Posts Tagged ‘Learning that Works Resource Center’

Research Roundup: Strategies for Fostering Effective Partnerships for Equitable CTE Research

Monday, June 26th, 2023

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s blog highlights strategies that support the connection between researchers and local CTE practitioners to generate evidence-based research to inform program improvement. These findings align with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where each learner engages in a responsive career preparation ecosystem.

State CTE leaders are eager to learn about the newest innovations or best practices to improve CTE learner outcomes. Researchers play an important role in translating the outcomes of different interventions and distilling their findings into recommendations that help to shape the direction of CTE programs. The K-12 education research landscape is rapidly shifting, and to effectively recruit districts and schools, researchers need to have strategies for building strong partnerships. A recent blog from the Career & Technical Education Research Network suggests that understanding these changes and their implications for evaluations is crucial for funders, researchers, and policymakers because of limited information on evidence-based CTE strategies and relatively few causal studies of CTE.

During the pandemic, it became clear that districts and schools are already facing many challenges regarding the availability of resources and their capacity to participate in research evaluations. Additional barriers include challenges with identifying clear counterfactuals, or programs to serve as reasonable comparisons, navigating district approval processes, and the willingness of schools to participate in district research.

States can support researchers to mitigate these challenges and foster mutually beneficial research partnerships with local practitioners that will contribute to the development of an effective data strategy. 


The CTE Research Network suggests the following strategies: 

Application for State CTE Leaders 

Strategic partnerships provide CTE leadership with relevant, evidence-based recommendations for implementing high-quality CTE programs for every learner. These partnerships expand the scope and quality of data available to state leaders by working directly with districts to capture the most timely information available to improve the alignment and quality of CTE programs.

There are several examples of established partnerships between state-level agencies and researchers. The Data Quality Campaign produced a Roadmap for Effective Data Use and Research Partnerships that breaks down the steps for integrating research into school improvement policies. 

The American Youth Policy Forum and Results for America also offer resources targeted to support state leaders in pushing beyond simply disseminating data to leverage research evidence to drive policy decisions.

Additional resources on data-informed program improvement can be found in Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center. The Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative blog series represent lessons learned and successful strategies employed across the five states to move their data systems and structures forward.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

By Layla Alagic in Research
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Perkins Regional Meetings April and May 2023: Key Takeaways

Thursday, June 8th, 2023

Over April and May 2023, Advance CTE hosted three Perkins Regional Meetings across the country in Minneapolis, Baltimore and Phoenix, with over 200 leaders from across 40 states and territories which was made possible through support from the Gates Foundation. The agenda for the three meetings was designed for state leaders from secondary, postsecondary and workforce development to connect and collaborate on ways to enhance their current Career Technical Education (CTE) systems and programs. 

States participated in keynote presentations, workshops, roundtables focused on supporting special populations and cross-state sharing sessions with the intent of building and strengthening the career preparation ecosystem for all learners across the nation. State leaders and our Advance CTE team were both energized by the engagement and inspired by the dedication of all those that attended the meetings and are working to create a high-quality and equitable system that supports all CTE learners.

While each state has its own unique challenges, accomplishments and opportunities, certain recurring themes emerged across multiple states. The national CTE landscape is one of great opportunity but will need support to provide access to high-quality experiences for all CTE learners. 

Key Takeaways



Using the information gained at these meetings, CTE leaders will be able to build upon the accomplishments and help provide resources, tools and support to address the challenges within the current system, with an eye towards how states will leverage the potential to revise or update their Perkins V state plans as their original four-year plans come to a close next spring. Advance CTE continues to be available as a resource to provide best practices, information on innovative policies on the horizon and technical assistance to states to achieve our shared vision of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits).

As states work to address the challenges they face, Advance CTE has numerous resources available below and through the Learning that Works Resource Center to assist with goal set and challenges identified during the meeting: 

Save the Date for our next in-person opportunity to connect and receive support from Advance CTE! Our 2023 Fall Meeting: Elevating CTE’s Impact, will be held October 16-18 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Paul Mattingly, Senior Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Uncategorized
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Welcome Brice Thomas to Advance CTE!

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022


My name is Brice Thomas and I’m excited to be a part of the Advance CTE team. I serve as a policy associate directly supporting Advance CTE’s state policy initiatives. I lead state policy tracking for legislation impacting Career Technical Education (CTE) while also contributing to projects including research and resource management associated with building high-quality career pathways. I also manage the Learning that Works Resource Center.

