Posts Tagged ‘Montana’

“The Trail Shouldn’t End”: Top Moments from Advance CTE June Meeting Series Day Two!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

On June 15, Advance CTE held the second of three events in our Virtual June Meeting Series. The series offers three opportunities to equip Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders with the latest research and innovations, empower them to succeed, and elevate their work to raise awareness of the value of CTE. 

The week’s sessions centered around the theme EMPOWER: Strengthening Our Capacity to Realize CTE Without Limits. Attendees delved into processes to build better state systems with a keynote presentation from Rhode Island Department of Education Chief Innovation Officer Spencer Sherman, followed by content-rich breakouts and discussions to build connections and knowledge. Each breakout session was aligned to one of the five foundational commitments of CTE Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education

Keep reading for top quotes and resources from the day! 

Keynote: Innovating by Working Together: Strategic Impact through Systems Alignment

“When a student graduates high school, the trail shouldn’t end. Right now you have to cut down trees and jump over a rock to get to the next trail [to college and career]. We need to [design systems] so that students don’t get lost along the way.” – Spencer Sherman 

The keynote opened with a welcome message from Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angelica Infante-Green, who shared her personal story and commitment to serving learners of all abilities and how the nation’s smallest state is expanding access to CTE for differently-abled learners. 

Rhode Island’s Chief Innovation Officer, Spencer Sherman, then shared a deep dive on the state’s approach to systems alignment through the PrepareRI initiative and how it improved outcomes for learners including a tripled increase in the number of graduates with college credit or industry-recognized credentials. Sherman shared organization models that acknowledge the current top-down approach of many states while also illustrating how collaboration and communication can be created across both systems and leadership levels. 

Sherman  emphasized the importance of engaging middle-level managers and staff and designing processes for community organizations to align initiatives with one other in addition to engaging with government. Throughout the presentation, he reminded attendees that these improvements should be designed to last beyond any one person. He also centered these improvements around the pursuit of improving learner outcomes and creating seamless transitions to postsecondary and career paths, as illustrated in the quote above. Additional resources on Rhode Island’s governing structures can be found in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Data Breakout: Building a Culture of Data 

Two states participating in the Postsecondary Data Initiative led by Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation were highlighted in a breakout focused on how to leverage human and infrastructure capital to create data-informed and data-driven systems. 

Peter Plourde, Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Development for the Office of Academic Affairs at the University of the District Columbia Community College and Kelly Zinck, Education Team Research Analyst, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming environment where state CTE staff can get comfortable understanding small amounts of data and building up, as well as feel comfortable asking questions to build knowledge. Attendees were provided three strategies of “Identify,” “Educate” and “Build Trust” to open the black box of data. 

Equity: Maximizing the Potential of Equity-centered CTE Programs

“I want to applaud you for your efforts and affirm the work you’re doing. I want to remind you to work hard and take things one bite at a time. Do not lose faith and know that what you are doing is going to make a difference, even if you don’t see a return on investment right away”  – Dr. China Wilson 

CAST Research Scientist Dr. Amanda Bastoni and Maryland Equity and Civil Rights Specialist Dr. China Wilson teamed up to provide impactful insights on how to leverage data through public-facing resources and policy via Universal Design Learning to maximize equity in CTE programs. Dr. Wilson shared how Maryland’s state staff empowers local CTE leaders and families to understand and use data through their Maryland CTE Data platform and Equity Professional Learning Series. Dr. Bastoni used the example of a ramp at the back of a school to emphasize that state leaders should proactive design programs and supports with equity and accessibility at the forefront, not as a retrofit. 

Dr. Wilson affirmed the tough but important journey state CTE leaders are taking in tackling this work, and reminded attendees that each step no matter how small is progress. 

Public-Private Partnerships Breakout: Developing Effective Partnerships with the Private Sector for Work-based Learning

Attendees received rich insights on how local and state systems can work in tandem to empower employers and educators to develop effective work-based learning partnerships with a focus on rural communities. Advance CTE-ECMCF Postsecondary CTE Fellow Rich Crosby focused on utilizing existing collaborative spaces and partnerships as well as creating regional consortiums to connect employers and better understand learner needs, particularly in rural areas where employers are less concentrated.

