Posts Tagged ‘Career Development’

Designing Equitable Futures: Expert Insights for Advancing Equity in CTE

Friday, May 31st, 2024

With support from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), Career Technical Education (CTE) policies and programs have increasingly focused on supporting the needs of underrepresented learners, pushing educators and policymakers to expand their focus beyond federal mandates to cultivate inclusive, dynamic, and diverse learning environments tailored to the needs of every student.

At Advance CTE’s 2024 Spring Meeting, we brought this conversation to the forefront with an expert panel including Dr. Brittani Williams, Director of Advocacy Policy and Research at Generation Hope, Joshua Rysanek, College, Career and Community Pathways Program Coordinator at the LANL Foundation, and Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Senior Vice President at The Education Trust. From navigating equity work in various state contexts, scaling high-quality opportunities for learners in special populations, and establishing effective cross-agency/organization partnerships to advance equity and access, we left with clear strategies to prioritize the needs of all learners.

 

Navigating Equity-Focused Work in Equity-Restricted States 

The conversation opened up with advice for equity-minded leaders working in state contexts where equity-focused work is discouraged or, in some cases, prohibited. “While language differs from state to state, whether we are discussing it or not, it is the reality,” Joshua stated, and affirmed that we can build consensus on what equity gaps persist in disaggregated data; data can show that our systems are not equipping every student with skills, experiences, and opportunities that lead to family-sustaining wages. 

Similarly, Dr. Del Pilar highlighted the persisting access and performance gaps across states and programs, noting that the approach to this work needs to be reconsidered, regardless of state political contexts, to better address learner needs. Dr. Williams affirmed that as our learner populations evolve, our system and supports should be redefined alongside them

Scaling Opportunities for Special Populations

Despite single parents being an identified special population in Perkins V, few states are scaling strategies to support single parents in CTE. Dr. Williams expanded on how CTE can serve as a launchpad for parents’ learning through career development and advancement to ensure they have the employability skills required to achieve economic mobility. Further, she highlighted the importance of offering wraparound services, including flexible scheduling and virtual opportunities. “Inclusive and targeted support is important,” Dr. Williams stated.

Dr. Del Pilar emphasized the opportunity to leverage a two-generation approach that supports single-parent learners’ educational attainment alongside their young learners through local organizations or school settings. 

Similarly, Joshua expanded on what he and his organization have learned when scaling high-quality CTE opportunities for learners in Tribal communities. “Approach Tribal communities with respect, humility, and a learning mindset,” Joshua said as he recalled many instances where Tribal communities become pigeonholed into specific heritages, assumptions, and harmful stereotypes. He remarked on how all Tribal and Indigenous communities are different. States need to meaningfully engage Native communities by learning about their cultures, assets, and challenges and address those needs rather than making assumptions about what they are in the first place. 

Partnerships in Equity

We garnered some strategies to strengthen partnerships with community-based organizations to advance equity work in our states. Dr. Del Pilar suggested strengthening relationships with organizations that leaders already work with and co-constructing the partnership to ensure both parties can benefit and contribute. He stated that building new relationships upon already established ones may be as simple as asking, “Is there anyone else I can talk to who is doing this work?” at the end of community partner conversations. 

Dr. Williams mentioned that inviting community organizations to the table and having a presence within the communities that leaders serve can create trust and buy-in to create long-lasting relationships. “Success in community engagement is being culturally responsive, culturally competent, and trauma-informed.” 


Preparations are underway for Advance CTE’s 2024 Fall Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, October 21-23! Visit the event page to save the date and learn more.

Marie Falcone, policy associate

By Layla Alagic in Advancing Equity in CTE
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ECMCF Fellow Feature: Shelsi Barber-Carter

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

In September 2022, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the second cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE — ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories reflecting the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in Career Technical Education (CTE) that closes racial representation gaps and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement. 

This month, we’re excited to highlight two members of Advance-CTE’s second cohort of Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellows. In our interview with ECMCF Fellow Shelsi Barber-Carter (AR), she shared how participating in the Fellowship helped her gain confidence leveraging learner data to inform policies that shape CTE programs across the state.

Tell me more about your journey to the Fellowship.

My journey to the fellowship is the result of networking and being strongly connected to like-minded individuals that play major roles in CTE. As an alumnus of the ACTE Next Level Fellowship, I found myself participating in activities and events that were held or affiliated with Advance CTE. As I attended those events, I heard so many great things about what Advance CTE was doing and how the organization provides greater opportunities for upcoming leaders in Career and Technical Education. With that in mind, I was really drawn to Advance CTE’s work, especially since it aligns so closely with my passion for improving outcomes for learners in CTE programs. As a former resident of rural Louisiana, I know that educational opportunities can be limited based on where you grow up; so, the way Advance CTE structures its approach to support states in providing access to high-quality CTE programming for every learner, regardless of their background, really spoke to me. During the time of my promotion to Louisiana Community Technical College System, my supervisor encouraged me to apply, especially since I was working more in the area of DEI at the time. 

