Posts Tagged ‘postsecondary cte’

ECMCF Fellow Feature: Danny Sandoval

Friday, October 27th, 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. ECMCF Fellow Danny Sandoval (CO) is already applying the skills he’s acquired in the Fellowship to build his team in meaningful ways.

Tell me more about your journey to the Fellowship.

When I first saw the Fellowship advertised, I dismissed it because I wasn’t confident that I was the type of candidate they were looking for. Shortly after, I had a colleague at my institution share it with me, and then I had another colleague who had participated in the first cohort of the Fellowship reach out to try and recruit me. After talking with him, I decided to attend the information session with Dr. Johnson and that was the final nudge I needed to submit my application.

My initial hesitation was due in part to the fact that I didn’t feel like I had enough Career Technical Education (CTE) experience to be considered a good fit for the program. I’d done adjacent work with CTE programs but at that point, I hadn’t worked in CTE, but the Fellowship has allowed me to leverage this experience and it’s been great. 

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

I have learned a lot about the operational aspects of CTE, meaning the governance structures, program operation and funding. It’s almost like a conveyor belt humming along under postsecondary that is always moving, so understanding the policies and practices and building a knowledge base of CTE’s significance in the history of our country has been a huge piece for me. Through the Fellowship, I’ve gotten a national perspective of CTE, and how it looks in different states, and I’ve been able to zero in to gain a better understanding of the way programs are organized and interact with industry partners in my own state. This has definitely been an area where I feel like I’ve experienced significant growth over the past year.

Throughout my career, I’ve done a lot of work where I’ve partnered with different industries or different organizations outside of education. It wasn’t until this Fellowship that I made the connection that this work of partnering has been CTE work. Being able to name it and being able to see that my own career journey has also been like a CTE journey has been really reaffirming. Last year, our Pathways Conference in Colorado brought Joel Vargas who was one of the authors of Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) “The Big Blur” report, and his presentation really resonated with me. It is important for people to see that CTE doesn’t have to live in a separate box.  

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

I started a brand new job in the summer of 2020, and it was the first time in my career that I was required to get a CTE license for my role. Taking the steps to maintain my licensure and then continue to elevate my license for professional advancement was a crash course into the world of CTE. This was a brand new position, and the staff didn’t have a plan for what this was going to look like, but I’ve made a lot of connections from hopping into the different professional networks. Fast forward to the present day and I’m now overseeing a team of five people and preparing to hire two more. I went from having almost no budget to being awarded 2.8 million dollars for competitive grants I’ve written. I’m managing multiple grant initiatives and programs and collaborating with external partners to continue to develop additional systems. I’m directly applying the skills and knowledge gained through the Fellowship to execute my vision for my department and even my hiring practices. I’ve been able to see the ways that I can tap the diverse talent in my community. Without the Fellowship, I don’t think I’d have as much clarity around this vision.

When asked about how I’ve managed to acquire these grants, I just say that it comes down to the clear commitment our office has to upskilling and reskilling people of color in our community. We know exactly how to leverage these funds to bring enhanced experiences and opportunities to disadvantaged populations. Marginalized populations can encounter issues – falling flat in leadership roles, or encountering other barriers that keep the momentum from building. The plateau is by design. In order to fight back against that, I have taken the confidence built by the Fellowship and applied these skills to this work. There’s a real purpose driving our implementation and the Fellowship was very instrumental in helping to establish and refine that vision to keep it focused so we aren’t tempted to deviate from it.

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

I feel like the skills I’ve developed through the Fellowship have prepared me for a lot of different roles and expanded my understanding of what type of opportunities would align with my interests.

I’ve been able to attend different conferences in my state and talk with leaders to learn more about their roles in the state CTE landscape. This fellowship has opened doors for me to meet people across the state and beyond and helped me reframe my thinking about what my career trajectory might be. I’ve been able to build up my current role and that momentum excites me. As I continue to build my network by interacting with different folks in state leadership, industry and those working on national initiatives, I feel like the next step will present itself when the time is right.

