State Policies Impacting CTE: 2021 Year in Review

This paper, produced by Advance CTE, ACTE and ECS, is the ninth annual review of CTE and career-readiness policies in the states and territories. The report highlights notable legislation, board rules, executive actions and governor-led initiatives in each state.


State Policies Impacting CTE: 2021 Year in Review

Now that we have seen the end of 2020 temporary emergency actions, states have returned to passing legislation that affect Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness at pre-pandemic numbers with a new emphasis on systemic solutions that deliver equitable access for each learner to participate in opportunities that lead to career success. 

Over the year, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) tracked state activity, cataloged final state policy actions and categorized trends based on the policy areas of focus and today, published State Policies Impacting CTE: 2021 Year in Review. This year’s report provides an analysis that spans across 41 states who enacted 138 policies. All policies that were passed in 2021 affected the secondary education, postsecondary education, adult education and/or workforce systems.

The policy areas that states focused on in 2021 were similar to previous years with industry-recognized credentials now one of the top five key policy areas. 

Top Five Policy Trends in 2021:

  • Funding
  • Access and equity
  • Data, reporting and/or accountability
  • Industry partnerships and work-based learning
  • Industry-recognized credentials

A Methodology section at the end of the report describes how policies were included and categorized.

Reports from previous years can be found on the State Policies Impacting CTE: Year in Review series page. Advance CTE members can download a State Policy Tracker for previous years and view these policies in further detail.  

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