Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

Midpoint Highlights of the New Skills ready network

Monday, October 31st, 2022

In February 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced its New Skills ready network initiative, which bolsters the firm’s efforts to support an inclusive economic recovery. This effort is part of both their $350 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to prepare people for the future of work and their $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity. 

While there was a lot of excitement – and some uncertainty – about how exactly the work would unfold, we had no idea that, in just a few short weeks after the launch, the world would change as we knew it. Plans of in-person leadership team meetings, extended needs assessments that included focus groups of learners, industry partners and other key stakeholders, and network-wide convenings were all put on hold or adjusted due to the pandemic. 

While the ramp up may have slowed down and plans evolved, what never changed was the commitment of the six sites, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Advance CTE and our national partner, Education Strategy Group (ESG) to the ultimate vision of this initiative – to dramatically increase equitable access to and success in high-quality career pathways and experiences that lead to good jobs for all learners across these communities. This became even more important as the pandemic laid bare the deep and abiding inequities in our education system, workforce and society, particularly for learners and communities of color. 

We are now two-and-a-half years into the five-year initiative and there is a lot to celebrate! New Skills ready network is a bold and audacious initiative that aims to achieve both systems change at the ecosystem level while also improving programmatic opportunities for learners and industry partners in real time. It is no easy feat to build a career preparation ecosystem that engages and brings along K-12 districts, two- and four-year institutions, intermediaries, state agencies and industry partners – while also implementing new pathways, advising structures and other critical programmatic improvements at the school and institutional level. 

So what have we learned?

For more on site-specific progress, check out the:

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Congress in Recess Through the Midterms

Monday, October 24th, 2022

The last few weeks, lawmakers in Congress have remained in recess ahead of the upcoming midterm elections set to take place November 8. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has launched a new STEM initiative while other federal agencies have made several recent grant announcements regarding connectivity efforts and mental health. 

Congress Remains in Recess Ahead of Midterm Elections

Both the House and Senate are currently on an extended recess ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. While the chambers are formally out of session, they are holding pro forma sessions during this time to continue committee-level work on a number of existing agenda items. Before going on this extended recess, Congress was able to successfully pass short-term funding legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR). This CR extends current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels for all federal programs, including the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V), through December 16. By that date, lawmakers will next need to act by either passing an additional funding extension at that time or completing work on a more comprehensive funding proposal for the federal government. 

The length of the CR is intended to provide Congress additional time to campaign ahead of the fast-approaching midterm elections November 8. It is broadly hoped that when the outcomes of these elections become clearer, lawmakers will be able to reach consensus during the “lame duck” session of Congress. As these efforts get more fully underway, Advance CTE will continue to work with its partners in Congress to secure robust funding levels for the Perkins V basic state grant program and other priority Career Technical Education (CTE)  funding streams. 

ED Launches “YOU Belong in STEM” Initiative

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently announced a new initiative aimed at encouraging learners to explore and pursue pathways in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The effort pulls together a number of existing ED activities and related priorities highlighting various opportunities to promote STEM education for learners at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. In the coming weeks, the Department intends to release additional guidance, technical assistance, and related information for how to deepen and expand on these efforts in the future. 

FCC Releases Additional Connectivity Funds

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced another round of Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF) funding totaling nearly $78 million. Authorized by the American Rescue Plan, the ECF provides funding to schools and libraries to purchase broadband plans and devices for students, school staff, and library patrons and has been a key Advance CTE federal policy priority since the start of the pandemic. These latest funding commitments are from the first and third application windows for the ECF program and will benefit nearly 175,000 students from Delaware, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Texas.  

ED Distributes Funding for School-based Mental Health

In the wake of several tragic mass shootings earlier this year, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938). The new law modestly tightened the nation’s gun laws while investing significant new funding into K-12 education to support safer schools and promote learner mental health. On Monday, October 3, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had published two grant funding opportunities as part of this legislation.

