Funding Career Technical Education: Making State-Level Investments to Support Unique Elements of CTE

February 27th, 2024

Advance CTE released the 2023 State of CTE: An Analysis of State Secondary CTE Funding Models to highlight how states and the District of Columbia provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) through various secondary CTE funding models and approaches. This blog, the fourth in a series, describes ways states invest in CTE programs through line item appropriations to support unique elements of CTE. This blog unveils new information not available in the State of CTE Funding release.

Overview

States make significant contributions to CTE programs through non-categorical, line item appropriations. Programmatic funding is distributed through periodic, legislatively established authorizations that are contingent on the availability of funds. States often place conditions on how money should be spent or used to promote state priorities. Additionally, a programmatic line item appropriation can be a recurring or a one-time investment. This blog highlights appropriations in industry-recognized credentials, Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), career advisement, and educator preparation for fiscal year (FY) 2022. You can read more about categorical funding in the first blog in this series, Funding Career Technical Education: Secondary CTE Funding Basics

These key state investments often pilot new programs, sustain existing programs, provide training to educators and professionals, or allow purchases for needed equipment and supplies. These investments certainly allow Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to scale and improve program quality, which aligns with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where continuous improvement is needed at all levels within systems.  

Investing in Unique Elements of CTE

State funding through non-categorical, line item appropriations is incredibly common; 80 percent of state leaders surveyed in summer 2022 reported some line items for CTE programs. 

Industry-recognized Credentials

Helping learners have access to and earn industry-recognized credentials can make them more competitive for future work and educational opportunities. States may offer reimbursements to the learner, educator, or local institutions for the completion of credentials. There are expenses associated with industry-recognized credentials such as exam fees, materials, books, or supplies. 

Thirteen state leaders reported appropriations for industry-recognized credentials in FY 2022. 

  • Indiana enacted H.B. 1001 and appropriated $200,000 to the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to help cover the expenses for earning industry-recognized credentials. 
  • Ohio appropriated $8 million for credential reimbursements to districts and $12.5 million for the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program through H.B. 110, which awards districts, community schools, STEM schools, and joint vocational school districts $1,250 for each credential a student earns from a list of priority credentials established by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. 

CTSOs

CTSOs allow learners to gain academic, workplace, and technical skills, build networks, and pursue leadership experiences that are needed to succeed in today’s global workforce. 

Twelve state leaders reported line item appropriations for CTSOs, with appropriations ranging from $125,000 to $2.52 million per year in FY 2022. Most states allocated the funds toward one or more of the 11 CTSOs specifically authorized in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

  • South Carolina allowed funds through H. 4100 for a Career Cluster Partnership Program to be used for organizations’ statewide student competitions leading to national competitions. 

Career Advisement

Offering comprehensive and connected career advisement systems helps all learners get the support and guidance to gain skills and explore future careers. 

Nine state leaders reported line item appropriations for career advisement in FY 2022. 

Other states have made one-time investments to help pilot programs and offerings. 

  • North Carolina enacted S.B. 105 and appropriated $1.5 million in non-recurring funds to use a ScholarPath platform to create a 12th-grade transition pilot program. The program is an education planning and communication platform that helps learners and their families use O*NET data to connect and match learners to high-demand careers. 

Other states focused on providing resources for professionals who help with career advisement and planning. 

  • Arkansas appropriated $6.31 million toward a career coaches public school fund and program grants for career education services for students with special needs through H.B. 1167

CTE Educator Preparation

There remains room for improvement in CTE educator preparation as only Georgia, Minnesota, and Virginia reported line item appropriations for CTE educator preparation in FY 2022. 

  • Minnesota enacted S.F.No.9 and provided $400,000 to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System for a CTE educator pilot project. 
  • Virginia’s H.B.1800 appropriated $1.3 million for information technology (IT) industry certifications, which included the use of funds to increase the number of teachers in targeted CTE areas and teachers who receive training in IT and industry-recognized certifications.

