Posts Tagged ‘Perkins V’

Welcome Brett Robinson as the New State Director of Career Technical Education for Mississippi!

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

Advance CTE joins the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in welcoming Brett Robinson as the new State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director. 

Earlier this year, Brett Robinson was appointed as Mississippi’s State CTE Director. He brings a strong background of experience in secondary education and Career Technical Education (CTE)before taking the State Director position, Brett worked as the CTE Director for the Clinton Public School District from 2012-2017. He transitioned into the high school principal position at Clinton High School in 2017 where he supported 1500 10-12th grade students until he transitioned to his current role in June 2023.

While the first few months have felt like “drinking out of an open fire hose,” Brett has been able to get a better idea of the breadth and depth of this work after attending Advance CTE’s Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD. He says he’s grateful for his strong relationship with Dr. Valeria Williams, Director of Career and Technical Education at Mississippi Community College Board. “I’ve known Valeria for a long time and she’s been instrumental in helping me understand things.” Valeria’s guidance is helping Brett establish relationships with leaders across the state’s 15 community colleges.

As State Director, Brett wants to prioritize evaluating the state’s funding formula, increasing awareness around CTE program benefits and assessing learner outcomes to improve alignment with high-value credentials. He plans to take an active role in understanding the rationale behind the current model and learn more about best practices to integrate next year into the new, combined Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) state plan. He also sees opportunities to build staff capacity when it comes to making data-driven decisions around program design. “Ultimately, I’m interested in creating more meaningful processes that will set our learners up for success.”

Outside of CTE, Brett is a family man. He and his wife Kelly have three children, who were thrilled when Dad got a new job that would allow him to be home more often.

Please join us in welcoming Brett Robinson to Advance CTE!

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE State Director
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Setting Sights on the Future: Opportunities and Supports for Perkins Plan Revisions

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, many of us are thinking about the road ahead for 2024, celebrating with our families and creating resolutions for the new year. While December and January are often an opportunity for personal reflection, 2024 offers an additional opportunity to reflect on the intentions for Career Technical Education (CTE) set out in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) via the state plan process, and the impact those plans have had on our systems and learners. 

While most states are primarily updating state-determined performance levels (SDLPs) as required every four years by law, others are using this opportunity to make larger, substantive changes or write a new state plan. This post offers some insights on what we are hearing from state CTE leaders so far about their goals for state plan updates, and the spaces and resources Advance CTE is providing to support this process. 

As the Office of Career Technical and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education reminded us with their program memo earlier this fall, Perkins state plans are a powerful strategic lever to align CTE policy and implementation with a state’s broader vision for education and workforce. A strength of Perkins V is the periodic, coordinated opportunity for states to evaluate and refine their targets and strategies in concert with one another. This coordinated cycle allows state leaders to learn from and alongside one another while also designing Perkins state plans that meet the specific needs of their state and learners. 

As a former State CTE Director myself, I regularly considered how well our state plan aligned with and reinforced our strategic priorities of expanding access to CTE, improving the quality of CTE programs of study and continuing to intentionally align the secondary and postsecondary CTE system with the needs of employers. Reviewing the state plan against our progress and goals helped us ensure that the plan served as a progress-centered north star, rather than a reflection of the status quo. We leveraged everything from the performance indicators we chose, to the way we defined those metrics, to our size, scope and quality definitions as levers to continually drive towards serving more learners in high-quality programs that served as launchpads for future success. While the process of reviewing and updating state Perkins plans can be time-consuming, it is time well spent, and framing the opportunity as something state leaders get to do rather than something they have to do helps keep the focus on what matters most – continually improving the CTE experience for learners. 

As state leaders work through this process in 2024, Advance CTE is here to be a partner not only through spaces for states to learn from each other, but through resources that recenter and challenge state leaders to consider and address challenges facing our systems and learners.  The conversations began at Advance CTE’s 2023 Fall Meeting in October with sessions on translating Perkins plan to system-wide culture change and lasting impact, ranging from, accountability to reserve fund usage seeded great cross-state learning opportunities. 

To keep these conversations going, this month Advance CTE launched a suite of supports designed to ensure your Perkins state plan serves as a powerful lever to achieve your state vision for career technical education, and more broadly CTE Without Limits. These supports include: 

In our first Perkins Planning Office Hours, we heard great discussions on setting meaningful and achievable SDPLs and the impact of setting all local recipient targets at the state target versus engaging in a process to negotiate targets locally. State leaders also discussed stakeholder engagement and messaging substantive plan changes to impacted audiences to maximize relevant feedback. Visit Advance CTE’s event page to register for future office hours.