The first of these is the School-based Mental Health Services Grant program which will provide competitive grants to state (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs), along with consortia of these entities, to apply for funding to increase the number of school-based mental health services available to students. There is more than $144 million available for these grants. More information on how to apply, including related deadlines, can be found here. The second grant announcement is related to the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant program. This competitive grant effort is intended to provide financial support to SEAs, LEAs, and postsecondary institutions to hire additional staffing capacity for similar purposes. Additional information regarding this initiative can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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New Resource: Elevating Family Voice in Career Pathways

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) calls on leaders to ensure that each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. One avenue Advance CTE is utilizing to realize this vision is  the New Skills ready network, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. funded initiative which draws on cross-sector partnerships in six cities composed of state, regional and local partners. Building flexible and responsive career pathways systems at each level requires leaders to provide meaningful and ongoing mechanisms for elevating learner voice, and the voices of learners’ families and communities, to share their unique experiences and have direct and ongoing input into the design and delivery of career pathways.

As state leaders continue to assess and adjust program throughout the career pathways continuum, including CTE, steps should be taken too identify the full scope of institutional barriers in policies and programs, develop learner-centric programs and interventions and build trust with marginalized learners and communities to ensure their voices and perspectives are brought to the forefront of decisions. 

In support of this effort, Advance CTE’s new brief, Elevating Family Voice in Career Pathways,  includes five strategies as well as actions, tools and resources leaders can leverage to effectively and meaningfully engage families in every stage of career pathways development. 

This resource details the challenges and opportunities associated with family engagement and provides promising approaches to comprehensive family engagement practices. Some examples of promising approaches and strategies that are meaningfully engaging families include:

Read about more promising examples and five implementation strategies in Elevating Family Voice in Career Pathways  For more resources on developing high-quality career pathways, please visit the New Skills ready network series page in the Learning that Works Resource Center .

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Publications
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New Skills ready network Site Highlight: Cultivating Strong State-Local Partnerships in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

This post is part of a blog series highlighting promising practices from the New Skills ready network, an initiative of JPMorgan Chase & Co. For more information about the initiative, please see the bottom of this post.

For this post, Senior Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter interviewed Indiana State CTE Director Anthony Harl and Ascend Indiana Vice President and Co-founder Stephanie Bothun about driving intentional connections between state and local partners. In Indiana, the Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is embedded in the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (GWC), which serves as the state’s workforce board. Ascend Indiana (Ascend) is an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and acts as a non-profit talent and workforce development intermediary connecting education and industry.

Building Systems Around Common Goals

One major component of the New Skills ready network is a focus on systems-level change involving a variety of stakeholders at both the state and local levels. The Office of CTE in Indiana naturally sits at the intersection of education and work, but the creation of the GWC in 2018 and the subsequent move of the Office of CTE underneath the umbrella of the GWC further allowed the Office of CTE to have a foot in the talent development space and a foot in education. This change spurred many of the partnership conversations that may not have sparked otherwise. The New Skills ready network subsequently sparked an official partnership between the Office of CTE and more local partners, like Ascend. 

While state-level initiatives were designed to be relatively independent, both the Indiana Office of CTE and Ascend were clear that participation in and development of these initiatives were about building a larger ecosystem to create linkages and build relationships that support young people on their education and career path. Though Ascend and the Office of CTE did not have an initial objective of an intentional partnership, they quickly connected over a shared understanding of a core mission – that all young people in Indiana, especially those from underrepresented and underserved populations, have access to the skills and pathways that allow them to get to postsecondary or in-demand training opportunities, ultimately as a route to the career they want.

Review of Indianapolis outcomes data revealed further CTE completion and postsecondary attainment gaps that disproportionately affect Latinx and Black learners, illustrating specific needs in the Indianapolis community that Bothun, Harl, and other New Skills ready network team members knew needed to be addressed.

This mutual touchstone allows for open and regular conversations that build between and across initiatives. In turn, this creates a connection, coordination, and cohesion between stakeholders working towards this similar goal and objective. Because partners are often the same on different state initiatives, conversations from one initiative carry across other conversations. The trust and goodwill built through collective work toward common goals allows each initiative and project to be successful as each partner recognizes the commitment each other partner has toward the overarching goal. 

“It’s about a web of connections and networking – a really passionate group of individuals that are all trying to, through their own little niche, just make things better for Indiana.” – Anthony Harl, State CTE Director, Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet

Collaborative Problem-Solving 

Since this initial partnership developed through the New Skills ready network, Ascend and the Office of CTE have collaborated on quite a few other initiatives to solve specific problems connected to this core mission. Ascend  was already building out programs around modern youth apprenticeship; as a result of existing work and new relationships, Ascend was able to connect directly to statewide apprenticeship initiatives and help support whole-scale progress at the state level. Ascend also now helps organize and collaborate with the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet on a statewide youth apprenticeship community of practice, initiatives around career advising, and on federal Department of Labor grants. They have also previously collaborated on a state-wide subcommittee to provide recommendations to support work-based learning.

