Intentional and early collaboration between state and local leaders and state coordinators for homeless education is vital to developing solutions that ensure success in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for learners experiencing homelessness. As many states anticipate the growing rates of homelessness to continue in the coming years, the need for partnerships between state and local leaders and state coordinators for homeless education is far greater in order to increase learner success for these learners.
Advance CTE in partnership with the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) has published Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity in and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students Experiencing Homelessness for state and local leaders to leverage as they begin this body of work.
The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) expanded the definition of special populations to include individuals experiencing homelessness, as defined by Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. State leaders have before them a clear path for ensuring state supports increase equity and access to high-quality CTE programs for learners experiencing homelessness.
Research shows that learners who are enrolled and complete CTE courses are more likely to complete high school or earn an equivalent graduation degree and decrease the likeness of experiencing homelessness.  While there is great benefit to completing CTE programs for learners experiencing homelessness, acknowledging the access barriers and developing targeted strategies to support this population remain a challenge for states.
This new resource identifies common barriers to high-quality CTE and suggests strategies for how CTE and homeless education leaders can work together to build new opportunities for learners experiencing homelessness in their state to access and succeed in CTE programs.
State leaders can start, today, building key partnerships by implementing these action steps:
- Reach out and connect with the appropriate CTE or homeless education counterpart.
- Focus on concrete efforts with mutual benefit to each other’s work.
- Start somewhere and build confidence in the partnership.
- Continue to invest over time.
Leverage these state examples on how to drive focus and leverage data insights when supporting learners experiencing homelessness:
- Kentucky’s Perkins V State Steering Committee includes both state- and local-level homeless stakeholder representation. Kentucky also targets CTE program recruitment efforts to learners experiencing homelessness by distributing informational materials in places these learners may frequent.
- Arizona hired a special populations/grant program specialist to serve as a statewide resource for secondary/postsecondary CTE services for special populations.
- Montana’s Data Review Board includes a state homeless coordinator and plans to meet twice a year to review disaggregated data, share program updates, and plan needed technical assistance for local educational agencies.
This resource is part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which confronts the negative aspects of CTE’s legacy and defines the key challenges learners face today. The series provides promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE to ensure that each learner is able to attain the promise of CTE — a high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career.
Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director
 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public of Public Instruction. (n.d.). [Unpublished data].
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