Building Sustainable State Recruitment and Communications Systems to Reach Diverse Learners

In 2020, Advance CTE released its second round of research on effective communication of Career Technical Education (CTE) to secondary learners and families. These two rounds of research have supported over a dozen states in piloting innovative practices to enhance the state role in supporting effective, equitable program recruitment to achieve diverse labor pipelines in in-demand fields. 

While the recent national data on secondary CTE enrollment show resilience and meaningful progress in closing racial equity gaps, enrollment is still not meeting the crisis-level employment shortages and diversity gaps in high-wage, high-demand fields. To effectively address these gaps, states must design their  communications and recruitment message and processes to elevate learner voice and remove barriers to fully reach each learner and those that support them. 

Advance CTE is excited to offer a new opportunity, which provides a dedicated space for state CTE staff to evaluate their current communication and recruitment practices and develop an action plan to address areas of greatest need and build learner-centered structures over 12 months. Participants are also able to gain and practice communication and equity-focused skills in real time. 

This long-term commitment is intended to allow for meaningful implementation while also meeting each state where they are in capacity for new work. This opportunity is provided at no cost to members. 


Through this initiative, up to seven states will:

  • Conduct an assessment of current recruitment and communication data and practices and identify s areas of greatest need; 
  • Develop and embed equity- and access-focused practices into existing communications and recruitment practices 
  • Design initiatives that directly involve learners in recruitment design, execution and evaluation at the state level; and 
  • Foster cross-sector partnerships both within and across states  to build sustainable relationships and processes needed to reach and engage underrepresented learners long-term. 

Technical Support Components

  • Pre-assessment of current recruitment and communication practices; 
  • A CTE Program Access and Recruitment Enrichment Academy consisting of bi-monthly, 90 minute workshops from March to October 2023; 
  • Action planning sessions with Advance CTE staff; 
  • Year-long implementation support to build and sustain learner-involved recruitment and communication structures, which can include but are not limited to state ambassador programs, advisory councils, new recruitment campaigns or partnerships, etc.; and 
  • Participation in a community of practice to share success and challenges across states.


Overall: February 2023 - October 2024

Workshops: March - October 2023 

State Action Plan Implementation and Support: October 2023 - October 2024 

Learner Audience

Secondary learners, in particular historically marginalized learners identified as underrepresented in state enrollment data 

State Staff Commitment

At least one state staff member whose work is connected to CTE program recruitment and/or communications who serves as the project lead and attends all workshops. A team of 2-4 team members from within and across agencies is encouraged. 

Cohort members will be required to connect with department and inter-agency partners involved in  communications and program recruitment as part of workshop assignments. 

First Meeting

An introductory cohort meeting will be held January 31, 2023 2:00 p.m. The first workshop will be held March 2, 2023 from 1- 2:30 p.m. ET. 

Next Steps

  • Applicants should be state CTE leaders and have the approval/recommendation of their State CTE Director (if the State CTE Director is not applying).
  • If interested but have more questions or need additional information, please email Stacy Whitehouse at 
  • If ready to participate, complete the application form below. 
  • Final cohort selection of up to seven states will be completed in early January 2023. 


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