How has the Fellowship expanded your network?

The Fellowship has expanded my network in a few important ways. I’ve learned a lot from my cohort-mates, attending conferences and hearing from guest speakers during the workshops. I’ve also been able to join Advance CTE’s Kitchen Cabinet on Apprenticeships. This group is advising national policy and it has been a fascinating experience. I’ve been working with my mentor Sonja Wright-McMurray, and I’ve also been able to connect with Dr. Laura Maldonado at Advance CTE. The network is limitless. 

You can contact Danny at

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Fellowship Panel Illuminates Impact of Structures to Cultivate Diverse Leadership Pipelines

Thursday, October 26th, 2023

During Advance CTE’s 2023 Fall Meeting, four members of the second cohort of the 15-month Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation participated in a panel discussion to share their experiences and knowledge gained from the Fellowship, as well how state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders can remove barriers for diverse aspiring postsecondary leaders.

Jomarie Coloriano – Inclusive Excellence, Director | Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Wisconsin


Dr. Crystal Gardner – Program Director | Workforce Instruction, Workforce Research and Development | Houston Community College, Texas


Dr. Angela Lawhorne – Director of Career Education Programs & Workforce Partnerships | Virginia Community College System, Virginia


Caleb Perriton – Program Director | Trades and Technical Studies | Laramie County Community College, Wyoming


Fellows shared their reasons for applying to the Fellowship, which ranged from seeking out leadership opportunities to advance at their current institution to being forwarded the application by a colleague or a supervisor who believed and supported their leadership aspirations. A common theme shared by each was the desire to address a specific concern related to policy and processes within postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE). The application for the Fellowship included a question on future goals and a challenge related to equity and a population of learners applicants wanted to research and develop an intervention for while completing the Fellowship. The Fellows pointed to the intentionality of explicitly requiring applicants to reflect on and consider CTE leadership opportunities and the inclusion of an equity-based real-world project made the decision to apply an easy choice. 

Fellows were also asked to share the key event or events that reinforced their decision to apply to the Fellowship, in other words – when they knew they made the right decision. Dr. Gardner shared that in CTE she rarely has an opportunity to work with or collaborate with other leaders of color across the nation and view the entire landscape of leadership possibilities in postsecondary CTE. The Fellowship offered an opportunity to build a network consisting of her peers, guest speakers invited to the Fellowship workshop and most importantly her coach whom she felt she was perfectly matched with based on their commonalities and interests. She recognized the level of thought the Advance CTE staff dedicated to finding the right mentor for each of the Fellows. Caleb discussed being paired with a postsecondary administrator with an automotive background and how the monthly coaching meetings inspired him to begin seeking the director position he currently holds at his institution. 

Each of the Fellows discussed the impact of their real-world project and the effect of completing the project has had on their current work and aspirations to continue climbing the postsecondary CTE leadership ladder. Dr Lawhorne’s project focused on improving access to justice-involved learners in Virginia and the state’s current efforts to expand, through the community college system, access to high-quality CTE programming. In the process of completing her project, an award of $70,000 was granted to support the project which allowed for the inclusion of other correctional facilities in the intervention strategy being implemented at a few select sites in the state. 

As part of Jomarie Coloriano’s project research on providing information on and access to wrap-around services for economically disadvantaged learners in her region of the Wisconsin Technical College System, she conducted a focus group which led to the identification of learner needs. This work led to an advancement to director as she continues to complete her doctoral program and the continuation of her research on increasing the postsecondary outcomes of economically disadvantaged learners. Jomarie shared during the panel discussion, “my mentor has really pushed me as a college student, first generation professional, now a doctoral student and pioneer for my family.”

This panel allowed CTE leaders to see the impact and influence of leadership development programs. Caleb shared with the state leaders that “there’s work that needs to be done in your state, and this Fellowship was the catalyst to complete a project that was needed in my community.” State and local CTE leaders can use Advance CTE’s new Building a Diverse CTE Leadership Pipeline Toolkit, to assess and build leadership development structures in their own institutions. The resource includes an overview of lessons learned from the Fellowship as well as a guidebook and accompanying workbook to assess and build leadership development structures. 