Just like many of us set intentions and resolutions at the start of the new year, the Perkins state plan allows us to do just that for our CTE systems, educators and learners. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going and we look forward to continuing these conversations with you in the new year!

Emily Passias, Deputy Executive Director

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Announces a Flurry of Education and Workforce Development Legislation

Friday, December 8th, 2023

This week, the Senate introduced a legislative proposal that would make significant updates to legislation that authorizes federal research and data functions, while lawmakers in the House introduced new bipartisan proposals that would reform the Pell Grant program to make shorter-term Career Technical Education (CTE) programs eligible for funding as well as a comprehensive reauthorization proposal for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

HELP Committee Unveils Bipartisan Education Sciences Reform Act Reauthorization

Earlier this week the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unveiled the Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA) — bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize and update the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). ESRA authorizes many critical federal education data and research functions and this proposal would make significant updates to many aspects of this legislation. Specifically, AREA would make education research more responsive to the needs of learners, teachers and other education stakeholders while increasing the use of rigorous evidence to better support teaching and learning. Of note for the CTE community, this legislation would broaden the scope of these activities to include a stronger focus on learners’ labor market and workforce outcomes. 

Advance CTE has been engaged throughout this wider reauthorization process, including by supporting the introduction of the Data for American Jobs Act (DAJA) earlier this year. Encouragingly many aspects of this proposal have been incorporated in the current committee draft proposal. A mark-up of AREA is scheduled for next week on Tuesday, December 12 at 10 a.m. ET. Read the HELP committee summary on the proposed changes contained in AREA.

House Leaders Release New Workforce Pell Proposal 

On Tuesday, December 5, Reps. Stefanik (R-NY) and DeSaulnier (D-CA), along with House Education and Workforce Committee Chair and Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) and Scott (D-VA), introduced H.R. 6586, the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (BWPA). This legislation is a compromise proposal that combines aspects of previously introduced short-term Pell Grant legislative proposals sponsored by Chair Foxx and Ranking Member Scott respectively. The BWPA would establish a number of eligibility criteria that would be overseen and implemented by state workforce development boards, higher education accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education intended to ensure program quality and rigor. Advance CTE is encouraged to see additional bipartisan movement on this critical issue and is continuing to analyze the bill for implications for the CTE community. More information can be accessed in this fact sheet and related summary

House Committee Introduces Comprehensive WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

Yesterday, December 7, the House Education and Workforce (E&W) Committee introduced H.R. 6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWA). The legislation would comprehensively reauthorize WIOA and make significant changes to core aspects of this legislation including related to eligible training provider lists and the provision of training services provided by the system. Encouragingly, the proposal would make significant improvements to workforce data infrastructure and linkages, codify grant programs for community college training initiatives and would strengthen alignment between career pathways and CTE programs of study among other aspects of the legislation. Advance CTE and partners are continuing to review this proposal and anticipate further consideration of the legislation sometime early next week. 

FY24 Funding Negotiations Make Little Progress

As shared previously, Congress recently passed another short-term extension of federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding just before Thanksgiving. This continuing resolution (CR) created a “laddered” approach to funding federal operations with Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations extending funding through February 2, 2024 (along with seven other funding bills), while four other bills expire January 19, 2024. 

Since that time, however, lawmakers have struggled to make meaningful progress toward negotiating full-year FY24 appropriations legislation. This includes a lack of agreement on “topline” levels for the federal budget needed to develop individual sub-allocations for each of the 12 individual spending bills that compose federal operations, including the Labor-HHS-ED measure which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs of interest to the CTE community.

As a reminder, conservative lawmakers in the House have spent most of the calendar year seeking to advance legislation that would significantly and dramatically cut funding for the entire federal budget, including for many workforce development and education programs. Most recently, this faction of House Republicans now appears to be softening demands for steep cuts to federal spending, including these investments. Despite this modest progress, agreement between lawmakers on this critical topline issue still appears to be out of reach this week. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recently floated the idea of a year-long CR if agreement could not be reached soon. However, leaders in the Senate have vocally opposed this idea.

