Posts Tagged ‘learner voice’

This Week in CTE: FCCLA Advancing CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 18th, 2022

Advance CTE continues to celebrate CTE Month® by uplifting Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) student leaders and their national advocacy weeks. 

These organizations are a powerful model for learner-centered and learner-led education, and Advance CTE is pleased to be joined by seven national CTSOs in supporting the national vision for CTE. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) places CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive career preparation ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success. 

Throughout February, the This Week in CTE blog series has highlighted the activities of several CTSOs and their alignment with the five interconnected principles of CTE Without Limits. Today, we highlight Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), who celebrated their national week  this week, February 14-18, 2022, with the theme “Make It Count” and social hashtag #FCCLAWeek.

Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem.

FCCLA members at New Horizons Regional Education Center: Woodside Lane in Newport News, Virginia participate in flexible, responsive CTE programs.  Internships at a local elementary school provide these learners with hands-on experience and real-world skills  in early childhood education.

 

 

 

Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem.

Griffin Middle School in Georgia elevated learner voices and cultural experiences by incorporating commemoration of Black History Month into their celebration of FCCLA Week. 

The national branch FCCLA is also dedicated to retaining and supporting FCCLA advisors through their annual Chapter Advisor Summit held in January. 

 

 

Each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable.

FCCLA strives for FCCLA members to have clear paths for their skills to be valued and counted. FCCLA has identified four career pathways that align to key technical and “employability” skills gained through FCCLA experiences, listed below. Members also have the opportunities to test and display skill competencies at competitions at the regional, state and national level. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

FCCLA members have the opportunity to share their skills and make connections beyond the classroom and even their state. National FCCLA leader Hayley Reid participated in a federal policy panel held by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

FCCLA Real-World Skills: 

Applied Academic Skills: Communications, Math, Science, Basic Literacy

Critical Thinking Skills: Problem Solving, Organization & Planning

Resource Management: Time, Money, Materials & Personnel

Information Use

Communication Skills

Interpersonal Skills: Leadership, Teamwork & Negotiation

Personal Qualities

Systems Thinking: Teamwork & Project Management

Technology Use

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for communication and implementation tools for state and local CTE leaders to bring CTE Without Limits to life. 

If you would like to share how your CTE program or CTSO creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

New Skills ready network Site Highlight Blog: Columbus, Ohio Learner and Family Engagement

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

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.

Policy Associate Dan Hinderliter interviewed Donna Marbury, Director of Client Services for Warhol and WALL ST, a full-service marketing firm that serves as a consultant for the Columbus New Skills ready network site and has partnered on multiple initiatives with Columbus City Schools. This post will highlight the site’s work in elevating learner voice to market career pathways to families. 

Background 

Career pathways in Columbus City Schools provide the opportunity for high school learners to access high quality career technical education, and are open to all juniors and seniors. Dozens of courses are offered through eleven pathway programs split between two locations, Columbus Downtown High School and Fort Hayes Career Center. Through the New Skills ready network, the Columbus project team is prioritizing improving rigor and quality specifically in the areas of health sciences and information technology. Postsecondary partners Columbus State Community College and The Ohio State University are also reviewing quality pathways in this area to ensure seamless transition and alignment for learners in and between educational institutions.

Purpose and Components 

One of Columbus’ project focuses is creating messaging and materials to more effectively communicate the opportunities and benefits of career pathways to learners and families. The strategy focused on direct outreach to students and families through polling, focus groups and co-design sessions. Marbury emphasized that this strategy is rooted in creating communications “not for, but with the end user” to ensure materials meet both learners’ and families’ needs in how they digest and receive information.

This engagement began with focus groups of families and learners in the eighth and tenth grades, both those who are interested in and not interested in participating in career pathways in Columbus City Schools. Focus groups were also held with administrators, counselors and internship coordinators who were identified as key “translators” between student needs and goals and family perceptions and expectations for their students

Marbury acknowledged that it was difficult to reach families due to work schedules, communication needs, and the challenges of connecting virtually, and as a result, a post-focus group survey was targeted specifically to parents to determine communication preferences to better align future engagement. 

Active Listening through Learner Feedback Loops 

Columbus’ strategy integrates learner input beyond one-time focus groups, and Marbury emphasized that it is clear through their work so far that learners want to be involved in the entire process. Design workshops were held to allow a sub-set of learners involved in the focus groups to provide feedback on initial drafts of graphics and messaging. Future quarterly check-ins will engage this group in testing subsequent versions of the messaging and materials. 

Learner feedback on the updated materials has helped to reach diverse groups of students and achieve authenticity through messaging that is easily understood and able to be easily acted upon; photography that aligns with East African and Latinx representation in Columbus communities, and in formats such as memes and videos that match popular means for learners to access information.

Learners want to be involved in these projects. If they are interested in a career pathway, they want to feel empowered to talk about it, and we need to make it easy for them to do so.” – Donna Marbury, Director of Client Services, Warhol and WALL St. 

The updated communication tools are one piece of a larger plan to design and communicate career pathways more clearly to families and learners so that each learner’s academic plans are aligned to their career goals starting as early as middle school. 

