Posts Tagged ‘workforce development’

Building Environmental Literacy in CTE: a New Partnership in Response to Current and Future Economic Needs

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Developing environmental literacy in elementary, middle and high school is essential to prepare learners for an evolving economy and to equip them with the skills and experiences they need to tackle urgent environmental challenges, both globally and in their own communities. By 2030, it is estimated that 24 million green jobs will be created in industries ranging from energy to finance and transportation.1 Yet too few individuals enter the workforce with the necessary environmental competencies and dispositions.

A survey of college students published in 2018 identified misconceptions about the environment and the role of humans in environmental problems and scored students an average of 52 percent out of 100 percent on environmental literacy.2 Considering the role that Career Technical Education (CTE) has in career preparation for the current and future world of work, and the desire for programs to be responsive to the needs of the economy and community, the value of environmental literacy has never been more important for CTE learners.

The state of Delaware, in particular, is no stranger to the impacts climate change will bring to the jobs landscape. Because of Delaware’s geography, environmental changes threaten economic activity, well-being, and preservation of the state’s wetlands and waterways; accordingly, there is an urgent need to develop and cultivate environmental literacy among youth, not only to instill awareness and responsibility for the environment but also to prepare young people for the workplace of the future. To begin deeper conversations about the intersection of CTE and environmental literacy, Advance CTE partnered with the Delaware Department of Education to explore what environmental literacy competencies could look like within and across Delaware Pathways. 

Supported by a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the two-year project involves developing a cross-cutting environmental literacy framework, validated by Delaware educators, environmental literacy experts, industry stakeholders and other leaders. Once validated, the framework will be published on the Delaware Pathways website. In the second year of the grant, the project team will begin professional development activities supported by NOAA and other partners to implement the framework in CTE programs statewide. This commitment to environmental literacy is further evidenced through and builds upon the Delaware Climate Action Plan, which specifically lists “Increase the availability of climate change educational programming” as a core activity for improving outreach and education impacts.  

The objective for the project is to demonstrate how environmental literacy competencies can be integrated into middle and high school CTE programs in the state of Delaware, including career and academic advising, and to build the capacity of state and local leaders to ensure all students, in particular under-represented and historically marginalized learners, graduate environmentally literate. Delaware Director of Career and Technical Education and STEM Initiatives Dr. Jon Wickert echoes this sentiment: “The shifting geopolitical landscape has laid bare the fact that all jobs are green jobs, and economic, public, and community health is directly impacted by public policy, business decision-making, and the consumer choices available as a result.  The next generation has no choice but to address the environmental challenges previous generations have bequeathed and it is our responsibility to equip them with sufficient environmental literacy to do so successfully.  Their future depends on it.”   

This project will hopefully serve as a pilot to bring more awareness and understanding about the environment to CTE learners, build problem-solving and critical thinking skills that link academic and technical knowledge, and equip a new generation of learners to successfully participate in a greener economy. As a final deliverable, Advance CTE will be developing a case study at the conclusion of this grant to model how states can develop an environmental literacy framework of their own or integrate the framework developed with Delaware in their own state’s CTE delivery system. Stay tuned for more information about this project!

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Uncategorized
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Research Round-up: State and local government leaders should look to the “STARs” to address hiring woes.

Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s blog highlights the benefits of skills-based hiring that closely aligns with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where statewide systems and institutions effectively support each learner to earn credentials that are counted, valued, and portable.

Public sector jobs are necessary for the continued function of our society, but they are struggling to maintain staffing. The Center for American Progress’s report, The Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring for the State and Local Government Workforce, recommends that “state and local government shift to using skills-based hiring practices to expand and diversify the hiring pool and meet the sector’s skills needs.” This shift would be a departure from the present trend of state and local agencies requiring degrees that act as a proxy for skills. Skills-based hiring is gaining momentum and early implementation has shown promise. Adopting a skills-based approach for employees can be accomplished through initiatives that are already established in many states such as upskilling, teaching an employee new skills at any point in their tenure, or registered apprenticeships, a formal model that combines on-the-job training, classroom instruction and wage progression. 

The Center for American Progress defines skills-based hiring as the practice of describing a job by the technical skills required to perform it. Employers use skills-based hiring practices to fill vacancies by assessing whether a candidate’s skillset aligns with those needed. This report suggests that skills-based hiring is mutually beneficial for institutions and job candidates. Removing the bachelor’s degree requirement on job listings has the potential to increase the talent pool of potential candidates for open public sector positions and position government institutions as more competitive employers.