You can learn more about identifying funding streams that support CTE educator diversity by reading Advance CTE’s State and Local Strategies for Diversifying the CTE Educator Workforce

Recommendations

Programmatic line item appropriations are additional sources of funding to leverage to support important components of career preparation ecosystems. State leaders should take the following action steps:

  • Tell the story of state investment in CTE at the local level so LEAs can best leverage resources across funding streams. Although most states provide funding for secondary CTE, due to a lack of sufficient state-level accountability and data collection, states do not have lines of sight into how LEAs are using funds. Therefore, measuring the impact of state funding and advocating for evolution in either the structure or levels of state funding is challenging. 
  • Review federal, state, and local funding sources, including the purpose, population it will serve, and eligibility requirements. Identify manuals or documents that explain the allowable use cases for the state funding streams. Explore how to braid the funding with other resources to get the most value for CTE investments. 
  • Establish a sustainability plan to navigate shifts in funding. These programmatic line item appropriations may be one-time investments. Having a plan in place to offer continuity of high-quality CTE programs and services will ease the barrier of loss of funding.

Additional Resources

Be sure to read the other blogs in this series: 

We also encourage you to watch the Exploring State Secondary CTE Funding webinar.  

Dr. Laura Maldonado, Senior Research Associate

Dr. Laura Maldonado is a Senior Research Associate with Advance CTE. In this role, Laura directly supports Advance CTE’s policy research and technical assistance initiatives, data quality initiatives and internal data strategy.

Lawmakers Celebrate CTE Month, Progress on FY24 Remains Uncertain | Legislative Update

February 16th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House and Senate have continued to formally recognize the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) and celebrated February as CTE Month® in a number of ways. Elsewhere, appropriations leaders continue to work on federal funding measures, Advance CTE endorsed several new pieces of legislation and federal agencies released new equity plans. 

New Challenges Emerge in FY24 Funding Process

The Senate remained in session last weekend to pass a highly anticipated supplemental national security aid package. Following that action, the Senate adjourned and is not expected to return to Capitol Hill until February 26. Meanwhile, the House met for an abbreviated work period this week where Republican lawmakers impeached Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This action in the House will trigger a trial in the Senate when lawmakers return later this month. Due to Senate rules that require addressing this issue upon their return, this upcoming trial may impact ongoing negotiations, largely occurring behind the scenes, on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) spending, including the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations measure that funds the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs administered and overseen by the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL).

At this time, it remains unclear how lawmakers will ultimately move forward with FY24 appropriations legislation beyond the upcoming expiration dates of current funding rapidly approaching on March 1 and March 8. Reportedly, appropriations leaders are currently negotiating potential “policy riders” that some lawmakers are seeking to attach to these funding measures, including Labor-HHS-ED. House lawmakers are currently scheduled to return after a recess period on February 28, leaving only a few days to determine a pathway forward. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for robust funding for Perkins V’s formula grant program.

CTE Month Continues With Co-Chair Appearances and a New Senate Resolution

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) made an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program to talk about the importance of CTE and the role it plays in the wider economy. The two leaders fielded questions from viewers and spoke at length about their experiences with CTE, the importance of the federal investment made by Perkins V and highlighted the immense value CTE programs provide to learners, especially by providing multiple pathways to postsecondary education, training and careers. These lawmakers also introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen career counseling services available to K-12 students. Advance CTE was proud to endorse this legislation upon introduction. In addition, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) provided floor remarks celebrating CTE month and emphasizing the important role CTE programs have in providing learners with valuable and durable skills. 

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate CTE Caucus co-chair Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced and passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing February as CTE month within the chamber. “This month and every month, let’s work to expand access to CTE, including by passing my JOBS Act to allow students to use Pell Grants for job training programs, and build an economy that works for everyone,” Senator Kaine remarked upon its passage. 

Advance CTE applauds all of these lawmakers for their ongoing leadership on this issue and extends our community’s deep appreciation for continuing to elevate and highlight the significant importance of CTE this month and throughout the year.

Bipartisan Childcare CTE Bill Introduced

Earlier this week, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Bonamici introduced the Early Childhood Workforce Advance Act. The legislation would provide new resources for CTE programs and aims to address significant workforce shortages in this critical sector of the economy. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act intentionally leverages CTE programs and ensures that these efforts are connected to ongoing state and local efforts to strengthen early educator workforce pipelines,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared upon the bill’s introduction. More information on the proposal can be found here.

