Posts Tagged ‘Equity and Access’

“The Trail Shouldn’t End”: Top Moments from Advance CTE June Meeting Series Day Two!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

On June 15, Advance CTE held the second of three events in 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 week’s sessions centered around the theme EMPOWER: Strengthening Our Capacity to Realize CTE Without Limits. Attendees delved into processes to build better state systems with a keynote presentation from Rhode Island Department of Education Chief Innovation Officer Spencer Sherman, 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 quotes and resources from the day! 

Keynote: Innovating by Working Together: Strategic Impact through Systems Alignment

“When a student graduates high school, the trail shouldn’t end. Right now you have to cut down trees and jump over a rock to get to the next trail [to college and career]. We need to [design systems] so that students don’t get lost along the way.” – Spencer Sherman 

The keynote opened with a welcome message from Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angelica Infante-Green, who shared her personal story and commitment to serving learners of all abilities and how the nation’s smallest state is expanding access to CTE for differently-abled learners. 

Rhode Island’s Chief Innovation Officer, Spencer Sherman, then shared a deep dive on the state’s approach to systems alignment through the PrepareRI initiative and how it improved outcomes for learners including a tripled increase in the number of graduates with college credit or industry-recognized credentials. Sherman shared organization models that acknowledge the current top-down approach of many states while also illustrating how collaboration and communication can be created across both systems and leadership levels. 

Sherman  emphasized the importance of engaging middle-level managers and staff and designing processes for community organizations to align initiatives with one other in addition to engaging with government. Throughout the presentation, he reminded attendees that these improvements should be designed to last beyond any one person. He also centered these improvements around the pursuit of improving learner outcomes and creating seamless transitions to postsecondary and career paths, as illustrated in the quote above. Additional resources on Rhode Island’s governing structures can be found in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Data Breakout: Building a Culture of Data 

Two states participating in the Postsecondary Data Initiative led by Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation were highlighted in a breakout focused on how to leverage human and infrastructure capital to create data-informed and data-driven systems. 

Peter Plourde, Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Development for the Office of Academic Affairs at the University of the District Columbia Community College and Kelly Zinck, Education Team Research Analyst, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming environment where state CTE staff can get comfortable understanding small amounts of data and building up, as well as feel comfortable asking questions to build knowledge. Attendees were provided three strategies of “Identify,” “Educate” and “Build Trust” to open the black box of data. 

Equity: Maximizing the Potential of Equity-centered CTE Programs

“I want to applaud you for your efforts and affirm the work you’re doing. I want to remind you to work hard and take things one bite at a time. Do not lose faith and know that what you are doing is going to make a difference, even if you don’t see a return on investment right away”  – Dr. China Wilson 

CAST Research Scientist Dr. Amanda Bastoni and Maryland Equity and Civil Rights Specialist Dr. China Wilson teamed up to provide impactful insights on how to leverage data through public-facing resources and policy via Universal Design Learning to maximize equity in CTE programs. Dr. Wilson shared how Maryland’s state staff empowers local CTE leaders and families to understand and use data through their Maryland CTE Data platform and Equity Professional Learning Series. Dr. Bastoni used the example of a ramp at the back of a school to emphasize that state leaders should proactive design programs and supports with equity and accessibility at the forefront, not as a retrofit. 

Dr. Wilson affirmed the tough but important journey state CTE leaders are taking in tackling this work, and reminded attendees that each step no matter how small is progress. 

Public-Private Partnerships Breakout: Developing Effective Partnerships with the Private Sector for Work-based Learning

Attendees received rich insights on how local and state systems can work in tandem to empower employers and educators to develop effective work-based learning partnerships with a focus on rural communities. Advance CTE-ECMCF Postsecondary CTE Fellow Rich Crosby focused on utilizing existing collaborative spaces and partnerships as well as creating regional consortiums to connect employers and better understand learner needs, particularly in rural areas where employers are less concentrated.

Montana State CTE Director Jacque Treaster shared a variety of delivery models for work-based learning that strive to expand access to these experiences, particularly for rural learners, including a hub-and-spoke model and distance learning for concurrent and dual enrollment programs. 

