Posts Tagged ‘recruitment’

New Advance CTE Research Provides Key Insights to Expand Employer Partnerships

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Today, Advance CTE released findings from a national survey of more than 300 employers on the top skills desired by employers, their attitudes toward Career Technical Education (CTE), and their current involvement in CTE partnerships. The respondents were full-time company employees who were actively involved in hiring decisions. 

Shifting the Skills Conversation: Employer Attitudes and Outcomes of Career Technical Education is highly encouraging for the growth of employer engagement with CTE programs – not only do employers of all sizes have an overwhelmingly positive view of CTE, but are enthusiastic about increasing involvement in CTE partnerships in a variety of ways. Employers also strongly support increased investments in CTE and see a direct benefit to such investments to their business, industry and the economy overall.

This research provides state leaders with impactful data points and messages that shift the skills conversation with employers to intentionally pursue CTE as a proven strategy for hiring talent, enhancing business’ bottom line and growing their business and industry

Key Findings 

Next Steps

There are several communication-focused steps states can take to put this research into action to shift the skills conversation with employers and stakeholders that work with employers: 

  1. Utilize and share messaging resources: Advance CTE has created a fact sheet and key messages tool that provide ready-made visuals and data points to use when communicating with employers and policymakers about the value of investing in and partnering with CTE programs. 
  2. Evaluate and develop consistent routines for communicating partnership and advocacy opportunities with employers. Employer enthusiasm for involvement in CTE programs increased with repeated exposure to messages about the impact for CTE on learner and business growth. Among employers who reported already hiring from CTE programs, favorable perceptions of CTE increased from 69 percent to 79 percent after viewing a video about CTE. 
  3. Serve as capacity-builders to build and sustain local employer partnerships: When asked about preferences for learning more about opportunities to participate in CTE programs, local CTE programs were chosen as the top four out of 11 outreach options. States can provide local CTE leaders tools and infrastructure for relationship-building, such as Hawaii’s ClimbHI Bridge initiative or Colorado’s CareerWise initiative, or simply creating communication tools featuring employer champions for CTE, such as South Carolina’s promotional videos featuring learners in in-demand sectors.
  4. Leverage state-level business and industry partnerships: State-level partnerships provide another avenue to access local capacity-building beyond CTE-centric avenues, such as the partnership between the NJ Business & Industry Association and  New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools to launch the New Jersey Employer Coalition for Technical Education. Advance CTE’s guide to enhancing industry collaboration provides multiple strategies for capacity expansion and stakeholder engagement, such as the Maryland Department of Education’s alliance with the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education


For more information, visit the Working with Policymakers
web page to access the full report and supplemental tools, as well as additional advocacy materials and the Learning that Works Resource Center for employer engagement-related resources and tools. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Communicating CTE, Research
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Communicating CTE: Strategies and Message Tailoring to Reach Historically Marginalized Learners and Families

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

Recruiting learners into CTE programs should not be limited to class registration season; repeated exposure to messages about the value and benefit of Career Technical Education (CTE) help each learner feel welcome and seen. This is especially true for programs that have historically marginalized some populations from full access and participation. The start of the school year is an ideal touch point to raise awareness about CTE as learners begin new academic experiences and explore paths to career and college success. 

Advance CTE released updated national research in April 2021 on messages and messengers about the value of CTE that resonate with middle and high school families both participating in and considering CTE. This update intentionally focused on exploring equity in tested messages, with an oversample of Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income. 

Several key findings resonated across gender, race/ethnicity, income and participation, including confirmation of the value of real-world skills as the top prevailing message for families about CTE; a strong interest in career exploration and skillbuilding as priorities for families’ education experience; and significant higher levels of satisfaction by those participating in CTE with their overall education experience. 

While the findings provide evergreen, consistent messages that can reach all families, it is important to remember that these messages and dissemination methods should be tailored to address the needs, aspirations and potential access barriers of each family, particularly historically marginalized populations. 

