Posts Tagged ‘work-based learning’

Advance CTE 2024 Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog – Gold Sponsor American Student Alliance | Using CTE to Create Innovative Career Exploration Programs That Prepare All Learners for Their Futures

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

The views, opinions, services and products shared in this post are solely for educational purposes and do not imply agreement or endorsement by Advance CTE, nor discrimination against similar brands, products or services not mentioned.

In recent years, middle school career exploration has gained traction as a foundational element of Career Technical Education (CTE). As many State CTE Directors and leaders know, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), signed into law in July 2018, for the first time permitted Perkins funding to be used on career exploration programming as early as fifth grade. Here are four strategic actions that states can take to expand and enhance career exploration programs that prepare learners for postsecondary education and career success, based on a recent nationwide study of middle school career exploration programs, commissioned by American Student Assistance® (ASA).

Clearly define middle school career exploration and ensure a unified definition is adopted across relevant agencies and partners, including K-12, postsecondary, workforce, and relevant community-based organizations. A quality definition clearly defines middle school career exploration as a strategy that will help learners build their understanding of career interests and expand awareness and understanding of career opportunities, including through hands-on, applied experiences. 

Once a clear definition is established, coordinate related and supporting efforts across state leadership, including departments driving academics and instruction, school counseling, CTE, and workforce training. Establish routines for collaboration between programmatic leaders who should be working together to support an overall vision for learner success with elements from each of their programs.

Integrate career exploration into your accountability and data collection systems. The last two years of high school are insufficient for dramatically increasing learners’ readiness for postsecondary and career opportunities. States can leverage program quality indicators in Perkins V and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plans to formally set measurable goals for middle school career exploration, integrating them into existing college and career readiness (CCR) targets. States can also utilize their data collection systems to not only identify middle school career exploration participants and determine their positive placement within high school CTE programs, but also to ensure the quality of programming through evaluations or learner-based software platforms.

The report also highlights seven states that have distinguished themselves by instituting formal accountability mechanisms to influence district and school focus on meaningful career exploration. Although federal changes made through the reauthorization of ESSA allowed states to exercise flexibility in the indicators used to assess districts and schools, only two states—Pennsylvania and Georgia—have used this flexibility to include career exploration as a component in their federal accountability systems. Five additional states—Missouri, Kansas, Utah, South Carolina, and Michigan—have incorporated middle school career exploration into their state accountability mechanisms to assess the quality of delivery of career advisement services or activities.

Assess and address state policies that have the potential to limit learners’ ability to access different career exploration opportunities, including restricting CTE course enrollment by grade level or grade point average minimums. 

It’s important to provide innovative and comprehensive career exploration that includes CTE. Only 33 states facilitate exploration via a course or set of courses that can serve as an on-ramp to a CTE pathway, according to ASA’s report. In contrast, the study highlights Utah’s College & Career Awareness Program, which requires a course that enables learners in grades 7-8 to explore high school, college, and career options based on individual interests, abilities, and skills. A team of CTE teachers, school counselors, and work-based learning coordinators teach the course and provide instruction in career development. 

This well-rounded, effective approach equips all learners with the information they’ll need to understand their options and make informed, confident decisions about their futures.

Julie Lammers is Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility at American Student Assistance® (ASA), a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and prepare for their futures. Julie leads ASA’s philanthropic strategy as well as ASA’s advocacy efforts on both the federal and state level. Julie has been at ASA since March 2010.

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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Welcome Jessica (Jessi) Maddox to Advance CTE!

Thursday, March 7th, 2024

Hello! My name is Jessica (Jessi) Maddox, and I am ecstatic to be a part of the Advance CTE team as a senior policy associate. In this role I will be working directly with the upcoming cohorts of the Opportunity Gap Analysis providing customized technical assistance and peer learning opportunities to participating states. I will also collaborate with team members to enhance Advance CTE’s state policy, equity, and data and research strategies by supporting state and local sites in designing and advancing high-quality and equitable career pathways.

A lifelong learner, I was born and raised in Florida, and my family and I recently relocated to Richmond, VA for a change of pace. I began my career in the classroom as a middle school social studies teacher. Part of my position included career exploration with my eighth graders and this is where some of my first interactions with Career Technical Education (CTE) began. After six years in the classroom, I wanted to expand my horizons into educational research and returned to school to obtain a master’s degree in Information. In 2017, I joined the Florida office of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant working as a grant manager. In this position I got to interact with a variety of organizations, from school districts to non-profits, working to provide academic and skills-based after-school experiences to students across Florida’s PreK-12 system. I had the opportunity to further explore CTE as part of a college and career readiness initiative and became interested in furthering my knowledge and experiences in this field.