I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration but was immediately drawn to working in education, serving as a college registrar. I also worked as a membership associate for a trade association and served as a regional organizer for a major political campaign. After which I realized education was truly my passion. Most recently, I was as an elementary school teacher for five years. During this time in my professional career journey, I completed my Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. I’m excited to bring my varied experiences and perspective to support Advance CTE’s members and CTE learners.
Outside of work I’m known to sing a bit of karaoke, explore museums, discover new restaurants, write poetry, or go on misadventures with my friends.

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate

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Brave Dialogues to Advance CTE Without Limits

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), calls on leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE) to identify and dismantle the institutional and systemic barriers that limit access, opportunity and outcomes for learners, particularly those who have been historically marginalized and excluded from high-quality CTE programs. While the field has come a long way from the days of tracking learners into terminal vocational programs that denied their full potential, CTE still has work to do to ensure each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. 

State CTE leaders have made commitments to advancing equity in CTE, most notably in their Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) plans. However, there is often a disconnect between these commitments and the data which show persistent opportunity gaps for learners with special population status, learners from low-income families and learners of color. In order to understand this disconnect, state CTE leaders and CTE practitioners must engage in brave dialogues about the systemic and structural challenges facing learners who have been historically marginalized and excluded in order to take bold steps in developing effective policies, programs and practices rooted in equity. 

Brave Dialogues: A Guide to Discussing Racial Equity in Career Technical Education is a resource designed to support state CTE leaders and practitioners in these efforts. Structured around a framework towards critical self-reflection, this guide asks participants to reflect on how they are positioned within organizations that have historically marginalized learners and consider ways they can actively dismantle the systems and structures that still persist today. As part of critical self-reflection, leaders critically examine the role of school programs, departments, hiring practices, enrichment courses and other school structures. In CTE, that may include examining entrance requirements for certain programs of study or whether all learners have equitable access to all programs of study offered by a school or district. 

The primary audience for this guide is state CTE leaders who are encouraged to use this as a resource with their staff and local practitioners including teachers, faculty, counselors, career advisors, principals, deans, instructional staff, work-based learning coordinators, learner support staff, etc. This guide can be used in various contexts including professional development; diversity, equity and inclusion training; exploration of opportunity gaps; data-driven decisionmaking and funding initiatives; and the Perkins V comprehensive local needs assessment. 

Participants in brave dialogues explore important concepts such as identity awareness, implicit bias, privilege, equity vs equality, structural racism, and how to approach policy and practice with an equity-minded lens. This guide recognizes that there is often great discomfort in discussing race, particularly racial inequities. Ultimately, the goal is for users of this guide to become better equipped and motivated to advance anti-racist CTE policies and practices. Anti-racist policies and practices are not race neutral; rather, they are crafted in recognition that historically, CTE — and education more broadly — has systematically perpetuated inequities among certain learner populations. Thus, anti-racist policies and practices are designed to actively dismantle those systems and create an environment where all learners have the resources and opportunities needed to thrive.

Advance CTE hopes this guide can support state CTE leaders in furthering their commitment to advancing equity in CTE. Through brave dialogues, CTE leaders can truly create a career preparation equity system without limits that is fully flexible and responsive to the diverse needs of each learner.

For more resources on access and equity in CTE, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, CTE Without Limits, Resources, Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, a virtual K-12 academy in Michigan, has seen an increase in enrollment for CTE courses. As a result of the pandemic, many students have responded to local labor market needs, and taken an interest in the health science Career Cluster®

One Health Science Instructor at the academy, AJ Krey, mentions, “it’s a program for all students that are interested in anything medicine.” More information can be found in this article published by WBKB-TV 11. 


The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education announced their upcoming webinar series on CTE in the middle grades. The first of two webinars will be held on January 27, 2021. Click here for more information and to register. 


SkillsUSA has opened their application window for the National Technical Honor Society/ SkillsUSA Scholarship. Both organizations strive to uphold the other’s mission by providing learners with scholarship opportunities that contribute to their educational experience.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce and that each learner excels. SkillsUSA provides educational programs, events and competitions that support CTE in the nation’s classrooms.