Several equity considerations emerged from this research for Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income, including: 

These findings have important implications for how CTE can close equity gaps, as well as what aspects of CTE should be elevated when conducting outreach to historically marginalized populations. Communications should be specific about the equitable opportunities provided through CTE to prepare for and jumpstart postsecondary education, as well as to gain visibility and networks through connections and hands-on experiences with like-minded educators, peers and employers . 

Historically marginalized families will be empowered to make informed decisions that lead to college and career success when they encounter communications that include specific programmatic offerings, are easily accessible to supplement in-person sources with language, and include visuals that reflect the intended audiences. Additionally, careful consideration should be given to confirming messages shared with families match the quality and outcomes of CTE programs provided in the region or locality. 

Advance CTE provides ready-made resources for local and state CTE leaders to evaluate and refresh their messages and recruitment materials. Visit the Engaging Families and Learners for a variety of resources that break down the research and support implementation, including a Core Messages resource that provides customized message themes with an equity lens and Dos and Donts to put the research into action. 

Back to school month is a great opportunity to utilize fast digital graphics in presentations and on social media with persuasive and impactful statistics on how CTE delivers for families. It is also an ideal checkpoint to utilize Advance CTE’s parent engagement tool to start or maintain engagement strategies with historically marginalized families, including developing processes to receive feedback from learners and parents/guardians on recruitment practices and CTE programs, utilizing CTE alumni in recruitment materials, and equipping trusted sources with tested messages to share in spaces beyond the classroom. 

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional communications resources, including reports on implementing Advance CTE’s communications research in 11 states since 2017. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Communicating CTE
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Communicating CTE: Recruitment Through Social Media

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

In April 2021, Advance CTE released Communicating Career Technical Education: Learner-centered Messages for Effective Program Recruitment and updated resources on messages that resonate with families about the value and benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE) and how they should be communicated to each learner to achieve effective and equitable recruitment into secondary CTE programs.

Among the updated resources for states to leverage is Promoting Career Technical Education: Social Media Guide. Social media is an important communications tool that can be used by states and local CTE intermediaries to effectively recruit learners into high-quality CTE programs, build and strengthen relationships with industry, extend advocacy to reach policymakers and build a network with other audiences about the value and promise of CTE. 

Below are some of the key findings from Advance CTE’s recent research, as well as examples of how states used social media in response.

Participation in CTE increases satisfaction for families across all aspects of their education, but equity gaps exist in the levels of satisfaction reached in some aspects of CTE by historically marginalized groups.  

With a focus on recruitment and retention, it is important for learners and families of CTE to see success stories of individuals who look like them and share similar educational, racial, socio-economic, gender and geographic backgrounds.

Make an effort to provide an equitable lens across your content when sharing over social networks. Including learner photos that represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds, learner ages and learner needs is a great place to start. For example, the National Technical Student Association (TSA) used images of historically marginalized communities by race to recruit for the Technology Honor Society. 

The vast majority of parents and learners (78 percent of prospective families and 85 percent of current families) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration, but are more open to paths other than a four-year degree.

Families and learners both participating in and considering CTE highly value an education experience that allows learners to explore opportunities after high school that lead to college and career success. In this example, Utah used graphics of learners engaging in real-world skills training to promote its Auto Mechanics and Repairs career pathway. This is a way of demonstrating the connection from CTE courses, work-based learning settings and youth apprenticeship programs to career success.

Tag industry and workforce partners in your social media posts. They are more likely to share social content that directly includes them, increasing your post engagement. 

Across the board, CTE programs are most valued and attractive for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits that lead to college and career success. 

Using local examples can help explain the nuts and bolts of how CTE delivers success by making the connection between CTE and a specific career or industry, as well as highlighting partnerships with local colleges and employers that are recognizable to parents/guardians and learners.

For example, Jordan CTE localized its tweet by tagging the medical facility where learners were able to receive on-the-job training through their CTE experience and connect their passion to a career right in their community. 

While teachers, school counselors and CTE learners and alumni continue to be the sources most utilized by parents/guardians and learners for information about CTE, online sources also emerged as an important access point.

