Posts Tagged ‘students with disabilities’

Legislative Update: House to Consider Workforce Legislation Next Week 

Friday, May 13th, 2022

This week lawmakers in the House set the stage to consider the reauthorization of federal workforce development legislation, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced plans to issue new rules regarding disability policy and the Biden Administration unveiled new connectivity efforts. 

House to Consider WIOA Next Week 

Next Monday, May 16, the House Rules Committee will meet to develop a rule for floor consideration of H.R. 7309– legislation that, if enacted, would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As shared previously, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to lawmakers outlining remaining concerns with the proposal while also supporting many aspects of the legislation, particularly the proposed reforms contained in the bill related to the sharing of One-Stop Center infrastructure costs amongst partner programs like postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE expects a floor vote sometime next week, where lawmakers in the House will consider a number of amendments to the underlying legislative proposal. A list of potential amendments to be considered can be found here

Education Department Announces Plans to Amend Section 504

Late last week, May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it intends to promulgate new regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Currently, Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability for programs and initiatives funded with federal dollars. These regulations apply to pre-K-12 and postsecondary institutions that receive federal grants as part of their operations. ED plans to gather public input from a wide variety of stakeholders ahead of issuing new proposed rules aimed at further protecting the rights of students with disabilities. 

Biden Administration Promotes Affordable Connectivity Efforts

On Monday, May 9, the Biden Administration held a series of events intended to promote federal efforts to make high-speed internet affordable for more Americans. The bipartisan infrastructure law passed by Congress last year, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)—an initiative that provides subsidies to eligible households to pay for broadband internet services. This was a key legislative priority for Advance CTE during last year’s negotiations as a way to ensure more learners have access to vitally important broadband connections. Twenty internet service providers signed on to an agreement to cap household costs for these connections at no more than $30 per month.

The Administration has also launched GetInternet.gov—a website to assist individuals in accessing this benefit as part of these efforts. In addition to these announcements, Jessica Rosenworcel, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has recently proposed to allow federal E-rate funding to be used to install Wi-Fi on school buses. If enacted, this policy change would provide a new source of funding for additional student-focused connectivity efforts such as this. 

Guest Blog Post: Virginia State CTE Director Reflects on Secretary Cardona Teacher Appreciation Week Visit 

This week, Virginia State CTE Director David Eshelman penned a guest post on Advance CTE’s Learning that Works blog recapping U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Senator Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) visit to the RTR teacher residency program at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. This stop  launched a series of visits and events made by Sec. Cardona to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week as we shared last week.

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , ,

How States Can Make Good on their Commitments to Learners with Disabilities in CTE 

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Career Technical Education (CTE) offers all learners the opportunity to build academic, technical and employability skills that will prepare them for a future in a dynamic and changing world. Learners with disabilities in particular benefit from CTE coursework in high school. Research shows that CTE provides opportunities to improve employment and postsecondary outcomes for secondary learners with disabilities and has led to higher rates of on-time graduation and more competitively paid jobs. 

States play a critical role in supporting the conditions for learners with disabilities to access high-quality CTE programs, successfully complete them, and then transition into high-wage employment. Last year, Advance CTE partnered with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School to research how states are supporting learners with disabilities in CTE and what could be done to improve access and success. 

We learned that, with the recent implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), states are well positioned to make progress on their equity goals. In fact, among the 38 respondents surveyed for the study, 84% reported plans to leverage Perkins V to support access and success for learners with disabilities. Their commitments are supported by strong state-level partnerships among CTE, special education and vocational rehabilitation, many of which were forged and strengthened through the Perkins V planning process. 

However, inter-agency plans must be supported with coordinated work, actionable data and targeted interventions to make them operational. While strong relationships exist at the state level, they do not always lead to coordination on the ground. For example, states were less likely to report sharing data, offering integrated professional development or braiding funding. 

In part, states’ efforts to expand access for learners with disabilities are stymied by data quality challenges. While states are required to collect and report CTE data disaggregated for learners with disabilities, many states do not further disaggregate CTE data by disability type. Disaggregating data by disability type is important because the supports and/or accommodations needed by learners with disabilities will vary depending on the nature of their disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act already requires the collection of student data by disability type, which means that all states and localities should be able to partner with their special education colleagues to obtain more accurate and nuanced data on the number of learners with disabilities.