ED Publishes Updated Equity Action Plan

At the beginning of the week, ED formally released its 2023 update to the Department’s existing “Equity Action Plan,” outlining new commitments to advance equity in education. ED identified five key focus areas: improving college access and completion rates for underserved students; ensuring equitable resources for learning recovery; expanding educational opportunities for justice-impacted individuals to improve outcomes; advancing equity in career and technical education; and increasing mental health resources in underserved communities. In the plan, ED notes that it hopes to improve data transparency with regards to Perkins V data, host a future webinar series on equity in CTE and propose broadened equity indicators as part of its priorities for potential legislative updates to Perkins V in the years ahead. Read the full plan here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

CTE Month Gets Underway, FY24 Negotiations Continue | Legislative Update

February 2nd, 2024

This week marks the formal start of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month® which lawmakers have started to formally recognize on Capitol Hill. Elsewhere appropriations leaders continue to negotiate full-year funding for the current fiscal year. 

Congress Continues to Negotiate FY24 Budget

This week, appropriations leaders continued negotiations on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies. As shared previously, lawmakers recently extended federal funding on another short-term basis through March 1 and March 8 of this year to allow more time for negotiations on this critical issue. Lawmakers have reportedly come to an agreement on allocations for each of the dozen spending bills that compose the federal budget, known as 302(b) allocations. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) state grant program along with other important federal investments in education and workforce development. 

While the specific allocations have not yet been made public, this agreement represents a critical next step in the wider FY24 process and is an indication that these discussions are progressing toward an expected resolution ahead of the upcoming funding deadlines in early March. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE and partners are continuing to advocate for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s formula grant program. 

CTE Month Kicks-Off 

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) formally introduced a Congressional resolution recognizing February as CTE month. “We are pleased to support the 2024 Career Technical Education Month resolution as a celebration of CTE’s contributions to our learners and communities, and applaud the leadership of the House CTE Caucus, led by Representatives Thompson and Bonamici, to highlight CTE’s central role in advancing economic opportunity for every learner across the nation,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, said upon introduction. The House caucus is currently circulating this resolution for additional support. Be sure to ask your representative to co-sponsor this year’s CTE month resolution.

In addition, co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus led by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), R. Michael Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) are leading a similar CTE Month resolution in the chamber. More information on the status of this resolution can be found here with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Be sure to encourage your senators to support this effort if they have not done so already! 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

Introducing the New and Improved Research Warehouse Dashboard!

February 2nd, 2024

Advance CTE’s mission is to support state CTE leadership to advance high-quality and equitable Career Technical Education (CTE) policies, programs and pathways that ensure career and college success for each learner. To support this mission, we are pleased to announce the release of a previously internal, interactive research dashboard. Advance CTE’s Research Warehouse Dashboard will provide CTE leaders with relevant and timely CTE research that covers a wide range of topics and evidence-based outcomes such as return on investment, academic performance and postsecondary credential attainment.

Through the Research Warehouse Dashboard, users will have the ability to filter research reports and quickly access resource findings with helpful descriptions of the research summaries. This tool will elevate evidence-backed practices from both state and national organizations to provide CTE leaders with strategies that they can implement across their own programs.

The research shared has been cultivated from a variety of resources, including but not limited to survey analyses, quantitative and qualitative research and reports featuring data from national organizations.

Advance CTE leaders can use the research warehouse dashboard when completing literature reviews, drafting report introductions, and identifying supplemental resources for online webinars or professional development.

The dashboard highlights CTE-related research across the following categories:

   Learner Level

  • K-12
  • Postsecondary
  • Adults

    Policy Area

  • Access/Equity
  • Accountability
  • Career Advising
  • Competency-based Education
  • Credentials of Value
  • Credit for Prior Learning
  • CTE Participation
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Funding
  • Future of Work
  • Labor Market Alignment
  • Online Learning
  • Program Quality
  • Programs of Study
  • Skills Gap
  • Teachers and Leaders
  • Work-based Learning

   Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Credential Attainment
  • Employability Skills
  • Family Sustaining Wages
  • High School Graduation
  • Postsecondary Completion
  • Postsecondary Credential Attainment
  • Postsecondary Transfer
  • Postsecondary Transitions
  • Return on Investment
  • Transitions to the Workforce

 

 


Updates to the Research Warehouse Dashboard will be made quarterly and featured research can be found through the monthly Research Round-Up blogs. Access the dashboard here in our Resource Center

State CTE Policy Spotlight: 2023 Policies Expanding Accessible CTE for Special Populations

