Posts Tagged ‘rhode island’

Championing Career Technical Education: Highlights from CTE Month 2024

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

Each February, the Career Technical Education (CTE) community celebrates CTE Month to raise awareness of opportunities and impact achieved for every learner and leader through its programs.

This year’s CTE Month celebrations showcased the continued significance and success of CTE across the nation. Below, you’ll find highlights from this month, featuring events from states, partners, policymakers, and other champions of CTE!

Federal CTE Champions 

On February 8, Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Fox (R-NC) spoke on the House Floor to celebrate CTE Month, stating, “By equipping students with the competencies they need to be successful on the job, career and technical education programs give participants an invaluable head start.” Watch here

Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) Recognize February as Career and Technical Education Month

Co-chairs of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus Reps. Thompson and Bonamici spoke on the importance of career technical education on Capitol Hill.  Watch on C-SPAN Read the press release

 

 


State CTE Champions 

Arkansas CTE Day at the Capitol

Throughout the month of February, Arkansas held regional CTE showcases to highlight local programs that serve as a bridge between K-12 and higher education, with the first one taking place at the Capitol Rotunda alongside Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Read the full press release

 

Maine’s CTE Month Showcase

Maine kicked off Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month at the State House with a showcase featuring learners, instructors, and directors from 15 of the state’s 27 CTE centers. The showcase featured learners’ advanced skills in areas from biotechnology and hospitality to welding and graphic design. Notably, every instructor and director at the event reported an increase in “non-traditional students” participating in CTE programs. Read more about the kick-off

 


CTE Champions in Schools

Secretary of Education Cardona Joins President Biden’s Investing in America Tour

On February 21, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) as part of President Biden’s Investing in America Tour. The visit featured a tour of CCRI’s advanced manufacturing lab, a roundtable discussion with educational leaders, and dialogues with learners. Additional discussions took place with CCRI’s President Rosemary Costigan, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, and U.S. Representative Gabe Amo. 

Cardona applauded CCRI’s intentional alignment of education with workforce needs, especially with the state’s Latine population as a Hispanic-Serving Instituion. The event demonstrated Rhode Island’s commitment to inclusive and high-quality CTE programs that serve both learner and industry – “I wanted a new career path, something where I could earn my diploma and show my kids it’s not too late to go back…I had my kids at a young age and was always focused on providing and making sure they had what they needed before I could go back to school. To finish will be a big accomplishment, not just for me but for them, too” said Fredy Vasquez, 38, a learner in the Advanced Manufacturing and Design degree program. Read more about Cardona’s visit and CCRI

 

DACCTE Celebrates Poster Contest Winner

Delaware Advisory Council on Career and Technical Education (DACCTE), along with partners from the Department of Labor and Department of Education hosted a poster contest to showcase the talent represented in CTE classrooms every day. The winning poster was used to celebrate CTE Month in Delaware. Read more on DACCTE’s CTE Month activities


CTE Champions on Social Media

#ThisisCTE Social Media Campaign


The Oregon CTE Youth Advisory Council launched a #ThisIsCTE social media campaign to highlight CTE programs and initiatives across the state and increase CTE awareness. 
View on Facebook | View on X (Twitter)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSDE CTE Month Myth Busting

The Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE) conducted a social media campaign dispelling common myths about CTE.

 


To continue to advocate for CTE year-round, explore our resources to reach learners, families, employers, and policymakers:

…and follow us on LinkedIn for the latest on CTE information, resources, research and more!

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits, News
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Three Actions to Expand Access to High-Quality CTE and Work-Based Learning: Exploring CTE Without Borders Webinar Recap

Monday, October 30th, 2023

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) puts forth a bold vision for a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage Career Technical Education (CTE) as a catalyst for ensuring each learner can reach success in the career of their choice. Principle 5 of CTE Without Limits calls for each learner to be able to access CTE without borders, and calls specific attention to meeting the needs of learners without access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning opportunities due to their geographic location. Advance CTE is helping states to actualize this vision principle by offering resources, examples and supports to expand access within and across state lines.

