Posts Tagged ‘special populations’

State CTE Policy Update: Expanding CTE Access in Washington

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

In this blog, Policy Associate Velie Sando highlights policies enacted by Washington state in 2024 that facilitate access to Career Technical Education (CTE) for learners within special populations as identified by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

As outlined in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career and Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), CTE plays a central role in fostering an inclusive and equitable future for all learners, supporting them in their pursuit of high-demand, high-wage careers while meeting industry demands for talent. Variables such as program expenses, transportation issues, and eligibility criteria create access and equity hurdles encountered by special populations and other impacted learners when pursuing CTE programs.  

In recognizing the diverse challenges individuals may encounter in accessing CTE, states like Washington have taken proactive measures to break down barriers and promote inclusivity. In 2024, Washington enacted policies prioritizing equity and opportunity for special populations in their state. 

Washington’s commitment to inclusivity is evident through H.B. 1889, which removes the citizenship status barrier for individuals seeking professional licenses or certifications. This bill ensures that all individuals, regardless of their legal status, have equal access to opportunities in the workforce as allowed under federal guidelines. By mandating that an individual’s status does not impede their ability to obtain a license, Washington fosters an environment where talent and skill are most valued in the workforce.

Given their historical background and landscape, Washington enacted HB 2019 which establishes the Native American Apprentice Assistance program to address the specific challenges faced by Native American communities. This bill acknowledges Native learners’ aspirations to pursue higher education and supports this endeavor by addressing prevalent systemic barriers that they face, such as poverty and limited access to postsecondary institutions near reservations. Washington aims to uplift Native American learners and empower them to thrive in CTE fields by prioritizing funding to cover tuition costs and adopting population-specific guidelines that may facilitate learner success in the program through consultations with Indigenous nations and apprenticeship programs.

Washington’s commitment to inclusivity extends beyond removing immigration barriers and recognizing cultural assets to encompass educational prerequisites. By adopting HB 2216, the state revolutionizes its hiring efforts by removing barriers to employment qualifications for certain state positions to exclude a four-year college degree requirement. This bill opens doors for individuals who may have previously been excluded from state employment by recognizing that diverse avenues of skill acquisition exist, paving the way for a more inclusive workforce in Washington.

Fostering inclusivity in CTE is imperative to ensure all learners have access to and can succeed in high-quality CTE programs; inclusivity also positively impacts a state’s economy. By dismantling barriers and prioritizing equity, Washington is enriching its workforce and nurturing vibrant and resilient communities. 

For more strategies to expand access to CTE for special populations, check out the “Maximizing Access & Success for Special Populations” briefs prepared by Advance CTE and ACTE for supporting special populations and other learners groups in need of additional support.

Velie Sando, policy associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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State CTE Policy Spotlight: 2023 Policies Expanding Accessible CTE for Special Populations

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

While policies grouped under “Funding” and “Industry Partnerships/Work-based Learning” categories have consistently remained in the top five key policy trends for the past ten years, the “Access and Equity” grouping has steadily moved up the ladder, ranking from 10th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2022. In this blog, we will review four policies enacted in 2023 that are founded in improving access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

As explained in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career and Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), CTE plays a vital role in creating an inclusive and equitable future, providing learners with the education and training necessary for success in financially secure and self-sufficient careers while meeting industry talent demands. Advance CTE is committed to supporting states as they tackle the various barriers–program costs, transportation, and eligibility among others–that continue to exacerbate the access and equity challenges special populations face when accessing CTE programs.

In 2023, CTE leaders adopted innovative strategies to expand access to CTE in their state. Examples of such strategies can be found in the following policies enacted by California, New Hampshire, and Virginia

California

In October 2023, California enacted A.B. 368 which expands eligibility for learners who are “underrepresented in higher education” in the state’s College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) dual enrollment partnership grant opportunity. The CCAP Grant awards $100,000 to local education agencies who are interested in establishing or expanding a partnership with a community college to enable learners at participating high schools to access dual enrollment opportunities. A.B 368 expands access to now include first-time college learners, learners experiencing low-income, learners who are current or former foster youth, learners experiencing homelessness or learners at risk of being homeless, learners with disabilities, learners with dependent children, and undocumented learners. By expanding which populations are considered underrepresented, this policy better aligns with learners identified as special populations in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).

In the same month, California also enacted A.B. 91 which exempts qualifying learners from paying the nonresident tuition rate. Learners who qualify for this exemption are nonresident learners who: experience low income, reside in Mexico, are registered in lower division courses at a qualifying California college, and reside within 45 miles of the California-Mexico border. This policy aims to decrease the financial burden that may hinder nonresident learners from participating in California’s CTE programs by reducing the cost of participation in CTE.