January 30th, 2024

While policies grouped under “Funding” and “Industry Partnerships/Work-based Learning” categories have consistently remained in the top five key policy trends for the past ten years, the “Access and Equity” grouping has steadily moved up the ladder, ranking from 10th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2022. In this blog, we will review four policies enacted in 2023 that are founded in improving access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

As explained in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career and Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), CTE plays a vital role in creating an inclusive and equitable future, providing learners with the education and training necessary for success in financially secure and self-sufficient careers while meeting industry talent demands. Advance CTE is committed to supporting states as they tackle the various barriers–program costs, transportation, and eligibility among others–that continue to exacerbate the access and equity challenges special populations face when accessing CTE programs.

In 2023, CTE leaders adopted innovative strategies to expand access to CTE in their state. Examples of such strategies can be found in the following policies enacted by California, New Hampshire, and Virginia

California

In October 2023, California enacted A.B. 368 which expands eligibility for learners who are “underrepresented in higher education” in the state’s College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) dual enrollment partnership grant opportunity. The CCAP Grant awards $100,000 to local education agencies who are interested in establishing or expanding a partnership with a community college to enable learners at participating high schools to access dual enrollment opportunities. A.B 368 expands access to now include first-time college learners, learners experiencing low-income, learners who are current or former foster youth, learners experiencing homelessness or learners at risk of being homeless, learners with disabilities, learners with dependent children, and undocumented learners. By expanding which populations are considered underrepresented, this policy better aligns with learners identified as special populations in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).

In the same month, California also enacted A.B. 91 which exempts qualifying learners from paying the nonresident tuition rate. Learners who qualify for this exemption are nonresident learners who: experience low income, reside in Mexico, are registered in lower division courses at a qualifying California college, and reside within 45 miles of the California-Mexico border. This policy aims to decrease the financial burden that may hinder nonresident learners from participating in California’s CTE programs by reducing the cost of participation in CTE.

New Hampshire

In October 2023, New Hampshire passed H.B. 364 which authorized the Department of Education to reimburse the full cost of transportation to learners classified as “at-risk learners” who attend alternative education programs at a regional career and technical education center. This policy aims to mitigate the transportation barrier that may prevent learners from participating in New Hampshire’s CTE programs by covering the cost of transportation to CTE centers.

Virginia

In March 2023, Virginia enacted S.B. 1430 which required the Department of Education to convene a “stakeholder workgroup” to offer recommendations on improving access to paid work-based learning experiences for English Learners. The workgroup was directed to submit their recommendations to the Governor and the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health by November 1, 2023. No information is available yet on the outcome of the working group, but their recommendations are expected to be published in early 2024. This policy aims to analyze barriers that hinder English Learners from participating in CTE by creating a workgroup tasked with providing strategies to mitigate these barriers.

For more strategies to expand access to CTE for special populations, check out the “Maximizing Access & Success for Special Population” briefs prepared by Advance CTE and ACTE for:

  • Foster Youth
  • Non-traditional Learners
  • Out-of-Workforce Individuals

Coming in February 2024: Advance CTE and ACTE’s eleventh annual State Policies Impacting CTE: 2023 Year in Review and Advance CTE’s 2023 State Policy Tracker, which will examine CTE and career readiness policies across the nation. While the report focuses on policy trends, the tracker comprises every CTE-related policy enacted within each state.

View the 2022 state policy tracker here.

Velie Sando, Policy Associate

The Future of Dual Enrollment Policy and Programs

January 29th, 2024

Late last year, the College in High School Alliance (CHSA) released “The Next Phase of Dual Enrollment Policy: A Vision for the Field,” laying out a set of critical priorities to ensure all learners get the full benefit of early postsecondary opportunities. As a member of CHSA’s Steering Committee, Advance CTE is excited about the potential—and ambition—of this new vision and what it can mean for learners, in Career Technical Education (CTE) and beyond, across the country.