Dr. Kevin Johnson, Senior Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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Research Round-up: Racial Equity in Online and Hybrid CTE Programs

Monday, September 25th, 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 opportunities for state leaders to consider implications for equity in online and hybrid CTE courses. These findings align with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where each learner accesses high-quality CTE programs without borders.

Data Insights to Improve Racial Equity in Online Postsecondary Career and Technical Education Research and Learning from CTE CoLab, released by Urban Institute’s CTE CoLab, provides insights into racial equity gaps in postsecondary CTE programs, especially those offered partially or fully online. With the continued growth of online learning, this report underscores the importance of understanding how programs can meet student needs, address barriers, and create equitable experiences for students of color. This blog provides definitions of commonly used terms within the report, the methodology of the research, relevant findings for state leaders, and recommendations with targeted action steps by stakeholder groups.

Key findings  

Research Background & Methodology

CTE CoLab first analyzed available national data and existing literature to establish an understanding of the current racial equity gaps among learners in CTE programs. This data was used to develop a preliminary framework (see below). Twelve community and technical college programs from across the country joined the CTE CoLab’s college community of practice through a competitive selection process. Participating programs shared student academic data with the Urban Institute for calendar years 2021 and 2022 (i.e., spring 2021 through fall 2022) and provided insights on the structural gaps within their programs through an ongoing coaching engagement and targeted interviews.

Feedback from instructor surveys documented faculty characteristics, classroom practices, familiarity and comfort with racial equity concepts, and program challenges related to racial equity. In addition to using the research insights from the Urban Institute to support their racial equity work, many participating programs also conducted their own student surveys and focus groups to better understand student experiences.



Key recommendations

Based on the findings, the following recommendations provide targeted action steps organized by stakeholder group. For additional perspectives, refer to page 24 in the report.

To learn more about resources and strategies to increase equitable access for every CTE learner, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center

Amy Hodge, Member and Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Research
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ECMCF Fellow Feature: Dr. Luv’Tesha Robertson

Thursday, June 15th, 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. For this blog in the ECMCF Fellow Feature series, we interviewed  ECMCF Fellow Dr. Luv’Tesha Robertson (KY), who is already using the momentum of the Fellowship to make a positive impact in her role at the Office of Adult Education (OAE) at the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC).

“When our passion fuels our purpose, we will always blossom where we have been planted and do great work as servant leaders.”

As a lifelong learner, Dr. Robertson always embraced the opportunity to work in spaces where she believed that her skills and talents would have the greatest impact. She discovered her talent for large-scale project work when she worked as a senior associate with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. In this position, Dr. Robertson played a key role in advancing strategic priorities to improve Kentucky’s cradle-to-career initiatives by collaborating with teams across state education agencies and post-secondary institutions. Within six months, this work was rewarded when she was promoted to Director of Program Administration and Accountability with the Office of Adult Education.

“In my current role, I believe that I truly have the best of both worlds. Not only am I able to provide technical assistance to Kentucky’s 26 adult education providers, but I also have the opportunity to dive deeper into local, state, and federal policy and fully utilize my doctorate.”

Dr. Robertson had the opportunity to learn more about the world of career and technical education (CTE) by serving as an academic program manager with the Kentucky Department of Education. Understanding the important role that plays as the nexus of education and the workforce led her to participate in the 2021 Advance CTE Spring meeting.

“This Fellowship was the perfect opportunity to leverage my experience working across different levels of state policy. I realized that the resources and training afforded through this Fellowship would allow me to become the change I wanted to see and make a difference for CTE in Kentucky.”

Dr. Robertson credits the Fellowship with helping her grow as an equity-minded leader and find her voice in this space. In her current position as the Deputy Executive Director with the Office of Adult Education, she has the power and confidence to discuss the challenges that learners face, and the skills in conducting needs assessments to identify and address gaps in processes, programming, and policy.