New Hampshire

In October 2023, New Hampshire passed H.B. 364 which authorized the Department of Education to reimburse the full cost of transportation to learners classified as “at-risk learners” who attend alternative education programs at a regional career and technical education center. This policy aims to mitigate the transportation barrier that may prevent learners from participating in New Hampshire’s CTE programs by covering the cost of transportation to CTE centers.

Virginia

In March 2023, Virginia enacted S.B. 1430 which required the Department of Education to convene a “stakeholder workgroup” to offer recommendations on improving access to paid work-based learning experiences for English Learners. The workgroup was directed to submit their recommendations to the Governor and the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health by November 1, 2023. No information is available yet on the outcome of the working group, but their recommendations are expected to be published in early 2024. This policy aims to analyze barriers that hinder English Learners from participating in CTE by creating a workgroup tasked with providing strategies to mitigate these barriers.

For more strategies to expand access to CTE for special populations, check out the “Maximizing Access & Success for Special Population” briefs prepared by Advance CTE and ACTE for:

Coming in February 2024: Advance CTE and ACTE’s eleventh annual State Policies Impacting CTE: 2023 Year in Review and Advance CTE’s 2023 State Policy Tracker, which will examine CTE and career readiness policies across the nation. While the report focuses on policy trends, the tracker comprises every CTE-related policy enacted within each state.

View the 2022 state policy tracker here.

Velie Sando, Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE, Public Policy
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Funding Career Technical Education: Incorporating Elements Into Funding Models to Address CTE Access, Completion and Program Quality

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

Advance CTE released the 2023 State of CTE: An Analysis of State Secondary CTE Funding Models to highlight how states and the District of Columbia provide high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) through various secondary CTE funding models and approaches. This blog, the third in a series, describes ways states have incorporated elements into their funding models to address CTE access, completion and program quality. 

Overview

Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE calls on states to design equitable funding models that direct funding to where it is needed most. Funding is not just about budget sheets but about investing in and fostering an environment where every learner’s potential is unleashed. A state’s commitment to CTE is reflected in their financial decisions, and states are making changes to secondary CTE funding models to better serve and offer opportunities for all learners.

Background

Advance CTE conducted a survey with State CTE Directors in summer 2022 to better understand the extent to which states are currently incorporating elements into funding models to address CTE access, completion and program quality. Forty-six state leaders responded to the survey, and Advance CTE followed up with select state leaders in interviews to gather additional information about dimensions of equity.

Some of the most salient findings from the survey of State CTE Directors include:

65 percent reported state funds supported access to secondary CTE programs for all learners, 56 percent reported state funds supported completion of secondary CTE programs of study for all learners, 54 percent reported state funds supported access to equipment and resources in CTE classrooms, 47 percent reported state funds supported access to college and career advisement, and 44 percent reported state funds supported attainment of CTE certifications while in high school.

There remains room for innovation in states’ secondary funding models as almost half of states are not supporting funding in one or several of the dimensions of equity. Additionally, almost a fifth of State CTE Directors indicated their state funding does not reflect any of the dimensions of equity. States should continue to evaluate and incorporate changes to secondary CTE funding models to ensure all learners have access and success through CTE.  

Highlighted Practices

States such as Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Texas are linking state funding to state-approved CTE programs meeting quality standards. This move ensures access for learners regardless of their geographical location. 

Other states, including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, are incentivizing learner enrollment and success in certain CTE courses or programs aligned with state labor market needs. These states use varying weights (i.e., multipliers) based on program types or course levels, aligning educational goals with workforce demands. For example, Indiana allocates amounts based on the number of CTE credit hours generated by districts and the enrollment in apprenticeship programs or work-based learning.1

Recent shifts in foundational education formulas or bonus structures have also resulted in positive change. Massachusetts, for instance, introduced incremental funding to its formula for Chapter 70 (i.e., the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools) under the Student Opportunity Act, benefitting English language learners and learners experiencing low income, including those in CTE programs.2 You can learn more about Massachusetts in the state case study accompanying this release.

In Texas, local education agencies (LEAs) can earn outcomes bonuses for learners meeting the state’s college, career or military readiness measures. This bonus is weighted for learners who are considered economically disadvantaged or who are enrolled in special populations thereby tailoring additional funds to cater to learner needs, especially within CTE programs.3 You can learn more about Texas in the state case study and read about additional examples in the Research Report accompanying this release.

Recommendations

State leaders should consider the following recommendations if they plan to leverage funding incentives and/or prioritize geographies, learner or program characteristics and/or program areas:

Funding structures must continually evolve to bridge resource gaps among different learners. State CTE Directors can help shape funding conversations so learners thrive in an ever-evolving CTE landscape.