The vision starts with a goal: states eliminating access gaps for participation and success for historically marginalized students in college in high school programs by 2030. To achieve this goal, it will take a mix of critical state- and national-level imperatives and commitments, including:

  • State Imperatives:

    • Setting a Statewide Vision (and goal) for Dual Enrollment informed by the experiences and needs of learners and designed with intention about how it can fit into other statewide priorities, such as CTE and career pathways.
    • Doubling Down on the Equity Mission by intentionally removing barriers and providing supports for historically underrepresented students in dual enrollment programs, such as learners with disabilities, learners of color and learners experiencing low income. 
    • Focusing Policy on Intentional Dual Enrollment Experiences to ensure learners only engage in “intentional acts of dual enrollment.” This is particularly relevant for CTE learners as dual enrollment courses should be aligned with their programs of study, as encouraged by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).
  • National Imperatives:

    • Setting a National Vision for Dual Enrollment by Raising Expectations for Policy Support, which includes having a common federal definition that is more comprehensive than what is in law now and signals clearer expectations for quality and program design.
    • Aligning the Field on Key Terms in Policy, given the vast array of state-level definitions and interpretations for college in high school programs (within and across states). 
    • Examining New and Emerging Policy Trends to ensure quality assurance and equitable access in areas such as online programming and creative funding models. 

Importantly, this vision was not developed in a vacuum. Rather, it is the result of a year-long strategic planning process that engaged CHSA’s steering committee members (Achieving the Dream, Advance CTE, Bard Early College, JFF, KnowledgeWorks, The Middle College National Consortium and The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships) as well as policymakers and practitioners from across the nation. It builds on years of policy adoption and implementation—elevating what has worked and where more attention is critically needed. That is key as it will take individuals at all levels working in concert to advance and achieve this new vision for dual enrollment. 

Going forward, CHSA is committed to making this vision a reality at the state and national levels by publishing new resources that elaborate upon the various components of this vision; providing direct technical assistance to states to help them develop visions that promote equity, set inclusive goals and expand intentional dual enrollment; and convening policymakers to support ongoing collaboration in this space.

As noted in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for Career Technical Education, “the current landscape of college in high school and postsecondary transfer policies and programs is overly complicated, often results in loss of credit and does not consistently support equitable access and success.” As dual enrollment rates continue to rise and more learners, including CTE learners, participate in college in high school opportunities, it is more important than ever that we ensure our systems are designed to be equitable, meaningful and intentional. Advance CTE is excited and proud to be part of this work.

Relevant Resources

Kate Kreamer, Executive Director

FY24 Funding Progress Slows, U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected Grants | Legislative Update

January 26th, 2024

This week lawmakers struggled to make progress on federal appropriations for the current fiscal year while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new career-connected high school grants. Elsewhere, federal agencies formally unveiled a significant new regulatory proposal related to apprenticeships. 

Congress Extends FY24 Funding for Another Month

As shared last week, Congress passed an additional short-term extension of federal funding, known as a continuing resolution, which extends FY23 funding levels for federal programs through March 1 and March 8 later this year. The “laddered” CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate full-year appropriations for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) which began last October. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), which is included in the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill, is set to expire on the latter of these two dates in March. 

While this development is an encouraging step in the wider FY24 process, appropriations leaders must still establish individual allocations for each of the dozen bills that compose the federal budget. Known as 302(b) allocations, lawmakers have continued to struggle this week to successfully negotiate these funding levels including for the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. Until 302(b)s are determined, lawmakers cannot move forward with negotiations on program-level funding, including for Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other important investments in education and workforce development. It remains unclear how lawmakers will come to a resolution on this important issue with current reports indicating that little progress has been made this week. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for the foundational federal investment made by Perkins V. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected High School Grants

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the Advanced Technical Center—an area career technical school located in Washington, DC and recently featured in the Washington Post for its impact on chronic student absenteeism in DC. During the visit, Secretary Cardona announced a slate of new grants as part of his agency’s career-connected high school initiative

Advance CTE has previously highlighted that the activities authorized under this new discretionary grant program can already be funded using resources from Perkins V’s basic state grant program. In announcing 19 grant awards in total as part of this effort, which will benefit 17 states, the agency indicated that it received 160 applications for this funding totaling nearly $850 million. These applications for funding demonstrate significant unfilled demand for CTE programming which can only be addressed through a strengthened systemic investment via Perkins V’s state grant program. “The Biden-Harris Administration is going to keep on fighting to provide every student in every community with career-connected learning,” Cardona said as part of the announcement. More information on these grants can be found here