Both local and state leaders realize that while individual challenges of overhauling career pathways, improving equity in CTE programs, or creating statewide modern youth apprenticeship programs might be overwhelming, collaborations between partner levels allow teams to tackle issues collectively. As a naturally positioned convener of these groups, the Office of CTE can regularly help inform on who is best positioned to take on what work across the state. Because of their long-standing role in education and workforce development, the state can also provide historical context to many of the challenges, including what work has been tried before and what stakeholders had previously been consulted. The GWC also has a more comprehensive understanding of what work is in whose locus of control including what policy or funding levers can be activated or who can best be mobilized to take on specific workstreams and can provide insight into scalability and feasibility for larger scale initiatives. 

“We’ve rallied to this point in our community, we all know the problems are too big for anybody to solve individually. And it’s really been such a powerful motivator, I think for all of us to say, ‘What are all the ways we’re collectively tackling these issues, maybe from slightly different lenses?’” -Stephanie Bothun, Ascend Indiana

On the other hand, local groups like Ascend can provide specific insight into implementation, including what works well in a pilot, what specific resources might need to be developed or what unforeseen challenges are arising. This interplay allows for expanded collaboration around all areas and facilitates progress that would not otherwise have been possible independently.

Successful Strategies and Lessons Learned

As part of the conversation, Bothun and Harl shared a few key strategies for developing and maintaining the partnerships and communicated some takeaways for other states and local partners working to build better partnerships of their own:

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

About the Blog Series

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched the New Skills ready network across six domestic 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 post continues a series that highlights innovative tools and initiatives produced across Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee, 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. 

For more information about the New Skills ready network, please visit our Learning that Works Resource Center.

 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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State CTE Policy Update: Examining CTE Instructor Compensation Strategies

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its report “State of the States 2022: Teacher Compensation Strategies” earlier this month. This report takes a deep dive into the compensation strategies each state and the District of Columbia use to continue to recruit and retain talented instructors.

Instructors are the backbone of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) and are essential to ensuring that each learner is fully supported by the career preparation ecosystem of their state. “Teacher Compensation Strategies” divides compensation strategies into three different categories: 1) Differentiated pay; 2) Performance pay, and 3) Pay for prior work. While the first two offer their own merit, and all can perhaps be used in some combination, pay for prior work may offer an elegant solution for staffing CTE teachers.

A common barrier to CTE teacher recruitment and retention is matching instructor salaries, which are historically lower than industry salaries talented CTE instructors often transfer from. In an effort to reduce the gap, states can offer instructors an increase in pay based on experience from non-school related careers relative to the subject matter they are teaching. This strategy embraces the promise to capture and value all learning that occurs, wherever and whenever it occurs. Below are some highlights from the report on the current application of this strategy::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the states currently using pay for prior experience strategies, North Carolina and Louisiana took two different approaches. North Carolina, per the report, awards one year of credit per two years of relevant, non-education work experience pre-bachelor degree, and a one-for-one exchange post attaining a bachelor’s. Louisiana school districts are required to develop compensation plans that take into account effectiveness, experience, and demand with no one factor being given a weight of more than 50 percent. The report highlights that language surrounding this particular strategy is often vague which makes it hard to track if it is being enacted.

With teacher attrition at unprecedented levels and teacher recruitment levels dropping, state CTE leaders have the opportunity to provide innovative solutions to teacher compensation. You can read the full report here: State of the States 2022: Teacher Compensation Strategies. Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center provides additional tools on embedding credit for prior learning and other state approaches to fully documenting skills. 

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Four Steps to Use Advance CTE’s Credit for Prior Learning Policy Benchmark Tool

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

In December 2021, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) convened the Credit for Prior Learning Shared Solutions Workgroup in service to the New Skills ready network sites. The work group was tasked with evaluating the policies and practices that enable credit for prior learning (CPL) to be implemented effectively within career pathways. 

This workgroup convened in service to the New Skills ready network sites, which are working to improve career pathways, expand real-world work experiences, improve transitions and close equity gaps. Evidence increasingly shows that CPL can boost learners’ completion rates in a way that saves them time and money. 