Wisconsin CTE showcased CTE to parents/guardians and learners by lifting up student success stories. One avenue to find compelling learner examples is to coordinate with statewide or local Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) and gather testimonials, photos and stories to share on social media. This tweet focused on a local learner success story to create human interest in CTE. To help expand the reach of this tweet, Wisconsin CTE used relevant hashtags and tagged the state CTSO and the university the learner was attending. This type of post is a great way to highlight CTE and the many ways CTE benefits learners. 

To understand more about the major social channels, how to create a compelling post, when to engage key audiences and how to build your CTE network, read the full social media guide here.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Communicating CTE
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5 Steps to Refresh Career Technical Education Program Recruitment Plans This Summer 

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

The impending summer season is a great time for state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders to take a step back and evaluate how existing recruitment plans and practices reach each learner and family to achieve an effective and equitable recruitment process.

As conversations continue about potential national investments in the career preparation ecosystem, it is essential that communications about CTE align with what matters most to families in their education, and address in detail the opportunities provided through CTE to meet those needs. Recruitment processes and communications must also address lingering stigmas, lack of knowledge and systemic barriers that have prevented learners of color, learners experiencing low income and other historically marginalized populations from participating in and fully benefiting from the potential of CTE programs. 

Today, Advance CTE released a second round of tools to help state and local CTE leaders implement updated communications research released in April 2021 on tested messages and messengers for CTE that resonate with learners and families. The research also details equity considerations and message tailoring for Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income so that each learner feels welcomed, supported and has the means to succeed in CTE programs. 

Developing and  executing a recruitment plan can seem like a big undertaking, but Advance CTE is here with simple steps to help you get started. 

Here are five easy ways to put this research into action this summer using messages and tools from Advance CTE: 

  1. Learn the key messages that resonate with families and learners about CTE, and message tailoring considerations to reach Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income. Our core messages resource provides three top messages for all audiences and additional messages for historically  marginalized populations. 
  2. Evaluate your current communications tools, including newsletters, digital media, website and printed materials. Do the materials include these tested messages? Have steps been taken to remove barriers to each family accessing and fully understanding information about CTE programs? Our messaging card provides a starting point for effective use of messages. 
  3. Inform your colleagues about key messages, and develop a plan of action to share these messages with stakeholders to ensure consistent communication both during and after CTE recruitment season. Our newly updated communications advocacy guide provides five keys to success and a step-by-step process to develop a plan.  Advance CTE has created a ready-made slide deck and talking points that make it easy to share these findings in a 20 minute presentation.
  4. Engage your ambassadors and trusted sources to receive feedback about current recruitment practices and communications materials.  Advance CTE’s newly updated parent engagement tool provides seven steps and assessments to evaluate current practices and fully leverage your team and ambassadors in the recruitment process.
  5. Reintroduce the value and impact of CTE to families through digital media this summer as you make plans to align messaging and equitable outreach across all communication channels. Advance CTE’s social media guide and ready-to-use graphics assist leaders in navigating the differences among digital platforms and keep messages about the impact of CTE front-of-mind for families this summer.

 

Visit our Engaging Families and Learners web page for the full research report and list of communication and implementation resources. Visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resources on communication, career advisement and access and equity. 

Advance CTE is here to help leaders fully realize and leverage this research and their state and community. Email info@careertech.org with questions or to receive assistance in putting this research into action.

By Stacy Whitehouse in Communicating CTE, Uncategorized
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Communicating CTE: New Communications Research Highlights Key Equity Considerations in Communicating CTE to Families and Learners

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

 

Today, Advance CTE released a new report and updated resources on messages that resonate with families about the value and benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE), and how they should be communicated to each learner to achieve effective and equitable recruitment into secondary CTE programs.

Communicating Career Technical Education: Learner-centered Messages for Effective Program Recruitment  is an update to messaging research conducted in 2017 on families both participating in (current) and not participating in CTE (prospective). This new research  includes an intentional focus on revealing differences in education preferences, experiences, and message and messenger impact among Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income to advance a shared vision of CTE programs where each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed.