Montana State CTE Director Jacque Treaster shared a variety of delivery models for work-based learning that strive to expand access to these experiences, particularly for rural learners, including a hub-and-spoke model and distance learning for concurrent and dual enrollment programs. 

The session included a rich attendee discussion on models in other states, including Hawaii’s hub and spoke model and Nevada embedding work-based learning into Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) award programs. 

Quality Breakout: Promising Tools, Strategies and Research Findings to Improve the Quality of CTE Programs

MDRC Senior Associate Dr. Rachel Rosen shared insights on the models and research structures that allow for ethical and impactful CTE research. She noted that significant strides have been made to improve research quality, and that recent studies show significant value of CTE for male learners and learners with disabilities. ExcelInEd’s Adriana Harrington walked attendees through their Pathways Matter website that consolidates state case studies, best policy practices, and sample learner stories of pathway navigation to enhance quality and alignment of career pathways. 

Indiana State CTE Director Anthony Harl shared his state’s dedicated program quality initiative, Next Level Program of Study that allows high school students to earn up to 30-hours of college credit (a technical certificate) while in high school in 65 programs of study. Course design in this initiative focuses on more intentional sequencing of skillbuilding and a longer runway for early postsecondary opportunities paired with work-based learning. 

Systems Alignment Breakout: Linking Workforce to Education through Strategic Goal Alignment

“Our role is to connect the fire hose to the garden hose.” – Joy Hermsen

Washington State’s State CTE Director Eleni Papadakis, whose Perkins designated agency is the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, provided details on how the state’s workforce agency leveraged a strategic plan and data to improve learner outcomes, including energized local youth council and work-based learning that is more responsive to local needs due to partnerships led primarily by employers rather than led by government.  

Futuro Health DIrector of Innovative Partnerships Joy Hermsen provided a national perspective on efforts to connect health employers to talent pipelines. She shared how the organization is bridging the gap between education leader and employers through resources that map responsive career lattices and ladders and customized data reports to help learners successfully connect to health careers. 

What’s Ahead 

The final event of the June Meeting Series is scheduled for June 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET, respectively. This session will center around the theme ELEVATE: Building Awareness of and Support for High-Quality and Equitable CTE. Visit the June Meeting Series event webpage to view the event agenda and to register. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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‘We Must Move Beyond Compliance’: Top Moments from Advance CTE June Meeting Series Day One!

Monday, June 13th, 2022

On June 8, Advance CTE held the first of three events that encompass our Virtual June Meeting Series. The series offers three opportunities to equip Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders with the latest research and innovations, empower them to succeed, and elevate their work to raise awareness of the value of CTE. 

The first week ‘s sessions centered around the theme EQUIP: Building Our Capacity to Lead With A Focus On Quality and Equity. Attendees heard from inspiring keynote speaker Drexell Owusu, Chief Impact Officer for the Dallas Foundation, followed by content-rich breakouts and discussions to build connections and knowledge. Each breakout session was aligned to one of the five foundational commitments of CTE Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education

Keep reading for top moments and quotes from the day! 

Keynote: Pursuing Next-Level Collaboration to Jumpstart Systems Change

(We are in) a game of influence. I can’t tell an employer what to do … and I can’t tell my school district, or city, or county what to do. This is all about making the case for change through data management and influence through relationships.” – Drexell Owusu 

Dallas Foundation Chief Impact Officer Drexell Owusu was candid about the equity and quality of life challenges facing residents of Dallas. However, he was equally optimistic about the role that CTE can have in providing high-quality pathways to maximize recent economic growth and increase the number of young adults achieving a living wage to 50 percent within one generation. He identified five strategies that comprise the Dallas Thrives initiative to achieve this goal. 

