Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Legislative Update: Continued Debates in Congress, New USED Nominees and Approved ARP State Plans

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Over the past two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have grappled with several intertwined issues including the debt ceiling, FY22 appropriations, and continued debate over the scope and content of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. 

Short-term Agreement on FY22 Appropriations

On September 30, lawmakers passed short-term funding legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that extends current funding levels for federal programs, like Perkins V, through December 3 for the current federal fiscal year (FY22). The measure ensures that Congress will avoid a shutdown of federal government operations and disruptions to education and workforce development programs, at least for the time being. Democratic lawmakers had hoped to tie a debt ceiling increase to this measure, but Senate Republicans unanimously rejected this approach. With the debt ceiling provision removed, the Senate and House overwhelmingly passed the short-term measure with President Biden signing it into law later that evening. 

Nation’s Borrowing Limit Extended 

Following the passage of the CR, Congressional Democrats turned their attention back to the issue of the national debt limit—the total allowable amount of money the U.S. Treasury Department is statutorily permitted to borrow to pay the nation’s debts. Failure to raise or suspend the debt limit would result in a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt. Until Wednesday, Senate Republicans remained unanimously opposed to addressing this issue, arguing that Congressional Democrats should achieve this via the Congressional budget reconciliation process. With time running short, however, Senate leaders announced that they had reached an agreement to modestly increase the nation’s borrowing authority by $480 billion. 

The agreement, at least temporarily, ensures that the nation will avert a default on its debt obligations. The short-term agreement is intended to provide additional time for lawmakers to determine a longer-term solution for the debt limit. Significantly, the agreement likely means that the debt ceiling will need to be addressed again around the same time that lawmakers must determine full-year funding for the federal government and related programs for the current federal fiscal year (FY22).

Reconciliation Remains in Limbo 

Vigorous debate within the Democratic Party remains fluid and ongoing regarding Congressional Democrats’ efforts to pass a domestic spending bill—known collectively as the Build Better Act agenda—via the Congressional budget reconciliation process. This process allows certain legislation to be passed by simple majorities in both chambers, thereby avoiding a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate. Most recently the House Budget committee repackaged the various component pieces of their $3.5 trillion proposal into a single bill for further consideration— a proposal which includes $4 billion in additional funding for the Perkins V and related programs.  

However, progress on the legislation remains stalled as progressives and moderates within the Democratic party continue to disagree on the timing of a vote for this legislation, the contents of the package, and its overall size. It is widely expected that the topline figure of $3.5 trillion will likely be decreased prior to final passage. At present, Democratic Congressional leaders hope to finalize a deal on this package, along with additional infrastructure legislation, by the end of October. 

Second Funding Window for Connectivity Funds

On September 29, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the opening of a second application filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. Created as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the ECF Program allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

This second opportunity to apply for funding will remain open through October 13. Eligible schools, libraries and consortia will be able to submit requests for funding to make eligible purchases between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. More information on how to apply can be found here

USED Proposes New Maintenance of Equity Implementation Requirements 

On October 5, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published two notices in the Federal Register regarding the ARP’s maintenance of equity requirement (MOEq). The first notice outlines a set of new data reporting elements regarding a new requirement that states publish information demonstrating that high-poverty school districts are not receiving disproportionate cuts to local school budgets. The second requests information from states and districts regarding the feasibility of this proposed requirement. This MOEq requirement was a condition for states receiving ARP money. More information on these notices can be found here and here

Senate Confirms New USED Nominees 

On Wednesday, October 6, the Senate voted to confirm three high-level nominees for positions within the USED. Those approved for positions included Gwen Graham, who will oversee the Department’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs as Assistant Secretary; Elizabeth Merrill Brown, who will serve as USED’s General Counsel; and Roberto Rodriguez, who will oversee the Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. 

There are a number of other USED appointees still awaiting Senate confirmation. This includes Amy Loyd, who has been nominated to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)—a nomination Advance CTE has strongly supported earlier this year. At present, it remains unclear when Loyd’s nomination will be approved by the Senate.  