As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust and strengthened funding for Perkins V’s state grant program and other funding priorities of the CTE community. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Returns from Recess

Friday, December 1st, 2023

Congress returned this week from its Thanksgiving recess with a list of important agenda items that must be addressed before the end of the year. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education announced new funding for full-service community schools while federal agencies announced the availability of free COVID-19 testing kits for schools. 

Agreement on Full-year FY24 Funding Remains Elusive

Prior to Thanksgiving, Congress passed another short-term extension of federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding. The continuing resolution (CR) bifurcated the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal operations into two separate groups, each with a different expiration date. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) through February 2, along with seven other funding bills, while four other funding measures are set to expire on January 19 of next year.

With these new funding extensions now in place, lawmakers must still work to negotiate full-year FY24 funding legislation. However, lawmakers appear to be currently prioritizing other items on the legislative agenda before turning to this important issue. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the CTE community as part of the wider FY24 appropriations process. 

ED Announces New Community School Funding

On Tuesday, November 28, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the distribution of roughly $74 million in new funding for full-service community schools — comprehensive K-12 schools that are intended to provide more holistic and comprehensive wraparound services and related supports to learners and families to improve wider outcomes. “I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of community schools across the country as an evidence-based strategy to Raise the Bar in education and to deliver on our commitment to support students, families, and whole communities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated as part of the announcement. The new round of funding will target schools in four new states, including Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio. Read more in the press release.

COVID-19 Test Kits Available for Schools 

This week the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new effort to distribute COVID-19 testing kits free of charge to schools across the country. “The Biden-Harris Administration remains a committed partner with schools in keeping our students and teachers safe and healthy,” said ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez as part of the announcement. Read more in the press release.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Research Round-up: Building and Expanding Registered Apprentice Programs through Community College Partnerships

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s blog elevates state examples of how federal funding might be used to administer youth apprenticeship. These findings align with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable. 

Overview

In celebration of Apprenticeship Month, we’re elevating two reports from New America that provide state CTE leaders with helpful information about opportunities to leverage (or braid) funding to support youth apprenticeship or registered apprenticeship (RA) programs.

Background

Earlier this spring, New America published a blog, “Leveraging Existing Federal Funding Streams for Youth Apprenticeship,” in response to memos from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) outlining how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) can be applied in more flexible and innovative ways to support youth apprenticeship. New America then published a research study in early November on the challenges and opportunities facing community colleges that want to expand apprenticeship opportunities to their students. This report, “Community Colleges and Apprenticeship: The Promise, the Challenge” expands on key blog recommendations; notably, that state CTE leaders should consider using federal funds to partner with an experienced intermediary organization to build out RA programs statewide

Apprenticeship Intermediaries

An apprenticeship intermediary is similar to “workforce intermediaries” in the public workforce system, which has a long history of facilitating connections between public and private services and workers. Unlike Registered Apprenticeship, which is well defined and regulated by the DOL, there is no definition of an “apprenticeship intermediary” in federal statute. In their study, New America utilizes the definition coined by the federal government, “An apprenticeship intermediary helps to build, launch, and run apprenticeship programs in collaboration with other apprenticeship partners. Just as many organizations may participate in apprenticeship partnerships—including employers, and often also labor organizations, secondary and postsecondary institutions, community-based organizations (CBOs), and industry organizations or associations—an equally wide array of organizations may perform intermediary functions.” 

Intermediaries typically support program development and delivery; stakeholder engagement; monitoring, evaluation, and support services; and strategy and field building. These responsibilities make community colleges a strong contender to serve in this role as many of these services are already built into the institution.

Findings

This study found that community colleges are uniquely positioned to support the expansion of apprentices by acting as apprenticeship intermediaries”

Recommendations

State and system policy plays a key role in supporting community colleges as apprenticeship intermediaries. State CTE leaders seeking to leverage community colleges to expand apprenticeship participation can:


For further reading

Leveraging Existing Federal Funding Streams for Youth Apprenticeship also addresses the use of federal funds for teacher preparation programs.

Please visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resources about the benefits of expanding apprenticeships and strategies for leveraging community college partnerships.

Amy Hodge, Membership and Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Research
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Legislative Update: Congress Extends Funding Through Early Next Year

Friday, November 17th, 2023

This week, Congress passed another short-term extension of current funding for all federal programs and operations through early 2024. The measure maintains current funding levels for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) along with other critical investments in education and workforce development. 