Taking Dallas’ learnings and applying them to a state audience, Owusu shared that state CTE leaders are crucial in using existing convening levers to connect systems and share information; bringing and keeping employers and staff beyond the CEO at the table; providing capacity to analyze and share data; and “democratizing” information about CTE programs.

 

Data Breakout: Developing Data Policies and Procedures to Monitor, Evaluate and Improve Postsecondary CTE Programs

So much data use is focused on compliance and descriptive analysis. That’s not all that actionable. We can do so much more to deepen analysis if we make the time and space.” – Miriam Greenberg 

Miriam Greenberg, Director of the Strategic Data Project at the Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research, shared their Strategic Data Project CTE Diagnostic Tool as a means to evaluate current data components and how that data is being used. Montana State CTE Director Jacque Treaster shared how their state team leveraged Advance CTE’s Opportunity Gap Analysis Workshop to transform their professional development, cross-team collaboration and staff structure to create a data-informed culture. 

Equity Breakout: Equity in Education: Building Inclusive, Equitable, and Responsive CTE Programs

In the 1980s, we heard  a lot about diversity. We still have a challenge there. But we realized it’s not simply getting folks around the table or in the classroom. It’s also ensuring that those who are there are fully engaged, are welcomed and have the opportunity to use all their skills and talents.” – Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden 

Advance CTE’s Equity Coach, Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, led a nuanced and timely discussion on today’s challenges in conducting meaningful equity work. She guided attendees on the differences between equity and equality and emphasized the crucial triangle of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Lane Community College Director of High School School Connections and Advance CTE-ECMCF Fellow Justin Chin led an illuminating presentation on Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) learners and their unique assets and barriers to achieving college and career success. In particular, he focused on how the ‘Model Minority Myth’ and the concept of social capital impact this this population’s perception of CTE, and provided culturally responsive strategies to help these learners see themselves in CTE.

Public-Private Partnerships Breakout: Cultivating Public-Private Partnerships to Maximize Learner Access, Social Capital and Opportunity

“We quickly realized that we need to bring people to help speak to students in a way they understand and connect with. That’s part of the shifting that industry and adapting that we had to do to make. We had to personalize the experience for the students.” – Gabe Madison 

Thomson Reuters Director of Community Relations Gabe Madison shared an industry perspective on strategies that states can pursue to help employers personalize their interactions with learners and maximize feedback loops, such as convening industry leaders organized by sectors to gather feedback on program design. She also broke down Thomson Reuter’s partnership Dallas Independent School District (ISD) P-Tech program and their focus on helping learners explore careers and build social capital. 

 

Quality Breakout: Designing Learner-Centered Career Navigation and Support Structures for Marginalized Learners

[Our institution] is driven by five lenses: student focus, success focus, future focus, work focus and community focus.– Deanna Strauss Hersko 

Lorain County Community College Manager of Career Technical Pathways & Programs Deanna Strauss Hersko framed improving CTE program quality as a focus on five lenses and tailoring supports to meet both learners and staff where they are. She provided a rich breakdown of institution-level supports, such as the Careers by Design badge to support each learner in exploring careers, reducing barriers to participating in CTE programs and informing learners on education options. 

Ohio Department of Education Program Administrator Catherine Allen shared the state’s innovative approaches to building cohesive and responsive career preparation ecosystems that engage all stakeholders. This includes a tax incentive pilot for employers to expand work-based learning experiences and a program quality focus group that is exploring innovative CTE delivery models. 

Systems Alignment Breakout: Systems Alignment that Benefits Learners Through Collaboration and Coordination of Federal Policy

“We recognize this work cannot happen overnight but will require a shared commitment and shared ownership among our leaders ….across education, workforce development, industry and philanthropy. Only together – through persistence, resilience, bravery, boldness, and commitment – can we realize the possibility and aspiration of a new career preparation ecosystem that provides each learner with limitless opportunities.”  – CTE Without Limits

Systems alignment is a seemingly elusive yet long-sought after goal among federal education and workforce programs. New America Senior Policy Advisor Lul Tesfai and National Governors Association Program Director Amanda Winters shared best practices from states like Arizona, Indiana, and Pennsylvania and others that have leveraged funds provided through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to meet complex learner and worker needs through multiple systems and programs. In particular, they encouraged centering decisions and investments on the needs of learners and workers and including their voices in system redesign. Advance CTE has the following related resources available: Coordinating across WIOA and Perkins and State Uses of ARP Funds.

