5 guidelines for making CTE work for COVID recovery

Visions calls for stakeholders 'to work together to break silos and remove systemic barriers'
By: | April 12, 2021
The aviation pathway allows Wichita’s ninth-graders and 10th-graders to take foundational courses in airplane manufacturing to prepare them for advanced college-level training during their junior and senior yearsThe aviation pathway allows Wichita’s ninth-graders and 10th-graders to take foundational courses in airplane manufacturing to prepare them for advanced college-level training during their junior and senior years

Career technical education could be a key driver of helping the nation recover from the COVID pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil.

To that end, Advance CTE, a nonprofit organization that represents state career technical education leaders, has developed a new framework for equitable and inclusive instruction.

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education” calls for a more cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation system that expands opportunities for all learners, advocates say.

“The vision calls upon stakeholders to work together to break silos and remove systemic barriers in order to build a cohesive, flexible CTE ecosystem where every learner can succeed, employers have a strong talent pipeline and our nation’s economy flourishes,” said Kimberly Green, the executive director of Advance CTE.


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The framework is based on five principles:

Principle 1: Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem

A CTE ecosystem that serves every learner requires statewide, cross-agency commitment and deeper public-private partnerships. States should also steer funding to where it is needed most.

Principle 2: Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem

Education leaders and their partners must recognize the scope of institutional barriers and systemic racism by conducting equity audits.

Superintendents must also recruit and retain a diverse workforce of CTE instructors.

Principle 3: Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

Educators should guide each learner in developing career and academic plans.

To help families make these plans, states and educators should provide cross-state data on CTE options and outcomes.

Principle 4: Each learner’s skills are counted, valued and portable

Give learners credit for skills developed outside the classrooms—such as through after-school jobs and public service.

This will better enable states and districts to develop competency-based models that could also equip K-12 students with college credit.

Principle 5: Each learner can access “CTE Without Borders”

All these principles could lead to the development of a national framework for connecting education and the workforce that promotes cross-state collaboration.

In the process, policymakers can develop inter-state compacts that support collaboration and remove barriers.