In September 2023, Advance CTE hosted a webinar to share more information about the CTE Without Borders initiative. The event also provided a deep dive into the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook and how it provides strategies, actions and resources to support expanded access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning and elevated promising practices that have actualized expanded access to meet learner and industry needs in Rhode Island and Texas

The Exploring CTE Without Borders webinar featured the following speakers: 

All speakers in the webinar supported the development of the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook and engaged the audience with the following key themes they gleaned from supporting expanded access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning:

Implement a stakeholder-led approach to expanding access

Sherman and Gonzalez shared various promising perspectives and challenges experienced when actualizing expanded access. One recurring advice includes implementing a backward approach to strategizing and actualizing expanded access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning opportunities. Sherman noted that implementing a bottoms-up approach calls on leaders to begin this work by speaking with learners, industry and CTE educators to fully define the issue of CTE access. Leveraging the expertise of stakeholders to define the problem accurately supports leaders with the action planning stage to understand the infrastructure, policy, resources and capacity needed to actualize both in-state and cross-state access that meets learners’ and industry’s needs. Gonzalez reinforced this strategy and identified the need to understand the nuance across geographies to ensure that the labor and resource-intensive actions leaders design and implement effectively serve the regions.

Leverage strong systems, structures and partnerships to sustain expanded access

During the facilitated question and answer portion, Gonzalez and Sherman identified the value of leveraging strong systems, structures and partnerships to begin or enhance expanded access and ensure that the work is sustainable. They both emphasized the importance of strong executive leadership and distinguishing local champions to support the work. Strong executive leadership, like then-Governor Gina Raimondo who championed the Prepare Rhode Island initiative, signals importance and facilitates bringing together multiple agencies and partners to understand how all agencies can work together to expand access. Identification of local champions, like adults or leaders learners interact with day-to-day, allows leaders at the state level to capture a strong understanding of the issues learners experience in CTE programs. With strong executive and local leadership, leaders can then begin to implement systems, structures and processes that work across all partners contributing to expanded access. Establishing strong systems ensures that in the event of personnel or leadership transitions, expanded access sustains and continues to evolve to meet the needs of learners and industry. 

Codify state policies to expand access within and across states

Sherman and Gonzalez raised the importance of leveraging state policy to codify expanded access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning. Gonzalez shared examples of policies in Texas that incentivize expanded access within the state through increased funding like the Texas Partnerships Senate Bill 1882 that allowed the Rural Schools Innovation Zone to come to fruition. The legislation, which incentivizes school districts to partner with non-profit organizations like the RSIZ, provides districts engaging in the partnership to receive funding and accountability incentives. Implementing and codifying state policies is another opportunity to ensure the work of expanded access to high-quality CTE remains sustainable to meet labor needs and support learners in achieving their career goals. 

Advance CTE staff are available to support CTE leaders in this important work. Please contact Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate, at hwing@careertech.org for more information about this initiative.

To learn more about creating access to high-quality CTE for all learners regardless of geographic location, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center to access the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits
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Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs: Increasing Access Through Career Pathways

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Summertime is fast approaching and many learners are looking for ways to spend their summers. Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP) are an excellent opportunity for learners, usually ages 14-25, to gain valuable work experience and career exploration. Unfortunately, many of these programs struggle with connecting the experiences learners gain with the work-based learning (WBL) continuum. Statewide implementation of SYEP also seems to have significant barriers. 

To help address these concerns, Advance CTE called together a shared solutions workgroup (SSWG) of experts across the Career Technical Education (CTE) ecosystem to identify the common barriers and introduce recommended actions that states, local districts and intermediaries could use to address them. Additionally, the SSWG looked at ways to help make the return on investment for industry partners clear. This culminated in the creation of the Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs brief.

One highlight of the brief was the elevation of various SYEP experiences from across the country that offered innovative ways to deliver these WBL opportunities to their learners. These were strong local, statewide and national programs that not only informed some of the selections for the SSWG, but also served as a springboard for the recommendations developed. Below are just two examples of the many presented in the brief.

