it was not a typical spring meeting by any means. The backdrop of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was present throughout, not just in the technology and virtual set up, but also in the conversations and session topics. The past year has thrown into stark relief the inequities across race, ethnicity, gender identity and socioeconomic status that have long been present in CTE. From the plenary panels down to breakout sessions and networking discussions, the question on top of everyone’s mind was how can we improve equity in CTE during and beyond the pandemic?

I had the pleasure of partnering with Jeralyn Jargo and Robb Lowe from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system office on a presentation about data and equity in CTE. Last year, Advance CTE worked with Minnesota to develop and conduct a multi-part workshop with consortium leaders — who represent both secondary and postsecondary CTE — to identify and act on opportunity gaps in their data. We worked with consortium leaders to develop data dashboards, conduct a root cause analysis, and review and select evidence-based strategies for action. As a result of the workshops, one consortium is now working on a pilot program to recruit Black men into the teaching profession, targeting a critical shortage of diverse educators. Later this year, Advance CTE plans to roll out the workshop training to its broader membership to help CTE leaders understand how to identify and address opportunity gaps in their own data.

Austin Estes, Data and Research Manager

 

Brave Dialogues for Equity in CTE 

As someone driven by equity in education, I was very excited that my first Advance CTE Spring Meeting was focused on equity in CTE. I had the opportunity to lead a workshop on facilitating brave dialogues in CTE. Brave dialogues encourage participants to be courageous and show vulnerability to engage in conversations focused on race and racism. These conversations are always important, but even more so today considering that issues related to systemic racism have dominated the national discourse over the past year. Within CTE, state leaders are anxious to address opportunity gaps that have long persisted in CTE along with tackling stigmas associated with CTE given its history of tracking marginalized learner groups into low-quality vocational programs. To address opportunity gaps and CTE stigmas, state leaders need to create the space for brave dialogues.

In the equity workshop, state CTE leaders shared challenges to engaging in brave dialogues within their state. Some common challenges include a hesitancy to acknowledge or confront CTE’s history with systemic racism or not having the language or resources to confidently speak about the challenges facing historically marginalized learners. In other cases, leaders are engaging in these conversations but are unsure of what actions to take in order to address equity related challenges. To support state CTE leaders, Advance CTE is developing an equity discussion guide to support these conversations. Built around a critical self-reflection framework, the guide supports state CTE leaders in helping their staff and local practitioners in building awareness of their own values, assumptions and biases; knowledge of how learner identities can impact their experience in CTE programs; and skills to apply their awareness and knowledge into equitable policy and practice. The equity discussion guide, due to be released in early summer 2021, will be accompanied by training workshops to support state CTE leaders in facilitating these brave dialogues. 

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

 

Leading with an equity lens 

This year was my first Advance CTE Spring Meeting and first ever virtual conference experience. This past year highlighted the inequities that continue to exist in CTE, education and workforce development and has left states with many questions about how to best increase equity in their CTE programs. 

Many of the sessions at Spring Meeting had an emphasis on the importance of increasing equity in CTE. My session, Leading with an equity lens, specifically went into depth about this topic and how to apply an equity lens so that all state CTE decisions, policies and practices attend to the individualized needs of learners and tackle systemic and institutional barriers to success. 

This session featured Jacque Treaster, Director of Dual Enrollment and Career & Technical Education, Montana University System and Jennell Ives, Director of Secondary Postsecondary Transitions, Oregon Department of Education who led participants through their work to improve CTE data systems and examine state policies and practices to ensure learners of all ages, races, genders and abilities are positioned for lifelong success.

When asked to share their equity successes, states mentioned creating a diversity, equity & inclusion group at the state level to offer professional development to state department of education employees and schools; emphasizing equity in legislation as a driver while also addressing it in the CLNA applications; and using special populations data to drive program and funding decisions. 