A survey fielded by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) found that adults who earned credit for prior learning were 17 percent more likely to complete a credential. Notably the impact was even greater for Hispanic learners, who experienced a 29 percent increase in credential completion, and Pell recipients, who are 19 percent more likely to complete a credential if they have earned CPL.

“Credit for Prior Learning is a crucial way for students to save time and money in pursuing a credential or degree,” says Georgia Reagan, strategy officer with Lumina Foundation. “However, students aren’t always aware of the opportunities available at their institutions. The Credit for Prior Learning in Career Pathways tool will be a valuable guide for higher education and policy leaders who want to create clear, accessible, and equitable processes that will help students in turning their prior learning experiences into invaluable college credits.”

To build more inclusive on-ramps to high quality postsecondary education, CPL processes should be expanded to reflect learners’ postsecondary-level learning gained through their life, educational and occupational experiences. This includes the common methods of assessing and awarding CPL, such as standardized examples, as well as work-based learning and industry-recognized credentials earned in high school, validated on-the-job training and non-credit, and non-degree coursework. 

The workgroup designed a comprehensive Policy Benchmark Tool (PBT) to better support states, systems and institutions in embedding CPL in career pathways. 

Getting Started

Effective use of the PBT requires intentional collaboration and planning. It is composed of three sections to enable users to: understand the core elements of strong CPL policy and practice, assess where their own policy and practice is strong and where opportunities remain, and create an action plan to improve the effective use of CPL in learners’ career pathways.

“With the recent decline in Indiana’s college-going rate, CPL opportunities will be critical to increasing the state’s postsecondary access, equity, and completion rates,” says Dawn Clark, Director of Academic Affairs and Transfer at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. “As CPL awareness and opportunities continue to grow, consistent institutional policies and practices will help students earn credentials more quickly and affordably. The Credit for Prior Learning Policy Benchmark Tool could not have come at a better time!”

For optimal results, Advance CTE recommends that users:

Advance CTE staff are available to support CTE leaders in this important work. Please contact Candace Williams, Data & Research Manager, at cwilliams@careertech.org for more information about this initiative. 

Candace Williams, Data and Research Manager

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, Publications
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Legislative Update: Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill While CHIPS Legislation is Signed into Law

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Over the last week, Senate Democrats united and passed significant new climate and healthcare legislation which is expected to be voted on  by the House later this week. Elsewhere President Biden signed new advanced manufacturing legislation into law while the Commerce Department announced new American Rescue Plan grantees. Meanwhile, House Republicans unveiled new postsecondary education legislation while the Senate confirmed a new postsecondary leader at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Senate Passes Long-awaited Reconciliation Package

Over the weekend, the Senate remained in session to consider the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376)– legislation that would make significant new investments in the nation’s capacity to produce and use greener sources of energy while expanding healthcare access for millions of Americans. The bill will generate more than enough new federal revenue to offset these investments while also decreasing the federal deficit by over $300 billion. Earlier iterations of this proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, included significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. Senate Democrats were able to pass this legislation by a simple majority vote via the chamber’s budget reconciliation process. The House is now expected to take up and pass this proposal later this week. 

President Biden Signs CHIPS & Science Act Into Law

As we shared previously, Congress recently approved the Chips and Science Act (H.R. 4346). This legislation will provide substantial new funding for the nation’s advanced manufacturing sector to increase the capacity to produce semiconductor chips– a component that is needed in many pieces of consumer electronics used by millions of people daily. On August 2, President Biden formally signed this legislation into law. Advance CTE and its partners were disappointed that language regarding the expansion of federal Pell grants for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs was not included in the final package, along with a number of other important proposals initially considered as part of this legislation. 

However, the bill will provide some modest workforce development investments targeted specifically at sectors of the economy needed to produce semiconductor chips that may be of interest to the CTE community as the legislation is implemented in the months and years ahead. These investments include funding to broaden the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to support workforce training partnerships benefiting manufacturers as well as $200 million in new funding for the National Science Foundation to promote wider workforce development recruitment into these fields. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this legislation and will be monitoring the implementation of this law in future for further opportunities that may be created as a result of the bill’s recent enactment. 

