Translating Insights to Action: Using Data to Identify and Address CTE Opportunity Gaps

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Translating Insights to Action: Using Data to Identify and Address CTE Opportunity Gaps

State and local leaders should always center equity when making decisions related to Career Technical Education (CTE) to ensure that each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. This approach is called using an equity lens. But without access to reliable, comprehensive and disaggregated data, it can be challenging to understand when and where equity gaps occur.
To help state and local leaders better access and understand their data, Advance CTE developed a suite of tools — including a dynamic and customizable dashboard — that can be used to facilitate a comprehensive CTE opportunity gap analysis process. After more than a year of development and piloting, Advance CTE is accepting applications for a Train-the-Trainer workshop on conducting an opportunity gap analysis in September. Registration for the training program closes this Thursday, August 12.
The CTE opportunity gap analysis training was piloted last summer in partnership with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Minnesota is organized into 26 consortia to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), each representing the community or technical college and school districts in their service area. Each consortium sent secondary and postsecondary representatives to the pilot workshop.
The training was conducted in two parts. In the first session, participants learned about the CTE opportunity gap analysis process, a four-step, inquiry-based process to unearth, prioritize and address the most urgent CTE opportunity gaps.
In the second session, participants reviewed their own dashboards — which they prepared in advance with data from the state office — in order to identify learner subgroups that were over- or under-represented across different CTE programs compared to the overall learner population. Participants used a fishbone diagram to identify and map underlying root causes and reviewed intervention strategies and supporting evidence to target recruitment, enrollment and inclusivity of diverse learner populations in CTE. Using this information, they began to develop equity-focused action plans. The workshop, which was aligned with Minnesota’s Perkins V professional development series, was designed to help participants center equity in their Perkins V applications and action plans.
One lesson participants learned from the workshop is that too much data can be overwhelming. The dashboard helped local district and college leaders focus their attention on the data that matters the most and use that data to glean insights and take action.
Next month, Advance CTE is offering the CTE opportunity gap analysis training to state CTE leaders, free of charge. Selected participants will receive a five-hour training, access a suite of materials, and conduct their own opportunity gap analysis process in their own states. A stipend and technical support will be provided to support implementation.
The registration deadline is this Thursday, August 12. Applicants should be state CTE leaders with responsibility and influence over Perkins V administration, program design and approval, equity and inclusion, special populations, methods of administration and/or CTE data. Learn more at https://careertech.orgopportunity-gap and direct questions to Austin Estes at aestes@careertech.org.
Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research