The session included a rich attendee discussion on models in other states, including Hawaii’s hub and spoke model and Nevada embedding work-based learning into Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) award programs. 

Quality Breakout: Promising Tools, Strategies and Research Findings to Improve the Quality of CTE Programs

MDRC Senior Associate Dr. Rachel Rosen shared insights on the models and research structures that allow for ethical and impactful CTE research. She noted that significant strides have been made to improve research quality, and that recent studies show significant value of CTE for male learners and learners with disabilities. ExcelInEd’s Adriana Harrington walked attendees through their Pathways Matter website that consolidates state case studies, best policy practices, and sample learner stories of pathway navigation to enhance quality and alignment of career pathways. 

Indiana State CTE Director Anthony Harl shared his state’s dedicated program quality initiative, Next Level Program of Study that allows high school students to earn up to 30-hours of college credit (a technical certificate) while in high school in 65 programs of study. Course design in this initiative focuses on more intentional sequencing of skillbuilding and a longer runway for early postsecondary opportunities paired with work-based learning. 

Systems Alignment Breakout: Linking Workforce to Education through Strategic Goal Alignment

“Our role is to connect the fire hose to the garden hose.” – Joy Hermsen

Washington State’s State CTE Director Eleni Papadakis, whose Perkins designated agency is the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, provided details on how the state’s workforce agency leveraged a strategic plan and data to improve learner outcomes, including energized local youth council and work-based learning that is more responsive to local needs due to partnerships led primarily by employers rather than led by government.  

Futuro Health DIrector of Innovative Partnerships Joy Hermsen provided a national perspective on efforts to connect health employers to talent pipelines. She shared how the organization is bridging the gap between education leader and employers through resources that map responsive career lattices and ladders and customized data reports to help learners successfully connect to health careers. 

What’s Ahead 

The final event of the June Meeting Series is scheduled for June 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET, respectively. This session will center around the theme ELEVATE: Building Awareness of and Support for High-Quality and Equitable CTE. Visit the June Meeting Series event webpage to view the event agenda and to register. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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New Tracker Reveals Diverse State Approaches to Work-Based Learning Design

Monday, June 20th, 2022

Advance CTE’s newly released State Work-Based Learning Toolkit Innovation Tracker links publicly accessible WBL toolkits from across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Well-crafted WBL toolkits allow school districts and industry partners to work together to create a pipeline of career pathways and empower state leaders to ensure that learners have equitable access to programs offering real-world work experience.

The tracker highlights each toolkit’s content across the following categories: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State Work-Based Learning Toolkit Tracker Analysis provides additional insight into the tracker by highlighting six-state innovations for addressing key program quality components such as equity, data collection, and employer accountability. Below is an example of the kind of analyses featured in the report:

Maryland

Through the analysis of 41 publicly available toolkits, several data points emerged regarding the breadth of components found across states: 

One area for improvement that emerged through the analysis was regarding specific support to achieve equitable access to work-based learning for each learner. Very few had toolkits, or linked resources, in multiple languages. Additionally, not all toolkits addressed learners with disabilities. Tracking these toolkits allows Advance CTE to identify additional areas to support,  creating equitable frameworks of work-based learning programs for their districts. Last year, Advance CTE released a framework to guide states in building infrastructure that advances access to and completion of equitable work-based learning. 

Updates to the tracker will be made quarterly. The analysis and tracker are available for viewing in the Resource Center.

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Publications
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CTE Research Review: Q&A with Shaun Dougherty on the Impacts of CTE Access on Learner Outcomes in Connecticut 

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

This research review series features interviews with three CTE researchers— Julie Edmunds, Shaun Dougherty, and Rachel Rosen — to highlight new and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) research topics being pursued and discuss how state CTE leaders might leverage these to make evidence-based decisions. This series is conducted in partnership with the Career and Technical Education Research Network, which is providing new CTE impact studies and strengthening the capacity of the field to conduct and use rigorous CTE research.