After completing my master’s degree, I was offered a role as an educational policy analyst with the Division of Career and Adult Education within the Florida Department of Education. In this position I was immersed in all things career and adult education full time. From the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), to apprenticeship, credentials of value and integrated education and training (IET), I worked closely with each coordinating unit to ensure required data and policy provisions were followed. I helped to build out the business rules or data collection processes for outcomes reporting and program improvement.

In 2023, I began a new position as a work-based learning analyst at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) working directly with the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP). In this position I created data collection processes and survey instruments to expand the view of the landscape of credit-bearing and paid work-based learning and internship opportunities across the Commonwealth. Outside of work I can be found spending time with my husband and two sons, playing roller derby, or exploring my new surroundings.

By Layla Alagic in Our Staff
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The Top 5 Policy Trends in Connected to Career Technical Education in 2023

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

February marks the release of the 2023 Year In Review, the 11th edition of this comprehensive report developed by Advance CTE in collaboration with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Dedicated to providing a thorough overview of state Career Technical Education (CTE) policies, this report is valuable for state and local administrators and practitioners to better understand national trends and specific policy actions taken by individual state legislatures in 2023. 

The policy tracking conducted for 2023 Year In Review totaled 115 policies implemented in 47 states. The report highlights innovative and practical legislation and emphasizes common policy themes. Notably, clean and renewable energy emerges as a prominent focus among policymakers, reflecting the emerging workforce demands of this sector while highlighting the dynamic landscape of CTE. Building upon the legacy of previous reports, the 2023 Year In Review offers insights into the top five policy areas in 2023: 

“Industry Partnerships and Work-Based Learning” was the predominant policy category in 2023, with 48 policies enacted under this topic. This category first took the top spot last year after multiple years of the funding category being the most popular. Many policies in this category focused on engaging industry to drive student learning that addresses workforce needs. The following policies illustrate strategies that address labor shortage by fostering industry engagement and enhancing the learner experience through work-based learning opportunities:

Arkansas

S.B. 294 mandates the Division of Elementary and Secondary to establish career-ready pathways for high school diplomas. These pathways include rigorous academic courses and modern career and technical studies aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry credentials. These initiatives address labor shortages by ensuring that students are equipped with skills that meet industry demands through practical work-based learning experiences, thereby bridging the gap between education and employment. 

Maryland 

S.B. 104 creates the Apprenticeship 2030 Commission to expand registered apprenticeships in sectors with skill shortages. The goal is to increase registered apprenticeships to 60,000 by 2030 and have 45% of high school graduates complete high school-level apprenticeships. By fostering apprenticeships, the policy aims to provide career pathways for young people while addressing industry needs through hands-on training and mentorship, thereby reducing skills shortages. 

Vermont 

H.B. 452 establishes the Vermont Registered Apprenticeship Program to regulate apprenticeship programs aligned with industry demand. This program oversees apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and youth apprenticeship initiatives. The policy directly addresses labor shortages through structured apprenticeship programs by preparing individuals with the specific skills demanded by industries, ensuring a better alignment between workforce supply and industry demand.

For a comprehensive exploration of the policies enacted this year, Advance CTE offers an accompanying online tracker. This tool empowers users to search and filter for specific legislation, providing a more in-depth understanding of the enacted policies.

The 2023 Year In Review strives to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on CTE, showcasing successful strategies, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders in the field. CTE leaders are encouraged to utilize the tracker and state highlights in their respective states and communities for more strategies to implement potentially innovative policies. 

Velie Sando, Policy Associate

As a Policy Associate, Velie conducts research and develops resources to support Advance CTE’s state policy initiatives, including the New Skills ready network, the annual Year in Review, and the Green Workforce.

By Layla Alagic in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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A Look at Connecticut’s Reshoring Strategies and Apprenticeship Growth in CTE

Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

This blog is the second in a series on promising practices and emerging policies in reshoring. In the first blog in this series, Reshoring is Only Possible with High-Quality Career Technical Education, we elevated promising practices for Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders that enhance employer participation, program quality and learner outcomes. This blog will provide an example from Connecticut on how messaging, policy and leveraging current and expanded partnerships can increase access to work-based learning opportunities for all learners.