It is not too late to register for the remaining Empower and Elevate session of the June Meeting Series, scheduled for June 15 and June 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET, respectively. Visit the June Meeting Series event webpage to view the full agenda and to register. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Meetings and Events
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Braiding Funding in Career Pathways Supports CTE Without Limits

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) calls on leaders to build a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem and work across systems to align funding streams and resources. One initiative Advance CTE is supporting to advance this work is the New Skills ready network, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. funded initiative, which draws on cross-sector partnerships in six cities, each composed of state, regional and local partners. This work of building sustainable, equitable career pathways systems at each level requires braiding funding and other resources by combining or leveraging funding streams to share costs for employees, equipment or systems outright between entities. As gaps continue to widen between well-resourced and under-resourced communities and institutions, state and local leaders should identify opportunities for flexible funding streams, target new sources of funding and resources and build upon and leverage partnerships to ensure that funding and resources go to the learners that need them most. 

In support of this effort, Advance CTE recently published Braiding Funding to Support Equitable Career Pathways, which also includes key steps to effectively braiding funds and resources. Here are some examples of promising practices from states, how they align with CTE Without Limits and considerations states can take to implement this type of practice in their own state.

This resource is the fourth policy brief in the Strengthening Career Pathways series. For more resources on funding and high-quality career pathways, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, Resources
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Governors Praise CTE, Workforce Development in 2021 State of the State Addresses

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Since the beginning of the year, over 35 governors have delivered their State of the State addresses, sharing their visions for the future of their state and highlighting educational priorities. Some addresses proposed to create new Career Technical Education (CTE) initiatives or increase funding for work-based learning, while others emphasized the importance of preparing students for their careers. In all, 24 addresses implicated CTE in some capacity, especially in the areas of workforce development, work-based learning and funding.  

Workforce Development

Speeches most commonly addressed workforce development at all learner levels which, considering states’ strategies for economic recovery, comes as no surprise. At the secondary level, Missouri Governor Mike Parson set a goal of 12,000 high school students with the WorkKeys Certification, calling the program an “important stepping stone for students who are not immediately college bound but have the knowledge and skills to fill high-demand jobs.” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the creation of the Better Kentucky Promise Program, a postsecondary-focused initiative to help over 6,000 Kentucky residents complete associate degrees or secure industry-recognized certificates. At the adult level, Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana announced the establishment of the Montana Trades Education Credit, which subsidizes businesses through scholarships up to 50% of the cost of upskilling or reskilling employees, and highlighted the Missouri One Start program, which has trained over 100,000 adults through 400 employer training partnerships.

Work-Based Learning

Many governors highlighted the importance of work-based learning initiatives in providing secondary students with career-ready skills. Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa applauded efforts to integrate work-based learning into the K-12 curriculum and called on legislators to make work-based learning an expectation in all Iowa schools. Governor Brad Little similarly highlighted the role of work-based learning in Idaho, committing to further connecting students and employers for on-the-job experiences and professional skill development. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy also called for an expansion in this area, directing the Alaska Department of Education to create an apprenticeship program allowing secondary students to receive credit while working for local employers.

Funding and New Initiatives

Announcements of new or proposed funding also featured prominently across many speeches. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster proposed $97 million for high-demand job skills training and workforce scholarships and grants to improve access to skills-based certificates. Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee highlighted the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Act, which consisted of $25 million in grants for 28 projects focused on CTE program expansion, and proposed a $10 million expansion for ten new sites, prioritizing economically disadvantaged communities. North Dakota Governor Doug Borgum advocated for $45 million allocated to supporting the expansion and development of successful CTE centers through matched grants, while South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced the Build Dakota Scholarship, a five-year, $40 million investment to match students with high-demand career opportunities. Investment in access to and expansion of CTE programming and training remains a clear priority nationwide. 