As a result, Dr. Robertson felt prepared to apply the skills she’s gained through the Fellowship when asked to lead the state’s integrated education and training and workplace literacy initiative. By aligning the cabinet’s work with Advance CTE’s Vision Framework, Dr. Robertson is strategic in how she plans to increase state education outcomes for the Commonwealth as a whole.

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Luv’Tesha Robertson by email at  

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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ECMCF Fellow Feature: Dominique Footes

Monday, June 5th, 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. For this next blog in the ECMCF Fellow Feature series, we interviewed  ECMCF Fellow Dominique Footes (MD) who is passionate about elevating CTE and using data to advance equity for every learner.

Tell me more about your journey to the Fellowship.

I was drawn to the Fellowship’s focus on using data as a tool to advocate for equity, and I had previously worked with Dr. Kevin Johnson through the Association of Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) Inclusion, Access, Equity and Diversity Mentorship program, so I was confident that the professional development through this experience would be rigorous. He’s the type of mentor that will encourage and push you to analyze DEI issues on a deeper level and asks questions that you’ve never considered before. I knew that I was up to the challenge, and I knew that this would be an incredible opportunity for growth. 

What are the skills or areas where you’ve experienced the most growth in the program? 

I’ve noticed a change in my confidence and the way that I communicate. Fellowships can be intimidating, from the expert speakers to the caliber of my fellow cohort members and having the confidence to navigate these spaces is a huge success. I know that my experience as a practitioner is valuable, and now I have more confidence to ask questions to translate what might be happening in another state to apply it to our own context in Maryland. Engaging with speakers has been the highlight of this experience for me.

Engaging with other Fellows has been great. I’ve been able to learn more about how others have leveraged DEI in their work and applied similar approaches to conversations I am having with my organization’s leadership. My program is centered around career development for minority students and I’ve had the confidence to pose challenging questions that they’ve been very receptive to. 

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

The topics we’ve explored in the Fellowship are timely with my current projects as a Special Programs Administrator. We’re looking to engage more minorities in STEM spaces and have the knowledge of how to approach this work with fidelity. 

I have a lot of experience working with students. When I combine this experience with the postsecondary knowledge that I’m gaining through the Fellowship, I’ve seen that my colleagues are more willing to listen to the needs of students to support their career development experiences. I am able to speak directly about the process for re-engaging them post-COVID and what we need to do to equip them to return to the classroom.

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

My conversations and relationship with my mentor have been really valuable in helping me realize the professional opportunities that exist to support postsecondary work. Initially, I wasn’t sure of the direction I wanted to go in, but learning more about organizations that do work externally to support postsecondary programs and elevate their work with students has been really rewarding. 

I’m grateful for this thought partnership, and I’ve been able to reflect on how I can continue to build a strong foundation to do meaningful work.

I feel like we’ve reached a point where we have to start looking at CTE as a starting point rather than a stop. This is a huge part of the work that I’m doing and I want to ensure that I am highlighting these programs for students so that they understand that they can access them wherever they are in their journey.

Academic exploration needs to go hand-in-hand with skills training and we need to consider how we’re reflecting this in the marketing of these programs. This work is done through advocacy and increasing awareness of what CTE is. For example, students may not understand that STEM programs fall under CTE. They need to know about all the different pathways and the spectrum within these programs for upskilling. 

Tell us more about your Real-World Project which focuses on using data to provide more supportive programming for women entering STEM industry programs.

I know that engaging women in these spaces is really important and there is definitely a need to increase the number of young women in STEM programs. This issue became more urgent after the pandemic because of the disproportionate burden that was placed on women. There is acknowledgment across the STEM field and a desire to see women succeed but we need to understand the best way to support them. 

My project evaluates the tools that we’re providing learners to understand the impact on their persistence in and completion of their programs. We also want to understand how they’re being prepared to transition into the workforce. I saw an opportunity to leverage and organize the data we’ve collected on women participating in CTE.  I am developing a tool that aggregates the available data to develop a program that targets the specific challenges women in STEM programs are encountering. 

