Advance CTE Supports Access to Apprenticeship across the Country

As states work to expand apprenticeship opportunities, Advance CTE empowers agency leaders to create and grow high-quality programs.
Blog Post
Nov. 14, 2018

As part of our Apprenticeship Forward Collaborative initiative, New America is featuring profiles of each of our partner organizations. We’ll be looking at how our partners’ diverse initiatives contribute to expanding American apprenticeship into new industry and population sectors.

Organization Summary:

Advance CTE has supported state leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE) for nearly a century. Founded in 1920 as an association of state directors of CTE, the organization currently counts among its members over 500 leaders from all 50 states, DC and US territories and has grown to include local leaders and practitioners as well. The organization supports the development and dissemination of educational best practices and advocates for high-quality CTE at the federal level.

In addition to their multifaceted work on federal policy, Advance CTE has recently expanded into state policy analysis, from cataloging state CTE policy to identifying best practices for state leaders. The organization also offers technical assistance around CTE policy, as well as case-making resources for individuals seeking to conduct their own advocacy for expanding high-quality CTE in their area, including youth and adult apprenticeship.

Overview of Apprenticeship Efforts:

There is considerable overlap between CTE and apprenticeship, and many state CTE directors hold some degree of responsibility for apprenticeship in their states. In fact, over the last several years, the trend toward increased apprenticeship responsibility among state CTE directors has grown stronger, especially with regards to youth apprenticeship. Advance CTE hosts a library of internally and externally produced apprenticeship resources for members and the public, ranging from webinars to fact sheets to design principles for local practitioners interested in starting apprenticeship programs.

In 2015, Advance CTE received a contract from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult education at the US Department of Education to conduct research on better connecting secondary CTE and apprenticeship. The organization was responsible for conducting expert and practitioner interviews and putting together case studies that highlighted eight programs across the country that were successfully connecting secondary CTE students with apprenticeship opportunities. Advance CTE’s research culminated in a report highlighting best practices and common challenges in linking CTE and apprenticeship.

Advance CTE’s report indicates that the most successful programs were able to secure commitment and buy-in from a wide group of stakeholders, including employers, school systems, teachers, higher education providers, and local families. Additionally, links between CTE and apprenticeship were strongest when employers played a leading role in program development and when class and program options were shaped by local workforce need in high-demand fields. And while some families and students were skeptical of CTE and apprenticeship as a path forward, Advance CTE found that clear messaging about career and postsecondary education opportunities following the apprenticeship positively impacted student recruitment. Finally, the authors argue that states and municipalities interested in fostering CTE-apprenticeship connections need to consider potential barriers to access, such as transportation to on-the-job training sites, as they work to build equitable paths into work and higher education for local youth.

Interesting Themes about Apprenticeship:

As Advance CTE’s report on connecting CTE and youth apprenticeship also points out, analyzing high-quality quantitative data is necessary to fully understand the impact these programs have on participants. As apprenticeship rapidly expands, stakeholders will need access to a range of short-term and long-term participant outcomes to gauge program effectiveness—but that can be difficult when data are located in systems that cannot talk to each other. Advance CTE is currently partnering with a group of organizations researching how data are collected, validated, and analyzed in CTE, including questions of data quality and access in youth and adult apprenticeship.

Related Topics