USED Approves Four More ARP Plans

The ARP, passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats earlier this year, authorized $122 billion in additional pandemic aid funding to be disbursed to K-12 schools this past spring. USED has since distributed two-thirds of this funding to states via a formula detailed in the legislation. The Department held back the remaining third of these funds, however, until states and territories submitted plans detailing how they would make use of these resources to support students as they recover from the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As part of this ongoing effort, USED approved four more of these plans on Thursday, October 7, sending these additional funds to Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Wyoming. The current status of all state ARP plans, including highlights of plans approved by USED so far, can be found here.

Kimberly Green, Executive Director 

By Brittany Cannady in Legislation
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Getting to Know CTE in Michigan

Thursday, September 23rd, 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 CTE in Michigan!
The Michigan Department of Education – Office of Career and Technical Education (MDE-OCTE) works closely with regional CTE administrators to provide support and technical assistance to implement and improve current operating CTE programs, as well as to support the development of new CTE programs. CTE Secondary Programs are intentionally structured into 27 Perkins regions and 53 Career and Education Planning Districts. This regional structure provides access to state-approved CTE programs for students throughout the state of Michigan. Programs for secondary students are available through area career centers, intermediate school districts, public school academies, and local education agencies. 

Postsecondary CTE Programs in Michigan are structured into 28 community colleges, three postsecondary associate-degree-granting institutions, and one Tribal College. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Workforce Development (LEO-WD) works in close collaboration with the MDE-OCTE to implement postsecondary CTE programs.

Q: What are a few ways Michigan uses learner data to inform policy and practice?

A: Michigan uses learner data to help Perkins subrecipients prioritize use of their Perkins funds through the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment. Data on student enrollment and completion by CIP Code, race, gender and special populations are compared to labor market information and other data to identify areas of need. At the state level, learner data helps to identify professional development needs and are used in evaluation of Perkins grant applications to ensure that Perkins-funded activities align with areas of greatest need. Michigan also utilizes learner data to assess equity and access in CTE.

Q: What partnerships within your state have been most impactful in developing your data ecosystem? 

A: MDE-OCTE partners with other state agencies, as well as with university researchers, to create data reports that inform policy, promote program improvement and support effective program evaluation. A major partner is the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI). CEPI is responsible for collecting, managing, and reporting K-12 and postsecondary education data in Michigan. MDE-OCTE links CTE data to other K-12 and postsecondary data to compare CTE students to all students and to evaluate post-high school outcomes. CEPI produces data reports based on linked secondary, postsecondary and wage record data. These reports are available on Michigan’s student data portal www.MISchoolData.org

See for example: Median Annual Wages by Educational Attainment and High School CTE Status2, https://www.mischooldata.org/high-school-cte-status-by-educational-attainment/ and https://www.mischooldata.org/cte-programs-offered/

MDE-OCTE also partners with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development which oversees postsecondary CTE programs and collaborates on CTE reporting. 

MDE-OCTE partners with the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab (YPL) on collaborative projects to better understand CTE in Michigan. YPL is currently working with MDE-OCTE to describe CTE delivery models in Michigan and develop a picture of access to CTE throughout the state. Other projects have included examination of CTE in Michigan for students with disabilities, and access to CTE in Michigan by race and gender

Additionally, MDE-OCTE is a member of the Career & Technical Education Policy Exchange (CTEx)–a multi-state policy lab dedicated to improving the quality of high school career and technical education (CTE) programs. CTEx has provided MDE-OCTE with valuable data-based insights and improved the department’s ability to collect data of value to districts and policymakers. MDE-OCTE’s research partnerships extend the department’s data analysis capacity and support work such as analyses for the Perkins State Plan.

Q: What challenges and opportunities are there for data sharing between the state and local levels? 