Finding alignment with Advance CTE’s vision CTE Without Limits for a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem that closes equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness helped frame the context of the programmatic recommendations. Below are a few examples of the recommended actions from each of the stakeholder groups:

State Agencies

Intermediaries

Local School Systems

SYEP can be a powerful tool for developing interest in and supporting career pathways for learners. The Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs brief helps state leaders connect learner classroom experiences to meaningful work experiences. Building a connection to the WBL continuum elevates an interesting summer employment experience into one that supports purposeful learner entry into the workforce.

For additional information on work-based learning:

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Innovating State Systems through CTE Without Limits

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) was released in March 2020 with the support of over 40 national organizations. In October 2021, Advance CTE launched a technical assistance opportunity called Advancing CTE Without  Limits, which sought to support states in a project to coordinate systems, improve equity goals, strengthen policy or otherwise align with a CTE Without Limits principle. The year-long Advancing CTE Without Limits project ran from March 2022 to March 2023. This blog series shares the details, outcomes and lessons learned from projects across the three participating Pushing the Limits state teams – Colorado, Nebraska and South Carolina. 

Over the past year, three states – Colorado, Nebraska and South Carolina – leveraged CTE Without Limits in their states to improve Career Technical Education (CTE) practice through technical assistance and strategic planning. Each state took a different approach and focused on a different CTE Without Limits principle, but ultimately each state centered its project around leveraging tools and resources already at its disposal to realign and refocus state practice for all CTE learners. All three states took an innovative approach to revitalizing existing policy and strategy and the alignment work vital to their year-long projects is already paying dividends. For more information about each state’s project check out the previous posts in this blog series.

This year, Advance CTE is continuing to help states innovate their state systems through CTE Without Limits. Earlier this year, we opened an application for technical assistance to help states specifically interested in strategic planning and alignment support. Four states – Indiana, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island – are working with Advance CTE and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) coaches to build strategic goals, centered around a statewide theory of action, or revamp state plans for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The initiative, Innovating State Systems through CTE Without Limits, will run from June 2023 to June 2024.

While previous technical assistance efforts were focused on individual state projects, this year’s project builds specifically on the strategic planning process. Each state will create a 12-month action plan and will have opportunities to begin to pilot some of the initiatives embedded in their new strategic plans. Each state will build a statewide team made of stakeholders within and outside of their CTE agency to ensure their strategic goals meet the needs of learners, families, educators and administrators statewide. Participating state team members will also engage in quarterly cross-state sharing sessions to discuss insights and lessons learned. 

Advance CTE Senior Advisor and project lead Eliza Fabillar hopes the value of this technical assistance opportunity will be clear: “The Innovating State Systems initiative will help participating states develop and implement strategic priorities to strengthen the career preparation ecosystem for all learners, which will lay the groundwork for continued quality implementation after the project period. Advance CTE members will also benefit from lessons learned, which will be shared with the CTE community.”

Kickoff meetings with each state’s State CTE Director have already started and progress will continue throughout the next year. Stay tuned for future updates about this project. 

For more information about CTE Without Limits, visit https://careertech.org/without-limits. To begin processes like this in your own state or locality, view our CTE Without Limits roadmaps and view this resource recap to see how to use these tools step-by-step. 

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in CTE Without Limits
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Six Focus Areas to Actualize CTE Without Borders

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

In March 2021, Advance CTE released Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). This vision put forth a bold vision for a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation system that aims to close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness and leverage Career Technical Education (CTE) as a catalyst for ensuring each learner can reach success in their career of choice. CTE Without Limits lays out five inter-connected and equally critical principles – Principle 5 in CTE Without Limits describes that all learners can access CTE without borders. 

To truly meet the needs of learners, we must remove the geographic barriers that limit access and opportunities, particularly for learners in rural communities. CTE policies and programs should enable, not limit, mobility and access and states should come together to develop and expand new models of collaboration by investing in open-access systems that enable access within and across states.

Advance CTE’s upcoming release, the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook, developed in partnership with the Southern Regional Education Board and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and with input from more than 100 national, state and local leaders, highlights six focus areas to help states, secondary and postsecondary institutions actualize CTE without borders with expanded access to high-quality CTE and work-based learning within and across states. The six focus areas include:

The policy playbook features promising state and local practices from across the country including Colorado, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas and more; strategies to actualize each focus area; and resources to support state and local leaders in providing expanded access within and across states.