I will say, since I have been a part of the fellowship, Dr. Johnson and my mentor Dr. Shorter-Gooden have been so supportive in helping me to understand where I can have the greatest impact in my community without directly serving in a postsecondary role. They rock!

What skills or areas have you experienced the most growth in the program?

I’ve experienced a lot of growth in my skills around strategic planning and my confidence in working hands-on with data. I’m excited to be able to say that I’m truly data-driven, and I’ve been able to effectively leverage data in my presentations about the impact that poverty has on learners. To add, I believe the skills I have developed through the Fellowship are going to help me increase ways on how to bring about awareness and influence when supporting every learner in becoming successful citizens, including those from underserved communities.

Have you been tapped for new or more advanced roles within your organization as a result of your experience in the Fellowship?

Yes, I was recently promoted to the CTE Special Project and Jobs for Arkansas’s Graduates (JAG) Coordinator for the state of Arkansas. In this role, I’m responsible for overseeing all secondary and post-secondary JAG and college success programs. I have over 600 students on the secondary side and 12 postsecondary institutions that I oversee through the College Success program. I strongly believe participating in the Fellowship helped me become more comfortable in working in a CTE space while embracing a role that calls for me to articulate my knowledge and understanding of learner’s data as it relates to the policies and guidance that I am providing to my team. I also believe my experience in working with Perkins has helped me excel in this role.

How has your experience in the fellowship helped you explore new spaces or positions in postsecondary state CTE leadership? 

With my experience in working with federal grants (Perkins and TRIO) and building partnering relationships with individuals from business and industry, I strongly believe the fellowship has allowed me the chance to openly connect and engage great leaders; as well as maintain important conversations about CTE with the decision makers in that space.  For example, I recently met with one of our state higher education leaders and felt fully equipped to have that conversation. When I speak with someone, I have a purpose in mind. I have a goal in mind. And I think Advanced CTE really prepared me for that.

How has the Fellowship expanded your network? 

Within the cohort alone- I’ve been able to network and bounce ideas off others to get a lot of great ideas about how to approach the work. Their perspectives have been invaluable, and I’ve been able to leverage this confidence and knowledge especially when I am speaking with state leaders about relative topics and issues that focus on the “learners’ voice in rural communities”. 

Have you discovered new opportunities for what a role in postsecondary CTE could look like/ the responsibilities of such a position?

I would love to step into a role where I’m working in adult education and workforce. I’ve built a lot of knowledge through my work with secondary and postsecondary education under Perkins, so I believe I am better prepared now to speak to those areas; as well as assist and provide a service that will really show the type of work that I do. 

A lot of the programs that I oversee include work-based learning, career development, internships, and apprenticeship programs. We connect learners with scholarships and job placements, so I am confident that there is a natural fit for me to step into a role on the workforce side of these programs.

If you have any questions, contact Shelsi Barber-Carter by email at shelsibarber@gmail.com 

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Legislative Update: Congress Returns for a Busy Lame Duck Session

Monday, November 28th, 2022

Earlier this month Americans across the country went to the polls to decide the balance of power for the upcoming 118th Congress. Elsewhere Career Technical Education (CTE) champions highlighted the importance of career development while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new guidance intended to support career connected learning. 

Midterm Election Results Become Clearer

Earlier this month, the long-awaited midterm elections took place across the country. At the time of our last update, the results from these electoral contests were still coming in with control of both the House and the Senate unclear. Since that time, additional outcomes from these elections have been announced making clear that the Republican Party will take control of the House in the coming 118th Congress. Democrats will retain control of the Senate, although the size of their majority will be determined by a runoff election in Georgia set to take place on December 6.  

As these results continued to trickle in, federal lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill just before Thanksgiving for a short session to begin the process of determining party leadership for both chambers moving forward. In the House, longtime Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her core leadership team announced that they were stepping down. This will pave the way for a new Democratic leadership team, likely to be led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). For House Republicans, longtime Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is currently working to garner the necessary support to be the next Speaker of the House. The final composition for both party’s leadership teams remains fluid. However, in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans will likely continue to be led by current Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pending final approval from their caucuses. 

In addition to these recent developments, it is also being widely reported that Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are likely to lead the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the next Congress. Leadership announcements for the House Education and Labor Committee are still forthcoming and hinge on the ability of current Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to secure a waiver from Republican leadership to serve as chair of the committee in the next Congress. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are widely expected to lead the Senate Appropriations committee which helps to determine funding for programs like Perkins V. 

As additional leadership roles and responsibilities become clearer in the coming weeks, Advance CTE will continue to update the CTE community and provide insights on  implications for federal policymaking. Congress now reconvenes this week for a jam packed “lame duck” session of the current 117th Congress where they must attend to a number of important issues, including federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding for programs like the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Be sure to check back here for more updates! 

CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Introduce Career Development Resolution 

Longtime House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Thompson (R-PA) and Langevin (D-RI) introduced a resolution earlier this month designating November as National Career Development Month. When introduced, Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kimberly Green said, “A hallmark of high-quality CTE is career development opportunities that equitably support learners as they explore and pursue their career passion. Advance CTE is proud to support this bipartisan resolution designating November as National Career Development Month from Representatives Thompson and Langevin, which recognizes the crucial role career development contributes to a skilled workforce and learner success in education, work, and in life.” Read more about the resolution here

Department of Education Announces Initiative to “Unlock Career Success”

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently  announced the launch of a new initiative called Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success. This is a new Administration initiative supported in conjunction with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor aimed at increasing and expanding access to high-quality college and career pathways programs to help more young Americans pursue careers in in-demand fields, and prepare for careers of the future.  The effort is intended to strengthen ties between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs among other priorities. As part of this announcement, the Departments shared that they are also providing $5.6 million in competitive funding for a new grant initiative that aims to expand work-based learning opportunities for students. The department also plans to host regional summits with students, educators, employers and other stakeholders to learn about practices that have led to success and challenges that must be addressed.

Department of Education Publishes Guidance on ARP Funding Use for Career Pathways

The U.S. Department of Education released new guidance through a Dear Colleague letter on how unspent federal funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and other pandemic aid packages can be used for career pathways. The guidance highlights how these resources can be leveraged around four main priority areas including, expanding access to dual enrollment opportunities, providing strong career and college advisement and navigation supports, expanding opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, and giving all students the option to earn industry-sought credentials. Be sure to check out Advance CTE’s resource– published last year– which also provided ideas and guidance to the CTE community regarding how these funds could be used in support of CTE. 

Senate CTE Caucus Hosts Apprenticeship Briefing

Written by Jori Houck, Media Relations and Advocacy Associate, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here

On November 15, the Senate CTE Caucus, alongside the Swiss and Austrian Embassies, held a Capitol Hill briefing on Women in Apprenticeship to highlight both National Apprenticeship Week and the Austrian and Swiss apprenticeship models. Welcoming remarks were made by Ambassador of Switzerland Jacques Pitteloud and the Austrian Chargé d’Affairs Günther Salzmann. Both expressed a desire to broaden the influence of the Swiss and Austrian apprenticeship models in the United States.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) offered additional remarks, highlighting the connection between CTE and apprenticeships. He discussed how recent federal investments will ensure that CTE is at the forefront of preparing apprentices and all learners for good-paying, in-demand jobs. Sen. Hickenlooper also declared that he had officially joined the CTE Caucus!

A panel discussion followed and was moderated by Thomas Mayr of Austria’s Vocational Education and Training department. Apprentices and representatives from four Swiss and Austrian companies, Zurich Insurance of Illinois, Swiss Krono of South Carolina, Egger Wood Products of North Carolina and Engel Machinery of Pennsylvania, each spoke about the recruitment challenges, opportunities, supports needed and benefits of their apprenticeship programs. Each apprentice expressed that if given the chance to pursue an apprenticeship again, they would make the same decision.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Middle Grades CTE: Teachers and Leaders

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what CTE and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level.

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this sixth entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of teachers and leaders.

Delivering quality CTE experiences in the middle grades is contingent upon a cadre of educators with the necessary content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Educators working with middle grades students need specific, relevant content knowledge about career pathways as well as skills for working with middle grades students. While there are often shortages of CTE teachers at all levels of education—a situation that will likely be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—creativity and flexibility related to licensing and scheduling can help address this need. Professional development and other supports are critical not only for educators and administrators, but also for counselors, advisers and other career development professionals who provide career advisement to middle grades students.

States have implemented a variety of requirements and supports to facilitate quality instruction in middle grades CTE. In Ohio, middle grades students have access to both career exploratory courses and, in eighth grade, courses that are the equivalent of high school CTE introductory courses. For these high-school-equivalent courses, instructors must hold the appropriate subject-area-specific CTE teaching credential, but for other middle school CTE courses, only a standard teacher license is required. This allows the state to access a broader pool of teachers and alleviates some concerns about teacher shortages. To ensure that they possess the skills and knowledge to effectively teach middle school CTE courses, these teachers must complete online modules that cover the pedagogy of a CTE class and CTE standards.

To integrate grade 6-12 education and career planning more holistically across the education system, Georgia has developed a Teachers-As-Advisors Framework. The framework is linked to the National Career Development Guidelines and includes goals organized by grade level and by three domains: career management; academic achievement, educational attainment and lifelong learning; and life skills. For instance, career management goals for grade 6 address understanding decision-making processes, locating career information sources and trends, and identifying key 21st-century employability skills. The framework enables teachers and other professionals in the school system to support students in their career development.

In Arizona, AZ GEAR UP has partnered with the AZ College Access Network to provide online training focused on postsecondary access and career planning. Module 4: College and Career Advising in the Middle Grades addresses the skills and knowledge required to counsel middle grade students for college and careers, including career exploration, planning and transition, and the value of postsecondary education. Middle school teachers, administrators and counselors are encouraged to participate in this module, which is offered by AZ GEAR UP for free.

As you reflect on this element of middle grades CTE in your state, district or school, consider such questions as:

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Middle Grades CTE
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