A: The greatest challenges to sharing data for program evaluation and decision making are handling small cell sizes and accessing and linking to employment data. In order to protect student privacy, cells with fewer than 10 students are suppressed. This makes it difficult to analyze data for small groups of students such as by race or special populations, or at the program level. This can be overcome by summarizing data over multiple years, but this could mask changes over time. Legal and policy limitations on the use of employment data and logistical challenges in linking education and employment data prevent many states, including Michigan, from fully utilizing employment data to evaluate educational outcomes, including outcomes of CTE.

Q: What advice would you give to state CTE leaders regarding data-driven decisionmaking? 

A: Effective data-driven decisionmaking requires investment in data and research capacity–both within the state education agency and in partnerships with other state agencies and outside partners. Investing in capacity and partnerships enhances our ability to carry out meaningful analyses that lead to new insights. In order to maximize understanding of the data, individual student data are needed to break the data into key groups and understand impact. The ability to accurately link secondary CTE student data to other K-12 and postsecondary education data, as well as to wage and employment data, is required to be able to effectively evaluate CTE outcomes.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media, Advance CTE
Jill Kroll, Supervisor, Grants, Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, MDE-OCTE
Brian Pyles, State CTE Director, MDE-OCTE

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, May 15th, 2021

Developed with input from nearly 200 national, state and local education and workforce development leaders and supported by 40 national organizations, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education lays out five inter-connected and equally critical principles.

Only through shared commitment and shared ownership among leaders and practitioners at all levels can we realize the possibility and aspiration of a new career preparation ecosystem that provides each learner with limitless opportunity. The This Week in CTE blog series will highlight state and local examples where CTE Without Limits has been made actionable. If you would like to share how your CTE program creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

 

This Week in CTE: May 10 – 14, 2021

 

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

This week we extend congratulations to the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars! Of the 161 high school seniors selected, 20 outstanding learners from CTE programs have been awarded this honor for their accomplishments. The 2021 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE represent the following states: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A full press release can be found here

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

This week career tech centers in Ohio received a visit from Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, who serves as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. During the site visits, learners shared reasons for participating in career pathways and early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs). 

Reflecting on his visits Lt. Gov. Husted stated, “We have to have more students who are taking their career seriously at an earlier age, gaining some real world experience, preparing for work, earning college credits without having to run a bunch of debt, and make the education affordable and effective.”

Read more from learners and about the career tech site visits in this article published by Dayton Daily News.

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

“Some students are already working in the field part time…students who are skilled in masonry will always be able to find work because of demand.”- Holly Pore, District Career Technical Education Director, Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

North Carolina CTE students competed this past week at Skills Rowan, a skills-based competition where Rowan-Salisbury schools showcase their industry skills. Despite the challenges due to the pandemic in hosting a competition that mimics years past, students were still able to feel value from competing and receiving the opportunity to be the true navigator of their career journey. 

Read more in this article published by the Salisbury Post.

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

Advance CTE’s newly released communications research indicates that learners who participate in CTE are more prepared for and more likely to plan to complete college. When states build more cohesive systems where early EPSOs such as dual enrollment are fully counted, valued and portable, learners have more equitable paths to college and career success.

Intentional Acts of Dual Enrollment: State Strategies for Scaling Early Postsecondary Opportunities in Career Pathways provides the following four key strategies to achieve this goal and highlights effective programs in Ohio, Tennessee and Utah

View this brief and other New Skills ready network resources here.

Each learner can access CTE without borders

Learners with a career interest in agriculture can register to attend a free virtual internship experience with industry professionals. Do you need career experiences for students despite the pandemic? Attendees will learn:

Educators should attend with learners to explore agricultural jobs and practice asking questions live!
Date: Thursday, May 20
Time: 12:30 pm ET/9:30 am PT.

Register here.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources
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Resetting Perkins V Performance Levels: A Q&A with the Michigan Department of Education

Friday, February 19th, 2021

In 2020 the Michigan Department of Education began the process of revising its State Determined Performance Levels (SDPLs) for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. This blog post features a discussion with Dr. Jill Kroll, Supervisor for the Grants, Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, and Dr. Yincheng Ye, Research Consultant, at the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education.

