Posts Tagged ‘students with disabilities’

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
Tags: , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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