Connecticut state outlineConnecticut’s 2019 Senate Bill 356 “An Act Establishing the Connecticut Apprenticeship and Education Committee” (Public Act No. 19-68) established the Connecticut Apprenticeship and Education Committee with the express purpose of better informing middle and high school learners about careers in manufacturing. The committee is also charged with identifying potential pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training program integrations for smoother transitions for learners. Additionally, the committee works as an intermediary between CTE programs within high schools and higher education institutions and various industry partners to identify opportunities for alignment, thereby helping the programs qualify for grants and additional funding opportunities.

Prior to the formation of the committee, this work was led by the Connecticut Manufacturing Committee. In 2018 the Manufacturing Committee published Introducing Students to Manufacturing: Best Practices Guide and Program Resources as a resource for districts working to engage learners with manufacturing. Some suggestions from the report were: 

Promising practice: Expand partnership capacity among small businesses and local systems

The Apprenticeship and Education Committee’s makeup is structured to support continued partnership and collaboration among state, local and industry stakeholders, pulling from a wide range of public and private sector partners to ensure that the program is well-informed:

Promising practice: Provide transparency across programs to help learners make informed decisions for work-based learning options

Annually, the committee compiles an annual report of the available apprenticeship programs at public and independent institutions of higher education in the state that offer manufacturing training.  In consultation with the manufacturing industry, the committee must report whether these apprenticeship programs are meeting workforce needs. This report includes:

This important information helps to provide learners with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions for their work-based learning choices. The annual report is available through the state’s Department of Education website and a print copy is distributed to each local and regional board of education. 

Promising practice: Provide exploratory programs for experiential learning that can help learners connect their interests to available pathways

Another important component of the policy mandates that there must be exploratory programs such as hands-on learning opportunities for students in middle and high schools to learn about careers in the manufacturing industry. These types of experiential learning opportunities help learners better connect available pathways with their interests.  

Connecticut has seen a 43% increase in participation in work-based learning programs

All of these efforts and supports have been paying dividends as Connecticut has seen strong growth in participation in work-based learning programs. From 2020 to 2021 participation rose by 43% to more than 1,000 learners across Connecticut’s 17-school CTE system. Continuing to enhance the knowledge of available apprenticeships and industry partners is important to support growth in work-based learning participation. 

For more reading on apprenticeships, check out the following publications in the Learning that Works resource center:

Paul Mattingly, Senior Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Elevating CTE’s Impact in Improving Workforce Development

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

Career Technical Education (CTE) equips students with in-demand skills and knowledge, preparing them for successful careers in diverse career pathways. State CTE Directors are tasked with the crucial duty of promoting the integral role of CTE in improving workforce development efforts and subsequently their state economies. CTE is a pathway to a skilled and competitive workforce and below are strategies to effectively advocate for CTE’s potential impact.

Work-based learning experiences, such as internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training, bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical application. Partnering with local businesses and community organizations is critical to expanding work-based learning opportunities for CTE learners. Demonstrating the tangible benefits of such experiences, including increased employability and a smoother transition into the workforce, reinforces the value of CTE as an effective workforce development pathway. 

This can be accomplished through elevating learner voice. Nothing speaks louder than success stories. State Directors can actively showcase the achievements of CTE alumni who have excelled in their careers after completing CTE programs. Featuring these success stories on websites, social media platforms and in local media can inspire current and prospective learners, parents and community members to view CTE as a viable path to achieving their career goals.

To strengthen CTE’s position as a workforce development pathway, an investment in modern infrastructure and technology is critical. Up-to-date equipment and technology not only enhance the learning experience but also demonstrate a commitment to providing learners with the necessary tools to succeed in the workforce. Additionally, leveraging workforce and economic trends to develop career pathways that are relevant to current labor needs creates the symbiosis needed for a properly functioning CTE ecosystem. State Directors can engage in outreach initiatives to build strong partnerships with stakeholders, highlighting CTE’s contributions to economic growth and prosperity. Engaging in conversations with employers and policymakers helps foster a shared vision and commitment to supporting CTE as a critical workforce development strategy.

Promoting CTE as a pathway to improving workforce development efforts is essential to creating a skilled and competitive workforce that meets the demands of a rapidly evolving job market. State Directors have the unique opportunity– and responsibility– to lead this transformative charge. By emphasizing industry-relevant skills, facilitating work-based learning opportunities, building strong partnerships, showcasing success stories and investing in modern infrastructure, CTE can remain at the forefront of workforce development initiatives.

