Posts Tagged ‘students with disabilities’

2022 Advance Fall Meeting Recap – Forward Together: Supporting Every Learner

Friday, October 28th, 2022

Advance CTE’s 2022 Fall Meeting, held last week, included five breakout sessions that equipped state leaders to support every learner in CTE by tailoring support to meet unique and intersecting learner population needs. 

Keep reading for key takeaways and resources from each session shared by state CTE leaders and our Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows! 

Serving Middle Grades Learners through Career Supports

Career advising and development supports geared towards middle grades learners to improve access and achieve high-quality and equitable secondary CTE programs prove to be an early opportunity to develop an occupational identity and better build social capital. Ohio discussed the policy structures the state  has put into place to support learners in CTE programs before they enter high school, including funding mechanisms and alignment of middle grades programs of study. Michigan Advance CTE-ECMC Fellow Tony Warren shared how states and regions can broaden a middle schoolers mindset by focusing on the challenge they want to solve and helping develop a pathway to achieve a goal centered on their intrinsic motivations. Fellow Donald Walker provided local examples of carrying out state policy and practice at the Detroit School of the Arts showcased how one school is putting state policy into practice and action. 

Supporting CTE Learners in Rural Communities

Representatives from Montana and California shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by CTE students who reside in rural areas of the United States. With a majority of Montana (46 out of 56 counties) being part of the frontier, the state has implemented the Hub & Spoke model for several programs. One such example is healthcare, which enabled a main campus to establish a healthcare program, complemented by satellite campuses through partnerships with local secondary and post-secondary institutions that offer limited services distributed across the other counties. 

Fellow Jean Claude Mbomeda shared California’s approach for reviewing disaggregated data to identify gaps in CTE programs in rural communities colleges in California, which was discussed as a necessary first step to unearth opportunities and develop supports for learners.  

Ensuring the Basic Needs of Postsecondary and Adult Learners are Met

An education consultant and a state leader from Wisconsin provided an overview of programs that support learners basic needs, while elevating that many programs still create barriers for learners to complete credentials. Immediate next steps that were shared included making integrated benefits applications for federal assistance programs available online and inviting benefits coordinators to provide services on campus. Wisconsin highlighted their steps to create  affinity groups with faculty and staff, with Dr. Colleen McCabe stating “To understand the effects of poverty, you have to explore learners’ multiple identities.”

Maximizing the CTE Experience for Learners with Disabilities

Maryland and Nebraska equipped attendees with state-level strategies to leverage Perkins state plans, the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) and interagency partnerships to provide sustainable support to learners with disabilities. With one in four Americans identifying as having a disability, discussions centered on viewing disability as a spectrum, both visible and hidden, and centering learners as people rather than just a population. Maryland shared practices for empowering local leaders to identify and act on opportunity gaps for learners with disabilities through and the CLNA. Nebraska emphasized the importance of developing consistent cross-agency routines, and highlighted their recent achievement of a tri-agency conference across, CTE, vocational rehabilitation and special education.

Equitably Serving CTE Learners in Correctional Education

With more than 30,000 youth being incarcerated in the United States each year in the juvenile justice system, Texas joined by Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows Richard Crosby and Janelle Washington discussed the differences in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, as well as some of the intricacies of carceral justice-connected program designs. Texas highlighted barriers for this learner populations, including unfair placement testing that occurs days after sentencing and the availability of CTE programs that will not incentivize recidivism. The panelists shared that establishing meaningful and collaborative partnerships with correctional agencies and state CTE departments are paramount to creating better and more equitable programming opportunities for carceral students.

Here are additional resources to support every learner in CTE: 

Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Resources
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill as Advance CTE Hosts Assistant Secretary Amy Loyd and the Biden Administration Works to Address Teacher Shortages

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have returned from their annual August recess to address upcoming federal funding deadlines. Meanwhile, Advance CTE hosted Assistant Secretary Dr. Amy Loyd to launch its fall policy conversation series while the Biden Administration makes a series of announcements related to teacher shortages, new U.S. Department of Education (ED) nominees, and more. 

Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill

Federal legislators have been in home states and districts since early August as part of Congress’ annual summertime recess. This week lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill and are facing a fast-approaching deadline at the end of the month to pass federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding legislation. For most of the year, Democrats and Republicans have been unable to find consensus on the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government and which are due annually by September 30. Given this lack of agreement, lawmakers have re-focused their attention this week on negotiating shorter-term, stop gap funding legislation, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR). This legislative measure will simply extend current FY22 funding levels for all federal operations and programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), for a specified amount of time. 

At the moment, lawmakers are negotiating the length of time this CR will cover and what, if any, additional provisions—beyond the extension of FY22 funding levels—will be included. Advance CTE currently anticipates that this CR will last until after the upcoming midterm elections set for November. As these talks continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust investments in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other programs of interest to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. 

Advance CTE Hosts Discussion with Assistant Secretary Dr. Amy Loyd 

On Wednesday, September 6, Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green hosted Dr. Amy Loyd — the recently confirmed Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at ED — for a wide ranging discussion regarding her pathway to CTE and her plans for the office’s future direction. The conversation highlighted Dr. Loyd’s unique career and educational experiences, which began in New Mexico, and her wider work on CTE policy as a state, local, and national leader. In particular, Loyd emphasized the importance of culturally responsive instruction and the need for CTE programs to reflect the communities they serve. A recording of the discussion can be found here

President Biden Nominates New Head for RSA

Late last Friday, September 2, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Danté Quintin Allen to be the next Commissioner of the Rehabilitative Services Administration (RSA) at ED. The RSA is tasked with supporting states to deliver vocational rehabilitation and related services for individuals with disabilities to ensure they are able to find and sustain employment, live independently, and integrate with the wider community, and fully participate in the labor market. Allen currently serves as the Executive Director for CalABLE—a statewide program in California that provides savings and investment plans for individuals with disabilities. More information on the announcement can be found here. A date for further consideration in the Senate of Allen’s nomination has not yet been set. 

Cardona Announces Back-to-School Tour

On Wednesday, September 7, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the department will be undertaking a back-to-school bus tour beginning next week. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Douglass Emhoff, and a number of other high-ranking USED officials will be participating in the week-long, multistate bus tour which will includes stops in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Starting September 12, the tour is intended to highlight a number of the Administration’s efforts to support states, schools, students and families during the new school year. More about the tour can be found here

Biden Administration Announces Additional Actions to Address Teacher Shortages

Late last month,  the Biden Administration announced a series of additional actions aimed at addressing persistent nationwide teacher shortages. These efforts include new partnerships with the private sector to help increase awareness about career pathways leading to the teaching profession and the creation of new jobs portals to help facilitate connections between prospective candidates and teaching opportunities. In addition, the Administration highlighted  “Grow Your Own” CTE programs to prepare the next generation of educators as a key recommended strategy for more states and communities to consider when addressing teacher shortages. 

Notably, the Administration also announced that the next round of apprenticeship expansion grants—  $100 million in discretionary funding provided to DOL to promote and expand registered apprenticeship programs for priority populations and targeted economic sectors—will focus primarily on programs providing pathways to the teaching profession. More on this announcement can be found here.  

DOL Announces New Community College Grants 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled the most recent round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training (SCCT) grants. Administered by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), these grants are intended to bolster community colleges’ ability to deliver high-quality skills development programs that lead to in-demand industries and related careers. “These grants are designed to empower community colleges to ensure their curriculum meets the needs of employers in their communities and equips workers with valuable skills,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh stated as part of this announcement. More information on these grants, including the most recent awardees, can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Pares Back CHIPS, While Biden Administration Highlights ARP Impact and Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

This week the Senate advanced more modest economic competitiveness legislation after deliberating on the proposal for more than a year. Elsewhere, the Biden Administration drew attention to workforce challenges in the cybersecurity space, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unveiled new school discipline guidance while Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden highlighted ongoing efforts to help learners recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Senate Advances More Modest CHIPS Proposal