Outside of CTE related areas, governors also focused heavily on equity in education, including highlighting how COVID-19 has disproportionately exacerbated achievement gaps for communities of color and allocating additional funding for expansion of broadband to students still participating in virtual learning. Advance CTE will continue to monitor the State of the State Addresses as they happen for their relevance to CTE.

Additional resources can be found in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Tribal Colleges and Universities Take Innovative Approaches to Support Native Populations

Monday, March 9th, 2020

In February, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) hosted an event at the Senate Office Building to discuss innovative strategies, programs and ideas to address the key challenges impacting Native higher education. To unpack these challenges and strategies, the event featured panelists from colleges that primarily serve American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian populations. 

Much of the event focused on how Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are able to meet the needs of Native populations. Specifically, the panelists discussed how TCUs address barriers to access for learners. While TCUs are one of the most affordable postsecondary education options with an average annual tuition of $3,592, the cost of attending a TCU can still be a barrier to learners. To address this and transportation issues, Sitting Bull College in North Dakota provides tuition waivers and transportation to and from the college. 

Core to advancing equity in Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader education field is not only ensuring that students have access to CTE and education programs, but also taking action so that learners feel welcome in and can fully participate in education programs. Panelists emphasized how TCUs are able to create an inclusive environment for Native learners through providing intentional supports and preserving Native populations’ cultures. For instance, Ilisagvik College in Alaska developed a pathway program that places students in cohorts to help learners feel supported and part of the community. 

Many of the panelists discussed the role language plays in creating an environment that students feel welcome in and can succeed in. In Hawai’i, learners can take courses taught in Olelo Hawaii, the Native Hawai’ian language, from infancy through doctoral programs. TCUs take approaches to ensure that Native languages continue to be commonly spoken in the community and the classroom. In Montana, Salish Kootenai College created an apprenticeship program that allows participants to become qualified in both Salish language fluency and effective teaching strategies to meet the demand for Salish language teachers. 

The event ended with a discussion about changes that can be made to the Higher Education Act (HEA) to help support TCUs. Specifically, AIHEC proposes two new programs and modifications to two existing programs during HEA reauthorization:

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Tennessee, New Jersey Focus on Expanding Access to CTE Opportunities; Montana Expands Funding to CTSOs

Monday, May 20th, 2019

As the legislative session moves forward, states have passed laws to increase awareness of and expand access to Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for each learner.

With the reauthorization of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which allows states to use Perkins funding as early as the fifth grade, many states are expanding CTE opportunities to the middle grades, including Tennessee. On May 5, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed SB0063 into law to expand CTE programs in the state to middle grades. Under the law, CTE programs must be accessible to all middle school learners in grades six through eight and serve at least 50 percent of this population. Additionally, the law requires the Board of Career and Technical Education to plan facilities for CTE training for middle school learners.

In New Jersey the legislature passed S372, which was signed into law on May 10, to help expand access to apprenticeships for learners in the state. The law requires the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commision of Labor and Workforce Development, to develop publicly available guidelines for high school counselors to use to coordinate services with the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council with the intent of encouraging student participation in and awareness of apprenticeship opportunities.

Meanwhile, in Montana, on May 8 Governor Steve Bullock signed HB0662 into law. The law permits the Superintendent of Public Instruction to distribute secondary CTE funds to Career Technical Education Student Organizations (CTSOs) for grants.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By admin in Legislation
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Governors Celebrate CTE in 2019 State of the State Addresses

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Numerous governors have celebrated or prioritized Career Technical Education (CTE) during their annual State of the State Addresses to their state legislatures this year. When outlining their policy agendas for 2019, many governors highlighted successes related to CTE and committed to fostering CTE in their respective states.

