Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

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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State Policies Impacting Industry Partnerships and Work-based Learning

Thursday, February 10th, 2022

State education agencies, legislators and educators faced significant challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, including adapting to remote and hybrid delivery of hands-on learning, and responding to local and national skilled labor shortages. The number of state-level CTE policies enacted that affect Career Technical Education (CTE) fell to the lowest number in 2020 since Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) began publishing these annual Year in Review reports.

However, with a new commitment to upskilling and reskilling American learners and a CTE without limits, 41 states enacted 138 policies impacting CTE and career readiness in 2021. Advance CTE and ACTE have witnessed the return of pre-pandemic numbers in state policy actions in 2021 with policies affecting the secondary, postsecondary, adult and/or workforce systems, and including legislation, executive orders, and budget provisions that significantly changed funding.

Each year, Advance CTE and ACTE publish a yearly state policy tracker and categorize each state policy action by topic. In 2021, the top five topics that state policy most frequently addressed were:

Industry Partnerships and Work-based Learning

Policies that address the engagement of industry to drive student learning through work-based learning or other means are categorized by this topic. Twenty-three states enacted 36 policies that addressed industry partnerships and work-based learning. Below are a few state policy actions aligned to industry-recognized credentials:

State Policies Impacting CTE: 2021 Year in Review marks the ninth annual review of CTE and career readiness policies from across the United States conducted by Advance CTE and ACTE. This report does not describe every policy enacted within each state but instead focuses on national policy trends. 

View the full report and 2021 state policy tracker here

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

By Brittany Cannady in Publications
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Welcome Haley Wing to Advance CTE!

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Hello! My name is Haley Wing and I am thrilled to be joining the Advance CTE team! As a Senior Policy Associate, I directly support Advance CTE’s state policy initiatives, implementation strategies and member engagement activities. My work will include specific attention to equity and high-quality career pathways.

Originally from Tampa, Florida, I completed my undergraduate degree in elementary education. After teaching in my home state, I found the Teach For America program and was placed in Indianapolis, Indiana. Teaching in Indianapolis Public Schools while simultaneously pursuing fellowships focused on education policy allowed me to engage with the Indianapolis Public Schools President of the School Board of Commissioners, as well as the Indianapolis Mayor’s office. Through these opportunities, I partnered on teacher recruitment initiatives and projects focused on alleviating barriers in education created by poverty. While acquiring my master’s degree in public affairs, I served two years in the Indianapolis Mayor’s office working in education policy and data analysis.

Over my professional experiences, I am grateful to have had the support, guidance, and mentorship of those in my professional networks. I was provided the opportunities to acquire skills necessary to elevate myself in my professional career, build connections with others aligned to the changes I wish to see in our education system and learn about meaningful ways to impact the communities I serve, particularly communities that have been historically marginalized. I firmly believe that the best way to influence change is to share the wealth of knowledge I have acquired. I am doing my best to pass on the information, tools and skills I have to my peers wishing to develop personally in order to best serve others.

Most recently, I worked at a local education nonprofit focused on advancing equitable education initiatives. I am excited to contribute my knowledge and prior experiences to create a more equitable education system in Career Technical Education (CTE)!

In my personal time, I enjoy being outdoors, practicing and teaching yoga, reading psychological thrillers, listening to true crime podcasts, and hanging out with folks I love!

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate 

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Coronavirus Relief Funds: Challenges and Missed Opportunities in Leveraging Federal Funds for CTE

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

This blog series examines trends in state uses of federal stimulus funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Stimulus funds were appropriated for emergency relief related to the coronavirus pandemic through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The five major stimulus funding streams for states and educational institutions include the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Federal coronavirus relief funds provide a critical avenue for states to invest in equitable, high-quality CTE programs to help learners and workers recover from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. Although many states have successfully leveraged these funds to introduce or expand initiatives related to CTE, there have also been various challenges and missed opportunities in relief spending. 

Missed Opportunities

Based on Advance CTE’s analysis of spending trends, states generally placed a disproportionate emphasis on short-term postsecondary education and workforce development initiatives over long-term pipeline programs and opportunities at the secondary level. Many states did not mention CTE in their ESSER plans, which address elementary and secondary funding, and several others made only passing references to CTE and did not include specific funding commitments. 

