Posts Tagged ‘ICAP’

New Skills ready network Highlight Blog: Career Connected Advising in the Middle Grades

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

The New Skills ready network (NSrn) is part of JPMorgan Chase’s substantial portfolio in support of an inclusive economy and workforce. This five-year commitment is part of the New Skills at Work initiative to prepare people for the future of work and their $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity. With a dedication to building equitable career pathways, the New Skills ready network connects six sites —  Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee — with local partners with the intentionality necessary to build a strong workforce ecosystem for all learners.

For this highlight blog, Advance CTE Senior Policy Associate Haley Wing met with Erin Jacques, MyCAP District Coordinator, and Marsha Innis-Mitchell, Executive Director of Postsecondary Initiatives for Boston Public Schools to discuss career-connected advising in middle grades. Erin and Marsha are both partners of the New Skills ready network Boston, Massachusetts, project team.  

The Boston, Massachusetts project team for the New Skills ready network believes in a city where all young people can engage in high-quality career learning that supports exploration, informed decision-making and preparation for the future. The team aims to dramatically increase the number of Black, Latinx, special education, and English Learner students who participate in and persist through engaging, relevant, and equitable career pathways and are prepared to enter meaningful careers. 

 



 

Overview

Over the past three years, the Boston, Massachusetts, project team has been transforming systems to drive equitable education and career outcomes for all learners. The project team has achieved significant milestones in the development of high-quality, equitable career pathways including addressing structural and institutional barriers to equitable career pathways and creating a holistic and seamless advising system to support learners. In year three of the New Skills ready network initiative, the project team prioritized expanding access to coordinated, holistic and equitable college and career advising. The 2022-2023 school year was the first of college and career-connected advising in the middle-grades and project team members from Boston Public Schools shared how they leveraged cross-department collaboration, offered supports to identified priority schools for the rollout and lessons learned throughout the process.

Leveraging Cross-Department Collaboration to Support Expanded Access to Career-Connected Advising 

In expanding access to college and career advising, Boston Public School members of the initiative’s project team strengthened their implementation of the My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP). MyCAP is a learner-centered, multi-year planning tool designed to provide learners with ongoing opportunities to plan for their academic, personal, social and career success. Additionally, because MyCAP is student-centered, there is a large focus on anti-bias and equity to inform, advise and mentor learners. This includes expanding learners’ thinking about what is possible and positioning them to move forward in ways they envision future success. 

Implementing MyCAP with fidelity across Boston Public Schools requires sustainable and deepened staff capacity at the district’s central office as well as at the school level. Marsha and Erin both support cultivating and maintaining strategic partnerships across the district to align with MyCAP priorities. The collaboration and partnerships during this first year of expanded access to middle-grade learners included leveraging family liaisons who support informing learners and families of opportunities within Boston Public Schools and activating counselor teams that support caseloads of learners in the middle grades. The project team also expanded its reach to include community partnerships that operate in the college and career areas to better serve middle-grade learners. The advantage of bringing these partnerships into the fold allowed greater support for learners with exposure to skills and experiences that support college and career readiness and success (see image). 

To actualize expanded access to MyCAP, the project team identified a cohort of schools with grade configurations in the middle grades (grades 6,7 and 8). The team then worked across departments within the school district to increase the capacity to deliver training, guidance and resources to the identified priority schools. Training for school-level staff includes step-by-step instruction on using the tool and leveraging the accompanying resources to draw connections between learners’ interests and college and career opportunities.

To support schools in their efforts, the district staff recommends schools leverage formalized MyCAP plans that articulate how schools will accomplish MyCAP implementation and the set of experiences they will provide for learners over the course of the school year. Due to the intentionality of the district leadership, plans include support systems like additional counselors pushing in, leveraging collaboration with partners and additional guidance from the district team to support the work.

Impact of Expanded Access to MyCAP

As a result of the Boston, Massachusetts project team expanding access to high-quality college and career advising through MyCAP, 45% of 7th-grade learners and 42% of 8th-grade learners in the identified priority schools have completed at least one MyCAP task in the first year of expansion. Additionally, the number of district and school-level staff that are being trained on MyCAP continues to increase; in the first year 150 staff were trained and over 200 individuals have been trained as of October 2023. The group of 200 includes staff representing all of the district’s secondary schools and a dozen of lower-elementary schools. 

The district team and school-level staff are also making greater connections with MyCAP to other bodies of work such as transition planning and special education efforts. MyCAP supports the development and implementation of efforts to support learners’ postsecondary readiness and transitions; these components are also in alignment with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Transitional planning is integral to IEPs and MyCAP is transition planning for learners.

Lessons Learned from Launching Expanded Access to MyCAP

Additional capacity building: A key component of the expansion of MyCAP includes additional capacity building. The project team explicitly highlighted that this work is not possible without a district-level staff member dedicated to serving and supporting school-level staff to implement MyCAP. Erin’s role allows the capacity to sit down with school-level staff to increase counselors’ leadership abilities and competencies. As mentioned earlier, the district provides resources to support this work, however, resources and guidance documents are only useful if there is a staff member to support walking through the planning and implementation process.