Congress Approves Funding Extension

After weeks of uncertainty, newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced plans over the weekend to advance legislation that would temporarily extend current federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funds through early next year. The legislation bifurcates the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government into two separate tranches — known as a “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) — with two separate expiration dates of January 19 and February 2. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) through the February 2 deadline.

The laddered CR approach was initially met with skepticism by some lawmakers, as the strategy does not appear to fundamentally change the underlying dynamics of Congress’ current challenges in finding common ground on full-year FY24 spending. Nonetheless, the measure was introduced in the House this week and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority by a margin of 336-95. Notably, 93 Republicans and two Democrats voted against the measure—a dynamic that, just a few months ago, led to the surprising ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this fall. The laddered CR was quickly taken up by the Senate where it was passed on a bipartisan basis by a margin of 87-11. The bill was just recently signed into law by President Biden before current funding legislation was set to expire later today (November 17).

Ostensibly, the passage of a CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate FY24 appropriations legislation. However, both chambers have struggled to make progress on their respective slates of appropriations legislation. Meanwhile, in the House, Republican leaders were forced to pull the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill from further consideration after it became clear the measure would likely not have the necessary support to clear the chamber. House leaders were forced to pull other spending measures from consideration for similar reasons the last few weeks as well.

While the passage of the CR will avoid a government shutdown for the remainder of this calendar year, it remains unclear how Congress will use this additional time to either pass additional individual appropriations legislation, negotiate a larger full-year FY24 package or take an alternative route altogether. Advance CTE is continuing to engage with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the funding needs of the CTE community are realized as part of this wider process. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Consensus on FY24 Remains Elusive as Artificial Intelligence Comes into Focus

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

This week, Congress has continued to make modest progress on appropriations legislation for the federal government while lawmakers and President Biden have begun to consider how to manage the coming use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

Congress No Closer to Agreement on Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Education Spending

With new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in place and another possible government shutdown only two weeks away, a new sense of urgency has swept Capitol Hill as lawmakers worked to pass several appropriations measures in both chambers this week. In the House, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations bill — legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other important Career Technical Education (CTE) related investments—has been moved directly to the House floor for consideration and a vote is scheduled sometime the week of November 13. As a reminder, if enacted, this proposal would reduce funding for Title I of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) by 80 percent and would substantially cut funding or entirely eliminate many other education and workforce development programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

The Senate has not yet scheduled further consideration of its own version of this legislation which most recently advanced out of the Appropriations Committee and is awaiting consideration by the upper chamber. Unlike the House version of this legislation, which would freeze current funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program, the Senate’s proposal would provide a much-needed $43 million increase in support for the primary federal investment in CTE. 

Under the new leadership of Speaker Johnson, the House has continued to pass other spending proposals that would drastically cut federal funding for a variety of programs, falling well below the topline spending targets outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) — a bipartisan agreement that was passed by Congress earlier this year which avoided a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt obligations. At the same time, the Senate has continued to advance spending proposals that conform to the FRA agreement. With both chambers proposing wildly different visions for FY24 funding, it remains unclear how lawmakers will move forward by the middle of this month. Unless agreement can be reached by the beginning of 2024, an across-the-board sequester cut to all federal programs, mandated by the FRA, will come into effect. As these efforts continue to unfold, Advance CTE is continuing to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the wider CTE education community are met as part of this process. 

Biden Administration Unveils Artificial Intelligence Executive Order

On Monday, October 30, President Biden issued a wide-ranging Executive Order regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence” (AI). The measure has several components of note for the CTE community including how to support workers displaced by AI, strategies for attracting and retaining AI talent and directing federal agencies to explore how to strengthen or expand pathways programs leading into AI or adjacent occupational fields. The Executive Order also directs the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to develop resources, policies, and guidance on AI in education within one year and similarly directs the Departments of Labor, Commerce and others to produce similar recommendations on legislative and regulatory actions that can better support workers and learners navigate a world changed by the implementation of AI and related technologies. Learn more about these efforts in this factsheet.

Senate Examines AI’s Impact on the Workforce

Earlier this week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety held a hearing titled, “AI and the Future of Work: Moving Forward Together.” The hearing featured testimony from witnesses representing the private sector and explored the potential impacts that AI will likely have on work as well as potential strategies to mitigate negative effects. A key theme of the hearing centered on the growing importance of lifelong learning, including the need to reform ways that the federal government supports learners pursuing postsecondary education. To that end, Senator Kaine (D-VA) highlighted the importance of Congress passing the JOBS Act – legislation that would expand Pell Grant eligibility for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. 