House Republicans Introduce Short-term Pell Proposal 

Last week, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), committee member Elise Stefanik (R-NY), along with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced the Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act. This legislation would make a number of changes to existing federal student loan programs which have been at the center of continued disagreement between Congressional Democrats and Republicans. In addition to these provisions, the legislation includes a slightly reframed proposal that would allow learners to use federal Pell grants in certain shorter-term CTE programs. The bill includes a different set of requirements for these programs to qualify for Pell grants, including provisions that would require graduates to realize earnings gains that exceed the costs of the program. While a similar proposal was not ultimately included in the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act legislation noted elsewhere, its inclusion here demonstrates continued congressional support for the need to provide better support for learners pursuing postsecondary educational pathways with more direct linkages to careers. A fact sheet about the REAL Reforms Act can be found here

Commerce Department Announces Good Jobs Grantees 

On August 3 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced $500 million in new grants for 32 regional workforce partnerships across the country. These grants were part of the Department’s “Good Jobs Challenge,” a grant initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats last year. Awardees will be pursuing a number of education and training initiatives connected to key economic sectors to help support the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Among the 32 grantees to secure funding through this program was Hampton Roads Workforce Council– a local workforce center in House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) district which he recently visited to promote these efforts. 

Senate Confirms Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education 

Last Thursday the Senate formally confirmed Nasser Paydar to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Paydar was previously the Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Executive Vice President of Indiana University. In a statement following his confirmation, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona welcomed this new development saying, in part, “Dr. Paydar brings to the U.S. Department of Education more than three-and-a-half decades of experience as a university leader and educator, during which time he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to creating accessible pathways to college and careers for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.” 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation, Public Policy
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Early innovations and lessons emerge in Year Two New Skills ready network Annual Report and Site Snapshots

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Today, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) released an annual report and site snapshots for year two of the New Skills ready network initiative. The five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase and Co.’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program and $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, aims to improve student completion of high-quality, equitable career pathways to gain skills needed for the future of work, particularly among learners of color and other historically marginalized learners. 

The New Skills ready network focuses on six domestic sites as illustrated in the graphic below. As a partner in this initiative, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities. Additionally, we have gained a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country. 

Looking across each of the snapshots, key priorities emerged as trends for the six sites. 

First, many sites continued or finalized the mapping and analysis of career pathways to determine alignment and quality across learner levels. Indianapolis, Indiana, for example, completed their process that was started in year one of evaluating their career pathways against a criteria review tool, which examined access for non-traditional populations, credential attainment, course sequencing, and connection to labor market information, among other criteria. The review also aligned the pathways with the state’s Next Level Programs of Study (NLPS), statewide course sequences which aim to improve consistency, quality, and intentionality of CTE instruction throughout Indiana.

Career advising initiatives were also a major theme for sites in year two, as sites considered how to expand support for learners through a career journey. The Nashville, Tennessee, team prioritized aligned career advising from middle school through postsecondary, with the goal of expanding individualized support. This work, built upon a college and career advising framework developed in year one, was implemented by College and Career Readiness Coaches embedded in select Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Boston, Massachusetts, set expansion of work-based learning as a key focus for year two, as multiple sites discussed how to align work-based learning efforts across learner levels and open more apprenticeship and virtual learning opportunities. The Boston Private Industry Council, the Workforce Investment Board and Boston Public Schools collaborated to ensure a shared commitment to work-based learning and strengthen data collection efforts surrounding participation in work-based learning. Other sites established common definitions of work-based learning to ensure that all partners were consistent in discussions about access.

The snapshots also previewed work for year three of the initiative, as each site recently participated in action planning processes that informed future work. Each site has ambitious goals for year three, largely informed by lessons learned in preceding years. Some sites, like Columbus, Ohio, are continuing communications and messaging work supported by learner-tested messages that seek to inform learners about available career pathways supports and opportunities. Other sites, like Denver, Colorado, are continuing data collection and analysis efforts, finalizing data frameworks, and aligning data systems across institutions. Finally, some sites such as Dallas, Texas, are aligning their efforts with other initiatives in their cities and ensuring that all partners can equitably support learners citywide. 

Visit Advance CTE’s New Skills ready network series page to read the full annual report and a snapshot of each site’s innovative partnerships and early accomplishments across the four project priorities. Our New Skills ready network collection page provides additional resources for strengthening career pathways.

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources
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“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 Report: 5 Strategies to Strengthen Equity in Early Postsecondary Opportunity Participation and Completion

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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