Making sure the student is self-sufficient when they leave us and have the necessary language and tools to succeed in these industries and hopefully turn around and uplift that next group is important.

If you have any questions, contact Dominique Footes by email at   

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Advancing Equity in CTE: A Review on the Current State of CTE Leadership Programs and Diversification Efforts

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

This is the second in a series of four blogs about the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation and offers a review of several states’ Career Technical Education (CTE) leadership training initiatives and current efforts to diversify the pool of qualified candidates, specific to racial diversity. 

In the first blog of this series, Advancing Equity in CTE: Making the Case for Diverse Leadership Pipelines in Career Technical Education, we shared data that highlighted the increase of diversity of learners in CTE programs and in comparison, the reality that state CTE leadership has remained mostly White, with approximately 13 percent of State CTE Directors identifying as non-White. As we seek to achieve a more demographically representative state CTE leadership, as called for in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), this blog reviews the state of the CTE leadership pipeline in three states – Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio. These states can both serve as exemplars and a starting point to evaluate the needs of state CTE systems to create more robust and diverse talent pipelines. 


The current state of CTE leadership training programs vary based on state requirements to become a CTE administrator and how states and organizations without certification or licensure requirements decide to offer training opportunities. As of 2017 only 16 states require CTE administrators to attain a certification or licensure to teach at the secondary level.  In the postsecondary space, the number of institutions of higher learning offering coursework specific to administrating and leading a CTE program are consistently declining; just nine states offer formal preparation programs 1. Administrative training for CTE is increasingly being offered in the form of mentorship programs, contracted hybrid virtual training typically modules, conference workshops or training academies offered by state CTE agencies and CTE affiliated organizations. 


The state offers leadership training through centers supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) at three sites, the state’s eastern site is located at Temple University, the central site is located at Penn State University and the western site is located at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The programs offer a CTE Director’s Certificate for grades 7-12 which can be completed in two years and a Master of Education degree option in a virtual setting with a window of completion of two to three years. Additional or alternative training in the form of mentorship programs and conference workshops is also available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Career and Technical Education (BCTE) and the Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA). These efforts are bolstered by the requirement as mandated by the Pennsylvania Legislature and facilitated through the PA Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program for a CTE administrator to complete a certification process, Praxis Series School Leaders Licensure Assessment. A recent effort to establish CTE leadership standards is the development of a set of knowledge and skill core competencies (KSCC) resulting from the triangulated research conducted at Penn State University 2. The core competencies addressed are:

To date, the PDE has requested alignment between the research-developed KSCCs and the CTE Director Certificate offered in Pennsylvania. 


Secondary CTE administrator training in Texas is offered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Career & Technical Association of Texas (CTAT). The New CTE Administrator and Counselor Sessions, professional training modules provided to local education agencies by the TEA at no cost, focuses on preparing administrators to develop CTE systems aligned to the state’s college, career and military readiness (CCMR) standards ensuring access and equity in CTE programming. The NextGen Administrators, training designed for mid-level administrators such as CTE coordinators, specialists and instructional coaches with less than five years of experience, is a virtual option offered by CTAT with aspiring leaders meeting on a monthly basis for 13 months. The program explicitly lists as session topics Terminology and Best Practices in Cultural Diversity and Differentiated Instruction for Special Populations. The state agency no cost training was provided through the use of the state’s Carl D. Perkins Act leadership funds. 


The Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education supports CTE administrators for secondary and postsecondary leadership through the Byrl R. Shoemaker CTE Institute. A one-year hybrid program which includes beginning and ending with a legislative seminar, site visits to secondary LEAs and local higher education institutions, conference attendance, networking opportunities with local and state leaders and the completion of a team project.  