Despite these promising strategies, many equity challenges still remain for states, including challenges with hiring personnel representative of the learner population, how to best use data in decision-making and how to get others on board with seeing equity as an important state issue. 

Next, Jacque spoke about Montana’s work with their data to try and break down where their American Indian, rural, and economically disadvantaged learners are taking postsecondary courses and which program areas they are most likely to enroll in to ensure these populations are entering high-wage, high-skill career pathways. They are hoping that by continuing to take a closer look at the data, they will be in a better position to figure out where to pool more resources for those students.

Jennell then presented on Oregon’s equity work and how the support from the Governor and other top agencies in the state to focus on antiracism in education has encouraged a focus on identifying inequities in their data and stakeholder feedback, collaborating directly with communities and learners impacted directly by CTE decisions and creating an internal review process to check their work for an equity and antiracism lens.

Although there is still much work to be done, hearing from these speakers about their state’s approaches to equity left the audience with tangible ideas to further incorporate equity into their own work and priorities.

Christina Koch, Policy Associate

 

Advancing Equity Through Research Initiatives

In my first year as an Advance CTE staff member, I was excited to hear from a wide range of experts and panelists in our first virtual spring meeting. Despite the modified format, each person celebrated the successes our community has achieved this past year and highlighted obstacles and barriers that we have acknowledged and worked through. Through each of the panels and presentations, I heard a common theme of ensuring equitable access and participation from minoritized and marginalized populations. 

One presentation I moderated was a conversation with state and local leaders based on Advance CTE research regarding the importance of area technical centers (ATCs)- CTE-focused, non-degree granting institutions that often bridge the gap between secondary and other postsecondary institutions. Our research illustrated the role that ATCs could play, especially in post-secondary attainment, upskilling and reskilling as largely open-access, low-cost program options. A significant portion of the conversation focused on the unique opportunity these institutions have of increasing access to CTE programming for all learners. Both speakers highlighted how their institutions work to improve outcomes for minoritized groups and celebrate the diverse perspectives that come with recruitment and retention of a variety of populations.

Despite the research focus on equity for these institutions, and on equity in other sessions, it was also clear there is still work to be done. Each panelist I heard speak on equity offered challenges about centering equity as a key component of our work to ensure that each learner, regardless of race or background, can access CTE. For area technical centers, one particular challenge highlighted by speakers was the difficulty in recruitment and retention practices for marginalized groups. In future research initiatives, it is vital that we examine our data with an equity lens, asking probing questions about what it means for practices, policy, and programs to be equitable. We also plan to specifically feature best practices that elevate equity as a core component. While these steps will work towards our goal of highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion in each of our research initiatives, it is vital we continue to have conversations, like those held regularly at our Spring Meeting, to ensure that equity is not just highlighted, but celebrated.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate 

 

Advancing Equity Through Career Advisement 

At this year’s Spring Meeting, equity was explored through a variety of lenses. My session facilitated a conversation on our vision to empower students to navigate their career journey through career advisement, featuring panelists from the Washington State Workforce Board and the Arkansas Department of Education discussing best practices to provide dedicated supports to historically marginalized populations. 

Sonja Wright-McMurray, the Senior Associate Director of the Division of Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the Arkansas Department of Education shared about one opportunity in Arkansas that aligned equity with career advisement systems, the College and Career Coach program. The College and Career Coach Component is designed to motivate and support Arkansas students and adults achieve their goals as it relates to college and career planning through intensive hands-on, programs and services. As part of the application process the state requires applicants to pay close attention or give “high priority” to students who are classified as “Special Populations”, as defined by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

At the time the state was looking to launch their career coach program, Arkansas was also engaged in the development of a statewide partnership with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, which created collaborative relationships with agencies supporting special education, transition services and rehabilitation services. As a result, the state pushed all Career Coach programs to provide targeted services to students with disabilities as well as at least two other special population categories. 