Additionally, there has been a general lack of investment in addressing the significant educator shortages that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While many states mentioned these shortages in their funding plans, few explicitly committed to allocate federal relief funds toward systemically addressing these shortages. Indiana is one state that took a longer-term approach to strengthening educator pipelines by using ESSER funds to create grow-your-own “teacher cadet” programs targeted at attracting underrepresented candidates into the teaching profession while still in high school. By creating pathways for future educators at the secondary level, Indiana is taking a systemic approach to addressing its identified educator shortage.


From what Advance CTE has learned in interviews with State CTE Directors, it seems that many of the problems that have arisen in directing federal funding toward CTE results from the short deadlines for submitting relief spending plans to the federal government and spending the funds states receive. Many states do not feel that they have enough time to coordinate with all relevant state agencies and solicit input from stakeholders. If the necessary infrastructure for rapid cross-system collaboration was not already in place, states found it much more difficult to share information and ideas with partners in time to meet early deadlines. While the latest round of ESSER and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds must be obligated by September 2024, GEER funds must be obligated by 2023.

Further, federal relief funds are limited and consist of a one-time infusion of dollars into education and workforce systems. Many states feel that they do not have the money in their own budgets to sustain continuous investments that may be necessary to maintain new programs and initiatives. These challenges ultimately obstruct innovative, long-term strategizing.

Looking Ahead

State Directors have highlighted various priorities in federal relief spending moving forward. First, many have identified a continual need for more intentional programming and wraparound support for learners in rural areas. These learners often lack access to high-quality CTE program options and broadband internet, both of which are more important now than ever as the pandemic re-shapes labor market demand and program delivery models.

Additionally, State Directors have identified work-based learning and career advising as two key priorities in mitigating the long-term impacts of the pandemic on learner preparation and engagement. These will be especially important from an equity perspective to address opportunity gaps and ensure that each learner has the experience and supports they need to succeed. 

Looking ahead, coronavirus relief funds continue to provide states a vital opportunity to invest in CTE and career pathways. These funds can act as a springboard for addressing systemic barriers to learner and worker success by providing initial investments for longer-term pipeline initiatives. Most importantly, states can leverage funds to not only mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, but to adapt to new labor market realities, innovate, and build stronger education and workforce systems that meet the needs of every individual they serve.

To learn more about how states have spent federal relief funds on CTE, check out the Coronavirus Relief Funds blog series and visit Advance CTE’s coronavirus resource page for additional resources.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation
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Increasing Apprenticeship Opportunities Through State Policy

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Preparing to enter the workforce is no easy task, especially as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to transform the world of work. It is critical that apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship programs exist to allow learners of all ages to participate in significant work-based learning opportunities that connect their learning with on-the-job skills that they can leverage as they grow in careers of their choice. Pre-apprenticeship programs, for example, demonstrate significant benefits, including creating more equitable access to high-wage, in-demand careers and improving the success of apprenticeship programs more holistically. In the past year, at least 19 states enacted legislation impacting work-based learning opportunities, including expanding access to apprenticeships, allowing credit to be earned for out-of-school-time learning, and increasing transparency in communication about apprenticeships. The following policies represent a small sample of pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and work-based learning policies already passed in 2021:

Advance CTE’s 2021 Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) calls for a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem that allows learners to participate in aligned and connected work-based learning systems, like industry-aligned apprenticeships. Visit our CTE Without Limits landing page for our call to action and the Learning that Works Resource Center for more resources surrounding work-based learning, including pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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14 States Recognized in 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Our new career preparation ecosystem, designed under Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) must ensure each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed. As stakeholders continue to implement this new shared vision, the field calls for state and local leaders to remain committed to high-quality programs and instructors that build a competitive talent pipeline. There also remains an ongoing need for federal, state and local investments in those individuals working directly with learners. 

Last month, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools announced their 2021 Prize for Teaching Excellence winners! This award invests in quality programs and instructors who work directly with learners, a foundational commitment to achieving CTE Without Limits. Annually, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools awards more than $1 million to 18 outstanding skilled trades instructors and programs in public high schools across the country to increase the understanding, support and investment in skilled trades education. Since its inception five years ago, 89 high-quality skilled trades instructors nationwide have been recognized and more than 100,000 students in career pathways have been impacted by these investments.