More information on the scholarship and how to apply can be found here


This week, the Ohio Association of Career-Technical Superintendents shared this video to aid in career exploration and the awareness of Ohio‘s 49 career centers.


Last week the omnibus bill that was passed by Congress to provide federal funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21)- which includes Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed)- was signed into law by the president. Importantly, this included an increase of $52.25 million for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing the total to approximately $1.334 billion. Overall, the bill included an increase of approximately $785 million for education programs and an increase of approximately $122 million for labor programs.

View more Legislative Updates from this week here


The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE examines the ways in which states can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE systems for all students. States can use this resource to evaluate best practices and strategies for engaging the employer community.

The report drew from a survey of 47 State CTE Directors as well as a dozen interviews to understand how and in what ways employers were engaging with CTE across the country and to illuminate the state’s role in fostering employer engagement.

View The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Getting to Know Advance CTE’s Work in Scaling Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

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 Brian Robinson! Brian is a policy associate for Advance CTE’s state policy team. Brian supports our data and knowledge management work, the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI), funded by ECMC Foundation, research and data collection around the nation’s area technical centers and leads communities of practice where we bring together states in the cohort to share best practices and work through data challenges and needs. 

Brian also manages our Learning that Works Resource Center which is a resource repository of all things CTE with over 500 reports, case studies, and more spanning 14 different topic categories.

Q: How would you define work-based learning, and the role it plays in high-quality Career Technical Education?

A: Work-based learning is pretty broad in definition; it is the opportunity for learners to develop awareness and exposure to different careers, explore different career paths, make connections between classroom learning and programs of study, and demonstrate their skills in an authentic real-world setting.

Work-based learning has the power to make the abstract real for learners, providing the opportunity to apply industry skills in the field and learning directly from practitioners. Work-based learning also has the power of building social and cultural capital for learners that we know is important for career advancement. Learners have the opportunity to build professional networks, find mentors, and learn soft skills like how to show up to work on time, how to interact with colleagues and clients, how one dresses for work or an interview, how to develop a resume, etc. All of this matters when we’re thinking about high-quality CTE and equitable career development.

Q: During the pandemic and distance learning, in what innovative ways have states continued to provide work-based learning opportunities for learners? 

A: This has been one of the most challenging aspects of CTE during the pandemic – work-based learning. A lot of businesses were closed, businesses nor schools wanted to take on the liability of having a student working during the pandemic, and of course parents did not want their children being exposed either. Many states turned to virtual experiences for work-based learning opportunities on the lower end of the spectrum because those were easier. Work-based learning coordinators in South Carolina created virtual tour videos for learners in place of “field trips”. Many states and local school districts partnered with for-profit companies to create experiences such as live industry chats with industry professionals. In some limited cases students were able to engage in virtual internships. In Miami-Dade, Florida, they turned their summer youth internship program into a virtual experience. Almost 3,000 learners worked in South Florida this summer in a wide range of industries. However, most programs of study are very difficult to deliver virtually and even when you can, there’s the issue of the digital divide that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

Q:  What are some ways states can continue to think boldly about scaling their work-based learning opportunities across their CTE programs?

A: Advance CTE is currently rewriting our work-based learning guide with a focus on approaches states can take to ensure equitable access to high-quality work-based learning experiences regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ability, or geography. There are five – that provide the basis for the guide- approaches states can take to boldly scaling work-based learning opportunities:

  1. Establish a clear and ambitious statewide vision for equitable access and create the policy environment and infrastructure to support this vision. 
  2. Create and/or support statewide and local/regional intermediaries who do the on-the-ground work of recruiting learners and employers, helping to facilitate work-based learning experiences, and supporting both learners and employers through the process. 
  3. Use data to advance equity and program quality. It’s not enough to just collect data, but leverage that data to track learner participation and success in high-quality work-based learning opportunities. Use the data to identify opportunity gaps and create a plan to close those gaps. 
  4. Engage with employers to meet the needs of the labor market while expanding opportunities to traditionally underrepresented learner populations and maximizing learning outcomes. 
  5. Lastly, identify successful programs or create pilot programs that can be scaled to create more opportunities for all learners


Q: What resources can you share with states on work-based learning?

A: States looking to scale their current work-based learning opportunities can leverage the Work-based Learning tab in the Learning that Works Resource Center where all of our great resources are. Some specific ones are:

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate 

By admin in Uncategorized
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Getting to Know Wisconsin’s Cultural Support Specialists

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

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: 

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

By admin in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Friday, August 7th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.