After over a year of consideration, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a measure late Tuesday night, July 19, that formally began debate on economic competitiveness legislation intended to bolster the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity in critical sectors of the economy related to the production of semiconductor chips. Currently known as “CHIPS+,” earlier iterations of this legislation, introduced in both the House and the Senate separately over the last year and a half, included significant new funding in education and workforce development. In particular, lawmakers had hoped to include an expansion of the federal Pell Grant Program to include high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. Known elsewhere as the JOBS Act, this proposal would be key to cultivating the skilled workforce necessary to make investments envisioned under this legislation successful. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)– a key negotiator for the current CHIPS+ proposal and a long-time co-sponsor of the JOBS Act– recently highlighted the urgent need to enact this reform to the federal Pell grant program.

Despite these ongoing legislative efforts, lawmakers have remained unable to find consensus on these and many other provisions that were under formal consideration as part of a bicameral and bipartisan conference negotiation. As a consequence, the legislation currently under consideration in the Senate has been pared back considerably and does not include many of the provisions, like the JOBS Act, that Advance CTE believes are urgently needed. If enacted, however, the bill would create several new grant programs aimed at preparing students to enter into STEM and computer science fields, while also providing significant new subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and designers. The measure was procedurally advanced on a bipartisan basis, 64-34 and will be considered by the Senate further next week.

Biden Administration Highlights Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

On Tuesday, July 19, the Biden Administration convened a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit to highlight the ongoing and urgent need to create and prioritize career pathways programs that lead to careers in cybersecurity. As part of the summit, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce announced a new initiative aimed at bolstering and expanding apprenticeship programs to prepare individuals for careers in cybersecurity. This “120-day Cybersecurity Sprint” is intended to promote existing registered apprenticeship programs and support the creation of new programs aimed at addressing this urgent labor shortage. Additional information on this effort can be accessed here. More on the summit can be found here

ED Releases New School Discipline Guidance

ED unveiled new guidance on Tuesday, July 19, for states and school districts to help K-12 education leaders address longstanding disparities in discipline for learners with disabilities. The guidance follows a 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that learners with disabilities, particularly learners of color, face disproportionate rates of school discipline as compared to their peers. The guidance re-emphasizes the requirements of Section 504 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) while highlighting best practices regarding implementation. The guidance can be found here and a related press release from USED can be found here.

Secretary Cardona, First Lady Biden Launch Pandemic Relief Tour

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden announced a joint. nationwide tour. In the coming days, the duo plan to highlight the impact of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in helping students recover from the impacts of the pandemic, recover from lost instructional time, and provide enrichment and academic opportunities during the summer months. In particular, Cardona and Biden aim to emphasize how the $122 billion in ARP funding has helped more learners access out-of-school and summer enrichment programs as a means to accelerate learning. More information on the tour can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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CTE Without Limits Spotlight: Panel Highlights Leadership Priorities for Vision Implementation

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

On Friday, May 13, attendees at Advance CTE’s Spring State Leadership Retreat heard from three State CTE Directors participating in Advance CTE’s state cohort to begin implementation of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits). Moderated by Advance CTE Senior Advisor Nithya Govindasamy, panelists shared how CTE Without Limits has inspired meaningful cross-sector conversations, and key leadership lessons to build trust, center learners and sustain partnerships. 

Background 

The panel consisted of three state directors: Sarah Heath of Colorado, Katie Graham of Nebraska and Maria Swygert of South Carolina. At the start of the panel, each leader provided a brief overview of the focus of their initial vision implementation work. 

Colorado’s focus is Principle 2: Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem to empower state and local leaders to have knowledgeable and meaningful conversations about equity gaps in data. Heath shared “we saw the work isn’t working,” that too many leaders could interpret the data but didn’t feel empowered to discuss and act on it. Through participation in the cohort, Colorado strives to build will and support for change through a statewide equity action plan with a focus on expanding equity-focused professional development opportunities for state and local CTE leaders. 