Teachers and schools awarded have full autonomy over how the prize money can be spent to advance their skills trades education program. As an example from earlier this year, two previous winners used their prizes to develop and implement apprenticeship programs. Both were recognized nationally for their programs.

2019 Prize winner Brent Trankler of Missouri used grant funding from the local Workforce Development Board to develop and implement a Youth Registered Apprenticeship at the Sikeston Career and Technical Center (Sikeston, MO). Trankler has leveraged employer relationships to build the learn-as-you-earn program for learners, allowing for clear pathways to career opportunities after graduation.  

2020 Prize winner Chad Sutton of Indiana recently received approval on his Welding Apprenticeship from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. With ongoing stakeholder collaboration between Sutton and his school administration, the local workforce board (NE Indiana Works), the Indiana Office of Work Based Learning and employers from the industry, 40 high school juniors and seniors will be able to participate. Sutton’s welding apprenticeship will be the first of its kind in the state and can serve as a model for leveraging partnerships to scale apprenticeship programs.

This year, winners span across the following 14 states:

For more information on the 2021 Prize for Teaching Excellence winners click here

Meet the grand prize winners here

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for state resources on program quality and work-based learning, including apprenticeships. 

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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New Skills ready network Site Highlight Series: Indianapolis Pathways Evaluation Framework

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

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.

Our newest blog series will highlight 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. 

For this post, Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter interviewed Jennifer O’Shea, Postsecondary Readiness Officer for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to learn more about their career pathway evaluation framework used to measure the quality of their 42 pathway programs. 











O’Shea shared that developing a pathway quality framework rubric had several purposes: 

Ultimately, the project team is aiming for all IPS students to be “future-ready” graduates with a significant portion completing and earning credit for early postsecondary credit through CTE, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Early College programs. 

Framework Composition 

The framework was created by a consulting firm using the foundations of the Association of Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) Quality CTE Program of Study Framework and Naviance’s college, career and life readiness framework to create program quality criteria.  

Both qualitative and quantitative feedback was incorporated into this framework. In addition to considering existing CTE programs of study requirements, feedback regarding program quality was collected from families, school counselors, administrators, instructors and industry partners. In addition to the rubric, evaluators will also examine enrollment and completion data disaggregated by race to identify enrollment disparities as a quality indicator. 

Framework Use 

After the evaluation was completed for all 42 pathways, each pathway component each was coded red, yellow or green. The coding was then used to decide to sunset, merge or enhance each pathway. Five pathways had a substantial number of green components and identified as already achieving substantial alignment with the quality criteria.

Five pathways were chosen as an initial focus group for enhancement as part of Indianapolis’ New Skills ready network priorities in consultation with local two and four year institutions that will partner with IPS to create more seamless postsecondary transitions and early postsecondary opportunities. The five career pathways chosen were Business Administration, Construction Trades, Digital Manufacturing, Engineering, and IT Tech Support & Services.

Benefits of New Skills ready network Partnership 

While the district’s work to evaluate and improve pathway program quality began prior to joining the New Skills ready network, O’Shea shared that participating in the initiative has made the process more impactful and collaborative. She cited the initiative’s focus on collaboration as a means to utilize lessons learned from other sites as well as create a more comprehensive framework based on input from K-12, postsecondary, industry and workforce leaders rather than operating in a silo. The initiative’s funding also allowed for long-term investments to evaluate and maintain program quality through the addition of a data analyst, employer engagement manager, and a new college and career exploration course for middle grades.  

For more information about the early accomplishments of Indianapolis and the five other sites that are part of the New Skills ready network, view Advance CTE’s Year One snapshots. For more resources on strengthening career pathways, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center


By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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New Skills ready network Year 1 Reports Highlight Early Innovations and State Support to Advance Quality and Equity in Career Pathways

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Today, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) released an annual report and site snapshots for the first year 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 and gain a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country. 

One key step highlighted across the snapshots is each site’s approach to connecting systems and creating a common vision and definitions. Boston, Massachusetts, centered on a shared definition of cultural wealth as a framework to discuss equitable practices in career pathway design. Denver, Colorado created the Pathways Data Framework, a shared process for defining, collecting and analyzing data across partners to fully measure progress in achieving equitable career pathways. 