Encouragingly, the topline findings showed that an overarching message about ‘Preparing for the Real World’ resonated with learners and parents/guardians across participation, race, ethnicity and income: 

Through CTE, learners gain real-world skills that prepare them to succeed in college and a career that they are passionate about. 

However, the research also revealed important equity considerations that states should consider when supporting local systems in evaluating and taking steps to improve equity in program quality in hands-on particularly in regards to program quality, the impact of social capital and messenger trust. 

1. Learners in CTE have more opportunities to prepare for postsecondary education and are more confident about completing a degree. 

The findings indicated that participation in CTE increased the likelihood that learners planned to complete a degree over completing ‘some college,’ particularly among Latinx  families and families with low income.

Additionally, 80 percent of families participating in CTE are satisfied with opportunities to jumpstart their postsecondary education in high school through opportunities to earn college credit and take advanced classes compared to just 60 percent of families not participating in CTE.

State Impact: These findings reinforce the importance of states designing seamless transfers from secondary to postsecondary education across all career pathways, removing barriers to accessing early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs), and communicating these opportunities in digestible, intentional ways to families. 

2. Informed school-based messengers are key for CTE enrollment, but online sources and messenger trust are key considerations for historically marginalized families. 

While school counselors and teachers were the top two sources for both families in and  outside CTE to receive information about CTE programs, families from historically marginalized populations also consistently included online sources such as Google search and school websites in their top two sources. 

Significantly, historically marginalized learners not participating in CTE were less likely to choose school counselors as a top source than parents/guardians. While 84 percent of prospective Latinx parents/guardians would likely consult a school counselor about CTE, only 37 percent of prospective Latinx learners would. Among Black families, 74 percent of prospective Black parents/guardians would likely consult a school counselor about CTE while only 59 percent of prospective Black learners would. 

State Impact: These findings reinforce the importance of states designing communication campaigns through multiple avenues with reinforced messaging like those found in our updated messaging triangle (LINK), as well as examining systemic barriers and solutions to building more diverse school counselor and instructor talent pipelines. 

3. Families participating in CTE are more satisfied across all aspects of their education, but intentional focus is needed on achieving equitable access to hands-on experiences. 

The great news is across race, ethnicity and income, 88 percent of parents/guardians and learners participating in CTE are satisfied with their education experience compared to 75 percent of those considering CTE. This includes aspects such as quality of classes and teachers, opportunities for career exploration and skillbuilding, and even opportunities for advanced classes. 

However, equitable satisfaction by race and income was not achieved for work-based learning experiences such as opportunities to connect and network with employers and opportunities for internships. For both of the aforementioned categories, satisfaction among current Black learners dropped 1 and 2 percentage points respectively compared to prospective Black leaners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Impact: As states continue to reimagine CTE programs and work-based learning experiences in this learning recovery, this finding reinforces the importance of designing programs on the margins and removing barriers to access to ensure each learner participates in high-quality programs across all career pathways, and to realize the full impact of these effective messages. 

Overall, CTE provides the education experiences and benefits that families are looking for, but program quality is critical to achieve full message impact and effective recruitment. To read the full report and to access resources to put this research into action including a message triangle with tailoring for historically marginalized populations, please visit our Engaging Families and Learners web page. For resources on advancing equity and access in CTE programs, visit the Equity and Access page in Advance CTE’s Resource Center.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Empowering All Learners

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.

Career exploration and guidance have in the past been considered as services only for CTE students, and particularly for CTE students who are not considering attending a postsecondary institution. Now state leaders are working to change this misconception by promoting career advisement as an integral part of the educational process for all learners.

A comprehensive career advising system must be supported not just by school counselors, but state leaders, local administrators, and employer partners as well.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders focus their attention on career advisement, they have access to multiple resources related to counseling, guided pathways, student supports and career awareness, among others.

Principle in Action

Relevant Resources

Upcoming Resources

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
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