For the final post in this series, Advance CTE caught up with researcher Shaun Dougherty to learn more about the outcomes of his study, The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School SystemThis study took place at The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS), an independent district of choice composed of 16 high schools where all students who attend the school participate in some form of CTE. The technical high schools in this study offer between 10 and 17 programs of study compared to the two to four typically offered at traditional comprehensive high schools. These findings suggest that student participation in CTE programs can improve graduation and college enrollment rates, and labor force participation, especially for male students. These findings should be meaningful to state leaders who are interested in improving CTE data quality to improve programming and learner supports.

How do your research findings advance the CTE field’s understanding of ways to better serve learners?

My findings in Connecticut and an earlier study in Massachusetts suggest that increasing access to high-quality CTE-focused schools can improve high school graduation rates, test scores, and early workforce experiences (earnings especially). These findings suggest that ensuring access to high-quality CTE is important, especially in areas where there is high demand for it among students. In Connecticut, we show that the benefits accrue to males only, but in Massachusetts, the impacts are broader-based and larger for students who come from less financially advantaged backgrounds. 

What is also important about both of these contexts is that students are attending CTE-dedicated high schools, which is the least common form of CTE instructional delivery in the United States. Students explore multiple programs in 9th grade and then make an informed decision about what program of study to pursue for the rest of their high school experience. Within the program they choose, they then have a relatively stable set of peers and instructors, and there is alignment between content in the state graduation requirements, such as math and English Language Arts (ELA), and their technical area of study. Each of these dimensions of the experience tends not to exist in CTE delivered in comprehensive high schools or regional technical centers.

What findings would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

In particular, I’d highlight the following:

You find male students enrolled in Connecticut’s Technical High School System (CTHSS) are more likely to graduate high school and experience a notable wage increase compared to males attending traditional high schools, yet this effect is not seen among female students. What do you make of this finding? 

There are two things worth noting here:

Can you tell me about how you were able to leverage the state’s longitudinal data system, the value that this process brought to your work, and about any limitations you encountered??

We matched the CTHSS admissions records to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) longitudinal data system sequentially using the following criteria: SASID, exact match on first and last name plus birth year, first initial and exact match on last name plus birth year and month, and exact match on last name plus exact birth date. The reason for the sequential match process is reporting errors in the CTHSS application file on birth dates, spelling errors and uses of nicknames in the application file that parents and/or students fill out by hand. A failure to match after applying all of these criteria leads to the observation being omitted from the sample. Our resulting match rate was 95 percent yielding a final sample of 57,658 student applications.

From the CSDE longitudinal data system, we obtained information on each student’s race, gender, free or reduced-price lunch status, English learner and special education status (i.e. presence of an IEP).

The CSDE data also provided information on short- and medium-term educational outcomes including standardized test scores prior to and during high school, attendance, and high school graduation, as well as information on college attendance drawn from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Further, through the P20Win process, students in our sample were matched to Connecticut State Department of Labor (CSDOL) data. This CSDOL match is facilitated by Department of Motor Vehicle records that contain gender, birth date, and first and last name and is matched to the CSDOL data using social security numbers. CSDOL personnel then matched the resulting data to the CSDE data using an exact match on birth date and gender and a fuzzy match algorithm on the student’s name.

Failure to match applicants in the CSDOL data may have been driven by several factors including never having a driver’s license in the state of Connecticut, name changes due to marriage or other factors, moving out of state prior to or upon the completion of high school or failure to participate in the labor market after high school perhaps due to college attendance. Our labor market data ends in the 1st quarter of 2018. Therefore, we restrict this sample to the years 2006 to 2012 so that we have a potential for at least six quarters of data on each applicant.

Without the matching to the workforce outcomes, we would be left to wonder or speculate about what happened to most students, since there is no real evidence of impact on college-going (nor should we expect it early on for students who attended schools that emphasize manufacturing and skilled trades). Thus, the linkages were critical to being able to provide policymakers with relevant, detailed answers  

The primary limitation is that we cannot see workers who moved out of state, who were employed by the federal government, who work for unreported wages, or who are independent contractors. However, our takeaway is that our findings are likely an underestimate of the benefits of CTE. 