Dallas, Texas, is leveraging their Dallas Thrives initiative to draw on capacity from across their region to work towards a common vision. As an early step, Nashville, Tennessee’s leadership team agreed upon common definitions of systemic racism, implicit bias, educational equity and more and has provided racial equity training to over 300 stakeholders to ground their work in a foundational understanding in what racial equity really means in their community and institutions. 

The report and snapshots also explore how sites are utilizing state leadership, capacity, and existing initiatives to guide the focus of their first year and to map future work. For example, several schools in Indianapolis, Indiana will serve as pilots for the state’s Next Level Program of Study initiative, which aims to improve quality and consistency of CTE program instruction as part of Indiana’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) implementation strategy. 

Columbus, Ohio will leverage statewide articulation and transfer agreements as well pre-existing statewide programs to advance equity and access to postsecondary opportunities in career pathways, including the College Credit Plus program, Career-Technical Assurance Guides, the Choose Ohio First scholarship program. The Ohio Department of Higher Education has also established an internal project team to provide state support to the larger cross-sector project team. Nashville, Tennessee’s local efforts are tapping into the state’s Tennessee Pathways’ Designation Process 

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.  For more information about the New Skills ready network initiative, read the Getting to Know interview with Senior Policy Associate Jeran Culina. 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Getting to Know: Advance CTE’s work to build better career pathways

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Jeran Culina! Jeran serves in the role of Senior Policy Associate for Advance CTE, supporting state policy and technical assistance work. Jeran’s work has a focus on supporting states and communities to create, share, use and manage information about national efforts to expand high-quality and equitable career pathways. She also supports the development of policy tools and resources leveraged by state and local leaders, national partners and other key stakeholders to help ensure each learner has access to supports, resources and skills needed to be successful in the careers of their choice. 

Q: What is the New Skills ready network initiative and how does it inform your work at Advance CTE? 

A: New Skills ready network is a five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program, which aims to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways. The six New Skills ready network sites are: Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee

A key feature of the New Skills ready network is the makeup of the leadership teams. Each site’s team brings together a cross-sector group of partners representing local school systems, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions, intermediary organizations, industry, and state and workforce development agencies. These unique state-and-local, cross-sector leadership teams were developed to align systems; incubate innovative solutions; and ultimately, scale equitable career pathways for all learners. This piece of the New Skills ready network has been significant in informing the rest of my state policy work. It showcases the strengths and challenges that local and state partnerships bring to the table, but it also offers best practices from six local sites to better inform state policy work around engaging stakeholders, bridging secondary and postsecondary, aligning pathways, closing equity gaps, and many other areas that haven’t even been explored yet.   

Q: How would the New Skills ready network define high-quality career pathways?

A: High-quality career pathways are ones that successfully prepare learners for a variety of educational opportunities while supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary schools, postsecondary institutions, and employers to provide students with experience in, and understanding of, all aspects of an industry, and ensure equal access to all learners. Within the New Skills ready network, all sites are developing or expanding their definition of what high-quality career pathways means to them. For example, the Indianapolis, IN team has aligned their definition of high-quality career pathways to match the state’s new next level programs of study (NLPS) model. The shift to NLPS provides learners with:

  1. An increase in the consistency of CTE course offerings to ensure all CTE students have the same opportunity to learn essential skills regardless of the location they are taking a course;
  2. Intentionality by directly aligning secondary courses to postsecondary competencies, providing students who have discovered their passion the opportunity to earn more postsecondary credentials and make progress towards postsecondary degrees while in high school; and
  3. Quality programs because new course standards will increase the rigor in many CTE courses and provide greater benefits to students.

Q: How can state CTE leaders leverage the work coming out of the New Skills ready network to ensure labor market information (LMI) is used to define high-skill, high-wage and in-demand career pathways?

A: States should follow the recommendations laid out in the recently released Advance CTE research brief on aligning labor market data which suggests:

  1. Continuing to make data-informed decisions about which career pathways to build and support and which ones to transform or phase out. In the face of major economic upheaval, while responding to real-time changes may be tempting, focusing on the longer-term trends and consulting multiple data sources and stakeholders are critical.
  2. Address equity within any LMI tools, supports and decisions. As states and institutions invest in their labor market systems and platforms, presenting the data with an equity lens is critical to better inform investments and arm learners with actionable information
  3. Take the opportunity to streamline existing labor market data to make it more usable and accessible for policymakers, local partners, instructors and learners themselves.
  4. Build capacity within the system to improve labor market data literacy. With the complexities of labor market data and increased frequency of the data being reviewed at the state, region and community levels, leaders at all levels — including counselors and advisers — need a better understanding of what they are looking at and how they should interpret the data to best support learners. 