DOL Moves Forward With Apprenticeship Regulations Impacting CTE

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) formally published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) last week which is intended to significantly update and overhaul the existing regulatory framework for registered apprenticeship programs. As shared previously, this NPRM also includes a new “CTE Apprenticeship” component with implications for state CTE agencies and systems. Yesterday, DOL hosted a webinar providing a high-level overview of this proposal. An archived webcast, including related presentation materials, can be accessed here. Comments on the NPRM are due March 18 and can be submitted through this comment portal.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Funding Career Technical Education: Incorporating Elements Into Funding Models to Address CTE Access, Completion and Program Quality

January 24th, 2024

Advance CTE released the 2023 State of CTE: An Analysis of State Secondary CTE Funding Models to highlight how states and the District of Columbia provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) through various secondary CTE funding models and approaches. This blog, the third in a series, describes ways states have incorporated elements into their funding models to address CTE access, completion and program quality. 

Overview

Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE calls on states to design equitable funding models that direct funding to where it is needed most. Funding is not just about budget sheets but about investing in and fostering an environment where every learner’s potential is unleashed. A state’s commitment to CTE is reflected in their financial decisions, and states are making changes to secondary CTE funding models to better serve and offer opportunities for all learners.

Background

Advance CTE conducted a survey with State CTE Directors in summer 2022 to better understand the extent to which states are currently incorporating elements into funding models to address CTE access, completion and program quality. Forty-six state leaders responded to the survey, and Advance CTE followed up with select state leaders in interviews to gather additional information about dimensions of equity.

Some of the most salient findings from the survey of State CTE Directors include:

65 percent reported state funds supported access to secondary CTE programs for all learners, 56 percent reported state funds supported completion of secondary CTE programs of study for all learners, 54 percent reported state funds supported access to equipment and resources in CTE classrooms, 47 percent reported state funds supported access to college and career advisement, and 44 percent reported state funds supported attainment of CTE certifications while in high school.

There remains room for innovation in states’ secondary funding models as almost half of states are not supporting funding in one or several of the dimensions of equity. Additionally, almost a fifth of State CTE Directors indicated their state funding does not reflect any of the dimensions of equity. States should continue to evaluate and incorporate changes to secondary CTE funding models to ensure all learners have access and success through CTE.  

Highlighted Practices

States such as Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Texas are linking state funding to state-approved CTE programs meeting quality standards. This move ensures access for learners regardless of their geographical location. 

Other states, including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, are incentivizing learner enrollment and success in certain CTE courses or programs aligned with state labor market needs. These states use varying weights (i.e., multipliers) based on program types or course levels, aligning educational goals with workforce demands. For example, Indiana allocates amounts based on the number of CTE credit hours generated by districts and the enrollment in apprenticeship programs or work-based learning.1

Recent shifts in foundational education formulas or bonus structures have also resulted in positive change. Massachusetts, for instance, introduced incremental funding to its formula for Chapter 70 (i.e., the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools) under the Student Opportunity Act, benefitting English language learners and learners experiencing low income, including those in CTE programs.2 You can learn more about Massachusetts in the state case study accompanying this release.

In Texas, local education agencies (LEAs) can earn outcomes bonuses for learners meeting the state’s college, career or military readiness measures. This bonus is weighted for learners who are considered economically disadvantaged or who are enrolled in special populations thereby tailoring additional funds to cater to learner needs, especially within CTE programs.3 You can learn more about Texas in the state case study and read about additional examples in the Research Report accompanying this release.

Recommendations

State leaders should consider the following recommendations if they plan to leverage funding incentives and/or prioritize geographies, learner or program characteristics and/or program areas:

  • Incentivize success for special populations and subgroups. Providing LEAs with bonuses for outcomes achieved by special populations and subgroups not only encourages LEAs to eliminate CTE enrollment barriers but also incentivizes districts to provide all learners with the support they need to be successful. 
  • Acknowledge that each learner has unique experiences, backgrounds and needs by using learner markers (e.g., special population status) to direct additional state funding where it is needed most. These special population status markers can include low income, disability and English language learner status. Embed learner characteristics or markers as a factor in formulas to ensure that the highest-need learners are getting the supports to access and succeed in high-quality CTE programs. 
  • Consider how to provide CTE beyond geographic borders, incentivizing schools or districts offering virtual learning opportunities or access to publicly funded CTE programs not offered in learners’ home LEA.4 This strategy could be especially helpful in areas where geography can limit program availability and career exposure. 