What new questions has this work raised for you that could be applied to future research?

The two biggest questions this work has raised for me so far are:

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional publications examining career-centered education models and Advance CTE’s 50-state report on equity in CTE early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) released earlier this year.

The work of the CTE Research Network Lead is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education with funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act through Grant R305N180005 to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work of the Network member projects is supported by the Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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Making Good on the Promise: Addressing Three Major Challenges for English Learners in CTE

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) calls on each level of leadership to create systems and structures that offer every learner access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities that lead to career success. This requires dismantling systemic and institutional barriers that limit equitable access to and success in CTE for learners from special populations. 

In support of the CTE Without Limits vision, Advance CTE recently released the Improving Equity and Access to Quality CTE Programs for English Learners brief. This resource explores English Learner (EL) enrollment in CTE and three major barriers that English Learners face in accessing and succeeding in CTE programs, concluding with recommendations on how state leaders can take the lead in addressing these barriers and expanding access to high-quality CTE opportunities. 

1.Barrier: Irrelevant or Impersonal Curricula and Assessments

In both general education and CTE courses, English Learners are frequently exposed to one-size-fits-all curricula that are not personalized to their unique interests, career goals and learning needs. Additionally, ELs may need to take remedial classes that take time away from credit-bearing courses that lead to certificate or degree program completion or limit opportunities to enroll in CTE courses. Finally, many forms of assessments, including entrance and placement exams and state standardized tests, place ELs at a disadvantage by simultaneously testing both content knowledge and language skills. These assessments typically do not recognize the unique value that ELs offer as emergent bilinguals with a wealth of cultural and linguistic knowledge. 

Addressing the Barrier: Providing adaptive instruction and relevant skill-building opportunities are critical for ELs. The state of Washington’s Integrated Basic Education Skills and Training (I-BEST) team-teaching instructional model supports these learners by teaching both basic language skills and career readiness skills. Studies from the Department of Health and Human Services have confirmed the effectiveness of I-BEST at improving educational outcomes. Additionally, states should make an effort to make assessments more accessible. Virginia created a catalog of industry credentials with testing accommodations for ELs, with direction on how districts and schools should notify ELs about these accommodations prior to taking tests. 

Another avenue for addressing the educational needs of ELs is leveraging federal funding – a program provider in Ohio utilized funds from Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act to expand culturally responsive career counseling and career exploration opportunities for ELs. Finally, professional development for CTE educators is necessary to ensure that instruction is culturally responsive and adaptive. Arizona’s Department of Education has initiated a collaborative interagency project to develop professional learning opportunities for instructors across the state, centered on identifying and deploying strategies to address barriers for special populations in the classroom.

2.Barrier: Competing Priorities and Time Demands

Many ELs have family and work demands that often result in class scheduling conflicts. ELs disproportionately experience low-income, and many work in jobs with demanding, unpredictable work schedules and low wages. Further, ELs may face additional barriers to accessing child care and transportation to get to class. 

Addressing the Barrier: Wraparound services are essential for this population to access and succeed in CTE programs. States and local leaders can work together to braid different funding streams and leverage federal grants to coordinate community services and address barriers to accessing CTE. Local education agencies must also provide timely interventions and long-term supports. Georgia provides targeted guidance for ELs and other special populations at risk of dropping out of high school through the Coordinated Career Academic Education and Project Success support services. Additionally, Georgia’s technical colleges employ Special Populations Coordinators to support these learners.

3.Barrier: Few Avenues for Elevating Learner Voices and Outcomes

While K-12 schools are required to collect and report data on learners’ language proficiency, guidance for collecting and reporting these data at the postsecondary level is extremely limited. States typically do not provide any direction on how postsecondary institutions can best serve ELs. Additionally, there are few mechanisms for elevating the voices and lived experiences of ELs within decision-making processes, exacerbating the lack of knowledge on learners’ participation rates and outcomes in CTE programs. In order to truly understand the scope of institutional barriers and create meaningful solutions, state CTE leaders must find ways to access crucial data on this learner population.