Q: What can we expect next from the New Skills ready network?

A: The New Skills ready network has previously released three research briefs focused on work-based learning, aligning career pathways to labor market data and state strategies for scaling early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) in career pathways. In the next month, expect one additional research brief on strengthening state and local partnerships. In addition to the policy briefs, the New Skills ready network team will be releasing an annual report on the lessons learned during the first year of the grant as well as snapshots of each site and the work they have accomplished. As the work progresses, we will have innovations, best practices and lessons learned from each site to share that can be adopted and scaled across the nation.   

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Resources, Uncategorized
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Aligning Career Pathways using Labor Market Information

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

A career pathway is a progressive sequence of at least three courses that is aligned to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand occupations; spans secondary and postsecondary; reinforces academic learning with related work-based learning experiences; and embeds opportunities for students to earn both related postsecondary credit in a degree-granting program and industry-recognized credentials. 

An important factor in ensuring the alignment of high-quality career pathways is the use of labor market information (LMI). Due to the pandemic, we have witnessed a shift in many industries, which will undoubtedly affect the long-term outlook of the future of work. Now more than ever, it is imperative for state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders to make data-driven decisions, consulting with industry partners to ensure each learner navigating through the career preparation ecosystem can succeed. 

Many states have shared their best practices for gathering and using LMI to build better pathways statewide in these times of uncertainty. 

In Indianapolis, Indiana, EmployIndy (a local workforce intermediary) provides labor market studies and reports on key sectors to increase access to and success in career pathways for local county residents, while supporting local employers’ talent needs. Based on stakeholder feedback to make the labor market data actionable, EmployIndy invested in its internal capacity to collect LMI and conduct its own research to better communicate what the LMI says with regards to the changes in the jobs themselves and the competencies demanded within those jobs. The goal is that both education and industry partners are better prepared to leverage the data to support learners, career pathways development, hiring and training.

Kentucky has partnered with multiple state agencies including the Kentucky Center for Statistics, or KYSTATS, to develop the state’s longitudinal data system. Through this ongoing effort, Kentucky was able to be responsive to the pandemic and future of work by using its one-stop shop for data sources and processes in place to determine if changes are needed to career pathways and what those changes should be. State leaders are now consulting the labor market data on a monthly basis as shifts in industries continue and will stay the course of making data-driven decisions on supporting and funding only those career pathways identified as aligned to good careers.

South Carolina has been reviewing its LMI and enrollment data with an intentional focus on ensuring equitable outcomes for each learner. As a result of data analysis, the state has scaled its credential offerings to build better pathways.

State and local CTE leaders must also remain committed to cross-system collaboration and engaging the industry sector to enhance LMI. 

The South Carolina Office of Career and Technical Education was flexible and nimble to the pandemic and decided to re-engage the state’s 12 regions to see if the pandemic was necessitating any revisions to the previously completed Comprehensive Local Needs Assessments (CLNAs). South Carolina hired a new business and industry liaison to help facilitate those discussions. A number of regions decided on revamping their career pathways and supports based on updated data and input from their industry and workforce partners.

Kentucky has multiple venues for incorporating the knowledge and expertise of industry partners into decisionmaking on career pathways. The Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board provides regular input and updates and the state established Business and Education Alignment Teams meet annually. These teams span across 11 industry areas. 

Today, Advance CTE released Practical Guidance for Aligning Career Pathways to Labor Market Data in the Time of COVID-19, the first in a series to build better pathways, that offers more promising practices for designing strong state and local practices for enhancing the career preparation ecosystem by leveraging LMI to align programs to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations. View the brief here in the Learning that Works Resource Center. 

This resource is part of Advance CTE’s dedicated efforts to build high-quality, equitable career pathways through the New Skills ready network in partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Education Strategy Group.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, COVID-19 and CTE, Publications
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