Additional Resources

Be sure to read the other blogs in this series: Funding Career Technical Education: Secondary CTE Funding Basics and Funding Career technical Education: Using the 2023 State of CTE Funding Report Resources. In the next blog in this series, we will explore how states also make contributions to CTE programs through non-categorical programmatic appropriations to support unique elements of CTE.

Please visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resources about CTE funding. 

Dr. Laura Maldonado, Senior Research Associate

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits, Research
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Setting Sights on the Future: Opportunities and Supports for Perkins Plan Revisions

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, many of us are thinking about the road ahead for 2024, celebrating with our families and creating resolutions for the new year. While December and January are often an opportunity for personal reflection, 2024 offers an additional opportunity to reflect on the intentions for Career Technical Education (CTE) set out in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) via the state plan process, and the impact those plans have had on our systems and learners. 

While most states are primarily updating state-determined performance levels (SDLPs) as required every four years by law, others are using this opportunity to make larger, substantive changes or write a new state plan. This post offers some insights on what we are hearing from state CTE leaders so far about their goals for state plan updates, and the spaces and resources Advance CTE is providing to support this process. 

As the Office of Career Technical and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education reminded us with their program memo earlier this fall, Perkins state plans are a powerful strategic lever to align CTE policy and implementation with a state’s broader vision for education and workforce. A strength of Perkins V is the periodic, coordinated opportunity for states to evaluate and refine their targets and strategies in concert with one another. This coordinated cycle allows state leaders to learn from and alongside one another while also designing Perkins state plans that meet the specific needs of their state and learners. 

As a former State CTE Director myself, I regularly considered how well our state plan aligned with and reinforced our strategic priorities of expanding access to CTE, improving the quality of CTE programs of study and continuing to intentionally align the secondary and postsecondary CTE system with the needs of employers. Reviewing the state plan against our progress and goals helped us ensure that the plan served as a progress-centered north star, rather than a reflection of the status quo. We leveraged everything from the performance indicators we chose, to the way we defined those metrics, to our size, scope and quality definitions as levers to continually drive towards serving more learners in high-quality programs that served as launchpads for future success. While the process of reviewing and updating state Perkins plans can be time-consuming, it is time well spent, and framing the opportunity as something state leaders get to do rather than something they have to do helps keep the focus on what matters most – continually improving the CTE experience for learners. 

As state leaders work through this process in 2024, Advance CTE is here to be a partner not only through spaces for states to learn from each other, but through resources that recenter and challenge state leaders to consider and address challenges facing our systems and learners.  The conversations began at Advance CTE’s 2023 Fall Meeting in October with sessions on translating Perkins plan to system-wide culture change and lasting impact, ranging from, accountability to reserve fund usage seeded great cross-state learning opportunities. 

To keep these conversations going, this month Advance CTE launched 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: 

In our first Perkins Planning Office Hours, we heard great discussions on setting meaningful and achievable SDPLs and the impact of setting all local recipient targets at the state target versus engaging in a process to negotiate targets locally. State leaders also discussed stakeholder engagement and messaging substantive plan changes to impacted audiences to maximize relevant feedback. Visit Advance CTE’s event page to register for future office hours.

Just like many of us set intentions and resolutions at the start of the new year, the Perkins state plan allows us to do just that for our CTE systems, educators and learners. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going and we look forward to continuing these conversations with you in the new year!

Emily Passias, Deputy Executive Director

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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Advancing Equity in CTE: Administrative Policy Review – An Assessment of Equitable Practices

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

This is the final blog in a four-part series on the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation (The Fellowship)

Overview  

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) includes provisions focused on providing access to and success in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for members of special populations and subgroups, including major racial ethnic groups in each state. States are fulfilling these requirements in various ways. Below are a few examples of how states are applying an equity-minded lens to administrative policies and practices to improve CTE ecosystems by emphasizing equitable access to and learner performance in CTE programs. 

Ohio

Administration of a CTE program with an equity lens begins with ensuring all learners have meaningful access to and substantial engagement in high-quality CTE programming which requires making these actions a priority. Ohio has created and applied equity-minded leadership principles within several initiatives, leveraging funds and resources to provide local administrators with supports to develop and sustain equitable practices and policies. 

Indiana 

The application of equity-minded principles isn’t a one-time occurrence. It requires an ongoing systematic review of policies, practices and data to determine the effectiveness of the mitigating or transformational strategies being applied. Indiana engaged in this process by conducting a review of the CTE equity labs being offered in their state and using additional resources to measure goal attainment and to provide additional supports to local leaders. 