For additional information, resources and tools on promoting CTE as a pathway to improving workforce development, please visit:

Brice Thomas, Former Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Uncategorized
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ECMCF Fellow Feature: Shelsi Barber-Carter

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

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

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

Tell me more about your journey to the Fellowship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has the Fellowship expanded your network? 

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

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

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

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

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

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs: Increasing Access Through Career Pathways

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Summertime is fast approaching and many learners are looking for ways to spend their summers. Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP) are an excellent opportunity for learners, usually ages 14-25, to gain valuable work experience and career exploration. Unfortunately, many of these programs struggle with connecting the experiences learners gain with the work-based learning (WBL) continuum. Statewide implementation of SYEP also seems to have significant barriers. 

To help address these concerns, Advance CTE called together a shared solutions workgroup (SSWG) of experts across the Career Technical Education (CTE) ecosystem to identify the common barriers and introduce recommended actions that states, local districts and intermediaries could use to address them. Additionally, the SSWG looked at ways to help make the return on investment for industry partners clear. This culminated in the creation of the Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs brief.

One highlight of the brief was the elevation of various SYEP experiences from across the country that offered innovative ways to deliver these WBL opportunities to their learners. These were strong local, statewide and national programs that not only informed some of the selections for the SSWG, but also served as a springboard for the recommendations developed. Below are just two examples of the many presented in the brief.

Finding alignment with Advance CTE’s vision CTE Without Limits for a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem that closes equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness helped frame the context of the programmatic recommendations. Below are a few examples of the recommended actions from each of the stakeholder groups:

State Agencies

Intermediaries

Local School Systems

SYEP can be a powerful tool for developing interest in and supporting career pathways for learners. The Exploring Summer Youth Employment Programs brief helps state leaders connect learner classroom experiences to meaningful work experiences. Building a connection to the WBL continuum elevates an interesting summer employment experience into one that supports purposeful learner entry into the workforce.

For additional information on work-based learning:

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Enhanced Collaboration Towards Implementation of High-Quality Career Pathways in Year Three of the New Skills ready network

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) recently released an annual report and site snapshots for year three of the New Skills ready network initiative. The five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program and $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, aims to improve student completion of high-quality, equitable career pathways to gain skills needed for the future of work, particularly among learners of color and other historically marginalized learners. 

As a partner in the New Skills ready network initiative, Advance CTE elevates the successes and lessons learned across the six sites as they work towards the implementation of high-quality, equitable career pathways. Over the course of the three years of the initiative, sites have made significant progress in the development and implementation of career pathways from defining the core elements of high-quality career pathways to improving the access and equity of high-quality career pathways. The policy and programmatic changes adopted across the six sites in the initiative are promising approaches and strategies that can be leveraged in other states and areas to enhance the design, delivery and implementation of high-quality, equitable career pathways.

Throughout year three of the New Skills ready network initiative, several key priorities emerged as trends for the six sites:

Across each key priority area, sites have leveraged cross-sector networks and partnerships to deploy promising practices that support their sites with the successful development and implementation of high-quality career pathways that meet the needs of learners and industry. Examples of achievement across the sites include the Columbus, Ohio, site leveraging an employer toolkit, created by the Ohio Department of Education, to help industry partners better understand the opportunities and challenges associated with work-based learning. 

The Indianapolis, Indiana, site expanded learner access to college and career advising by developing resources and supports for learners and finalizing frameworks that align career advising practices. For example, postsecondary partners published program maps for learners participating in agreements between Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Ivy Tech Community College. 

The Nashville, Tennessee, team has supported increased access to career pathways in HVAC and IT by engaging postsecondary partners like the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Nashville (TCAT-Nashville). The engagement with TCAT-Nashville has increased learner participation and interest in dual enrollment, and the site now has more than 300 learners enrolled in these opportunities.

Sites like Boston, Massachusetts, and Dallas, Texas, are expanding access to career exploration, advising and high-quality career pathways opportunities to middle grades learners. In year three, the Boston, Massachusetts, team expanded the rollout of their My Career and Academic Plan to middle grades learners to better prepare learners for career pathways, dual enrollment and early college experiences. The Dallas, Texas, team is currently designing a cybersecurity career pathway that will connect all partner institutions with learners and provide lab experiences at the University of North Texas – Dallas. Learners in Dallas, Texas, will be exposed to this high-wage, high-demand career pathway as early as middle school with opportunities to earn credentials. 

Project team partners in Denver, Colorado, are improving the learner experience when transitioning from secondary to postsecondary institutions. In year three, the site lead, The Attainment Network, supported secondary and postsecondary institutions with solutions to longstanding challenges in learner transitions including lack of data sharing, erroneous dual enrollment rosters and incorrect schedules for learners. The institutions are now leveraging IT automation to ensure each institution has access to timely information on learners’ schedules, enrollments and more. 