The insights shared by the panelists reinforce the importance of collaboration to address learner needs as well as strong accountability processes for local systems to document equity-focused reforms and processes.. As state leaders continue their work on aligning career advisement systems I am excited to see how they integrate equity throughout the continuum. 

Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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Resetting Perkins V Performance Levels: A Q&A with the Michigan Department of Education

Friday, February 19th, 2021

In 2020 the Michigan Department of Education began the process of revising its State Determined Performance Levels (SDPLs) for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. This blog post features a discussion with Dr. Jill Kroll, Supervisor for the Grants, Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, and Dr. Yincheng Ye, Research Consultant, at the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education.

Michigan is one of the first states to make adjustments to its Perkins V SDPLs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Can you explain what changes you are proposing and why? 

We are proposing to reduce our SDLP for 3S1—Secondary Post-Program Placement from 95 percent to 75 percent for 2020-2021 and to 80 percent for 2021-2022, returning it to the original SDLP of 95 percent in 2022-2023.

Our reasoning for requesting this change is that we expect that student placement in both employment and continuing education will be adversely affected by the pandemic. This is based on a review of employment projections from the University of Michigan, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, and research reports and other reports indicating a reduction in postsecondary enrollment, especially among first-year college students and low-income students.

We also requested and received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for reporting the academic indicators 2S1 and 2S2 because our state did not administer the 11th grade tests in Spring 2020, which will affect the data for students graduating in Spring 2021. We are awaiting the decision on the Spring 2021 assessments. If our state receives a waiver for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the waiver will also apply for Perkins (Our state already had a waiver from reporting the Science indicator 2S3 because we have a new assessment).

We did not feel that we needed a waiver for our indicator of program quality, 5S1—Attained Recognized Postsecondary Credential because our SDPL was already set quite low in our state plan due to the fact that we will be phasing in approval of credentials over several years. This info page for our State Board of Education and for public comment summarizes the proposed changes and includes citations for our evidence.

With conditions changing so rapidly under the Coronavirus pandemic, projecting data over the next few years can be like trying to hit a moving target. How were you able to make these projections work?

We were lucky that the University of Michigan produces solid quarterly economic and employment projections. We participated in several webinars beginning in Spring 2020 on the economic impact of the pandemic so we were aware of the resources available. We felt that it was important to follow procedure and propose reduced SDPLs where appropriate, and take the proposed levels for public comment, even if we had to base the proposed levels on estimated impact.

How are you explaining to the public why Michigan’s SDPLs need to be adjusted? 

We cited the available data. We found, during the initial public comment period for our Perkins V state plan, that stakeholders and the public were very receptive as long as we provided our reasoning for our recommendations, so we anticipate the same will be true for our proposed modifications. Here is what we have listed on the info sheet for public comment:

Both employment and postsecondary enrollment have been negatively influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. The Post-program Placement indicator needs to be adjusted to reflect these impacts.

States have to go through the same public comment process to adjust their SDPLs as when they first developed their Perkins V plans. How has this process been similar or different to the original public comment period? 

We are following the same process as we did for our Perkins V state plan, presenting the proposal to stakeholder groups, taking the recommendations out for virtual public hearings, and publicizing the public comment opportunity through an online survey on our website. We also had to present to our State Board of Education prior to the public comment period and will have to present to them again after public comment, including the public comments.

What advice would you give states that are considering whether or not to change their Perkins V SDPLs? 

My advice would be to continue to regularly review the data related to each of the indicators. If it appears that the pandemic (or any other unanticipated circumstance) may affect the state’s ability to meet the SDLPs, develop a timeline for revising the SDLPs and then do it. I think it is important that school districts feel that the SDLPs are fair and reasonable and if they are unattainable due to circumstances outside the control of the districts and/or colleges they lose their value as engines of program improvement. I also think it is important for state offices to do our due diligence to maintain the faith and trust of our educators, districts, colleges and the public.