Lessons Learned 

Marbury elevated that the choice to participate in a career pathway in Columbus can be an emotional decision because it often requires the learner to leave their home school environment to attend one of Columbus’ career technical high schools. The communications to students and families must address this and highlight the benefits to students now and in the future. She also shared that the opportunity for hands-on learning experiences and the involvement of pathway alumni, particularly those from historically underrepresented populations, strongly resonated with learners. Finally, she emphasized the importance of involving learners and families at not just the beginning but across the entire project cycle of materials development to ensure the end product reflects the needs of the targeted audience. 

For more information about initiatives being pursued by Columbus and the five other sites that are part of the New Skills ready network, view Advance CTE’s Year One snapshots. Additionally, Advance CTE’s recently released learner voice toolkit provides actionable resources, guidance and tools to ensure CTE learner voices are elevated and heard for the improvement of CTE policies and practices

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Brittany Cannady in Resources
Tags: , , , ,

Getting to Know: Stakeholder Engagement at Advance CTE

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

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

Meet Dan Hinderliter! Dan is a State Policy Associate at Advance CTE and supports a number of different national projects. As a site liaison for the New Skills ready network, Dan works with two sites (Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), providing resource and research support while also serving as a direct link to the national project team. He also works on site snapshots, the annual report and quarterly newsletters, as well as major publications that highlight promising national, state and local practices aligned with the principles of the New Skills ready network

Dan also supports the modernization of the National Career Clusters® Framework and spearheads the Year in Review, the annual aggregation of state policy impacting CTE. As part of the Year in Review process, Dan regularly tracks state-level legislation and other policy actions.

Q: Considering your work on the New Skills ready network initiative, how are the six sites leveraging stakeholder engagement to advance career pathways? 

A: Each of the six New Skills ready network sites is working to leverage stakeholder engagement in some capacity to advance career pathways. First, because each of the sites is composed of a variety of stakeholders, engagement with business and industry, postsecondary partners and K-12 institutions has to happen to ensure each voice is involved in and buys into the work of the site. Outside of the project teams, however, most sites are doing some level of stakeholder engagement involving learner and family communications practices. Some sites are surveying parents and learners to understand what resonates with them about available career pathways, while others have done focus groups to understand where there are gaps for learners in specific programs. Columbus, Ohio’s project team hired a minority-led communications firm, with roots in Columbus, to help share consistent messaging and work to understand how each stakeholder can be better supported.

View the 2020-2021 site snapshot for Columbus, Ohio here

Q: Earlier this year, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released State Policies Impacting CTE: 2020 Year in Review where industry partnership was a frequently addressed topic area. Are there any states that can serve as a model for policy actions around stakeholder engagement? 

A: Every year, states enact new legislation that impacts how each state engages with stakeholders, either through input gathering or through information sharing. Many states, including Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho and Missouri (among others), passed legislation this year requiring a state agency to collect and disseminate information that allows learners to make more informed decisions about their futures, including information about in-demand jobs or industry recognized credential attainment. Other states are using legislative action to improve equity and access in part through stakeholder engagement; Oregon and Washington, for example, now require institutions to collect feedback or input from diverse or historically marginalized stakeholder groups to inform new practices and strategies that will increase access to high-quality CTE programs for those groups. At the beginning of 2022, we will release our state policy tracker for 2021 which includes the above legislative actions and others.

Q: One of the foundational commitments within CTE Without Limits is based on stakeholder engagement. How can states, through such partnerships, ensure each learner reaches success in a career of their choice? 

A: Advance CTE’s shared vision, CTE Without Limits, calls for CTE to be incredibly learner-centric and for programs to ensure that the learner voice is incorporated into each decision about career pathways or programs. As states continue to expand access and equity in their CTE programs and work toward dismantling systemic barriers in CTE, the learner voice must be an integral part of these conversations, as only the learner who participated in the program can fully understand the consequences of decisions made at each level. At the same time, states and local institutions can continue to expand offerings by building partnerships with community based organizations to offer learner supports or with business and industry to offer new or improved work-based learning opportunities. By including opportunities for stakeholder groups like learners, their families and local businesses to provide input into decisions surrounding CTE, states can ensure that their career pathways and CTE programs are truly aligned with the needs of their communities.

Q: Lastly, Advance CTE announced the modernization of The National Career Clusters® Framework. How has Advance CTE prioritized stakeholder engagement and the voices of the field in this work? 

A: Though we don’t yet know what our end product will look like at the conclusion of these modernization efforts, we did know the process had to be highly collaborative to ensure everyone buys into whatever the outcome happens to be. As such, we have included a lot of opportunity to incorporate feedback from the field; we convened an expert kitchen cabinet to provide insights about the purpose and uses of the Framework, opened a crowdsourcing portal to collect feedback from the larger field about critical changes they’d like to see, and held workshops to assist in the prototyping of a new Framework. In this next phase of work, we’re hoping to hold focus groups to discuss the future of the Framework. As we near a model for a new, modernized Framework, we are hoping to have many more conversations with stakeholders about how they can implement the Framework in their own state and community to ensure that the modernized Framework is implemented with fidelity.

For resources and tools to increase stakeholder engagement in CTE, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1