In addition to diving more into the aforementioned exciting developments, the site snapshots and year three annual report preview the work for year four in the New Skills ready network initiative. Each site has ambitious goals for year four including exploring new pathways sectors, engaging families and learners in the design and implementation of career pathways, sustaining and scaling career pathways as sites near year five of the initiative and more. 

Visit Advance CTE’s New Skills ready network series page to read the full annual report and a snapshot of each site’s innovative partnerships and early accomplishments across the four project priorities. Our New Skills ready network collection page provides additional resources for strengthening career pathways.

Haley Wing, Senior Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Publications
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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

Accomplishments

Challenges

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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College in High School Series: Q&A With College in High School Alliance Coordinator Alex Perry

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023

Advance CTE serves as a steering member of the College in High School Alliance, a coalition of national, state, and local organizations collaborating to enable high school students to enroll in authentic, affordable college pathways toward postsecondary degrees and credentials offered with appropriate support. This blog series elevates resources and work states are doing to design and deliver high-quality college in the high school programs. For the first blog in this series, Advance CTE interviewed Coordinator of the College in High School Alliance (CHSA) Alex Perry, to learn how the organization supports state CTE leaders. 

When was College in High School Alliance (CHSA) established and who were its founders? Was there a catalyst for its inception?

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) was founded in 2017. The original five founding members of our Steering Committee – Bard College, Jobs for the Future (JFF), KnowledgeWorks, the Middle College National Consortium, and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships – had been working together informally for a couple of years prior to the formal creation of CHSA, and were very successful in working together to create new policy and funding incentives for dual enrollment through the Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorization process in 2015. 

Together, we saw the power of the collective and that collaboration on items of shared interest netted positive results for our work and the learners that we serve. CHSA was born from that promise – that we could collectively advance policy reforms to improve learner access and success to dual enrollment. Two years later, CHSA added Advance CTE and Achieving the Dream to its Steering Committee to expand the core collaboration.

What are college in high school programs, why are these programs important for a learner’s journey, and how do they intersect with Career Technical Education (CTE)?

College in high school programs are partnerships between high schools and institutions of higher education that allow high school learners to earn college credits. These programs go by many names across the country including dual enrollment, dual credit, concurrent enrollment, early college high school, Running Start, etc.

These programs have a strong intersection with Career Technical Education (CTE) as approximately one-third of dual enrollment programs have a CTE focus to them.1 Additionally, structured CTE programs like youth apprenticeship include learners taking college courses in high school as part of the apprenticeship structure. Dual enrollment in CTE is a key avenue for encouraging learners to complete postsecondary credentials and enter the workforce with appropriate skills and credentials for economic success. 

College in high school programs are quite popular currently, but there is still unequal access for learners. How does CHSA center equity in college in the high school program conversations?

Equity is at the very core of our work with policymakers. We know college in high school programs like dual enrollment can be very successful in boosting postsecondary access and success for learners – but we also know that access is unequal. Populations experiencing equity gaps are the same populations of learners who are seeing the biggest declines in postsecondary access and success, for whom an intervention like dual enrollment might be life changing. Policy, and particularly federal and state funding, should be used to provide learners who need it the most with potentially life changing opportunities.  

Based on CHSA’s work, what findings would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

In March of 2022, CHSA and Advance CTE published The State of CTE: Early Postsecondary Opportunities resource, based on a nationwide survey of state CTE leaders about early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) like dual enrollment. The findings make clear the charge for the work ahead, which involves continuing to lean in heavily on the mission to increase equity for learners, thinking about systemwide supports for learners, better data collection and improving credit transfer.

What new questions has CHSA’s work raised that you would like to apply to future research?

With the influx of dual enrollment opportunities happening across the nation, it is really important that we continue to explore questions around outcomes for learners, assessing what the research can tell us about the number and kind of course experiences that are optimal for learners to promote their college and career success. Additionally, we must begin to look into the different designs of dual enrollment programs to better understand how program design influences learner outcomes from diverse learner populations. 

CHSA has recently worked on a resource that highlights 150 research questions specific to the field, and a forthcoming publication will be feature questions with the highest priority.

To learn more about Early Postsecondary Opportunities please visit The State of CTE: Early Postsecondary Opportunities in the Advance CTE resource center.

Suela Cela, Senior Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in CTE Without Limits
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