Finally, while states have made considerable progress strengthening CTE program quality and expanding opportunities for advanced coursework, industry-recognized credentials and work-based learning, program improvement efforts are often generalized to all learners instead of targeting specific learner populations. Less than half of respondents say they provide accommodations to learners with disabilities participating in credential examinations, and only 24% indicated they are part of other statewide initiatives to improve credential attainment among learners with disabilities. More direct interventions and investments may be necessary to support learners with disabilities to access and earn credentials with value in the labor market.

Clearly, states are well positioned to expand access and support success for learners with disabilities in CTE. To operationalize their commitments, state CTE leaders should make sure to coordinate directly with their colleagues in other agencies, improve the quality and relevance of their data, and target interventions to learners with the greatest need. Read more about the survey findings in the new report Advancing Employment for Secondary Learners with Disabilities through CTE Policy and Practice. 

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy, Publications
Tags: , , ,

Utah Valley University Charges Forward as a Dual-Role Community College and University

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Numerous states have begun to allow community colleges to grant four-year degrees. These changes have led to concerns over “credential creep,” where institution leaders push for the increased perception of prestige that advanced postsecondary degree offerings provide them, and neglect their CTE programs. This article from Inside Higher Ed highlights the work being done at Utah Valley University to maintain focus on providing high-quality degree programs, whether they be two- or four-year degrees.

The institution implemented a “structured enrollment” approach to preserve its open-door admissions policy. This approach enrolls underprepared students in one-year certificate programs that include numerous student support services. From there, students can enroll in a two-year degree program and eventually a four-year program, all within the same institution. “The certificates and degrees stack on top of each other, thus all credits move up with the student. For example, all of the certificate classes are required in the associate’s degree, and all of the associate classes are required in the bachelor’s degree,” a university spokesman said via email. “If the student doesn’t do well in the certificate track, university counselors will circle back to try to find a better fit.”

Report Offers Recommendations for Using Data and Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes

Colleges have long been working to use data more effectively to analyze and improve student outcomes. However, these efforts have often been the responsibility of individual institutions or systems, and are dependent on the resources available for data analysis and new technologies. A new report from Results for America offers recommendations for state governments to become more involved in these initiatives. Their recommendations fall into three categories:

  1. Improve measures of student success
    • Improve the accuracy of graduation rates
    • Publish employment outcomes by major
    • Develop measures of learning and civic outcomes
  2. Help colleges act on and analyze data
    • Invest in the data capacities of colleges
    • Generate evidence of what works
    • Kickstart evidence-based improvements
  3. Align resources behind student success
    • Make payoffs clear and certain
    • Prioritize equity
    • Consider post-graduation goals
    • Consider additional strategies to help low-performing colleges

White Paper Examines Overlap between Afterschool Programs and Workforce Development

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) recently published a new white paper highlighting the shared goals and opportunities for collaboration between afterschool programs and workforce development initiatives. While both youth and workforce development initiatives implement programs and activities to help youth develop skills and competencies for the world of work, they often operate in separate and disconnected silos.

For example, afterschool programs have long focused on building the social and emotional skills of students, skills which also contribute to employability readiness. “Participation in high-quality afterschool programs has a positive impact on problem-solving, conflict resolution, self-control, leadership, and responsible decision-making, all of which are included within the employability and [social emotional learning] frameworks.” If efforts are better aligned and resources more coordinated, more of this training can be implemented.

The white paper examines case studies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois and from those extrapolates recommendations for further collaboration between the two types of initiatives.

Odds and Ends

This report from AEI examines common barriers for providing high-quality CTE at community colleges and suggest five strategies for overcoming those barriers, most of which are structural and policy barriers, but also include the perceived stigma of CTE.

The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) recently launched this video highlighting the problem of “The Forgotten 500,000” – the 500,000 students who are in the top half of their high school classes but do not go on to complete a postsecondary certificate or credential. Among other recommendations, CEW believes this problem can be solved by tying education more deliberately to career pathways.

The American Institutes for Research released this infographic highlighting the importance of using CTE as a strategy for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who are CTE concentrators are five percent more likely to graduate high school on time and 20 percent more likely to be employed after graduation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By admin in Research
Tags: , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1