Posts Tagged ‘Labor Market Information’

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

Tuesday, 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: 

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: 

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: 

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: 

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: 

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

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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Getting to Know: Advance CTE’s work to build better career pathways

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

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.

Meet Jeran Culina! Jeran serves in the role of Senior Policy Associate for Advance CTE, supporting state policy and technical assistance work. Jeran’s work has a focus on supporting states and communities to create, share, use and manage information about national efforts to expand high-quality and equitable career pathways. She also supports the development of policy tools and resources leveraged by state and local leaders, national partners and other key stakeholders to help ensure each learner has access to supports, resources and skills needed to be successful in the careers of their choice. 

Q: What is the New Skills ready network initiative and how does it inform your work at Advance CTE? 

A: New Skills ready network is a five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program, which aims to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways. The six New Skills ready network sites are: Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee

A key feature of the New Skills ready network is the makeup of the leadership teams. Each site’s team brings together a cross-sector group of partners representing local school systems, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions, intermediary organizations, industry, and state and workforce development agencies. These unique state-and-local, cross-sector leadership teams were developed to align systems; incubate innovative solutions; and ultimately, scale equitable career pathways for all learners. This piece of the New Skills ready network has been significant in informing the rest of my state policy work. It showcases the strengths and challenges that local and state partnerships bring to the table, but it also offers best practices from six local sites to better inform state policy work around engaging stakeholders, bridging secondary and postsecondary, aligning pathways, closing equity gaps, and many other areas that haven’t even been explored yet.   

Q: How would the New Skills ready network define high-quality career pathways?

A: High-quality career pathways are ones that successfully prepare learners for a variety of educational opportunities while supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary schools, postsecondary institutions, and employers to provide students with experience in, and understanding of, all aspects of an industry, and ensure equal access to all learners. Within the New Skills ready network, all sites are developing or expanding their definition of what high-quality career pathways means to them. For example, the Indianapolis, IN team has aligned their definition of high-quality career pathways to match the state’s new next level programs of study (NLPS) model. The shift to NLPS provides learners with:

  1. An increase in the consistency of CTE course offerings to ensure all CTE students have the same opportunity to learn essential skills regardless of the location they are taking a course;
  2. Intentionality by directly aligning secondary courses to postsecondary competencies, providing students who have discovered their passion the opportunity to earn more postsecondary credentials and make progress towards postsecondary degrees while in high school; and
  3. Quality programs because new course standards will increase the rigor in many CTE courses and provide greater benefits to students.

Q: How can state CTE leaders leverage the work coming out of the New Skills ready network to ensure labor market information (LMI) is used to define high-skill, high-wage and in-demand career pathways?

A: States should follow the recommendations laid out in the recently released Advance CTE research brief on aligning labor market data which suggests:

  1. Continuing to make data-informed decisions about which career pathways to build and support and which ones to transform or phase out. In the face of major economic upheaval, while responding to real-time changes may be tempting, focusing on the longer-term trends and consulting multiple data sources and stakeholders are critical.
  2. Address equity within any LMI tools, supports and decisions. As states and institutions invest in their labor market systems and platforms, presenting the data with an equity lens is critical to better inform investments and arm learners with actionable information
  3. Take the opportunity to streamline existing labor market data to make it more usable and accessible for policymakers, local partners, instructors and learners themselves.
  4. Build capacity within the system to improve labor market data literacy. With the complexities of labor market data and increased frequency of the data being reviewed at the state, region and community levels, leaders at all levels — including counselors and advisers — need a better understanding of what they are looking at and how they should interpret the data to best support learners. 

Q: What can we expect next from the New Skills ready network?

A: The New Skills ready network has previously released three research briefs focused on work-based learning, aligning career pathways to labor market data and state strategies for scaling early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) in career pathways. In the next month, expect one additional research brief on strengthening state and local partnerships. In addition to the policy briefs, the New Skills ready network team will be releasing an annual report on the lessons learned during the first year of the grant as well as snapshots of each site and the work they have accomplished. As the work progresses, we will have innovations, best practices and lessons learned from each site to share that can be adopted and scaled across the nation.   

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

By admin in Resources, Uncategorized
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Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) places a strong emphasis on the alignment of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study with state, regional and local economies. The legislation requires Perkins-funded programs to prepare students for “high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations.” These terms — high skill, high wage and in demand — are foundational to Perkins V, appearing in both the purpose of the law and the definition of CTE.

As with many Perkins V requirements, the responsibility of defining these terms rests solely with states, providing them with a major opportunity to set a meaningful bar for determining which career opportunities anchor their CTE programs. The stronger focus on labor market alignment compels state CTE leaders to ensure that all program offerings are relevant to today’s economy and that learners will participate in CTE programs with data-driven and validated labor market value.

Advance CTE newest paper, Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand, describes some approaches that states are taking to partner across agencies to access and review labor market information; develop definitions for high skill, high wage and in demand; provide local flexibility, while maintaining guardrails; and disseminate the information widely to key audiences.

For example:

For more, including specific definitions used by the states mentioned above and others, read Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand.

The report was made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Publications, Resources
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