Funding structures must continually evolve to bridge resource gaps among different learners. State CTE Directors can help shape funding conversations so learners thrive in an ever-evolving CTE landscape.

Additional Resources

Be sure to read the other blogs in this series: Funding Career Technical Education: Secondary CTE Funding Basics and Funding Career technical Education: Using the 2023 State of CTE Funding Report Resources. In the next blog in this series, we will explore how states also make contributions to CTE programs through non-categorical programmatic appropriations to support unique elements of CTE.

Please visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resources about CTE funding. 

Dr. Laura Maldonado, Senior Research Associate

Leveraging the Perkins State Plan to Maximize Systems Alignment and Impactful Relationships in Career Technical Education

January 23rd, 2024

The process conducted by state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders to update their Perkins state plan provides numerous opportunities to reflect on processes, procedures and relationships that keep CTE at the forefront of our educational systems. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) has been a driving force for connecting systems of education and work across the country. An intentional reflection on systems alignment ensures that CTE remains front and center across state career preparation ecosystems.

When we discuss systems alignment, we typically think about how a learner moves through secondary education, postsecondary pursuits and then the workforce. There are several strategy areas within Perkins V to consider how your state systems connect and align, including state and local planning processes, program alignment with workforce needs, integration with other federal programs, data-driven decision-making and stakeholder engagement. Each of these strategies offer opportunities to strengthen and streamline your work, and are discussed below with probing questions that may help you think more strategically about alignment in your state.

State and Local Planning

States are required to develop a comprehensive state plan for CTE. This plan outlines how the state will align and coordinate its CTE programs with other education and workforce development initiatives. During your state planning process, reflect on the following questions: 

  • How is your state leveraging the CLNA process to encourage alignment and coordination across education and workforce initiatives? 
  • How is the state using information local entities share through their CLNA to inform state-provided supports?
  • How is the design and implementation of local applications supporting state goals and objectives for CTE?

Alignment with Workforce Needs

Perkins V emphasizes the importance of aligning CTE programs with the needs of the labor market. This requires reviewing local and state labor market data and collaboration with employers and industry stakeholders to identify current and future workforce demands. States and local agencies should use labor market information to design programs that lead to high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand occupations. During your state planning process, reflect on the following questions: 

  • What strategies are you using to engage employers in your state? Are any especially effective? 
  • How are you leveraging labor market information to inform program design, applications, and approvals?

Integration with Other Programs

Perkins V encourages the intentional coordination between CTE programs and other educational and workforce development initiatives. This includes coordination with programs such as apprenticeships, adult education, and workforce training. This coordination of efforts helps create seamless educational experiences for individuals, ensuring that they are prepared for both postsecondary education and the workforce. During your state planning process, reflect on the following questions: 

  • Is your state connecting and coordinating with workforce leaders and those administering the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in your state?
  • How can state plan strategies integrate with programs and agencies that support special populations as identified by Perkins V and other underrepresented learner populations? 

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Systems alignment efforts should be informed by data to guide decision-making. States and local agencies should collect and analyze data related to learner access, persistence, outcomes, program effectiveness, and labor market trends. Data-driven decision-making helps foster continuous improvement and ensures that resources are allocated effectively. During your state planning process, reflect on the following questions: 

  • How is your state data strategy encouraging or inhibiting cross-agency data sharing and use? 
  • What are the major challenges around data collection and sharing?
  • How are you evaluating your efforts to collect, share, and use data to support high-quality implementation?

Stakeholder Collaboration

Perkins V encourages collaboration among various stakeholders, including educators, employers, workforce development agencies, and community organizations. Engaging stakeholders ensures that the education and training provided through CTE programs is relevant and responsive to the needs of the community. During your state planning process, reflect on the following questions: 

  • How often is your state engaging stakeholders outside of the state planning process?
  • How is stakeholder feedback shared and acted on?
  • How are you engaging all stakeholder groups in your planning process?

Additional Support

By focusing on systems alignment, Perkins V aims to create a more cohesive and effective approach to CTE, ultimately preparing individuals for success in the workforce. States and local agencies play a crucial role in implementing and overseeing these alignment efforts. We are here to support you in this work and continue to drive forward that systems alignment is a critical need across the nation.