Diversification of the CTE Talent Pipeline

While the states reviewed do not specifically outline a process to recruit diverse aspiring CTE administrators, leadership pipeline training opportunities are accessible and prominently featured on state and CTE support organizations’ websites. As identified in the first blog of this series and in alignment with CTE Without Limits Principle 2, the nation’s rapidly changing demographics create a sense of urgency related to the intentional recruitment of diverse leaders into the currently limited administrator pipelines available to CTE professionals. 

In the next blog in this series, we will explore how state CTE leaders can (and why they should) lead with an equity lens. To learn more about the need for equity in CTE, visit Making Good on the Promise: Understanding the Equity Challenge in CTE in the Advance CTE Resource Center.

Read the full blog series

Blog 1: Advancing Equity in CTE: Making the Case for Diverse Leadership Pipelines in Career Technical Education

Blog 3: Advancing Equity in CTE: The Equity-Minded Leadership Framework

Blog 4: Advancing Equity in CTE: Administrative Policy Review – An Assessment of Equitable Practices

Dr. Kevin Johnson, Sr., Senior Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE, Advancing Equity in CTE
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Research Round-up: New Reports on Work-Based Learning Address Impacts for Learners and Institutions

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

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 focus supports a vision for the future of CTE where statewide systems and institutions effectively support each learner to earn credentials that are counted, valued, and portable.

Two recent reports from JFF and New America highlight the benefits of different workforce development programs; apprenticeships and work-based learning (WBL), and the opportunity to increase equitable access to these programs for every learner.

Addressing disparities in apprenticeship participation may fast-track non-traditional learners into living wage jobs.

JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning published a report analyzing young people’s apprenticeship participation through an equity lens. The Current State of Diversity and Equity in U.S. Apprenticeships for Young People utilizes data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Database System to analyze youth apprenticeship participation from fiscal years 2010-2020. 

Average Hourly Exit Wage by Gender and Race/ Ethnicity for All Youth Participants in Apprenticeships, FY 2010-2020







Paid, postsecondary work-based learning pilot programs may be an effective tool for improving learner retention. 

New America recently published case studies of postsecondary institutions that have piloted paid work-based learning programs. This report, “What Everyone Should Know about Designing Equity-Minded Paid Work-Based Learning Opportunities for College Students” highlights the findings from case studies of emerging paid WBL program models across the country to understand the motivation, goals, and design of paid WBL opportunities available at two-year colleges. The findings include implications for state policymakers and college stakeholders in career services, academic advising, and workforce development. 

While the learner populations across these reports vary, common themes can be drawn from the key findings of these two reports: 

Additional Resources

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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Legislative Update: Congress in Recess Through the Midterms

Friday, October 28th, 2022

The last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have remained in recess ahead of the upcoming midterm elections set to take place November 8. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new CTE data while the agency finalized new rules for postsecondary education. 

Congress Focuses on Midterms, Will Return Next Month

Both the Senate and House are currently only holding pro forma sessions until after the fast-approaching midterm elections take place on November 8. Lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. to resume debate regarding the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process and other year-end priorities on November 14 as part of the “lame duck” session of the current 117th Congress. Advance CTE expects this year-end session to continue until December 16 when temporary federal funding legislation is scheduled to expire and could extend as far as December 24 before adjourning. 

ED Releases New CAR Report Data

This week the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) published performance and enrollment data from states’ Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) submissions as part of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). These data reflect learner performance during the 2020-21 program year and represents the first year that state performance data has been published under Perkins V since its reauthorization in 2018. Notably, these data make use of Perkins V’s new concentrator and participant definitions and also include new secondary CTE program quality indicators introduced by the legislation among several other changes. 

The data indicate a slight uptick in CTE enrollments, with 12 million CTE participants across the nation, including 8.3 million at the secondary level and 3.5 million at the postsecondary level. In addition, CTE concentrators had a graduation rate of 96 percent– substantially higher than the national average for all learners . The full set of data can be found here. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze and evaluate these data for other important trends and findings and will share those with the broader CTE community in the future. 