Michigan is one of the first states to make adjustments to its Perkins V SDPLs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Can you explain what changes you are proposing and why? 

We are proposing to reduce our SDLP for 3S1—Secondary Post-Program Placement from 95 percent to 75 percent for 2020-2021 and to 80 percent for 2021-2022, returning it to the original SDLP of 95 percent in 2022-2023.

Our reasoning for requesting this change is that we expect that student placement in both employment and continuing education will be adversely affected by the pandemic. This is based on a review of employment projections from the University of Michigan, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, and research reports and other reports indicating a reduction in postsecondary enrollment, especially among first-year college students and low-income students.

We also requested and received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for reporting the academic indicators 2S1 and 2S2 because our state did not administer the 11th grade tests in Spring 2020, which will affect the data for students graduating in Spring 2021. We are awaiting the decision on the Spring 2021 assessments. If our state receives a waiver for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the waiver will also apply for Perkins (Our state already had a waiver from reporting the Science indicator 2S3 because we have a new assessment).

We did not feel that we needed a waiver for our indicator of program quality, 5S1—Attained Recognized Postsecondary Credential because our SDPL was already set quite low in our state plan due to the fact that we will be phasing in approval of credentials over several years. This info page for our State Board of Education and for public comment summarizes the proposed changes and includes citations for our evidence.

With conditions changing so rapidly under the Coronavirus pandemic, projecting data over the next few years can be like trying to hit a moving target. How were you able to make these projections work?

We were lucky that the University of Michigan produces solid quarterly economic and employment projections. We participated in several webinars beginning in Spring 2020 on the economic impact of the pandemic so we were aware of the resources available. We felt that it was important to follow procedure and propose reduced SDPLs where appropriate, and take the proposed levels for public comment, even if we had to base the proposed levels on estimated impact.

How are you explaining to the public why Michigan’s SDPLs need to be adjusted? 

We cited the available data. We found, during the initial public comment period for our Perkins V state plan, that stakeholders and the public were very receptive as long as we provided our reasoning for our recommendations, so we anticipate the same will be true for our proposed modifications. Here is what we have listed on the info sheet for public comment:

Both employment and postsecondary enrollment have been negatively influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. The Post-program Placement indicator needs to be adjusted to reflect these impacts.

States have to go through the same public comment process to adjust their SDPLs as when they first developed their Perkins V plans. How has this process been similar or different to the original public comment period? 

We are following the same process as we did for our Perkins V state plan, presenting the proposal to stakeholder groups, taking the recommendations out for virtual public hearings, and publicizing the public comment opportunity through an online survey on our website. We also had to present to our State Board of Education prior to the public comment period and will have to present to them again after public comment, including the public comments.

What advice would you give states that are considering whether or not to change their Perkins V SDPLs? 

My advice would be to continue to regularly review the data related to each of the indicators. If it appears that the pandemic (or any other unanticipated circumstance) may affect the state’s ability to meet the SDLPs, develop a timeline for revising the SDLPs and then do it. I think it is important that school districts feel that the SDLPs are fair and reasonable and if they are unattainable due to circumstances outside the control of the districts and/or colleges they lose their value as engines of program improvement. I also think it is important for state offices to do our due diligence to maintain the faith and trust of our educators, districts, colleges and the public.

My other recommendation is to plan, plan, plan. A timeline is critical. As soon as we realized we needed to revise our SDLP we did two things. First, we contacted the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at USED to verify that we could adjust the SDPL and to get the deadline for submitting the adjustment. Contact information for OCTAE Perkins Regional Coordinators is listed here. Second, we immediately worked out a timeline (this was in August) and quickly realized how long the process would take, with two State Board Meetings required as part of the process. It was only because we worked out the timeline so early that we will be able to make the OCTAE deadline for revising state plans and SDPLs on May 21.

Today, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education released Mitigating Unanticipated Circumstances: Resetting Perkins V State Determined Performance Levels During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a guide to help states revise their Perkins V SDPLs. Dr. Kroll served on the workgroup that helped produce the guide.