Addressing the Barrier: The Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) process required under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) can be a critical avenue for collecting and reporting data on ELs. Special populations are a required stakeholder to consult when developing CLNAs, and state plans must address learners’ access to CTE programs, as well as their performance levels. The Illinois Community College Board developed a CLNA template with specific fields for describing how the equity needs of each learner group are being met at every stage of the process.

This resource is part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which defines key challenges that different learners face and explores solutions that State CTE Directors can implement to help close equity and opportunity gaps in CTE. For more resources on supporting special populations in CTE, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Stacy Whitehouse in Publications
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Legislative Update: Equity Plans Unveiled by Federal Agencies as FY23 Efforts Get Underway

Friday, April 15th, 2022

This week House Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus co-chairs began circulating a Dear Colleague letter aimed at securing robust funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). In addition, federal agencies unveiled equity action plans outlining planned efforts to advance equity throughout the federal government. 

FY23 Perkins V Funding Letter Being Circulated for Sign-on 

It has been quiet on Capitol Hill this week, with lawmakers in both chambers currently in states and districts for the annual springtime Congressional recess. Both the House and the Senate are expected to return later this month during the week of April 25. With the release of President Biden’s federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request to Congress earlier this month, it is widely anticipated that lawmakers will focus attention on the FY23 budget and appropriations cycle when they return. 

Ahead of these efforts, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) are leading a “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittees. The letter requests robust funding for Perkins V in the House’s forthcoming FY23 appropriations bill. This letter is an important way for members to gauge support for programs like the Perkins basic state grant program as they make critical funding decisions for how to allocate finite federal resources as part of this process. 

While the President’s FY23 request was disappointing, Advance CTE and its partners are working with Congress to ensure Perkins V is provided the funding necessary to ensure access to all learners have access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. We are therefore encouraging you to get in touch with your members of Congress and ask them to sign-on to this important Dear Colleague letter. To do so, click here

Biden Administration Unveils Equity Agendas

On Thursday, April 14, federal departments and agencies collectively released “Equity Action Plans”. These plans are part of President Biden’s January 20, 2021 executive order aimed at advancing equity and support for underserved communities throughout the federal government. As part of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) also unveiled its specific equity action plan which broadly aims to undertake work in five main areas:

The full plan can be found here

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Recommendations for State CTE Leaders: The Impact and Promise of the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Advance CTE was a fierce advocate for the inclusion of the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). By law, the CLNA is called to support data-driven decisionmaking and more closely align planning, spending and accountability activities under Perkins V. At that time,  Advance CTE released a guide to help states identify the major decision points that would impact the design, development and implementation of their CLNA and related local needs application.

Now that we are nearing the end of the first two-years of the CLNA  and as states begin to ramp up their second process, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) interviewed state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders to identify exemplar states and their journey through implementation. Lessons in Collaboration and Innovation: The Impact and Promise of the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment presents findings on state successes, challenges and recommended refinements. 

In the months ahead Advance CTE will continue to provide states with technical assistance, state resources and other ongoing supports. Today, Advance CTE and ACTE released the below recommendations for state CTE leaders as they begin to update their CLNA processes.

View the full resource and other CLNA state supports in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources
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Legislative Update: Congress Returns With Funding Deadline Looming

Friday, January 7th, 2022

The Senate returned to a snow-covered Capitol Hill this week, while the House is due to return next week. By mid next month, lawmakers must once again act on FY22 appropriations along with a slew of other agenda items for 2022. In addition, federal agencies have unveiled new broadband connectivity efforts, updated equity requirements for educational aid provided last year, and sought to address bus driver shortages plaguing school districts across the nation.

Congress Returns With Funding Deadline Looming

Earlier this week, the Senate formally reconvened to begin the second session of the 117th Congress. The House is scheduled to follow suit next Monday, January 10. As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week and next, they will be confronted with a number of important agenda items, including determining a path forward for Democrats’ domestic spending package, known as the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). However, first among these is the fast-approaching date of February 18, which is when funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22) is set to expire. Last year, Congress enacted a short-term extension of FY21 funding levels to keep the federal government open and related federal programs funded. This extension was intended to provide lawmakers additional time to find agreement on a full-year FY22 funding bill, which would last through September 30 of this year. As these efforts get underway, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. 