The state’s CTE team participated in equity lab debriefing sessions to improve their messaging on equity and access, awareness of using inclusive language and overall effectiveness of equity labs currently being offered with the assistance of the Great Lakes Equity Center. This work coincided with Indiana’s participation in the CTE Opportunity Gap Analysis Train-the-Trainer Workshop offered by Advance CTE. The workshop’s six months of community of practice monthly sessions conducted with nine states included completing one in-state workshop with workshop specific resources designed to support state leaders in examining their current policies and practices.

What’s Next

This blog series is a precursor to a forthcoming state CTE leadership pipeline toolkit due to be released in Fall 2023. The toolkit will provide a “plug and play” roadmap for states to use to create their own initiative to strengthen and diversify an equity-minded state leadership pipeline. The toolkit will draw upon Advance CTE’s experiences with facilitating the Fellowship and lift up vetted resources and techniques for states to apply. 

For additional support, check out Advance CTE’s resource Engaging Representatives of Learners with Special Population Status Through Perkins V.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Dr. Kevin Johnson, Senior Advisor 

View previous blogs in this series:

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

Blog 2: Advancing Equity in CTE: A Review on the Current State of CTE Leadership Programs

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

 

By Layla Alagic in Advancing Equity in CTE
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State CTE Policy Update: Addressing Learners Experiencing Homelessness in Illinois

Friday, April 28th, 2023

Advance CTE is committed to supporting states as they build cohesive, flexible and responsive Career Technical Education (CTE) ecosystems. With that responsiveness, comes a responsibility to provide quality CTE programs and interventions for learners that exist on the margin of society. One important group of learners that exists on the margin is students experiencing homelessness.

According to the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), students experiencing homelessness are entitled to the same CTE services as all other students, including programs and services that are designed to prepare students for high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers. CTE programs provide an additional pathway for these students to achieve success in the workforce that can help reate the stability they need. Illinois seeks to address this issue through S.B. 0190, which passed in 2021.

S.B. 0190 or The Higher Education Housing and Opportunities Act is a sweeping piece of legislation that requires a designated staff member at any “publicly or privately operated university, college, community college, business, technical or vocational school, or other educational institution offering degrees and instruction beyond the secondary school level,” to serve as liaison to youth experiencing homelessness and youth in the care of the state attending their institution. 

The institution must create a separate liaison position dedicated to providing the wraparound support those students need to matriculate successfully should, after three years of tracking and reporting the homeless youth attending, that population be two percent or higher. The law defines homelessness as not having access to a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. On-campus housing is excluded from this definition. 

The liaison’s main roles are: 

  1. To provide support with applying for Federal and state financial aid or other programs.
  2. To identify services and resources that are available to and appropriate for a student experiencing homelessness.
  3. To track and monitor the graduation rate and retention rate of learners defined by the law as “homeless students and students in care” enrolled at the institution.
  4. To report annually to the Board of Higher Education or the Illinois Community College Board, as appropriate, the number of students experiencing homelessness and students in care enrolled at the institution.
  5. To act as an intermediary between a student experiencing homelessness or student in care and the office of financial aid, student support services and campus housing services.
  6. To connect a student experiencing homelessness or student in care to a local continuum of care program.
  7. To develop a plan to provide access to on-campus housing or to suitable off-campus housing between academic breaks to students experiencing homelessness or students in care enrolled at the institution.
  8. To train the institution’s employees to identify students experiencing homelessness and to refer those students to the liaison.

 

The Higher Education Housing and Opportunities Act also requires The Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board to provide access to a training program that was developed by a homeless advocacy agency to ensure staff has the capacity to serve these students. They must also provide yearly training for liaisons and collaborate with the State Coordinator for McKinney-Vento Homeless Education to facilitate the transition of students experiencing homelessness from secondary to postsecondary education.

Finally, the law requires institutions to prioritize students experiencing homelessness or students in care when it comes to on-campus housing, including housing that is open during breaks (and to waive fees for on-campus housing during breaks.) This also includes allowing part-time students experiencing homelessness access to on-campus housing and the mandate to include their services to these students in their financial aid packets.

Illinois has managed to create a robust law that will serve a population that often gets overlooked in discussions of access and equity. With designated staff and liaisons invested in their care, students experiencing homelessness will have a stronger chance to succeed in the CTE programs they enroll in.

This legislation is designed to provide CTE learners of Illinois with better opportunities of entering the workforce and move past the housing insecurities they may have experienced. States can use this as a model of their own; creating a dedicated staff member to serve as liaison to these learners, creating reporting and accountability models and building in immediate responsiveness to the need for a permanent position to provide supports for students experiencing homelessness.

For more information on identifying common barriers to high-quality CTE and for additional strategies on how CTE and education leaders can work together to increase access and success in CTE programs for youth experiencing homelessness, read Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity in and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students Experiencing Homelessness.

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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