Silver Spring, MD – April 20,2023 – Advance CTE announced nine states have been selected for two national cohorts of states to center learners in the development of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) systems, policies and programs.
CTE provides learners of all ages with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for college and careers. CTE gives purpose to learning by allowing learners to gain real-world skills through career exploration and taking specialized courses within a selected career focus. Learners in CTE often practice what they are learning through work-based, hands-on experience including internships, apprenticeships and mentorship.
Enrollment in CTE programs continues to increase in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 12 million learners participate in CTE nationwide, with postsecondary CTE programs proving particularly resilient. Additionally, research indicates families and learners participating in CTE are significantly more satisfied with their overall education experience. However, too often the demographics of learners enrolling in and completing CTE programs are not reflective of their communities. Furthermore, learner voice in the development and evaluation of state CTE policy is currently not consistent nor diverse.
Advance CTE’s recruitment-focused cohort, Building Sustainable State Recruitment and Communications Systems to Reach Diverse Learners, builds on pilots conducted in over a dozen states since 2017. Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Wyoming will identify new practices and improvements to reach underrepresented learners and support them in both enrolling and feeling welcome in CTE. This work is generously supported by the Siemens Foundation.
Leveraging Learner Voice to Strengthen CTE is supporting five states in incorporating diverse learner voice and input in state policy for designing and delivering CTE programs. Advance CTE’s learner voice toolkit will serve as a roadmap for Colorado, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wisconsin to expand and scale current practices. This work is generously supported by the Joyce Foundation. As part of their respective cohorts, states will participate in a series of interactive workshops and have access to technical assistance, virtual spaces to collaborate with fellow cohort members, and pooled funding for activities including learner compensation. Resources and lessons learned will be shared widely to encourage all states and communities to intentionally, equitably and systemically engage learners in CTE’s systems, policies and programs.
“Making CTE work for all students, regardless of background, means reflecting their unique perspectives into every aspect of the system meant to serve them,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Advance CTE on this important work and look forward to learning from our state partners striving to center learners in all they do.”
“CTE can fully maximize its value to both learners and industry when programs are designed and communicated in ways that are inclusive to the needs and lived experiences of all learners,” stated Advance CTE Deputy Executive Director Kate Kreamer. “We applaud the commitment of these states to data-driven, learner-centered pursuit of continuous improvement of their CTE systems. Through the generous support of the Siemens Foundation and Joyce Foundation, we strive to build equitable recruitment and learner engagement models that can be implemented across the country.”