CareerOneStop has created a series of videos introducing and highlighting industries and careers related to the 16 Career ClustersⓇ. These new videos can be used with prospective CTE students and families to help them learn about CTE opportunities. View the new videos here


Klein Independent School District (ISD), located in Texas, has been awarded the Houston Business Journal’s (HBJ) Innovation Award. Klein ISD is specifically awarded for their Advanced Nursing Pathway, and is the only awardee to be honored twice by the HBJ. A standout feature of the program is its commitment to community partnerships and access opportunities for all learners. Read more here.


View Pivot to Recover here


According to Michael Piper, Lowe’s Military Recruiting Strategist and Air Force veteran, “there will be an estimated three million job openings in the skilled trades industry by 2028.” Because of the growing talent need in the skilled trade industry, Lowe’s has made a $4.5 million commitment and partnered with AMVETS to provide grant and scholarship opportunities to re-skill and up-skill the military community. The opportunities include: the Veteranpreneur Business Grants, the Lowe’s + AMVETS Technology Scholarships and the Generation T Scholarships. Read more about the grant and scholarship offerings and how to apply here


Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) are continuing to advocate for direct funding for CTE and workforce programs to be included in the next relief package to ensure learners are prepared for labor market needs, particularly as the economy begins to rebuild after the pandemic. We need your help quickly to emphasize this message with Congress as the congressional leaders come together in negotiations. Click here to ask your Members of Congress to support the inclusion of funds for CTE, as provided in the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, in the next relief package.


Schools and colleges across the nation have found innovative ways to connect with industry to strengthen their CTE programs. However, with a growing skills gap and rapidly changing workplace, more must be done to ensure educational institutions have the capacity to prepare each learner to succeed in today’s economy. Cheat Sheet: Opportunities for Employer Involvement in CTE identifies ways in which employers can begin to get involved with CTE programs.

View the resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By admin in Resources
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New Skills for Youth Innovation Site Snapshots Released

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. In addition to the state-based investments, which Advance CTE led in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group, JPMorgan Chase also invested in local innovation sites across the globe.

Today, Advance CTE released snapshots on two of these innovation sites, which document the progress of the local investments that aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. While each site has its unique context, each is working to improve and expand career pathways, hands-on work-based learning experiences and provide support for learners through sustainable partnerships between the education community and business and industry.

The two snapshots:

Greater Washington Region developed a four-year initiative to explore how the public and private sectors can work together to grow the local Information Technology (IT) economy throughout the Washington DC region.

Germany has launched the Zukunftsträger initiative to improve transitions from school to the workforce for the country’s vulnerable youth populations. 

While each site has its unique context, each is working to improve and expand career pathways, hands-on work-based learning experiences and provide support for learners through sustainable partnerships between the education community and business and industry. In total, over 205,000 students have been impacted by the local investments from JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth initiative, with the investments spanning over twelve sites in thirteen countries across four continents.

Each New Skill for Youth Innovation Site snapshot is now in our resource center. Review the total impact from all innovation sites in the summary report

Help us share!
Tweet: Over 205,000 students have been impacted by @jpmorgan and the New Skills for Youth local investments. The most recent snapshots of the Greater Washington Region and Germany have now been released by @CTEWorks. View their impacts at #CTEWorks

By admin in Resources
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This Week in CTE

Friday, June 24th, 2016


Advance CTE staff was spread across the country this week with two staff members attending the exciting SkillsUSA competition in Kentucky bringing together thousands of students from across the country to compete.


This week, Advance CTE launched the Learning that Works Resource Center where you can find all the latest reports, case studies, tools, guides and policies on CTE and career readiness. Be sure to check out the new Resource Center and let us know if you have any materials that should be included! The Resource Center was developed as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership between Advance CTE, CCSSO and Education Strategy Group, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.


WDQC’s new infographic highlights examples of state legislation that requires colleges and universities to report on employment and earnings of program graduates.


Transportation: A natural vehicle for integrated STEM learning will explore STEM learning in programs using a transportation lens through informal educational settings and will build off of the findings from the 2015 National Research Council’s report on productive STEM programs in out-of-school settings.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By admin in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, Meetings and Events, Resources, Webinars
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