Review the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook series in the Learning that Works Resource Center when it’s released later in May to learn about the ways your state can meet the needs of all learners regardless of where they live.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Publications
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Spotlight on CTE Month: Celebrating the creative ways states engaged with stakeholders

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

February’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Month celebrations illustrated CTE’s continued spotlight in both federal and state communications and policymaking. This post recaps some of the inspiring activities from across the nation elevating both the value of CTE and the learners it serves.

Spotlight on CTE in the Nation’s Capital

CTE Month started strong this year with a major policy speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, during which he highlighted the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE): “We must challenge our myopic view that emphasizing the importance of career pathways is about limiting students, or the view that its four-year-college or bust. Advancing career pathways in high schools is about more options for students, not less. What it does is prepare them for the careers of today with options, and in some cases, their employer will pay for their future education. If we do this well, our graduates will be able to compete on a global stage. It’s my intention to Raise the Bar so we can lead the world in advanced career and technical education.” 

Just two weeks later, First Lady Jill Biden’s guests for the State of the Union (SOTU) address included Kate Foley– a 10th-grade computer-integrated manufacturing student who the First Lady had met last year during a visit to CTE programs in Rolling Meadows High School. In addition, Rep. Glusenkamp Perez (D-WA) brought Cory Toppa, a construction, engineering design, and manufacturing teacher at Kalama High School and the director of CTE for the Kalama school district. 

During the SOTU, President Biden highlighted how the intersection of education and workforce development is integral to America’s ability to compete within the wider global economy. The President mentioned career-focused education saying, in part, “Let’s finish the job, and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school, provide access to two years of community college, the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree. Let’s offer every American a path to a good career, whether they go to college or not.” 

Finally, support for CTE  extended to Capitol Hill, with both the House and Senate passing resolutions supporting CTE that achieved a high water mark for the number of co-sponsors.

Spotlight on CTE in State Capitols and Beyond

Outside of the U.S. House, 25 states and at least 1 U.S. Territory had proclamations designating February as CTE Month, and many state capitols hosted CTE students for showcases and meet and greets.

 

Spotlight on engaging with CTE stakeholders

Many states used CTE Month as an opportunity to connect with learners, families, employers and other stakeholders.

Louisiana hosted a roundtable discussion featuring panelists from K-12, postsecondary and industry professionals at their annual conference. Michigan hosted a Value of CTE virtual conference for employers and Missouri launched their CTE Perceptions Survey to learners, families, educators and business leaders.

 

States used a variety of marketing channels to share stories and promote CTE. Wyoming released a CTEZine published in local newspapers. South Carolina created My CTE Story videos featuring learner stories. North Dakota shared tips for maximizing messaging during CTE Month in their monthly newsletter. Oklahoma created a week’s worth of suggested activities that fostered pride in and self-promotion of local programs during #ILuvOKCTE week.

Through social media posts, many states shared information on the power and purpose of CTE as well as success stories and celebrations of CTE learners.

 

 

While CTE Month is a great opportunity to promote and educate those not familiar with the opportunities within and successes of CTE, our advocacy and education efforts should continue year-round. For information on how you can more effectively communicate CTE, check out the following resources in our Resource Center:

Jodi Langellotti, Communications Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Uncategorized
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“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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Coronavirus Relief Funds: States Leverage Federal Funds to Expand Equitable Access to CTE and Career Advisement Opportunities

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

This blog series examines trends in state uses of federal stimulus funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Stimulus funds were appropriated for emergency relief related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The five major stimulus funding streams for states and educational institutions include the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Amid the disruption that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the U.S. labor market, federal stimulus funds are a crucial mechanism for not only mitigating the adverse impact on schools, businesses and learners, but investing in innovating and transforming our education and workforce development systems. CTE is a key component of economic recovery and revitalization that can help bridge the skills gap, bring down unemployment, and address systemic inequities that persist in access to high-quality college and career pathways. 