By Austin Estes in COVID-19 and CTE, Publications, Resources
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

CTE PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, a virtual K-12 academy in Michigan, has seen an increase in enrollment for CTE courses. As a result of the pandemic, many students have responded to local labor market needs, and taken an interest in the health science Career Cluster®

One Health Science Instructor at the academy, AJ Krey, mentions, “it’s a program for all students that are interested in anything medicine.” More information can be found in this article published by WBKB-TV 11. 

WEBINAR SERIES OF THE WEEK

The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education announced their upcoming webinar series on CTE in the middle grades. The first of two webinars will be held on January 27, 2021. Click here for more information and to register. 

CTSO OF THE WEEK

SkillsUSA has opened their application window for the National Technical Honor Society/ SkillsUSA Scholarship. Both organizations strive to uphold the other’s mission by providing learners with scholarship opportunities that contribute to their educational experience.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce and that each learner excels. SkillsUSA provides educational programs, events and competitions that support CTE in the nation’s classrooms.

More information on the scholarship and how to apply can be found here

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 

This week, the Ohio Association of Career-Technical Superintendents shared this video to aid in career exploration and the awareness of Ohio‘s 49 career centers.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

Last week the omnibus bill that was passed by Congress to provide federal funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21)- which includes Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed)- was signed into law by the president. Importantly, this included an increase of $52.25 million for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing the total to approximately $1.334 billion. Overall, the bill included an increase of approximately $785 million for education programs and an increase of approximately $122 million for labor programs.

View more Legislative Updates from this week here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE examines the ways in which states can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE systems for all students. States can use this resource to evaluate best practices and strategies for engaging the employer community.

The report drew from a survey of 47 State CTE Directors as well as a dozen interviews to understand how and in what ways employers were engaging with CTE across the country and to illuminate the state’s role in fostering employer engagement.

View The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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The State of CTE: Advancing Quality Credentials Through Perkins V

Friday, January 8th, 2021

In October, Advance CTE released “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of States’ Perkins V Priorities” which examines how states have leveraged the development of the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans to expand quality and increase equity within their CTE systems. One finding of this report is the emerging state focus on credentials of value.

Perkins V introduces a new secondary program quality indicator as one method available to states to ensure program quality. States can choose from three options — work-based learning, recognized postsecondary credentials (credentials of value) and postsecondary credit attainment (dual enrollment and articulation) — all of which are components of a high-quality CTE program of study, in addition to other critical elements like rigorous standards, quality assessments and alignment to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand career opportunities. States’ increasing focus on credentials shows up in many aspects of their Perkins V plans, as shown in the chart below. That should come as little surprise. Credentials that are valued in the labor market can serve as an important component of any quality CTE program. They serve as anchors for the exit and re-entry points within CTE programs and career pathways, providing learners with a valuable way to signal their knowledge and skills to prospective employers and other postsecondary educational institutions. 

The commitment to expanding credentials shows up in many aspects of state Perkins V plans, based on Advance CTE’s analysis: 

Which Credentials States Promote Matters

Despite their popularity, credentials are not all created equally. As ExcelinEd found in its research, states are in very different places in terms of the ways that they identify, align, prioritize and measure credentials of value earned by learners across secondary and postsecondary systems. Consider that prior to Perkins V state plan approval:

While these findings show that all states can improve their policies related to credentials of value, Perkins V offers states a platform to increase their focus on credentials of value as a critical component of high-quality CTE programs of study that lead to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers. 

State Innovations

The Work Ahead

It is promising that states have included various references to credentials of value in their Perkins V plans. To help ensure they address core issues of quality and alignment, Credentials Matter offers six high-level recommendations for all states to develop statewide systems and processes that prioritize high-value credentials. 

States should be lauded for making plans to include and improve access to industry credentials as part of comprehensive CTE offerings. Their next step is to execute on the implementation strategies that will ensure these offerings pay dividends to learners and families, while maintaining a steadfast commitment to quality and equity. 