ED Publishes New Postsecondary Rules

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a new set of postsecondary rules intended to restrict proprietary school access to federal student aid and expand access to these funds for incarcerated learners. This final set of regulations was developed as part of a negotiated rulemaking panel tasked with finding consensus on these and several other issues of importance to postsecondary education. The first regulation– known informally as the 90/10 rule–stipulates that for-profit institutions cannot derive more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. This new rule further limits what funding “counts” towards this calculation. The second rule focuses on whether and how for-profit institutions can convert to nonprofit status (known as change in ownership). The third and final major component of this rules package expands Pell grant program eligibility to include justice-connected learners. 

These new regulatory changes are set to go into effect July 2023. The full announcement can be found here

Nation’s Report Card Shows National Drop in Academic Achievement

On Monday, October 24, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Known informally as the nation’s report card, the NAEP is a nationally representative assessment that measures learner academic achievement in grades 4 and 8 in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science and other fields of study. The results released this week illustrate troubling trends in learner scores in math and reading between 2019 and 2022, with the majority of states reporting a decline in learner achievement in these subject areas for learners at both grade levels and across socio-economic and other learner subpopulations. 

Reacting to the NAEP results, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, “The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students—especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic.”

Department of Energy Unveils School Infrastructure Grants

On Wednesday, October 26, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $80 million in new funding availability to support K-12 schools in making needed infrastructure upgrades and related improvements. The funding was authorized as part of last year’s American Rescue Plan which authorized a “Renew America’s Schools” program and allotted $500 million for similar activities. K-12 schools, charter school boards and local education agencies can all apply for this first tranche of funding ahead of a January 2023 application deadline. More information on the program can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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2022 Advance Fall Meeting Recap – Forward Together: Supporting Every Learner

Friday, October 28th, 2022

Advance CTE’s 2022 Fall Meeting, held last week, included five breakout sessions that equipped state leaders to support every learner in CTE by tailoring support to meet unique and intersecting learner population needs. 

Keep reading for key takeaways and resources from each session shared by state CTE leaders and our Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows! 

Serving Middle Grades Learners through Career Supports

Career advising and development supports geared towards middle grades learners to improve access and achieve high-quality and equitable secondary CTE programs prove to be an early opportunity to develop an occupational identity and better build social capital. Ohio discussed the policy structures the state  has put into place to support learners in CTE programs before they enter high school, including funding mechanisms and alignment of middle grades programs of study. Michigan Advance CTE-ECMC Fellow Tony Warren shared how states and regions can broaden a middle schoolers mindset by focusing on the challenge they want to solve and helping develop a pathway to achieve a goal centered on their intrinsic motivations. Fellow Donald Walker provided local examples of carrying out state policy and practice at the Detroit School of the Arts showcased how one school is putting state policy into practice and action. 

Supporting CTE Learners in Rural Communities

Representatives from Montana and California shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by CTE students who reside in rural areas of the United States. With a majority of Montana (46 out of 56 counties) being part of the frontier, the state has implemented the Hub & Spoke model for several programs. One such example is healthcare, which enabled a main campus to establish a healthcare program, complemented by satellite campuses through partnerships with local secondary and post-secondary institutions that offer limited services distributed across the other counties. 

Fellow Jean Claude Mbomeda shared California’s approach for reviewing disaggregated data to identify gaps in CTE programs in rural communities colleges in California, which was discussed as a necessary first step to unearth opportunities and develop supports for learners.  

Ensuring the Basic Needs of Postsecondary and Adult Learners are Met

An education consultant and a state leader from Wisconsin provided an overview of programs that support learners basic needs, while elevating that many programs still create barriers for learners to complete credentials. Immediate next steps that were shared included making integrated benefits applications for federal assistance programs available online and inviting benefits coordinators to provide services on campus. Wisconsin highlighted their steps to create  affinity groups with faculty and staff, with Dr. Colleen McCabe stating “To understand the effects of poverty, you have to explore learners’ multiple identities.”