Advance CTE will continue a suite of supports designed to ensure your Perkins state plan serves as a powerful lever to achieve your state vision for career technical education, and more broadly CTE Without Limits. These supports include: 

Additional Resources can be found in the Perkins V section of the Learning that Works Resource Center

As we move into the new year, it is the time to reflect on how we work with one another and if those relationships advance learners within the CTE ecosystem. We look forward to continuing conversations with you about the various levers that can be tapped to optimize Perkins V in your state.

Stephanie Perkins, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

Legislative Update: Maryland State CTE Director Testifies As Congress Extends FY24 Funding

January 19th, 2024

This week Richard Kincaid, Maryland’s State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director, testified in the House while Congress passed a much-needed extension of federal funding as negotiations continue on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations. 

Lawmakers Pass Last-Minute CR

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate continued to negotiate a path forward on FY24 appropriations this week as two funding deadlines drew closer. As shared last week, Congressional leaders and the White House announced a new deal on aggregate spending levels, known as toplines, for the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) portions of the federal budget. This agreement came after months of unsuccessful negotiations between the chambers since the formal start of FY24 on October 1, 2023. 

A new deal on federal topline spending has been a critical next step in moving forward with the dozen funding measures that compose the federal budget since the start of FY24 last fall. While this is an important next step, current federal funding—extended by two separate continuing resolutions (CRs)— was set to expire today and on February 2. Lawmakers therefore had to act quickly this week to avert a partial government shutdown as these negotiations continued. With a snowstorm hitting Washington, D.C. just before the January 19 deadline lawmakers were able to find consensus this week on another set of CRs that extends federal funding through early March. These measures cleared the Senate first on a 77-18 margin and later in the House, under an expedited legislative process, by a margin of 314-108. Notably, nearly half of the House Republican conference voted against this short-term funding extension.  

The Labor-HHS-ED funding measure, which provides funding for education and workforce development investments like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), is included within a tranche of seven other funding measures that have FY23 funding levels extended through March 8. The remaining four funding bills, which would have expired today, have also been extended through March 1 by this short-term extension. The House is now on recess until January 29 while the Senate remains in session deliberating on federal appropriations and other legislative agenda items.   

As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust and strengthened investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other investments of interest to the wider CTE community. 

Maryland State CTE Director Testifies Before House Lawmakers

Yesterday, January 18, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, led by Reps. Aaron Bean (R-FL) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) held a hearing titled  “Preparing Students for Success in the Skills-Based Economy.” Notably, Richard Kincaid, Senior Executive Director for the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of College and Career Pathways and a member of Advance CTE, testified at the hearing along with several other witnesses including Kelly Mosley, a local CTE Director in Clay County Florida, along with Danny Corwin, Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

Richard’s testimony focused on Maryland’s ongoing efforts to provide pathways to opportunity for all students. Specifically, his remarks highlighted the state’s work to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a multi-billion dollar statewide investment that aims to provide “…all students [with] equitable access to rigorous education that prepares them for college, career and life…” among other aspects of the effort. Richard also highlighted the state’s use of American Rescue Plan funding via the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) program which has supported a substantial expansion of youth apprenticeship programs in the state. 

More broadly the hearing touched on a number of topics related to secondary CTE, including and especially the need to invest additional resources into these efforts to provide more opportunities for learners. For instance, during her line of questioning, Rep. Bonamici, also the co-chair of the House CTE Caucus and Ranking Member of this subcommittee, highlighted that the federal investment in CTE, made by Perkins, has eroded considerably over the last few decades and asked what additional funding could do for states like Maryland. Kincaid answered, in part,  that “…using Perkins as a lever to reinvest additional funding into these programs would be a game changer for places like Maryland that rely on federal funds to move this agenda forward…” 

Elsewhere, recent research conducted by Advance CTE on secondary CTE financing was also highlighted by witnesses, including Harbor Freight’s Corwin who shared a startling datapoint with lawmakers– funding for CTE represents just three percent of all K-12 spending in the United States. More importantly, without the federal investment made by Perkins V’s basic state grant program, this percentage drops to just one percent of all K-12 spending across the nation, underscoring the enormous importance of strengthening and drastically increasing federal funding for CTE. 

Advance CTE applauds lawmakers in the House for holding this hearing and providing these witnesses an opportunity to highlight how important it is to increase opportunities for learners to engage with high-quality CTE opportunities in their communities. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

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