 

Talent Pool Demographics

More than 70 million Americans are skilled through alternative routes (STARs), a term coined by Opportunity@Work in their report, Reach for the STARs: Realizing the Potential of America’s Hidden Talent Pool. These individuals have either a high school diploma, some college, an associate’s degree or other credentials, but they do not hold a bachelor’s degree, which is the typical educational screen employers put on job postings. This requirement acts as a barrier for workers who are skilled through alternative routes ineligible for public sector jobs.

*Opportunity@Work excludes 20 million workers under age 25 from its analysis of the labor force to ensure that the majority of the population studied has completed their education. **STARs are workers who have attained a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Chart: Center for American Progress  Source: Opportunity@Work, “Rise with the STARs,” available at https://opportunityatwork.org/our-solutions/stars-insights/rise-with-the-stars-report/ (last accessed October 2022).

By reconsidering degree requirements, public sector jobs can again be the engines of mobility they once were and reflect the demographics of the constituents they serve. The skills that STARs have built through alternative routes and pathways can be transferable from one job to another. 

*The proportion of Hispanic workers who are STARs is lower because Hispanic workers are less likely to have obtained a high school diploma. Source: Opportunity@Work, “STARsInsights,” available at https://opportunityatwork.org/our-solutions/stars-insights/hispanic-stars/ (last accessed October 2022); Opportunity@Work calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau, “ACS 1-Year Estimates Public Use Microdata Sample: YEAR 2021 ANALYZED,” available at https://data.census.gov/mdat/#/ (last accessed October 2022).

 

Skills-based hiring practices can make governments more competitive employers

State and local governments are facing a significant labor shortage as their workforce comes closer to retirement. Retiring workers (currently comprising twenty-eight percent of state and local government workforce) are far less likely to have a bachelor’s degree than younger workers. This suggests that the barrier to entry to these positions has increased over time and is not mandatory for these positions.

This report recommends the following five principles to make a skills-based hiring policy successful in state and local governments:

Additional resources about skills-based hiring can be found in Advance CTE’s Resource Center.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Research
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Research Round-up: New Reports on Work-Based Learning Address Impacts for Learners and Institutions

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s focus supports a vision for the future of CTE where statewide systems and institutions effectively support each learner to earn credentials that are counted, valued, and portable.

Two recent reports from JFF and New America highlight the benefits of different workforce development programs; apprenticeships and work-based learning (WBL), and the opportunity to increase equitable access to these programs for every learner.

Addressing disparities in apprenticeship participation may fast-track non-traditional learners into living wage jobs.

JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning published a report analyzing young people’s apprenticeship participation through an equity lens. The Current State of Diversity and Equity in U.S. Apprenticeships for Young People utilizes data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Database System to analyze youth apprenticeship participation from fiscal years 2010-2020. 

Average Hourly Exit Wage by Gender and Race/ Ethnicity for All Youth Participants in Apprenticeships, FY 2010-2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paid, postsecondary work-based learning pilot programs may be an effective tool for improving learner retention. 

New America recently published case studies of postsecondary institutions that have piloted paid work-based learning programs. This report, “What Everyone Should Know about Designing Equity-Minded Paid Work-Based Learning Opportunities for College Students” highlights the findings from case studies of emerging paid WBL program models across the country to understand the motivation, goals, and design of paid WBL opportunities available at two-year colleges. The findings include implications for state policymakers and college stakeholders in career services, academic advising, and workforce development. 

While the learner populations across these reports vary, common themes can be drawn from the key findings of these two reports: 

Additional Resources

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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Legislative Update: Control of Congress Still Uncertain

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

This week Americans across the country went to the polls to decide the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress. While the final results are still a few days away, all attention on Capitol Hill is focused on the outcomes of these electoral contests.  

Midterm Election Results Remain Close

On Tuesday, November 8th, the long-anticipated midterm elections were held across the nation. The results from these elections are still becoming clear, with the winners of many elections in the House, Senate, and elsewhere likely to be announced over the coming days and potentially weeks ahead. These announcements will determine the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress set to begin early next year.