Resources

Christina Koch, Policy Associate
Melissa Canney, Innovation Policy Director, ExcelinEd

By Christina Koch in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE hosted a webinar providing a preview of the 2020 elections at both the national and state level and discussed how the results of the elections may impact policy overall, and specifically CTE-related policy. Panelists also discussed what state CTE leaders can do now to prepare for the elections in November. View the recording of the webinar and register for the next one: CTE’s Role in the Future of Work and our Economic Recovery.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD OF THE WEEK

GRANT AWARD OF THE WEEK

The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant will support states’ initiatives in creating innovative ways for learners to continue education in ways that meet their individual needs. States receiving the grant award include: Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The awards range from $6 million to $20 million. View the press release here.

CTE PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

One local CTE program in Michigan has added a new teacher academy for their learners, which will begin this fall! With the help of a grant award from the Michigan Department of Education, Alpena Public Schools are looking to recruit their own educators for the future of their district. Read more in this article published by The Alpena News.

TOOLKIT OF THE WEEK

To assist state leaders in developing and expanding equitable youth apprenticeship programs, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) has developed a new toolkit, Equity in Youth Apprenticeship Programs

This toolkit strives to increase access and opportunities for high school students as they begin to transition into the workforce or a postsecondary institution. Read more here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE in partnership with The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) has published a new resource as part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which outlines the five steps state CTE leaders can take to ensure secondary and postsecondary students with disabilities have access to and the supports needed to thrive in high-quality CTE programs. 

View the resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Resources, Webinars
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This Week in CTE

Friday, June 26th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE OF THE WEEK

Nebraska Career and Technical Education (CTE) held a Virtual Symposium, which was the first of its kind for the state. There were more than 700 CTE district, state and national level attendees. Among them were Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

During the symposium, winners of the annual Nebraska Excellence in Career and Technical Education Awards and Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educators Awards were announced. Read more about the symposium and learn more about the award winners here

STUDENT OF THE WEEK

In Michigan, one student has shown great leadership by joining Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to Learn Council. Dominic Gonzalez is one of the district’s dual enrollment learners, which allows him to attend a local community college and earn college credit while still in high school. Dominic will be tasked with providing Governor Whitmer and the council a student perspective of what returning to school should look like in the fall. Read more in the article published by The Detroit News.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Texas CTE students did not let graduation or the pandemic stop them from completing one meaningful project. Engineering and veterinary science students developed a prosthetic paw for a local puppy who suffered complications at birth. View this video for highlights from the project, prototypes of the prosthetic paw and the student’s stories. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V): Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. 35 state plans are approved in total so far. Check out this chart to see which states have been approved, and links to the state plans.   

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. The local investments from across the world – Innovation Sites – aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. Over the past year, Advance CTE has released a series of snapshots documenting the progress of the local investments. This week, Advance CTE released the final two snapshots featuring investments in the Greater Washington Region and Germany.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Learning from CTE Research Partnerships: How Michigan Built Trust with Researchers to Better Understand State Data

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

As part of our ongoing blog series aimed at increasing state research on career and technical education (CTE), Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate at Advance CTE, and Corinne Alfeld, Research Analyst at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), are conducting interviews with individuals who are part of successful CTE State Director research partnerships. The first interview was with Jill Kroll of the Michigan Department of Education and Dan Kreisman of Georgia State University (and Director of CTEx). [Note: this interview has been edited for length; you can find the full interview transcript here].

The first question we have is about the projects that you work on together: what were some of the research questions you came up with, and how did you come to settle on those research questions?

Jill – I first connected with Dan and with Brian Jacob at University of Michigan when I saw Brian present to our P-20 council about some research that he was doing connecting the wage record data for five community colleges. I was like “Gee, is there any way you can do something similar with the statewide secondary student data?” And he said it was possible. So I worked within our department procedures to find out how we could go about establishing a relationship that would allow this opportunity.