ED Distributes New Funding for Educator Diversity and Compensation Efforts

Late last week, the U.S. ED announced that it was awarding $115 million in new funding via the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program — an initiative authorized by ESSA. These funds will support nearly 30 projects that aim to address teacher shortages while also increasing instructional staff diversity. This investment “… will help states and school districts recruit and retain new talent, increase compensation, and address educator shortages that we know disproportionately impact students from our communities of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities and English learners,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, as part of the announcement

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Achieving Inclusive CTE: Early Achievements and Upcoming Opportunities to Support Inclusive CTE

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

In 2022, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, through the New Skills ready network initiative, released the Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool (AICTE). This tool adds a new resource to the data toolbox for state and local CTE and career pathways leaders to assess learner group data. The goal-setting tool enables leaders to analyze CTE learner group data in comparison to the broader student population. The purpose of the tool is to support leaders with their efforts to recruit, engage and support underrepresented learner groups to increase access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and career pathways. 

Over the past six months, four states, Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah, have participated in a technical assistance cohort to leverage the AICTE Goal-Setting Tool to evaluate the inclusivity of their system and establish goals to improve equitable access and outcomes for learner populations in their states. The cohort of technical assistance included two workshop sessions to review the tool and its analyses; ongoing support and coaching calls with each state team to guide the use of the tool in their states; and two Communities of Practice sessions to share promising solutions and discuss shared challenges. The two states that completed the pilot of the Goal-Setting Tool, Colorado and South Carolina, were also invited to attend the Communities of Practice sessions.

Lessons Learned

Over the course of the technical assistance cohort, key themes and lessons learned emerged from the states using the Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool:

Continue reading for detailed information on the lessons learned and examples from the states who participated.

The Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool Supports Perkins Performance Indicators: The AICTE Goal-Setting Tool analyzes data for 11 indicators across all learner populations. This level of analysis includes gender, race and ethnicity and special populations (English learners, Migrant learners, Economically Disadvantaged and Learners with disabilities). The disaggregated design of the Goal-Setting Tool supports users in drilling down specific areas for improvement and support. Utah is utilizing the tool to support one of its Perkins performance indicators: nontraditional participation. With the help of the AICTE Goal-Setting Tool, the team will leverage the data analysis to identify areas where their state and local leaders can make a greater impact to increase nontraditional participation and understand if the adjusted performance targets the state has set are reasonable to achieve.

As the team works towards achieving its Perkins performance goals, the Utah team will also conduct a state-level analysis of nontraditional participation for multiple years to compare the data and identify any changes in the groups over time. Additionally, the state team plans to conduct training to support local leaders with the use of the Goal-Setting Tool and allow them to enter their own data to identify opportunities for a more inclusive CTE system. The team will provide this training to local CTE leaders during the winter months of 2023 and will align the Goal-Setting Tool with their Opportunity Gap Analysis workbook and data.

With the assistance of the Goal-Setting Tool, the team shared that the greatest benefit is having more insightful data analysis in conjunction with their Opportunity Gap Analysis. According to the team, using the tools together offers a greater understanding of the CTE system and areas where learners need to be recruited, supported or engaged. 

The Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool is a Strong Companion in the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment Process: One of the many use cases for the Goal-Setting Tool is the examination of equity and disaggregated learner performance data as part of the Perkins V Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA). The Goal-Setting Tool takes a deeper dive into the CTE continuum to identify priority areas for Perkins plans. The team in Indiana is taking full advantage of the Goal-Setting Tool with their CLNA process by planning to include training on the use of the goal-setting tool in their next round of Equity Labs. Equity Labs are regional sessions held across the state to share the importance of equity and inclusivity in CTE programs and career pathways. 

The Goal-Setting Tool will support Indiana’s CLNA process by providing a tool to facilitate a deep dive into each district’s data. The state team plans to supply regional and district CTE leaders with the Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool to analyze data, set a goal to increase equity and inclusivity and implement a practical strategy to achieve the goal. 

To use the Goal-Setting Tool to its full potential in Indiana’s CLNA process, the team plans to provide local CTE leaders with ongoing support and opportunities for follow-up to ensure locals are leveraging root-cause analysis to better understand data trends. The state plans to leverage the tool for continuous monitoring of the practical strategies and interventions deployed to create a more equitable and inclusive CTE system.