At present, the Republican Party appears to be poised to take control of the House of Representatives. However, the party has dramatically underperformed early predictions regarding their electoral performance. While many races in the House are still undetermined, it is becoming more likely that a narrow margin of control of the lower legislative chamber will be the most likely end result.

In the Senate, four races remain undecided at the time of this writing—Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, and Nevada. The outcome of these elections will determine control of the Senate and each race remains contested at present. Alaska’s Senate race will not impact the control of the upper legislative chamber, given it pits two Republicans against one another, but the outcomes of the remaining three will decide whether Democrats retain control of the chamber or if Republicans will regain the majority. . Results from Arizona and Nevada—expected in the coming days— will likely determine the stakes of a runoff election in Georgia, now set to take place in early December.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor these electoral contests and will share further analysis as the results– along with their implications for the CTE and workforce development policy in the 118th Congress– become clearer.  Advance CTE will host a webinar on November 17 with JFF and New Skills Coalition to discuss the impact of the midterm election on the field and federal policy priorities. 

CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Introduce Cybersecurity Proposal

Last week, House Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the Cybersecurity Skills Integration Act (H.R. 9259). This legislation was introduced in the context of Cybersecurity Awareness Month which aims to highlight the importance of protecting, hardening and securing the nation’s digital infrastructure from unwanted and malicious cyber activity. If enacted, the legislation would create a new $10 million competitive grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). These grants would provide funding to eligible CTE programs that integrate cybersecurity into aspects of their curriculum. More about this bipartisan legislative proposal can be found here

Department of Commerce Releases Strategy for CHIPS Implementation

Over the summer, President Biden signed the bipartisan Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-167). This legislation was passed to enhance the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity, particularly regarding the production of semiconductor chips needed in many electronics and related components. The legislation also created several new grant programs aimed at preparing students to enter into STEM and computer science fields. In addition, the law created a $50 billion “CHIPS For America” fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce which, in part, provides new subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and designers. This fund has four interrelated strategic goals including to, “grow a diverse semiconductor workforce and build strong communities that participate in the prosperity of the semiconductor industry.” The strategy goes on to highlight its anticipated efforts to engage with regional manufacturing and develop stronger public-private partnerships  to provide new and expand existing training programs that can benefit the semiconductor and related industries. Read the full strategy here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Set to Extend FY22 Funding Via CR

Friday, September 30th, 2022

The last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have sought to pass temporary funding legislation intended to avoid a government shutdown. Elsewhere federal agencies have made changes to apprenticeship regulations and distributed new funds for teacher professional development and schools, while Congress celebrates Workforce Development Month. 

Congress Closes in on Temporary Funding Extension

As shared previously, lawmakers in the House and Senate have not been able to reach consensus this year on the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal government operations and programs. As a result, lawmakers have been negotiating a continuing resolution (CR)—short-term legislation that simply extends current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels for a specific period of time. With the formal start of FY23 set to begin tomorrow (October 1), a CR will avert a government shutdown and related lapse in funding for federal programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

Late Monday evening, September 26, Senate Democrats published the text of a CR to extend current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels through December 16, 2022. The proposed legislation also includes additional emergency funding for a wide array of other pressing national priorities, such as recent natural disasters and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine; a summary of the CR’s major provisions can be accessed here. As reported last week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had hoped to attach environmental permitting reform legislation to this package which was a primary source of contention for both sides seeking agreement. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Manchin dropped this request when it became clear there was not enough support in the chamber to include it in this legislative measure. Following these behind-the-scenes discussions, the Senate took a series of votes and ultimately passed this CR by a margin of 72-25.

This measure was passed by the House earlier today along party lines. The passage of the CR is one of the last agenda items for Congress before the upcoming midterm elections. Lawmakers will likely spend most of their time between now and the elections in home states and districts campaigning. Lawmakers must revisit FY23 funding in December by either passing another temporary spending bill or completing work on the annual budget. As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to work with its partners on Capitol Hill to secure robust investments in CTE, including Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other CTE community federal funding priorities.

ED Distributes $1 Billion in Title IV-A Funding

This past summer, Congress approved a bipartisan gun and school safety package in response to several mass shootings that took place across the nation. Dubbed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938), the legislation made a number of modest changes to gun policy including strengthening background checks for gun purchases to include a review of juvenile justice records for individuals under the age of 21. In addition, the legislation invested significant new funding into K-12 schools to assist with mental health efforts within communities. These funds include an additional $1 billion for Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program—specifically to help states and school districts foster safer and healthier learning environments in schools.

