Getting to Know Advance CTE and State Technical Assistance

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Getting to Know Advance CTE and State Technical Assistance

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.
Meet Nithya Govindasamy! Nithya is a Senior Advisor at Advance CTE; she recently joined the organization in October 2021. Nithya leads and manages major organization-wide, highly visible initiatives that support, promote and increase equitable access to and success in high-quality CTE, which includes: workforce development, education and equity initiatives; technical assistance (TA) for Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits); efforts to maximize the stimulus investments; and Advance CTE’s external equity strategy. 
In this month’s edition of the CTEWorks Newsletter, we share resources, tools and supports to foster continuous improvement and collaboration among stakeholders in the career preparation ecosystem. This work includes the TA Advance CTE will deliver to states implementing CTE Without Limits. Learn more in the interview with Nithya below: 
Q: How does the shared vision, CTE Without Limits, promote the value of collaboration, equity and innovation in states? 
A: CTE Without Limits lays out a bold vision for a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage CTE to ensure that every learner can reach success in the career of their choice. 
The five inter-connected and equally critical principles call for our education and workforce system to collaborate and leverage their assets and take an innovative approach to ensuring that the learner can achieve career success. 
Q: What are the benefits of statewide structures that increase collaboration and coordination across K-12, postsecondary and workforce development to support a career preparation ecosystem?
A: States that invest in structures and systems to increase strategic collaboration and coordination across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce development continuum will be able to better serve the needs of each learner and the employer community. 
Each partner within the statewide structure serves a unique role in the career preparation ecosystem and greater connectivity means learners can access the support they need at any of the entry points. Collaboration between the education and workforce system also provides an avenue for industry to connect with future talent in a systematic way. Statewide structures that build these meaningful interconnections can benefit by accessing additional non-traditional funding and resources that are targeted towards incentivizing collaboration and establishing and meeting aligned goals.  
As a benefit all CTE leaders across the 50 states and territories, Advance CTE shares best practices and policy innovations from exemplar states (and partnering organizations) that have successfully embraced collaboration and partnerships, coordinated services, and support to benefit each learner (especially those from historically marginalized populations).
Q: As the organization begins to provide technical assistance to the cohort of states, what are the objectives and goals that Advance CTE hopes to achieve? 
A: Advance CTE hopes to assist states and our members to advance and implement the principles in CTE Without Limits within their state. Our goal is to support states, and their cross-sector teams, to bridge gaps in their systems to ensure all learners have equitable access to and can benefit from high-quality CTE. Through the community of practice that will be launched this February, we hope to identify and lift up best practices among states and inspire leaders and practitioners to take bold actions to design and implement a new career preparation ecosystem that is learner-focused and can offer endless opportunities.   
Q: How will the TA help build capacity within states to develop and strengthen their cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystems?
A: The TA delivered will provide states an opportunity to engage in a deeper needs assessment that will identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as the root causes for gaps and barriers that exist in their current systems. Each state will have access to a dedicated coach as part of this initiative who will work with the state team to develop a strategic and solutions-oriented plan to address the specific needs and priorities expressed by each state. 
Q: Are there resources and supports for state and local leaders outside of the TA cohort who are beginning to implement the principles outlined in CTE Without Limits? 
A: Yes! The community of practice that will be part of this initiative will be open to all states and not just the TA cohort states. The community of practice will be a great opportunity for states to engage in discussion with other states about how they are tackling various components within the vision as well as learn from fellow members. Advance CTE will also continue to host webinars and post blogs that will focus on CTE Without Limits and share strategies and approaches with state leaders to help implement vision principles broadly across systems. States can also reach me directly at ngovindasamy@careertech.org if there’s a need for specific guidance or assistance.
Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media