Dan – That led to a whole bunch of other discussions of things that we thought were interesting. So, to say that there is a set of research questions is not the way I view our relationship. We talk with folks in Jill’s office regularly to hear what questions are pressing for them, and then we try to help facilitate answering those and then see where those lead us. I think one of the important things is we try to think about where there are policy levers, so we want to say “If we answer this question, how can the state or the districts use that information to further their mission of providing CTE programming to students in Michigan?”

Jill – I’ve been really happy with the extent to which Dan and the research team have consistently focused on the “so what?” Rather than focusing on vague research questions of interest only to other researchers, they have emphasized their interest in doing research that has practical application, that can be used by educators in the field.

Could you share an example of how you’ve been able to use some of this evidence and research to change policy, or at least to shape your understanding on some decisions that you’re making at the state level?

Jill – When we were starting to work on our Perkins V [the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act] state plan, we had a short time to determine what we wanted to consider for our secondary indicator of program quality. Because Brian, Dan, and their students had been working with this data for so many years, they had the capacity to very quickly do the matching and come up with an approximation for us about what postsecondary credit attainment would look like, and what strengths and weaknesses they saw in the data. It would have been really difficult for our office, or even multiple state agencies, to have been able to work that quickly and give it the critical analysis that they did.

The other thing they did when we were making the decision for that indicator is look at the data that we had for work-based learning and tell us what could be done with it. What came out of that was that the data was not in any form that could be analyzed (text and PDFs). This was really revealing to our State Director Brian Pyles, and it led him to set a policy that we are going to build a consistent way of collecting data on work-based learning. So that is another piece where it influenced practice and policy. One of the most exciting and valuable things that I find about the partnership is that Dan and the other researchers have a lot more capacity to analyze the data in a way that we just don’t have the time to do. Sometimes we don’t have the expertise, and sometimes we just don’t look at the data in the same way.

Dan –And there’s a flip side that without their input, we often are looking at data and can’t make heads or tails of something. And we can get on the phone or write an email to someone over there and say “Hey we’re seeing this thing. Can you tell me what that means?” And they will come back with “Oh, the system changed” or “There was this one policy,” and “Here’s what you have to do to make it fit everything else.” And this happens all the time. We would be completely lost without this open channel that we have to their office.

I think it’s important not to dismiss the power of good descriptive work. Lots of times, the questions that states are grappling with can often be illuminated with some really careful and good descriptive work. You can say, “This is what we’re seeing, this is the big picture,” if you step back for a minute, and that information lots of times has been as valuable as the stuff we try to do that is more causally oriented in our research.

Jill – I agree, and I want to follow up on the whole issue of how important trust is. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to me that Dan and the other researchers come to us with those questions, that they check in with us. That’s absolutely critical. Anyone who works with any kind of data knows that it’s just so complex. If you link tables wrong, or misunderstand a data field, you can come to a completely wrong decision. So that communication and that interaction and trust are key to accurate outcomes.

As you’re both looking ahead, what’s next on the agenda? What are some of the research questions and priorities you have for this partnership?

Dan – Number one is tracking students into the labor market. That’s our biggest and most outstanding question. And the degree to which CTE programs are preparing students for college and the labor market and careers. In terms of other projects, one of the things we’re interested in is technical assessments. We’re also part of a consortium of several states – that’s the CTEx group. We meet annually together, and that allows us to harmonize things across states to see how trends are similar, how enrollment rates work, all sorts of different questions across multiple states.

Jill – One of the things we’re talking about right now is that we don’t have, in an accessible form, data on access to a particular program. We know that career centers serve certain districts, but if someone asked, “If student A is going to Central High School, what programs do they have access to? we don’t have a good way of answering that at the moment. We’ve had a couple of discussions about how we can work together to build basically a dataset that clarifies that. That would be mutually beneficial and would take resources from both in order to do something like that.

Thinking back on this partnership, is there any advice you would give to other State Directors or CTE researchers?