The Achieving Inclusive Goal-Setting Tool Supports Data Tools Alignment: Each state selected to participate in the pilot and technical assistance cohort previously completed the Opportunity Gap Analysis Train-the-Trainer workshop, a workshop that prepares CTE leaders to provide comprehensive training on the importance of equitable access to high-quality CTE, demonstrates how to conduct a percentage point gap analysis to identify gaps among learner groups including race and ethnicity, gender and special populations and conducting a root-cause analysis to understand the implications on the data.

The AICTE Goal-Setting Tool is the next phase of data analysis work to support inclusive and equitable CTE systems: analyzing the current representation of learners in CTE programs compared to the learners that could be engaged, recruited and/or supported in CTE and setting goals to achieve a more equitable system. 

While these tools complement each other in their analyses and findings, participants using the tools identified the importance and value of ensuring the two tools work together and clearly communicating the alignment of the tools to their local-level CTE leaders and practitioners. Colorado is making progress leveraging both tools with their local-level CTE leaders and practitioners. To support the local-level use of the tools, the Colorado state agency provided the Opportunity Gap Analysis dashboard to their local-level teams. Then it provided guidance on using the AICTE Goal-Setting Tool. By leveraging the two tools together, locals were able to identify opportunity gaps in CTE enrollment and then further drill down on equitable access and inclusivity in every stage of the CTE continuum across specific CTE programs using CIP code-level data. Conducting analysis with CIP code-level data allows districts within a state an opportunity to identify where they have gaps. As districts continue to leverage both tools, they can work collaboratively with industry partners to expand access to CTE career pathway programs and work-based learning opportunities. 

To ensure alignment between the tools, the Colorado team launched both tools to every district and consortia to review regional data to account for small n-sizes. The Colorado team has held several sessions on data quality and interpreting the data dashboards. These sessions include guidance and support to identify trends in the data. The state team continues to offer support sessions and office hours to discuss all data-related issues.

As the team looks ahead, they plan to leverage the two tools in their Perkins state plan revisions. The team will begin regional meetings for the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) to gather input for the state plan to ensure it includes robust and diverse perspectives especially when setting state performance targets. The state team will set Perkins performance targets leveraging both the Opportunity Gap Analysis dashboard and the AICTE Goal-Setting Tool. 

Looking Ahead

The Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool is a strong data analysis tool for CTE leaders and Advance CTE is committed to supporting states with the use of the tool to achieve more inclusive and equitable CTE systems. In the coming months, Advance CTE will launch a second round of technical assistance to guide participants through the use of the tool, provide individualized coaching and support for states using the tool and elevate the promising approaches and successes from the use of the tool. To learn more about this cohort of technical assistance and apply, please visit this form

If you have any questions about the Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool or the upcoming technical assistance cohort, please contact Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate, Advance CTE at hwing@careertech.org

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE, Resources
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Legislative Update: Congress Passes Last-Minute Funding Extension

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

After weeks of fruitless negotiations on Capitol Hill the last few months regarding a pathway forward on full-year federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations, lawmakers emerged with a temporary deal to avert an expected government shutdown this past weekend. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published anticipated postsecondary regulations. 

Lawmakers Narrowly Avert Government Shutdown

In a surprising turn of events Saturday morning, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced a 45-day legislative extension of federal funding to provide Congress more time to negotiate a pathway forward on longer-term appropriations legislation. For the last few months, Speaker McCarthy and his leadership team have repeatedly indicated that they would not allow the House to consider such an extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR), without significant spending and policy concessions demanded by conservative factions within the House Republican caucus. However, Speaker McCarthy abruptly set these demands aside Saturday morning, several hours before a government shutdown was set to begin, and introduced a CR that would simply extend current FY23 funding for federal programs and operations for the next 45 days. 

This measure was subsequently advanced by the full House of Representatives on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, 335-91. Following a contentious debate in the House, the bill was quickly sent to the Senate, where it was advanced by a margin of 88-9, before being sent to President Biden and signed into law. 

