Posts Tagged ‘Stakeholder engagement’

Getting to Know: Stakeholder Engagement at Advance CTE

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

The “Getting to Know” blog series features the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Dan Hinderliter! Dan is a State Policy Associate at Advance CTE and supports a number of different national projects. As a site liaison for the New Skills ready network, Dan works with two sites (Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), providing resource and research support while also serving as a direct link to the national project team. He also works on site snapshots, the annual report and quarterly newsletters, as well as major publications that highlight promising national, state and local practices aligned with the principles of the New Skills ready network

Dan also supports the modernization of the National Career Clusters® Framework and spearheads the Year in Review, the annual aggregation of state policy impacting CTE. As part of the Year in Review process, Dan regularly tracks state-level legislation and other policy actions.

Q: Considering your work on the New Skills ready network initiative, how are the six sites leveraging stakeholder engagement to advance career pathways? 

A: Each of the six New Skills ready network sites is working to leverage stakeholder engagement in some capacity to advance career pathways. First, because each of the sites is composed of a variety of stakeholders, engagement with business and industry, postsecondary partners and K-12 institutions has to happen to ensure each voice is involved in and buys into the work of the site. Outside of the project teams, however, most sites are doing some level of stakeholder engagement involving learner and family communications practices. Some sites are surveying parents and learners to understand what resonates with them about available career pathways, while others have done focus groups to understand where there are gaps for learners in specific programs. Columbus, Ohio’s project team hired a minority-led communications firm, with roots in Columbus, to help share consistent messaging and work to understand how each stakeholder can be better supported.

View the 2020-2021 site snapshot for Columbus, Ohio here

Q: Earlier this year, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released State Policies Impacting CTE: 2020 Year in Review where industry partnership was a frequently addressed topic area. Are there any states that can serve as a model for policy actions around stakeholder engagement? 

A: Every year, states enact new legislation that impacts how each state engages with stakeholders, either through input gathering or through information sharing. Many states, including Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho and Missouri (among others), passed legislation this year requiring a state agency to collect and disseminate information that allows learners to make more informed decisions about their futures, including information about in-demand jobs or industry recognized credential attainment. Other states are using legislative action to improve equity and access in part through stakeholder engagement; Oregon and Washington, for example, now require institutions to collect feedback or input from diverse or historically marginalized stakeholder groups to inform new practices and strategies that will increase access to high-quality CTE programs for those groups. At the beginning of 2022, we will release our state policy tracker for 2021 which includes the above legislative actions and others.

Q: One of the foundational commitments within CTE Without Limits is based on stakeholder engagement. How can states, through such partnerships, ensure each learner reaches success in a career of their choice? 

A: Advance CTE’s shared vision, CTE Without Limits, calls for CTE to be incredibly learner-centric and for programs to ensure that the learner voice is incorporated into each decision about career pathways or programs. As states continue to expand access and equity in their CTE programs and work toward dismantling systemic barriers in CTE, the learner voice must be an integral part of these conversations, as only the learner who participated in the program can fully understand the consequences of decisions made at each level. At the same time, states and local institutions can continue to expand offerings by building partnerships with community based organizations to offer learner supports or with business and industry to offer new or improved work-based learning opportunities. By including opportunities for stakeholder groups like learners, their families and local businesses to provide input into decisions surrounding CTE, states can ensure that their career pathways and CTE programs are truly aligned with the needs of their communities.

Q: Lastly, Advance CTE announced the modernization of The National Career Clusters® Framework. How has Advance CTE prioritized stakeholder engagement and the voices of the field in this work? 

A: Though we don’t yet know what our end product will look like at the conclusion of these modernization efforts, we did know the process had to be highly collaborative to ensure everyone buys into whatever the outcome happens to be. As such, we have included a lot of opportunity to incorporate feedback from the field; we convened an expert kitchen cabinet to provide insights about the purpose and uses of the Framework, opened a crowdsourcing portal to collect feedback from the larger field about critical changes they’d like to see, and held workshops to assist in the prototyping of a new Framework. In this next phase of work, we’re hoping to hold focus groups to discuss the future of the Framework. As we near a model for a new, modernized Framework, we are hoping to have many more conversations with stakeholders about how they can implement the Framework in their own state and community to ensure that the modernized Framework is implemented with fidelity.

For resources and tools to increase stakeholder engagement in CTE, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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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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Getting to Know CTE in Michigan

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Vermont CTE and Advance CTE Engage Dozens of Stakeholders to Craft New State Vision

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Much of my day-to-day work at Advance CTE involves examining national trends in CTE topics, looking at several states at once, so it is always exciting when I get the opportunity to dive deeper into one state’s system. Recently, I was able to do that as part of Vermont CTE’s strategic planning process, launched by Vermont’s State CTE Director, Jay Ramsey.

Vermont CTE is partnering with Advance CTE to plan and facilitate a strategic planning process that pushes CTE forward in the state and incorporates feedback from a large number of stakeholders. The work began in February 2018, as we held several conversations with Ramsey and his office about their goals for this work and for the CTE system. In March, Vermont released a statewide survey, which received almost 1500 responses from a variety of stakeholders, including current and former students, families, employers, teachers from both CTE and non-CTE classrooms, as well as representatives from postsecondary. I also conducted ten phone interviews with key stakeholders across the Vermont education and workforce development system. Both the survey and phone interviews asked respondents a variety of questions about their perceptions of the Vermont CTE system, including quality, rigor and accessibility. This data provided valuable insights into how the system serves learners, and I particularly enjoyed interviewing two current CTE students, both of whom were excited about their program and easily able to describe what their potential future careers looked like.

All of this engagement culminated in a day-long interactive strategic planning workshop in Burlington, Vermont on June 18. Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, and I led and facilitated the workshop, which included not just state CTE staff, but around 30 representatives from a range of stakeholder groups, including local CTE programs, postsecondary institutions, state legislators, industry partners and workforce development. During the workshop, stakeholders examined the data on perceptions of CTE in Vermont and drafted a series of goals and strategies designed to help learners succeed within the state of Vermont. We guided them through a series of exercises to help them understand the needs of learners as well as the needs of other stakeholders and pushed them to work with each other and take ownership over these goals and their role in helping Vermont achieve them.

Going forward, Ramsey will work, with assistance from Advance CTE, to refine the vision and goals, gathering input from more stakeholders, including Vermont students. He plans to present the state’s new strategic vision for CTE to the State Board of Education later this Fall. We are excited to continue this work and follow the developments from Vermont.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
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Effective Stakeholder Engagement Requires More Than a Broad Communications Plan

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

March 30, 2017

Sustainable and successful transformation of state career readiness systems, including but not limited to Career Technical Education (CTE), requires engagement with a variety of stakeholders who are deliberately working to share ownership. Lead agencies must engage those from industry, who may be new to policy-making, not only to generate buy-in but also to reach state goals for transformation.

To help with this work, Advance CTE created a tool based off of two tools created by CCSSO in June and November 2016. This tool, developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative and generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., guides users through nine steps in planning effective interactions with specific stakeholders:

Each of these steps is designed to guide users through the entire process of building interactions with stakeholders that will explain their efforts thoroughly and present requests for stakeholder assistance clearly and convincingly.

While this tool should not replace broader communications and stakeholder engagement plans, it enhances their effectiveness by allowing for coordination in focusing and formalizing messages and interactions. The tool also helps with prioritization of stakeholder engagement efforts through the use of a stakeholder map that measures the level of support and the level of influence of each stakeholder. By completing this worksheet and keeping all information on stakeholder engagement in this one place, users will be better prepared to implement communications related to CTE and career readiness reforms.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Publications, Resources
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