Clear Evidence that Career-Connected Learning is on the Move

Each year for the past several years, going back to 2013, two national CTE organizations (Advance CTE and ACTE) have created valuable reports that summarize all the CTE-related policy and funding initiatives that impact the delivery of career-connected learning across the states.

It is encouraging that, while change often seems slow to take hold at the local level, there really is a strong momentum happening in promoting multiple pathways for student success. In the 2018 summary report, 30 states implemented significant changes or increases in funding related to CCL, and 26 states implemented policies related to Industry Partnerships/Work-Based Learning.  Other topics included: Dual/Concurrent Enrollment, Industry-Recognized Credentials, Graduation Requirements, Access/Equity, CTE Teacher Certification Development, Career/Academic Counseling, Governance, CTE Standards/Accreditation, Data, Reporting and/or Accountability, and STEM.

I wanted to point out four initiatives that caught my eye:

In Iowa, the governor announced the creation of the Work-Based Opportunity Regional Referral Consortium. A partnership of the Iowa Community Colleges and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry created to expand and improve work-based learning in the state.  The purpose of the partnership is to “increase the number of work-related learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships, available to learners.

In Oregon, Future Ready Oregon is a statewide initiative focused on closing the skills gap to help youth and adults by providing skills and job training.  Strategies include: expanding CTE and other career-connected learning to every high school student in the state, expand NextGen Apprenticeships in five growing industries adding 1,000 Work Experience Programs for under-engaged Oregon youth, and connecting high schools to Oregon’s WorkSource Centers and launching career coaching pilots in three communities, among other strategies

Rhode Island piloted the PrepareRI Internships Program that places high school students in paid summer internships across the state.  The program will be managed by a statewide career readiness intermediary organization.

Tennessee passed legislation that created a liability framework for an employer participating in work-based learning coordinated through a local education agency.  The legislation specifies that an employer will not be liable unless through gross negligence and the local education agency must maintain liability insurance coverage.  The legislation also establishes a $500 tax credit to the employer for each participating student.

Of course, this is just a tiny example of all the innovative strategies that are spreading across the states.

Using these reports, you can see what’s happening across the entire nation. It’s also really valuable just to take a look at what’s been developing in your state across the last few years.

All of these pieces begin to add up.  With good local implementation support, I believe we’ll reach a tipping point soon when Career-Connected Learning will seem normal and natural, rather than the exception to the rule.  Let’s keep working for change at the national, the state, the regional, and the school district levels.  Over time, Career Connected Learning will become a reality for all students.

You can review your state summary all the way back to 2013 to get the big picture. Here are the links to reports for the last three years.

2018 Summary Report

2017 Summary Report

2016 Summary Report

Hans Meeder is President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (  NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education

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