Maximizing the CTE Experience for Learners with Disabilities

Maryland and Nebraska equipped attendees with state-level strategies to leverage Perkins state plans, the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) and interagency partnerships to provide sustainable support to learners with disabilities. With one in four Americans identifying as having a disability, discussions centered on viewing disability as a spectrum, both visible and hidden, and centering learners as people rather than just a population. Maryland shared practices for empowering local leaders to identify and act on opportunity gaps for learners with disabilities through and the CLNA. Nebraska emphasized the importance of developing consistent cross-agency routines, and highlighted their recent achievement of a tri-agency conference across, CTE, vocational rehabilitation and special education.

Equitably Serving CTE Learners in Correctional Education

With more than 30,000 youth being incarcerated in the United States each year in the juvenile justice system, Texas joined by Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows Richard Crosby and Janelle Washington discussed the differences in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, as well as some of the intricacies of carceral justice-connected program designs. Texas highlighted barriers for this learner populations, including unfair placement testing that occurs days after sentencing and the availability of CTE programs that will not incentivize recidivism. The panelists shared that establishing meaningful and collaborative partnerships with correctional agencies and state CTE departments are paramount to creating better and more equitable programming opportunities for carceral students.

Here are additional resources to support every learner in CTE: 

Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Resources
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Welcome Jon Wickert as the New State CTE Director in Delaware! 

Monday, September 19th, 2022

The Delaware Department of Education recently named Jon Wickert as its new Director, Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics  (STEM) Initiatives. His path to state CTE leadership reflects the power of career exploration and social capital that will sustain ‘The First State’s’ strong record of innovation and transformation of CTE systems. 

Jon’s wide-ranging career began working with justice-connected youth in outdoor programs for the Maryland Forest Service. After a year in procurement in the nuclear power industry, he pursued his passion for ecotourism and water-based recreation by launching and operating a kayaking  business. However, Jon missed working with learners and returned to the classroom as a high school social studies teacher. This led to his introduction to CTE through his support of Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) competitions, volunteerism with Junior Achievement of Delaware, and supporting professional learning communities that allowed him to reconnect with his knowledge of natural systems and entrepreneurship. 

Jon’s desire to expand his impact led him to the Delaware State Park System, where he led public and private programs, nature centers and exhibits, the visitor and customer experiences. strategy. During this time, he remained connected to CTE through curriculum review and STEM program development. He joined the Delaware CTE team three years ago where he led postsecondary system development, work-based learning, and registered apprenticeship initiatives. 

Jon has been a very active member of Advance CTE prior to his promotion to State Director, participating in the Postsecondary Data Initiative, contributing to Advance CTE’s research on area technical centers and developing an environmental literacy framework through the Bay Watershed Education Training (BWET) initiative. He emphasized the immense value of Advance CTE’s support in helping him to “connect the dots” in his work and connect to leaders in other states. 

Jon is most enthusiastic about continuing current work to equitably update the statewide programs of study, which will focus on centering program requirements with labor market information and wage data, identifying metrics for credential recognition and alignment course mapping with Advanced Placement, dual enrollment courses, and other early postsecondary opportunities. Not surprisingly, Jon’s list of other priorities was quite extensive – internal role realignment, middle grade CTE standard development and a statewide framework for Credit for Prior Learning, among others- , and his enthusiasm for all of them is apparent. Jon is committed to ensuring each Delawean has access to high quality education that centers individual identity within a recession-resistant career, is efficient and affordable, and results in a wealth-generating wage.

Jon encourages fellow new State Directors to be patient with themselves, especially with new work, and use it as an opportunity to facilitate collaboration: “You don’t need to have the answer right now. Start slowly so you can go faster later — this is an opportunity for more voices to be heard.” 

Jon earned a Doctorate of Education in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University. He earned both a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in social science and secondary education from Frostburg University. Jon and his wife, Sinead, have a 10 year old son named Sean.  They love hiking, camping, kayaking, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.  Please join us in welcoming Jon to Advance CTE!

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE State Director
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