In the short term, this legislation prevents a government shutdown and will provide more time for lawmakers to continue to negotiate a pathway forward on full-year FY24 funding. However, with 90 House Republicans voting no on the measure, and with concessions Speaker McCarthy was forced to give earlier this year to conservative lawmakers in his party, this group of lawmakers may seek to force a vote to remove McCarthy from this leadership role as these efforts continue to get underway. Equally as important, Democrats’ and Republicans’ respective visions for FY24 funding still remain significantly far apart– despite the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) which established, in part, a framework intended to facilitate the passage of a full-year FY24 funding measure this year. 

Consensus on FY24 funding is likely to prove contentious in the weeks ahead. As these negotiations progress, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the passage of full-year FY24 appropriations legislation, including a strengthened investment in CTE via the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program as proposed by the Senate earlier this year. 

ED Finalizes Gainful Employment Rule

Earlier this year, ED proposed a new iteration of gainful employment (GE) rules– regulations that apply to certain postsecondary programs and are intended to ensure that learners are able to pay back federal financial aid obligations. Advance CTE and partners submitted comments to the department during this time and encouraged the agency to consider alternative ways to measure learners’ earnings as well as other suggestions to improve the proposal. Following this comment period, which attracted more than 7,500 responses from the public, ED published a preview of its final GE rule which will be formally published in the Federal Register on October 10. 

The final rule mirrors this earlier proposal closely and would apply to postsecondary career education programs that are otherwise eligible for aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The rule includes a debt-to-earnings measure that would compare learners’ debt burdens to their total and discretionary income. In addition, the final rule includes a high school earnings measure which would compare the earnings of those that complete a program with the median earnings of a high school graduate in their state. If a program fails on the same measure twice within a three-year period, it would lose eligibility to receive Title IV funding. 

In addition, the rulemaking also includes a new financial value transparency framework (FVT). This component of the rules package is intended to provide learners and families with greater information and insights into the value proposition of enrolling in a postsecondary program prior to enrollment. The FVT would proactively disclose information related to program costs and potential return on investment with learners prior to receiving federal financial aid. This is intended to prevent learners from enrolling in a program that has the potential to leave them with unaffordable debt obligations. The FVT would also require learners to proactively affirm that they understand these risks prior to enrolling and using federal financial aid.

The final GE rules are set to go into effect July 1, 2024. The FVT requires the collection of new student outcomes information over the next two years and is expected to come into full effect mid-2026. However, as with previous ED regulatory efforts on this issue, there is a strong possibility that litigation may delay the implementation of one or both components of this rules package in the future. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this proposal for wider implications for the CTE community and will be closely monitoring its implementation in the coming months. Additional information related to this rulemaking can be found in this factsheet

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Stalemate on Funding Continues While House Examines WIOA

Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill remained in session this week but have continued to struggle to find a pathway forward on federal funding for the upcoming fiscal year. Elsewhere, the House held a hearing to formally examine updating workforce development legislation. 

Congress Remains Deadlocked on FY24 Funding

This week the House and the Senate continued to struggle to find consensus on a pathway forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding. With FY24 set to begin on October 1, lawmakers must pass stopgap spending legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to extend current federal funding levels as negotiations on longer-term FY24 legislation continue. House Republican leaders, however, are struggling to build consensus within their own caucus about the duration and content of the CR as well as longer-term FY24 spending proposals. As a result, a government shutdown is appearing increasingly likely on October 1. While the Senate was expected to advance several more FY24 measures this week, those efforts have also failed to move forward as initially scheduled.

Both impasses are due to opposition from conservative Republicans demanding significant spending and policy concessions in exchange for their support for both a CR and, more broadly, full-year FY24 funding legislation. In addition, Republican lawmakers in the House have only considered spending proposals that dramatically reduce current federal funding, including funding for wider education and workforce development investments, by amounts far beyond the requirements of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) approved earlier this year. With the margins of control in both chambers extremely narrow, continued conservative opposition and demands to further cut domestic programs land exact other concessions have stalled Congress’ ability to reach a consensus. As this impasse continues, Advance CTE will continue to engage with partners in Congress to advocate for robust funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) and other funding streams important to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community.

House Holds Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Hearing

On Wednesday, September 20, the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled “Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers.” The hearing, which was framed by the committee as a formal first step towards a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), focused extensively on a number of issues including potential reforms to the law that would increase access to training opportunities. The hearing also focused extensively on ways to better promote employer engagement and to improve data transparency and accountability within the legislation. Lawmakers and witnesses also discussed strategies and approaches to better support youth populations and provide them with more robust training and employment options. Witness testimony and opening statements can be accessed in the recording of the hearing.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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