My other recommendation is to plan, plan, plan. A timeline is critical. As soon as we realized we needed to revise our SDLP we did two things. First, we contacted the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at USED to verify that we could adjust the SDPL and to get the deadline for submitting the adjustment. Contact information for OCTAE Perkins Regional Coordinators is listed here. Second, we immediately worked out a timeline (this was in August) and quickly realized how long the process would take, with two State Board Meetings required as part of the process. It was only because we worked out the timeline so early that we will be able to make the OCTAE deadline for revising state plans and SDPLs on May 21.

Today, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education released Mitigating Unanticipated Circumstances: Resetting Perkins V State Determined Performance Levels During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a guide to help states revise their Perkins V SDPLs. Dr. Kroll served on the workgroup that helped produce the guide.

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE, Publications, Resources
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State of CTE: Data Quality in Perkins V State Plans

Monday, February 8th, 2021

In an education and workforce landscape that is more complex than ever, quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programming provides learners with experience and skills that can lead to high-value jobs and lifelong success. The passage of the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) pushed states to improve quality and increase equity within their CTE systems, including setting higher expectations for how states are using data about CTE programs to understand the outcomes of learners they serve. In October 2020, Advance CTE released “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of States’ Perkins V Priorities,” which examines how states have leveraged the opportunities created by the updated law to meet their CTE goals, including whether states have prioritized investments in data to ensure that they can answer priority questions and measure progress toward those goals. While many states are making improvements to CTE data, more can be done to ensure that these efforts result in meaningful information for all stakeholders.

Perkins V Creates A Foundation for Better Data Practices.

Perkins V puts greater emphasis on the importance of data as a core element of good policy-making, including: 

States should embrace and thoughtfully implement all of these activities and continue to go beyond what is outlined in the law to enhance the quality and availability of CTE data, and to build trust and fuel the feedback loops that help demonstrate program efficacy. With better information, leaders, practitioners and learners will have the capacity and confidence to make data-informed decisions that result in better outcomes. 

States Are Taking Steps to Improve the Availability and Usability of CTE Data.

Based on Advance CTE’s analysis of state Perkins V plans, a number of states are prioritizing data in their implementation of Perkins, including:      

Key Innovations

The Work Ahead

Many states are embracing the opportunities afforded to them under the new law, yet more work lies ahead. Improving CTE data affects not only the field of CTE, but the full education to workforce (P-20W) ecosystem within a state with which CTE is interconnected. As states plan for next steps when it comes to investing CTE resources, they should:

Resources

Christina Koch, Policy Associate
Jane Clark, Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign 

 

By admin in Public Policy, Research
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Challenges & Opportunities to Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Reflections from the PAYA Data Work Group

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Apprenticeship in the United States is an under-utilized but promising education and employment strategy — particularly for youth whose connections to college and paid work are even more tenuous due to the COVID-19 economic crisis. In 2018, New America launched the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), a national network of partners (including Advance CTE), states, local intermediaries and philanthropies to define and scale up high-quality youth apprenticeships nationwide. In just a couple short years, the network has made incredible progress, sowing the seeds for future programs.

But through all of this work, data quality has emerged as a persistent challenge for states as well as local intermediaries. Improving the quality and availability of youth apprenticeship data can help PAYA network partners evaluate program quality, address gaps in equitable access and outcomes, and make the case for further investment in youth apprenticeship. But building the infrastructure to collect, validate, warehouse and analyze youth apprenticeship data can be costly and time intensive. 