On September 29, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) disbursed these funds to states and issued a Dear Colleague letter to chief state school officers encouraging them to emphasize student social-emotional learning and mental health needs, engagement with students and families, and prioritizing funding to meet the needs of the nation’s most underserved learners with these newly authorized federal resources. More information about the initiative can be found here.  

Lawmakers Designate September Workforce Development Month

Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S. Res. 780—a measure designating September 2022 as “National Workforce Development Month.” The effort garnered bipartisan support from nearly a third of the Senate upon introduction and was recently considered and agreed to in the upper chamber. A companion resolution was also introduced in the House and sponsored and led by Rep. Bonamici (D-OR). These resolutions are intended to elevate workforce development efforts across the nation and draw attention to the importance of investing in related systems of skill development. 

DOL Formally Rescinds IRAP Rules

Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sought to create a parallel subset of apprenticeship programs known as “Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” (IRAPs). Compared to registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs), IRAPS had relatively fewer programmatic requirements and would be recognized by third-party entities authorized by DOL (known as standards recognition entities or “SREs”). While IRAPs were formally launched under the previous presidential administration, relatively few programs were ever fully implemented. For this and many other reasons, DOL formally published a new rule this week rescinding IRAPs’ existing federal authorization. Existing IRAPs and SREs are “. . . encouraged to consider registering their programs with DOL or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA). Such entities are encouraged to reach out to the Apprenticeship Director in their State to receive technical assistance and explore such options further.”

OCTAE Launches Future Finder Challenge

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced a $1 million “Future Finder Challenge” to accelerate the development of tools and related technologies that can support career navigation efforts for adults. “Developing digital career navigation tools for adult learners will expand equitable access to career opportunities — which will increase upward mobility and strengthen the broader American workforce,” OCTAE’s Assistant Secretary Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D., said during the announcement which was also intended to celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The challenge is structured as an “open innovation invitation” to spur the development of services, products, and programs that can more effectively support individuals search for and navigate opportunities in the labor market. A related press release from the department can be found here.

ED Awards $60 Million for Teacher Pipeline Efforts

On September 27, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had awarded $60 million in new grant funding for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program. The SEED program is intended to support evidence-based efforts that “. . . prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of [k-12] educators.” This round of grantmaking awarded 22 three-year grants which, according to the Biden Administration, brings the FY22 total for additional support for teachers to $285 million. More information on this announcement can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Welcome Kevin O’Farrell as the New State CTE Director in Florida!

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

The Florida Department of Education recently named Kevin O’Farrell as its new Chancellor of Career and Technical Education (CTE). He brings a wealth of experience from the higher education and postsecondary sector, which will illuminate his new strategy for CTE in the Sunshine State. 

Kevin’s work in education has ranged from being an instructor in political science to serving as provost at Pasco-Hernando State College, Porter Campus. He spent many years designing curricula, with particularly close work with health science. The arts were also on his priority list, and he led the creation of a new instructional performing arts center that offered programs beyond stagecraft, including theater technical arts. 

Florida has set the bold goal to be the top state for workforce education by 2030 – and Kevin is all in on this goal! He notes the state’s great potential, illustrated by the fact that Florida is the fifteenth-largest economy in the world. He plans to focus on workforce partnerships, with special attention to improving the entire pipeline of talent, including adult education and apprenticeships. He also has his eyes on the teacher pipeline shortage in his state, and notes that as a major challenge he wants to overcome. “CTE shouldn’t be an afterthought,” Kevin said, “It should be at the forefront.”

Kevin is excited by CTE because of the “multi-faceted benefits, in terms of earning potential and career exploration,” which he said he and his classmates weren’t exposed to in high school. That’s part of his overall belief that schools need to introduce the concept of CTE earlier in the educational system. And the benefits, he said, will expand beyond individual classrooms and learners: CTE can be the cornerstone of building stronger communities. 

Summarizing his approach, Kevin said, “I want to learn as much as I can, and do as much good as I can.”

Kevin earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Science in interpersonal and organizational communication from Toccoa Falls College, GA. Today, Kevin is married with three children between the ages of two and six, is an avid fan of ancient Egyptian history, and participates regularly in tennis and running. Welcome to Advance CTE, Kevin!