Governors prioritized expanding access to CTE for learners. In New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu announced an $8.6 million allocation to remove barriers, such as tuition and transportation, to CTE participation. In Idaho, Governor Brad Little mentioned that he will focus on expanding CTE opportunities for learners. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Barker celebrated adding 4,000 seats to the state’s vocational and technical schools. In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo noted that the state increased the number of CTE programs offered in high schools by 60 percent. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have prioritized increasing high-quality career pathways under the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative.

During the addresses, Governors also emphasized CTE funding in their states. In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan celebrated voters’ approval of the “casino lockbox initiative,” which will provide $4.4 million in additional funding for innovative CTE programming and other educational initiatives. In North Dakota, Governor Doug Burgum dedicated $40 million in Legacy Fund earnings for career academies.

Numerous governors also celebrated work-based learning, particularly the expansion of apprenticeships. In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock highlighted that seven out of 10 two-year colleges in the state offer apprenticeship coursework. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy celebrated the creation of more than 100 new apprenticeship programs that hired more than 2,000 new apprentices. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf noted that the state increased the number of apprenticeship programs to roughly 800.

In total, more than 20 governors have celebrated or prioritized advancing CTE in their states during their State of the State Addresses. This is Advance CTE’s second blog post on the State of the State Addresses- to view the first blog post click here. Advance CTE will continue to monitor the State of the State Addresses for their relevance to CTE.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Connecting Rural Learners to the World of Work in Livingston, Montana

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Livingston, Montana is a small ranching community of about 7,000, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Most of the town’s economic activity revolves around agriculture and tourism — being so close to Yellowstone brings in lots of travelers. Bozeman, which is about 30 miles away hosts a growing manufacturing and photonics industry. Despite these opportunities, students at nearby Park High School don’t always interact with industry leaders in the area, limiting their ability to explore different career options and weakening the talent pool for local business owners.

Last year Meagan Lannan, then manager at the Livingston, Montana Job Service office, along with several community leaders, decided to step in and ask educators how best to support a new work-based learning program to help close the gap and connect young learners with industry mentors. After studying states like Tennessee, Washington and California for inspiration and strategies, she built a coalition of key partners to launch a work-based learning program and engage more than 260 high school students in their first year.

So how did Lannan mobilize her town to go all in on work-based learning?

She started by securing buy in and support — including funding — from key business and education leaders in Livingston. After getting commitment from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the Montana State University Park County Extension, and Park High School, Lannan established a memorandum of understanding to clarify the roles of each partner. She also secured an agreement from the Arthur Blank Foundation, the charitable organization of Home Depot founder and philanthropist Arthur Blank, for four years of funding for a work-based learning facilitator pilot program.

Leveraging the relationships she cultivated at the job service office, Lannan was able to mobilize a network of Livingston business leaders to drive and provide work-based learning opportunities for high school students. It took a lot of time and effort to build and nurture these relationships, but Lannan’s hard work paid off. Once the community recognized the value and critical role in connecting learning with work, business leaders were on board.

In total, more than 260 work-based learning experiences were brokered through the first year of the pilot program. Experiences ranged from low-touch engagements such as guest speaking to more intensive internships, apprenticeships and more. Some employers even came into the classroom to teach a few classes under the teacher of record before leading students on a tour of their facilities. While several work-based learning experiences were in industries like agriculture or manufacturing that are considered high-demand in the Livingston area, students had the opportunity explore a variety of different careers. One student learned about wolf tracking in Yellowstone National Park. Another partnered with a local business to learn about sound wave engineering.

Providing work-based learning opportunities can be a challenge in rural communities, which often have a small employer base and limited industry presence. But, as Livingston, Montana discovered, a successful work-based learning program hinges on the support and buy-in of the community. Rural business leaders are often ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and, as Lannan puts it, help “raise the barn.” It just takes a thoughtful, coordinated strategy to generate buy in, secure sustainable funding and connect learners with the world of work.

To help state and local leaders develop a comprehensive plan to improve access to high-quality work-based learning and career pathways in rural areas, Advance CTE developed and released a rural strategy guide earlier this year. The guide, part of the CTE on the Frontier series, provides five strategies for rural leaders to replicate Livingston’s approach:

Ensuring access to high-quality career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge facing state and local leaders — but communities like Livingston, Montana defy the odds, recognizing the value of work-based learning and committing to expanding opportunities for students.