Dan – Building a strong relationship is the first thing you have to do. And part of that is spending time face to face talking about questions, moving around ideas, looking at data together. We had the benefit of a long windup period. We spent at least a year just talking about questions and putting together data before we even started doing any analyses. We also had buy-in from Jill’s office up and down the line from folks who were doing the research to people who were in policymaking roles. And without all of that, none of this would even have been possible.

And the second part is to not downplay the value of just providing good information. A lot of us on the research side don’t realize how little time folks in the state offices have to take a step back and say, “What’s going on with our data? Let’s look at the big picture.” And one of the things we can provide them is just giving them that big picture and handing it to them in a digestible way. And doing that is the first step, is a really good way to start building that trust. They really see the value of what you can do early on. And then you can start to get into more difficult or longer-term questions.

Jill – The first advice I would give is: Do it! Partner with researchers. I can’t say enough positive about it. The second is: Follow department procedures and be transparent with department leadership. You know that windup might be really, really slow while you jog through the channels that you need to in your department to do things by the book, but I think it pays off in the long run.

My third one is: Be transparent and open with school districts. Share what you’re doing and invite their input. Anybody who works with state data would probably know, you’re always a little hesitant about what the public would think about this use of data. The way that Dan and the postdocs and graduate students have openly shared the work that they’ve done with our CTE administrators has really helped, in that I have not gotten any doubt from districts.

The full transcript can be accessed on Advance CTE’s website. Other blog posts in this series can be viewed here.

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
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Tackling Rural CTE Challenges on Capitol Hill

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

What can state leaders do to expand access to high-quality career technical education (CTE) in rural communities? That was the focus of an event held last Thursday by the Congressional CTE Caucus, in coordination with Advance CTE.

The event featured state and local leaders from diverse geographies, who shared their experiences with delivering CTE in rural  communities, highlighting both barriers and best practices. The co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), also stopped by the event to provide remarks about the value of CTE and weigh in on the state of rural CTE.

As Representative Thompson (R-PA), who comes from a largely rural area in Pennsylvania, noted at the beginning of the event, “CTE restores rungs on the ladder of opportunity. We need to make sure that we are dealing with the barriers,” so that CTE can help close opportunity gaps and extend a bridge to lifelong career success. However, rural communities often face obstacles like scarce resources, critical teacher shortages and a limited employer base that make it difficult to deliver high-quality CTE at scale. As Advance CTE found through their interviews with state CTE leaders, these challenges are common across geographies, yet they are often exacerbated in rural communities (find all of the briefs in the CTE on the Frontier series here).

How can state and local leaders tackle these challenges? During the event, Dr. Marcie Mack — state CTE director for Oklahoma, spoke about Oklahoma’s career-tech system and the value of employer partnerships in rural CTE, particularly with Oklahoma’s technology center districts, which deliver CTE programs to high school, postsecondary, adult and justice-involved students.

We were pleased to also feature on the panel a 2018 Excellence in Action award winner, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center. Stephanie Long, curriculum supervisor for TBAISD, shared about the difficulty of connecting learners from rural districts with the high-quality CTE programming her career-tech center provides. The center serves a region as large as the state of Delaware, with many students traveling hours a day to get to and from classes. The center provides buses during the day and bus passes after school hours to help these learners access high-quality CTE.  

Jan Hanlon, executive director for the Mountain State Education Service Cooperative, discussed how West Virginia is tackling access challenges through Simulated Workplace programs. Through Simulated Workplace, more than 24,000 students annually develop real-world skills by participating in a realistic classroom-based company where they have to meet expectations for attendance, safety, sobriety and professionalism, just as they would need if employed by a local business. Representative Langevin (D-RI) of Rhode Island wrapped up the discussion with an important closing thought: “We can’t expect businesses to grow if we don’t have the workforce available.”

As the event’s panelists underscored, CTE is a critical strategy to help rural America adapt to the 21st century economy. The aftershocks of the Great Recession are still being felt in rural America today, where many learners are disconnected from opportunities to reskill and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. CTE can help these learners build the skills they need for lifelong success and equip them with the knowledge and abilities to adapt to an ever-changing economy.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Meetings and Events
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