Nebraska’s focus is advancing Principle 3: Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey with a focus on learners with disabilities. State CTE staff will partner with special education and vocational rehabilitation services agencies to scale strong existing state collaboration to the local level. This includes alignment of policy, communications and professional development initiatives.

South Carolina’s focus is Principle 1: Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem to achieve ‘next-level collaboration’ through more uniform processes and local support for conducting the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) process. This will be accomplished through an assessment survey to each of their twelve cross-sector regional teams consisting of secondary, postsecondary and workforce leaders, as well as a state-level meeting to create an action plan based on survey results. 

Building and Sustaining Meaningful Cross-Sector Partnerships 

Each leader shared strategies they found to be effective in building and sustaining meaningful cross-sector partnerships. State Director Katie Graham emphasized the importance of cultivating personal relationships with leaders before you need them for project work. She shared that her choice to focus on learners with disabilities was inspired in part by her strong personal relationships with state staff connected to special education and vocational rehabilitation that simply started with conversations about their work years ago, rather than a specific request to share funding or resources. 

State Director Sarah Heath elevated that building partnerships requires several steps, and should not begin with an ask for shared funding. Using a “gather, train, then share” approach, Colorado began their partnerships by finding shared goals and planning meetings and initiatives together. This was followed by providing mutual support on logistics and information, including conversations on common definitions, data collection and use, and data metrics to find common ground. 

The directors also highlighted the importance of establishing intentional strategies that build trust and provide information that reinforces shared goals. State Director Maria Swygert shared that each quarter her office compiles a two-page report connecting the latest employment, graduation, placement and other key data points. This tool is shared with more than 70 partners statewide to reinforce the shared goal of improving learner and workforce outcomes. Graham shared that the growth of her partnership with those serving learners with disabilities resulted in a meeting where 19 needs assessment plans, including the CLNA, were streamlined to reduce the burden on local leaders and make connections among the data being collected. 

Leadership Lessons Learned 

Each leader was asked to share leadership lessons learned as a result of this work to build and sustain meaningful, learner-centered partnerships. Acknowledging and addressing capacity issues rose to the forefront. For states that may view the vision as yet another item for their to-do list, Heath emphasized that CTE Without Limits should not be seen as a separate approach, but rather a ‘value-add’ that takes the intent and goals of existing strategic plans, state vision statements, and other planning document to the next level and keeps learner needs at the center of all conversations. 

Heath also shared that vision implementation work made her more comfortable with learning to let go of work, even though it may be important, that did not specifically advance learner needs or their state strategic plan. Swygert shared that the relationship-building conducted through this cohort allowed her to feel more comfortable not doing all the work alone and trusting the expertise and leadership of other state staff serving learners, including those not directly involved in CTE. 

Each leader emphasized the value of vulnerability, transparency and honesty, especially in the early stages of relationship building with other state leaders, so that no damaging assumptions are made. Heath shared her mindset of “we all have room to grow in the work, and we want to grow together.” Graham shared a conversation she had with a state leader where she was only seeking to learn more about their role, but the latter assumed they were seeking funding instead of a meaningful partnership. So additional time was needed to build the trust to share the desired information. 

Additional Resources 

The CTE Without Limits cohort will receive funding, individual coaching and intensive technical support from Advance CTE through October 2022. An additional CTE Without Limits Community of Practice is open for state leaders to participate in bimonthly cross-state calls to share challenges and solutions aligned to the five vision principles. Sixteen states are currently participating — those interested in joining can contact Senior Policy Associate Hinderliter at dhinderliter@careertech.org

For additional conversations with state and national leaders on advancing CTE Without Limits, visit Advance CTE’s webinars page for recordings of a spring virtual learning series aligned to each of the vision’s five principles. 

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for awareness and implementation resources, including its step-by-step assessment and action planning guide, Pushing the Limits: A Roadmap for Advancing CTE Without Limits that will be the basis for Advance CTE’s state cohort work.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits
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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
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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
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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
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