To that end, states are beginning to leverage their coronavirus relief funds to expand equity and access to CTE opportunities. One key area of focus for these dollars is expanding program delivery models to reach learners where they are. Arkansas invested in digitizing CTE programs through three separate ESSER allocations totaling nearly $4 million. The state spent $2.3 million on creating pathways of virtual CTE courses that count towards learners’ concentration status under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Additionally, Arkansas is investing $950,000 to provide digital curriculum for all Career Clusters and access to industry-recognized credential assessments for CTE-enrolled learners, as well as $475,000 to provide virtual work-based learning simulation for all school districts to facilitate remote engagement with industry professionals. 

Similarly, Rhode Island expanded summer learning opportunities through a $3 million ESSER allocation for the state’s All-Course Network platform, which provides free online courses to students of all grade levels. Offerings include both traditional academic coursework such as Advanced Placement classes as well as a range of other college and career readiness-based programs and classes centered on industry-recognized credentials, work-based learning, dual enrollment and financial literacy. The enrollment system reserves a number of seats for learners from “priority groups” who are most likely to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, leveraging the Rhode Island Department of Education’s statewide data system to ensure equitable access.

Pennsylvania used both ESSER and GEER funding to support Career & Technical Education Centers (CTCs), including $10.5 million in GEER-funded equity grants to promote continuity of education and industry credentialing services for learners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant funding process included consideration for buildings with 20 or more English Learners. Ultimately, 78 of the state’s CTCs received funding, using it to offer summer programs and industry-recognized credential assessments, as well as to expand CTE program delivery through hybrid coursework.

Finally, some states are working to enhance statewide data systems and invest in career advising to set learners up for success. Texas invested $15 million in GEER funding for “strategic education and workforce data infrastructure” to equip learners, institutions, employers and policymakers with accessible, actionable information for decision making. The modernized data architecture will expand tools for college and career advising, allowing institutions to identify and target learners who may need additional assistance to stay engaged and on-track to earn industry-recognized credentials. 

Both North Carolina and Tennessee allocated GEER funding for their Jobs for America’s Graduates affiliate programs, which provide employability and professional skill-building opportunities for 11th and 12th grade learners identified as at risk of not completing high school or making a seamless transition into the workforce. North Carolina allocated $825,000 to expand the program and place college and career coaches in more high schools throughout the state, while Tennessee appropriated $750,000 to maintain program operations during the 2020-2021 school year.

To learn more about how states have spent federal relief funds on CTE, please stay tuned for future Coronavirus Relief Funds blog posts and visit Advance CTE’s COVID-19 page for additional resources.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation
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Welcoming Paul McConnell to Advance CTE

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Paul McConnell is a lifelong Rhode Islander and has worked at the Rhode Island Department of Education & Secondary Education (RIDE) for eight years. Paul became the new CTE Coordinator in late March 2020, in the early days of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic: off-limits labs and classrooms, budget uncertainty and the rapid transition to remote learning.

Paul is approaching these challenges head-on and with big picture thinking, considering opportunities for structural changes and thinking critically about the lessons his state is currently learning in terms of which students are thriving, and which are not able to due to the digital divide and lack of access for some learners. 

Challenges aside and looking ahead, Paul is excited to determine equitable ways to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in his state, and to consider ways to better serve both learners and communities.  For example, Paul is grappling with the fact that Rhode Island’s traditional school-aged population is in a decline, however the same number of school facilities have remained open and in use. 

No matter the changes necessary to CTE in RI, learners and stakeholders have a true voice. The state has set a meaningful precedent in stakeholder engagement as per Rhode Island’s CTE Board of Trustees standards: CTE learners have given input into their needs, and recently thanks to that feedback, some CTE centers have changed the timing of classes to better accommodate the learners they serve. Paul plans to continue to engage this group to find out where learner interest lies and how to respond to that with high-quality CTE.

When he’s not pondering grand questions at work, Paul is boating and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean most months of the year.

Welcome Paul!

Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

By admin in Advance CTE State Director
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

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

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

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

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD OF THE WEEK

GRANT AWARD OF THE WEEK

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

CTE PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

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

TOOLKIT OF THE WEEK

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

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

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

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

View the resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Resources, Webinars
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