Getting to Know Wisconsin’s Cultural Support Specialists

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Advance CTE’s commitment to closing achievement and equity gaps drives the work of improving equity and access for each learner in high-quality CTE. It is that lens that is applied to analyze policies or feature new resources

One state policy that addresses identifiable equity gaps is Wisconsin’s Fox Valley Technical College Cultural Support Specialists. Wisconsin took great strides toward making postsecondary degree attainment more accessible when the state developed Cultural Support Specialist positions. Black learners in the state were earning degrees from the Wisconsin Technical College System at lower rates than White and Asian learners. Fox Valley Technical College of the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Appleton Area School District partnered to create the Cultural Support Specialist position, a joint position between the two institutions responsible for helping students transition from high school to college and overcome some of the structural, social, and cultural barriers that can prevent first generation learners of color from accessing and succeeding in college. 

What makes the Cultural Support Specialist positions unique is: 

  • The case management approach, individualized for each learner;
  • The liaison role between schools and families, connecting culture to academic success; and
  • The cultural competency the specialists carry while demographically representing the students they serve. 

Read more about the Cultural Support Specialists in Wisconsin by viewing the full policy profile in our Learning that Works Resource Center

View past entries and stay up to date with the “Getting to Know” series here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

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