FCC Launches New Connectivity Program and Grants New Waiver Flexibilities

On December 31, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially launched the Affordable Connectivity Program—an initiative authorized by the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure legislation (known also as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). The program allots $14.2 billion in supplementary funding for eligible individuals to acquire subsidies for internet service bills and one-time discounts for certain internet capable devices. More on the announcement can be found here.

In addition to these efforts, the FCC also issued an order on Tuesday, responding to seven requests to waive the Emergency Connectivity Fund’s (ECF) $400 cap for the purchasing of connected devices. The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan and was a key Advance CTE legislative priority to help respond to the “homework gap.” The ECF allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the ongoing pandemic. This week’s order granted five out of the seven requested waivers capping the allowable cost of these devices. 

ED Unveils New Proposed MOEq Requirements

On Monday,  the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published updates to requirements for states and local school districts regarding the implementation of “Maintenance of Equity” (MOEq) provisions contained in the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This announcement follows earlier guidance from USED on this topic. Published in the Federal Register, the proposal details a series of new reporting requirements that states and school districts would need to complete by December 31, 2022. The Department is seeking feedback from the public on this proposal and comments are due to the Department by February 2, 2022. Additional information on the announcement can be found here.

School Bus Driver Certification Waivers Announced

Also on Tuesday, ED and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a series of actions to address the nation’s ongoing shortage of school bus drivers. Among these planned responses, ED and USDOT jointly committed to waiving certain requirements from commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to reduce the entry requirements to train new bus drivers. The waiver took effect Monday, January 3, and is set to expire March 31 of this year. Bus operators receiving a CDL under this temporary waiver will only be permitted to work within a single state. More information regarding this announcement can be found here.

ED Approves Last Round of State ARP Plans

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed last spring, authorized $122 billion in additional pandemic aid funding to be disbursed to K-12 schools over the last year. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) distributed two-thirds of this funding to states via a formula detailed in the legislation during 2021. However, ED held back the remaining third of these funds until states and territories submitted plans detailing how they would make use of these resources to support students as they recover from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last few weeks in December, the Department approved the remaining state ARP plans that were awaiting review by ED, including those for Florida, Mississippi, and Vermont. All state ARP plans, including highlights and related press releases, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in COVID-19 and CTE, Public Policy
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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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New Postsecondary State CTE Fellowship Takes Equity-Centered Approach to Address Leadership Talent Pipeline Diversity 

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Today, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced a new initiative to strengthen and diversify the postsecondary state Career Technical Education (CTE) talent pipeline. The Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTESponsored by ECMC Foundation (Fellowship), will announce its first cohort in October 2021. 

Building state CTE systems where learners of color feel welcome, supported and have the means to succeed is critical to improving equitable CTE access and outcomes. To accomplish this, learners need to see themselves in the educators and administrators of our educational institutions and systems. Simply put, we need more diversity in the state CTE leadership pipeline. While CTE learner populations overall mirror the nation’s demographics, our state CTE leadership composition is largely White. This Fellowship aspires to take a first step at building a more robust and diverse state postsecondary CTE leadership pipeline. 

Fellowship Design and Support 

The Fellowship recruitment process is designed with intentional actions to reach professionals of color, with the goal of the majority of the Advance CTE- ECMCF Fellows being racially diverse. The strengths-based curriculum is designed to build strategic leadership skills rooted in equity and collaboration. Finally, the individualized supports, including coaches, will meet the aspiring leader where they are at. Here is a bit more about the Fellowship:

Visit the Fellowship web page for more information and a promotional toolkit to share the Fellowship with a potential applicant. The deadline for applications for the first cohort is September 15, 2021. 

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for more resources to enhance equity and access in CTE programs and talent pipeline initiatives. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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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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