Today, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) released an annual report and site snapshots for the first year of the New Skills ready network initiative. The five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase and Co.’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.
The New Skills ready network focuses on six domestic sites as illustrated in the graphic below. As a partner in this initiative, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities and gain a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country.
One key step highlighted across the snapshots is each site’s approach to connecting systems and creating a common vision and definitions. Boston, Massachusetts, centered on a shared definition of cultural wealth as a framework to discuss equitable practices in career pathway design. Denver, Colorado created the Pathways Data Framework, a shared process for defining, collecting and analyzing data across partners to fully measure progress in achieving equitable career pathways.
Dallas, Texas, is leveraging their Dallas Thrives initiative to draw on capacity from across their region to work towards a common vision. As an early step, Nashville, Tennessee’s leadership team agreed upon common definitions of systemic racism, implicit bias, educational equity and more and has provided racial equity training to over 300 stakeholders to ground their work in a foundational understanding in what racial equity really means in their community and institutions.
The report and snapshots also explore how sites are utilizing state leadership, capacity, and existing initiatives to guide the focus of their first year and to map future work. For example, several schools in Indianapolis, Indiana will serve as pilots for the state’s Next Level Program of Study initiative, which aims to improve quality and consistency of CTE program instruction as part of Indiana’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) implementation strategy.
Columbus, Ohio will leverage statewide articulation and transfer agreements as well pre-existing statewide programs to advance equity and access to postsecondary opportunities in career pathways, including the College Credit Plus program, Career-Technical Assurance Guides, the Choose Ohio First scholarship program. The Ohio Department of Higher Education has also established an internal project team to provide state support to the larger cross-sector project team. Nashville, Tennessee’s local efforts are tapping into the state’s Tennessee Pathways’ Designation Process
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. For more information about the New Skills ready network initiative, read the Getting to Know interview with Senior Policy Associate Jeran Culina.