School counselor involvement is critical: At the school level, school counselors are needed to support the planning, collaboration and implementation of MyCAP. In schools where the expanded access efforts have been implemented, there is a counselor who has built their team within the school, trained their team and teachers, and informed administrators of the planning and implementation process. This is especially important considering scheduling within school buildings and ensuring that MyCAP is integrated into and across advisory blocks within schools.

Adequate training is essential to advocacy: In addition to better serving learners in their career and college planning, the project team has also noted the increased advocacy efforts of counselors within schools that are implementing expanded access to MyCAP. The project team has noticed when school-level counselors are adequately trained and supported, they take ownership of the implementation process and leverage their leadership to mobilize their peers. This can include accurately communicating the vision of MyCAP, identifying how and when it connects to other school-level staff’s work, offering support to leverage MyCAP and advocating for systems within the school that support learners’ postsecondary success. This is especially exciting to witness given there is no mandate to implement or leverage MyCAP in Boston Public Schools, and signals to the district that in the sea of competing priorities, school counselors, administrators and staff are identifying MyCAP as foundational to learners’ transitions to and through college and careers.

Replicating Expanded Access to College and Career Advising

Providing learners access to high-quality college and career advising is a critical component of supporting learners’ transitions, readiness and preparation for the workforce. Leaders who are interested in replicating the efforts of Boston Public Schools should:

Looking Ahead

As the project team looks forward, they plan to continue the momentum of expanded access to MyCAP and plan to bring in more schools with earlier grade bands like elementary schools in the district. As MyCAP training and implementation expands, the team continues to have a deep focus on equity, aligning inclusive education goals and activating MyCAP at points of transition within learners’ journey. 

To learn more about Individual Career and Academic Plans, read Implementing Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP) at Scale in the Learning that Works Resource Center. This brief highlights promising practices for ICAP implementation at the state and local levels in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin and provides recommendations for further state and local work to scale ICAPs.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

Read our other New Skills ready network Highlight Blogs from 2023:

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits
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Top Recommendations from Coalition for Career Development Center’s Inaugural Report to Improve State Career Readiness

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

In May, the Coalition for Career Development Center released the first annual The Condition of Career Readiness in the United States. The 129-page report evaluates key states’ career readiness policies, investments and outcomes across all 50 states, including personalized career and academic plans (PCAP), funding, curriculums, accountability, and Career Technical Education (CTE) program outcomes. Accompanying the report is an interactive national map that links available PCAP resources, work-based learning (WBL) toolkits, Perkins V plans, social-emotional learning (SEL) toolkits and ESSA plans for each state to allow state leaders to assess and enhance their career readiness systems 

The report finds that  “[to] become a Career Ready Nation we all have work to do. And, cost-effective solutions and strategies used by many states or regions within states offer a way forward.” As a 50-state landscape of key components of career readiness, this report gives state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders valuable findings and guidance to better align and interconnect career readiness systems that are responsive to the needs of each learner across their entire career journey. 

Here are several recommendations and state highlights that state CTE leaders can consider to make that alignment possible;

Recommendation 1: Expand Post-School Outcome Data 

Recommendation 2: Identify Engagement Strategies for Learners Ages 16 to 19

Recommendation 3: Invest in PCAP

Recommendation 4: Increase Access to Work-based Learning Opportunities

Recommendation 5: Invest in Career Advising

The extensive report includes sources cited from several publications in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center (specific references can be found starting on page 119.) 

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Resources
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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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Five Strategies to Scale Individual Career and Academic Planning

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

When the Oklahoma Department of Education launched Individual Career and Academic Planning (ICAP) in 2017, the intent was to support learners along their entire career journey to make informed choices about their future academic and career goals. Today, ICAP is firmly rooted in policy and practice. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, learners entering the ninth grade in Oklahoma must complete an ICAP to graduate from a public high school. 

ICAP report thumbnail

What is remarkable about Oklahoma’s ICAP process is that the process supports learners to and through high school graduation, helping them transition to postsecondary education or into the workforce. Learners who enroll at the University of Oklahoma can identify a major by comparing their ICAP personal interest survey results or Career Clusters survey results from high school with the university’s career pathways major planning tools. Too often, career and academic planning is siloed between secondary and postsecondary education, but Oklahoma is working to break down these silos and ensure ICAP supports learners even after they graduate from high school. 

ICAPs have different names in different states, including Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) and Individual Graduation Plans (IGPs). They refer to both the process of engaging in individualized academic and career development activities as well as the product: a living, usually online, portfolio that is created by each learner and regularly updated as they advance through school and transition into the workforce.

While ICAPs have been adopted by at least 38 states, they are often layered on top of the myriad other commitments that under-resourced and under-staffed schools and districts are responsible for, making them more of a box-check activity than a meaningful career planning process. When implemented with fidelity, ICAPs can enable learners to skillfully navigate their own career journeys and build occupational identities that span their lifetimes. State leaders play a critical role in ensuring that ICAPs are implemented effectively, that academic and career planning is integrated into state-level initiatives, and that each learner is provided coordinated supports to help them navigate their career journey. Specifically, state leaders can support ICAP implementation by: 

Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group’s new resource, Implementing Individual Career and Academic Plans at Scale, highlights promising practices for ICAP implementation at the state and local levels and provides recommendations for further state and local work to scale ICAPs. The brief features promising state and local practices in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin. It was developed through JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s New Skills ready network, a partnership of Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group. For more resources on career advisement, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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