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill While CHIPS Legislation is Signed into Law

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Over the last week, Senate Democrats united and passed significant new climate and healthcare legislation which is expected to be voted on  by the House later this week. Elsewhere President Biden signed new advanced manufacturing legislation into law while the Commerce Department announced new American Rescue Plan grantees. Meanwhile, House Republicans unveiled new postsecondary education legislation while the Senate confirmed a new postsecondary leader at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Senate Passes Long-awaited Reconciliation Package

Over the weekend, the Senate remained in session to consider the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376)– legislation that would make significant new investments in the nation’s capacity to produce and use greener sources of energy while expanding healthcare access for millions of Americans. The bill will generate more than enough new federal revenue to offset these investments while also decreasing the federal deficit by over $300 billion. Earlier iterations of this proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, included significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. Senate Democrats were able to pass this legislation by a simple majority vote via the chamber’s budget reconciliation process. The House is now expected to take up and pass this proposal later this week. 

President Biden Signs CHIPS & Science Act Into Law

As we shared previously, Congress recently approved the Chips and Science Act (H.R. 4346). This legislation will provide substantial new funding for the nation’s advanced manufacturing sector to increase the capacity to produce semiconductor chips– a component that is needed in many pieces of consumer electronics used by millions of people daily. On August 2, President Biden formally signed this legislation into law. Advance CTE and its partners were disappointed that language regarding the expansion of federal Pell grants for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs was not included in the final package, along with a number of other important proposals initially considered as part of this legislation. 

However, the bill will provide some modest workforce development investments targeted specifically at sectors of the economy needed to produce semiconductor chips that may be of interest to the CTE community as the legislation is implemented in the months and years ahead. These investments include funding to broaden the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to support workforce training partnerships benefiting manufacturers as well as $200 million in new funding for the National Science Foundation to promote wider workforce development recruitment into these fields. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this legislation and will be monitoring the implementation of this law in future for further opportunities that may be created as a result of the bill’s recent enactment. 

House Republicans Introduce Short-term Pell Proposal 

Last week, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), committee member Elise Stefanik (R-NY), along with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced the Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act. This legislation would make a number of changes to existing federal student loan programs which have been at the center of continued disagreement between Congressional Democrats and Republicans. In addition to these provisions, the legislation includes a slightly reframed proposal that would allow learners to use federal Pell grants in certain shorter-term CTE programs. The bill includes a different set of requirements for these programs to qualify for Pell grants, including provisions that would require graduates to realize earnings gains that exceed the costs of the program. While a similar proposal was not ultimately included in the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act legislation noted elsewhere, its inclusion here demonstrates continued congressional support for the need to provide better support for learners pursuing postsecondary educational pathways with more direct linkages to careers. A fact sheet about the REAL Reforms Act can be found here

Commerce Department Announces Good Jobs Grantees 

On August 3 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced $500 million in new grants for 32 regional workforce partnerships across the country. These grants were part of the Department’s “Good Jobs Challenge,” a grant initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats last year. Awardees will be pursuing a number of education and training initiatives connected to key economic sectors to help support the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Among the 32 grantees to secure funding through this program was Hampton Roads Workforce Council– a local workforce center in House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) district which he recently visited to promote these efforts. 

Senate Confirms Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education 

Last Thursday the Senate formally confirmed Nasser Paydar to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Paydar was previously the Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Executive Vice President of Indiana University. In a statement following his confirmation, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona welcomed this new development saying, in part, “Dr. Paydar brings to the U.S. Department of Education more than three-and-a-half decades of experience as a university leader and educator, during which time he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to creating accessible pathways to college and careers for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.” 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

Friday, February 18th, 2022

This week the Advance CTE and ACTE co-hosted a Congressional briefing with Career Technical Student Organizations, while over two-thirds of the Senate supported a resolution designating February as Career Technical Education (CTE) month. The Senate HELP Committee also held a briefing exploring issues impacting workforce development while lawmakers worked to extend current funding levels through mid-March. In addition, the FCC announced the disbursement of additional connectivity funding while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made important updates to its College Scorecard.

Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

On Tuesday, February 15, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) hosted a bicameral Congressional briefing featuring learners from several Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs): 

Moderated by Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, the briefing highlighted the value of CTE and elevated CTSO learner experiences from both K-12 and postsecondary perspectives. The event also featured remarks from CTE Caucus Co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). During Rep. Langevin’s opening comments, the long-time House CTE Caucus co-chair noted, in part, that “A dependable, skilled, and prepared workforce is more critical to our economy than ever, and CTE lays the foundation for students to succeed both now and in the future.” Sen. Young emphasized his ambitions to grow CTE opportunities throughout the nation by co-chairing the Senate CTE Caucus noting that, “3 of 5 jobs in Indiana require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four year degree. More than half of workers in the state do not yet have this level of education.”

Following these remarks from congressional CTE champions, Green posed a series of questions to the CTSO student panel. For Deddens, the FCCLA First Vice President noted that “. . . being a national officer has allowed me to advocate for change in community and state and meet people of diverse backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Being in CTSOs opens these lines of communication.” National TSA President Rangu noted the impact her first national TSA convention had on her, noting “It was empowering for me to see someone that looked like me [be a national leader] so I felt confident to step into that position and serve as a role model for others.” Tyagi, HOSA’s International President Elect, emphasized the importance of his mentors noting “…[they]  instilled the importance of giving back to communities to secure a future of health that has no boundaries and will take care of every individual.” DECA Collegiate President Spohn emphasized how CTE was “. . . the first time I was in a classroom where what I was being taught was applicable to what I wanted to do with my life and career.”

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

In the evening following the CTSO panel, the Senate considered a bipartisan resolution designating February as CTE Month. The Senate unanimously passed this resolution without objection which garnered the support of over two-thirds of the Senate with 68 total co-sponsors. In a speech just before the resolution’s passage Senator Kaine (D-VA), the lead sponsor of the resolution remarked , “By formally recognizing CTE Month through this resolution, we hope to bring greater awareness to improving access to high-quality career and technical education for millions of America’s students and our Nation’s ongoing economic competitiveness.” The House recently introduced a similar resolution and is in the process of recruiting additional co-sponsors. Be sure to encourage your Member of Congress to support this resolution by the end of the month by clicking here

Senate HELP Committee Holds Workforce Development Hearing 

On Tuesday, February 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to examine workforce development policies and related strategies collectively aimed at helping workers find and obtain family sustaining employment. The hearing focused particularly on individuals with barriers to employment and the value and impact wraparound support services–like childcare, transportation, and career navigation supports–have in helping workers overcome these existing challenges. 

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) highlighted his and Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) ongoing sponsorship of the JOBS Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide Pell Grants for high-quality, shorter-term training programs at postsecondary institutions to more effectively support workers and learners. Advance CTE has long supported this legislation and continues to call for its enactment by Congress this year. A video archive of the hearing, including related written testimony, can be found here.  

Congress Passes FY22 Funding Extension Through Mid-March 

The formal start of the current federal fiscal year 2022 (FY22) began on October 1, 2021. Since that time, lawmakers in Congress have been unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). Congress has passed a series of short-term funding measures—known as a continuing resolution (CR)—to extend current FY21 funding levels through FY22. To date, these actions have averted a federal government shutdown and lapse in appropriations for laws like Perkins V. However, the most recent of these CRs is set to expire February 18, 2022. 

Last week, lawmakers in the House passed another CR to extend current funding levels, yet again, for federal operations and programs through March 11. This measure passed the chamber by a margin of 272-162 and is intended to provide lawmakers additional time to work out a full-year funding agreement for FY22. Late last night, the Senate followed suit passing the legislation by a margin of 65-27. Focus now turns back to Congressional appropriators who are reportedly working to finalize full-year funding for programs like Perkins V’s basic state grant program. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a comprehensive FY22 funding bill and a robust investment for the CTE. 

ED Makes Updates to College Scorecard

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced several enhancements to the College Scorecard broadly aimed at making it more useful for prospective learners and their families. Among the changes made is a new earnings threshold metric, which shows the percentage of former students whose earnings exceed those of the average high school graduate. This measure is intended to demonstrate a return on investment for entering postsecondary education. A similar measure is currently being considered as part of forthcoming changes to “gainful employment” rules which ED is currently negotiating with stakeholders. A recent examination of these updated College Scorecard data by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that more than half of students at roughly 30 percent of postsecondary institutions earn less than a high school graduate after 10 years. 

