Advance CTE was a fierce advocate for the inclusion of the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). By law, the CLNA is called to support data-driven decisionmaking and more closely align planning, spending and accountability activities under Perkins V. At that time, Advance CTE released a guide to help states identify the major decision points that would impact the design, development and implementation of their CLNA and related local needs application.
Now that we are nearing the end of the first two-years of the CLNA and as states begin to ramp up their second process, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) interviewed state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders to identify exemplar states and their journey through implementation. Lessons in Collaboration and Innovation: The Impact and Promise of the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment presents findings on state successes, challenges and recommended refinements.
In the months ahead Advance CTE will continue to provide states with technical assistance, state resources and other ongoing supports. Today, Advance CTE and ACTE released the below recommendations for state CTE leaders as they begin to update their CLNA processes.
- Recommendation: Fully Commit to Putting Equity at the Center of the CLNA
One of the most powerful benefits of the CLNA is the ability to identify access and performance gaps across learner populations, enabling CTE programs to better serve special populations and historically marginalized learners and break down inequities. Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise series defines the key challenges these learners face today and provides promising solutions.
- Recommendation: Continue to Invest in Data Capacity
High-quality data — and the ability to read and understand data — is the backbone of a robust CLNA process. Advance CTE’s Career Readiness Data Quality and Use Policy Benchmark Tool describes six core elements of a high-quality career readiness data ecosystem and highlights recommended actions state leaders can take to improve the quality and effective use of career readiness data across education levels.
- Recommendation: Support Local Stakeholder Engagement
One area for improvement identified by state and local leaders is the depth and breadth of stakeholders engaged. Advance CTE and ACTE recently published tips on engaging learners in With Learners, Not for Learners: A Toolkit for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE and earlier released relevant resources to support the engagement of representatives of learners with special population status and industry partners.
- Recommendation: Plan Ahead to Ease Capacity and Timing Burdens
State leaders can help local recipients with this lift by aligning the CLNA, as much as possible, across the secondary and postsecondary levels and with other required activities, while also building in opportunities to update the CLNA when needed.
- Recommendation: Balance a Focus on Process with a Focus on Progress
As the process becomes more established in states and local areas over time, state leaders and local recipients should also be attentive to progress toward the goal of improved alignment to needs and improved programs and services for learners.
- Recommendation: Frame the CLNA as an Opportunity
To encourage local recipients, state leaders should frame the CLNA as an opportunity, rather than merely a compliance exercise. This will require thoughtful communications, messaging and outreach efforts.
View the full resource and other CLNA state supports in our Learning that Works Resource Center.
Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media