Thanks to Meagan Lannan, Work-Based Learning Facilitator Lead, for providing input into this story.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Leveraging Federal Policy to Strengthen Rural CTE

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

New Resource from Advance CTE Identifies Key Leverage Points

Today Advance CTE released a new cheat sheet to help state leaders identify and leverage federal policy to strengthen rural CTE. The brief, developed as part of Advance CTE’s CTE on the Frontier initiative, examines policy and funding intersections between the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The resource is designed as a conversation starter to help state leaders align supports and services in their states.

Rural America is home to 9.1 million K-12 students and more than half of the nation’s school districts. Many of these students do not go on to earn a postsecondary credential or degree. Only 28 percent of rural adults above the age of 25 held at least a 2-year degree in 2015, compared to 41 percent of urban adults.

CTE can help close this gap and prepare rural learners for the world of work. Already, states are adopting creative measures to ensure programs are high quality, connect rural learners with authentic work-based learning experiences, expand the breadth of options available in rural institutions and strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. Many of these efforts are supported with state and local funds, but states are also leveraging Perkins reserve funds as well. 

The reserve fund is one of many leverage points in federal legislation that states can use to strengthen CTE in rural areas. Under the Perkins Act, states can set aside up to 10 percent of local funds to provide formula or competitive grants to recipients with either rural populations, high numbers of Career Technical Education (CTE) students or high percentages of CTE students. In Montana, state leaders have used the reserve fund to strengthen Big Sky Pathways in rural schools and focus dollars and supports on state priorities such as expanding dual credit opportunities.

According to a recent survey from Advance CTE, 38 state CTE directors reported using the reserve fund option in 2017, and 27 of those said that supporting rural students is one of the focus areas for their reserve funds this year. States can change their reserve fund priorities from year to year, but the fact that more than half are using the fund to augment rural CTE efforts is a testament to the need in rural communities.

Another example of how federal education programs can be leveraged to support rural communities is the Rural Education Achievement Program under ESSA, which provides supplemental funds to rural schools and districts that can be used to support other local activities. With ESSA’s renewed focus on career readiness and well-rounded education, schools and districts can use these funds to design and expand CTE programs of study, provide professional development for CTE and academic teachers, expand dual credit opportunities, and more. By braiding funds, aligning policy priorities, coordinating service delivery and working to remove barriers across programs, state leaders can better meet the needs of rural learners.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By admin in Publications, Resources
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New Advance CTE Brief on Rural Access to the World of Work

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

High school students at Tolsia High School in West Virginia have created an industry-validated carpentry business within their classroom.  Students at Haynesville Junior/Senior High School in Louisiana are connected with physical therapists, diesel mechanics, a marriage and family counselor and other industry professionals on a biweekly basis through virtual “micro-industry engagements.” In North Dakota, nursing students can earn their associate’s degree through one of four community colleges, while taking their classes at rural hospitals and health care facilities.  And in Montana, a mobile laboratory is deployed across the state to engage students around various career opportunities.

These are just some of the strategies states are leveraging to ensure all learners – regardless of geography, transportation barriers or the size or diversity of their local industries – are exposed to the world of work.

To help states identify innovative and scalable strategies for ensuring geography doesn’t limit access to real-world experiences, Advance CTE today released the second in a series of briefs titled CTE on the Frontier: Connecting Rural Learners with the World of Work. (You can read the first brief on program quality here). The brief explores state strategies to expand access to work-based learning, employer engagement and industry-driven pathways for rural learners, drawing on promising practices from the states:

While there is no simple solution or silver bullet, states are making important progress and leveraging innovative ways to bring the world of work to learners and provide the necessary resources, technical assistance and supports to ensure local communities can support and sustain those efforts.

CTE on the Frontier: Connecting Rural Learners with the World of Work was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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