Equip, Empower, Elevate: Advance CTE’s 2021 Annual Report

In June 2021, the Advance CTE and The Center to Advance CTE’s Boards of Directors unanimously approved a new three-year strategic plan with three key strategic priorities — to EQUIP Advance CTE to lead with a focus on quality and equity, EMPOWER members to realize the CTE Without Limits vision, and ELEVATE high-quality and equitable CTE.

As we reflect on 2021, we are excited to share the collective progress we made towards accomplishing these strategic priorities. In 2021, Advance CTE and its members: 

  • Built and maintained community: Despite being virtual throughout 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic, Advance CTE endeavored to create inclusive and engaging spaces for our members. All told, Advance CTE’s 14 virtual professional learning events, which included our two annual meetings, webinars and lunch and learns, served more than 1,000 total attendees from 49 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Collaborated to design the future: In March 2021, Advance CTE released Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, with the support of over 40 national organizations. To turn this vision into reality, we  convened shared solutions workgroups on key priority areas identified in our vision, including learner voice, social capital, data quality and use, and credit for prior learning. Leaders from 42 states and the District of Columbia participated in Advance CTE workgroups, committees and kitchen cabinets in 2021.


  • Expanded capacity around data and equity: Data and equity are two of the most critical priorities among our members as they work to design and expand high-quality CTE programs that support all learners. In 2021, we launched the Career Readiness Data Quality Policy Benchmark tool microsite, offered direct technical assistance to a group of five states to build out data capacity, supported the first cohort of 10 states as they participated and then replicated an opportunity gap analysis workshop and released our Brave Dialogues discussion and facilitation guide to help state and local leaders lead conversations around racial equity in CTE.  
  • Developed resources aligned with members’ needs: Advance CTE released over 50 resources in 2021, all accessible in our Learning that Works Resource Center, on key topics including equity and how to engage learners with special populations status, work-based learning, communicating about CTE, employer engagement and more, and featured replicable examples from leading states and communities. 
  • Elevated CTE through effective communications and federal advocacy: Advance CTE continued to build the research base and tools needed to effectively communicate the value proposition of CTE to learners, families and employers. In addition, we helped to secure an additional $52.25 million for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act’s basic state grant program, bringing the total funding level for the program to approximately $1.335 billion. Our advocacy was instrumental in ensuring that nearly $120 billion in allotted education funding in the American Rescue Plan included CTE programs and activities as an allowable activity.

Looking ahead to 2022:

  • Advance CTE will continue to EQUIP our members and ourselves to lead the CTE field with a fierce commitment to quality and equity through interactive and engaging professional development events and resources. We are particularly excited to launch our second cohort of the Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship — Sponsored by ECMC Foundation in the coming months.
  • We will also EMPOWER our members to advance and realize the principles and actions in CTE Without Limits.  In early 2022, Advance CTE launched our Advancing CTE Without Limits initiative, providing direct technical assistance to three states and offering a community of practice to engage the cross-sector partners that need to be involved to realize the vision. We will also support two additional cohorts of states through our Opportunity Gap Analysis Workshops.
  • Finally, Advance CTE will continue our charge to ELEVATE high-quality and equitable CTE among federal and state policymakers, the media, learners and families and other key stakeholders. One way we will accomplish this is by hosting workshops for counseling professionals in 30 states to arm these champions with the messages and information they need to recruit learners into high-quality and equitable CTE programs of study.

View Advance CTE’s 2021 Annual Report: careertech.org/who-we-are 

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

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