To dig deeper into this challenge, Advance CTE and New America organized a practitioner workgroup on youth apprenticeship data quality in early 2020. The workgroup met several times throughout 2020 to discuss the following questions: 

The workgroup’s conclusions are summarized in a new report, Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities. The report addresses five challenges with improving youth apprenticeship data quality and several promising strategies to mitigate data roadblocks: 

  1. Determining what to measure: Some states have taken the guesswork out of data collection by establishing statewide business rules for collecting youth apprenticeship information. But in others, local intermediaries are left to their own devices, leading to inconsistencies in how youth apprenticeship data is collected. State and local leaders should work to develop and adopt consistent definitions and business rules for collecting for youth apprenticeship data. 
  2. Clarifying roles and responsibilities: Another challenge is clarifying who is collecting what data in the first place. Because youth apprenticeship involves partnerships across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems — with state agencies, intermediary organizations and employers in the mix — clarifying roles and responsibilities for collecting and sharing data early on is important. Local intermediaries can coordinate this process, ensuring all partners are aware of their responsibilities. 
  3. Building the infrastructure: Collecting and warehousing data can require costly technology. Building out an entire data system before launching a new youth apprenticeship program might not be feasible, but state and local leaders should establish systems and processes at the beginning that can be scaled easily. They can also leverage existing systems — such as student information systems housed at the school district or college — or develop new tools to minimize the data collection burden on educators and employers. 
  4. Accessing data: Privacy rules, data transfer limitations and incompatible data systems can, at times, limit access to data for youth apprenticeship participants. To ensure that all relevant partners can access the data they need, intermediary organizations should establish data sharing agreements that specify what information will be shared and in what format as well as the process and frequency for sharing this information. States can facilitate this process by developing local data sharing templates and demystifying rules and regulations for data sharing. 
  5. Scaling and sustaining: Finally, the workgroup elevated challenges with bringing data collection processes to scale as youth apprenticeship programs expand statewide. State leaders play an important role in supporting the sustainability and scale of youth apprenticeship programs by streamlining data collection processes, integrating youth apprenticeship data into existing state databases, providing sustainable funding, and offering professional development opportunities to build the capacity of frontline actors. 

 

Data is rarely among the first priorities in setting up a new youth apprenticeship program, but it should be. With reliable and valid youth apprenticeship data, states and local intermediaries can help scale quality programs that expand college and career options for high school students and meet the training needs of employers and industry.. The report Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities outlines the most common barriers to improving youth apprenticeship data quality and provides actionable recommendations for states and local intermediaries to strengthen the reliability, validity and use of their data. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

By admin in Publications, Resources
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How States Are Pushing the Envelope on Postsecondary CTE Data Quality

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Advance CTE Announces New State-led Initiative

Even before the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in 2018, nearly every State CTE Director said that improving the quality and use of CTE data was a top priority in their state. Now, with Perkins V implementation fully underway and COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting education delivery, it is more important than ever for states to have access to high-quality, actionable CTE data. 

In this environment, Advance CTE is excited to announce the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI), generously supported by the ECMC Foundation. Through the initiative, five grantees will receive grant funding, technical assistance and access to a national peer learning network to examine critical problems of practice and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality and use of postsecondary CTE data. Participating states and agencies include: 

Each of the five grantees is well positioned to either accelerate existing work around CTE data quality or push the envelope in new and creative ways. Alabama aims to improve the accuracy of postsecondary CTE enrollment data through the use of its new P20W data system. Delaware strives to implement a new performance accountability model to enhance data linkages and expand access to postsecondary career pathways statewide. Florida is focusing on developing new data models and collection procedures for postsecondary work-based learning programs. The District of Columbia will maximize peer and specialist support to advance its postsecondary CTE data system, which is in its early stages. Oregon will focus on improving data collection and sharing to monitor outcomes for learners in short-term credentialing programs, particularly groups severely impacted by the Coronavirus.  

Over the next two years, grantees will work together as a peer learning network to develop, test and scale innovative strategies. Throughout the initiative, Advance CTE will share promising practices and lessons learned with the field through a series of blogs, webinars, presentations, publications and tools. 

Data is a powerful tool to improve equity and access and strengthen program quality. But it takes leadership and a coordinated strategy to make data work for learners. Advance CTE is excited to work with these states through the PDI to push the envelope on postsecondary CTE data quality. To learn more about the PDI, visit https://careertech.org/initiatives

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research 

By admin in Advance CTE Announcements
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