FCC Announces Ninth Wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund Commitments

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a ninth wave of funding commitments totaling over $125 million as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan and allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the ongoing pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of commitments will support 270,00 students by providing funding to over 340 schools, 20 libraries, and 6 consortia who are set to receive 330,000 connected devices and over 39,000 broadband connections. More on the announcement can be found here

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
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Vlog: Opportunity America on Leveraging Non-degree Programs During Workforce Development

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

Opportunity America in partnership with Lumina Foundation and Wilder Research set out to explore the role of community colleges in providing job-focused education and training in their new community college study, The Indispensable Institution. Opportunity America is a Washington think tank and policy shop promoting economic mobility – work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans. 

Advance CTE’s newest video blog features Tamar Jacoby, President of Opportunity America, as we discuss the report and in particular delve into the study’s exploration of the potential of non-degree programs to serve the needs of a national workforce realignment.  

Our conversation focuses on the profile of a non-degree learner and the next steps for state leaders in greater utilization of non-degree programs, particularly in the areas of funding, data, and industry alignment.

The study reinforces that significant work ahead for the attainments of non-credit learners be fully counted by institutions in degree and non-degree pathways, as well as a high need for data infrastructure that fully documents participation in and outcomes of non-degree learners. The good news is that this study indicates non-credits learners are strongly aligned to job-focused programs, and there is great potential to strengthen and align these programs with industry as labor realignments continue. 

Gaining a better understanding of non-credit learners is critical for each learner’s skills and learning to be fully valued, counted and portable as outlined in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits)

It is clear there is more to learn about the non-degree arena and its learners in community colleges. Visit the Opportunity America report site to view the full study and interactive data portal.

Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate 

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Governors Praise CTE, Workforce Development in 2021 State of the State Addresses

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Since the beginning of the year, over 35 governors have delivered their State of the State addresses, sharing their visions for the future of their state and highlighting educational priorities. Some addresses proposed to create new Career Technical Education (CTE) initiatives or increase funding for work-based learning, while others emphasized the importance of preparing students for their careers. In all, 24 addresses implicated CTE in some capacity, especially in the areas of workforce development, work-based learning and funding.  

Workforce Development

Speeches most commonly addressed workforce development at all learner levels which, considering states’ strategies for economic recovery, comes as no surprise. At the secondary level, Missouri Governor Mike Parson set a goal of 12,000 high school students with the WorkKeys Certification, calling the program an “important stepping stone for students who are not immediately college bound but have the knowledge and skills to fill high-demand jobs.” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the creation of the Better Kentucky Promise Program, a postsecondary-focused initiative to help over 6,000 Kentucky residents complete associate degrees or secure industry-recognized certificates. At the adult level, Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana announced the establishment of the Montana Trades Education Credit, which subsidizes businesses through scholarships up to 50% of the cost of upskilling or reskilling employees, and highlighted the Missouri One Start program, which has trained over 100,000 adults through 400 employer training partnerships.

Work-Based Learning

Many governors highlighted the importance of work-based learning initiatives in providing secondary students with career-ready skills. Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa applauded efforts to integrate work-based learning into the K-12 curriculum and called on legislators to make work-based learning an expectation in all Iowa schools. Governor Brad Little similarly highlighted the role of work-based learning in Idaho, committing to further connecting students and employers for on-the-job experiences and professional skill development. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy also called for an expansion in this area, directing the Alaska Department of Education to create an apprenticeship program allowing secondary students to receive credit while working for local employers.

Funding and New Initiatives

Announcements of new or proposed funding also featured prominently across many speeches. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster proposed $97 million for high-demand job skills training and workforce scholarships and grants to improve access to skills-based certificates. Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee highlighted the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Act, which consisted of $25 million in grants for 28 projects focused on CTE program expansion, and proposed a $10 million expansion for ten new sites, prioritizing economically disadvantaged communities. North Dakota Governor Doug Borgum advocated for $45 million allocated to supporting the expansion and development of successful CTE centers through matched grants, while South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced the Build Dakota Scholarship, a five-year, $40 million investment to match students with high-demand career opportunities. Investment in access to and expansion of CTE programming and training remains a clear priority nationwide. 

Outside of CTE related areas, governors also focused heavily on equity in education, including highlighting how COVID-19 has disproportionately exacerbated achievement gaps for communities of color and allocating additional funding for expansion of broadband to students still participating in virtual learning. Advance CTE will continue to monitor the State of the State Addresses as they happen for their relevance to CTE.

Additional resources can be found in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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