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CTE Issues, Research & Dialogue

What's happening in career and technology education

The positions or viewpoints in the resources collected here reflect their authors and source organizations. Unless published by the Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement, they do not represent the Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, or any employee of the state agency. No endorsement of organizations or viewpoints is implied by inclusion in this collection or on this web page.

Resources in many topics are also available on our Resource Profiles page.


  • Programs for People by Roy P. Stewart (free download) - All states had an equal opportunity to start vocational education programs after passage of the Smith-Hughes Act in 1917, but not all states have developed programs as varied, timely, and highly regarded as Oklahoma's. Roy P. Stewart, a noted historian and director of the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Vocational Education, wrote this interesting account of the history of Oklahoma vocational/CareerTech education up to 1982. A perspective on the past and an inspiration for the future, this is a book you'll want to read and share with your students for many years to come.
  • The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow - Automation technologies promise to deliver major productivity benefits that are too substantial to ignore. They are also beginning to reshape the American workplace, and this evolution will become more pronounced in the next decade. Some occupations will shrink, others will grow, and the tasks and time allocation associated with every job will be subject to change. The challenge will be equipping people with the skills that will serve them well, helping them move into new roles, and addressing local mismatches. This July 2019 report represents the next stage in our ongoing body of research into the capabilities, potential, and economic impact of these technologies.
  • What Works for Adult Learners: Lessons from Career Pathway Evaluations - This July 2019 report is about combining the best evidence, practices, and policies to drive a broader systems reform agenda for what works for adult learners, and trying to improve the persistently low rates at which adults transition into postsecondary credentials and better jobs.
  • CTE Marketing Best Practices and Campaigns Playbook - A variety of resource materials to help CTE directors successfully promote their programs, including general marketing best practices, Gen Z  marketing strategies, and five sample campaign concepts.
  • Decoding Deeper Learning in the Classroom - If you’ve ever walked into a classroom where the noise levels are high and you can’t immediately spot the teacher, this guide will help explain what you’re seeing. It provides a sense of how deeper learning classrooms are designed, what the students are learning, and questions you can ask to dig deeper with the students and educators. From 2017.
  • How Competency-Based Education May Help Reduce Our Nation's Toughest Inequities - This November, 2017 paper considers how CBE can be used to educate, equip, and empower learners who struggle in postsecondary learning programs because of who they are and where they live. Recommended starting points — places and programs — are provided throughout the paper to highlight where and how CBE providers can prioritize equity.
  • Project-Based Learning: A Literature Review - The concept of project-based learning (PBL) has garnered wide support among a number of K-12 education policy advocates and funders. This working paper builds on and updates a seminal literature review of PBL published in 2000. Focused primarily on articles and studies that have emerged in the 17 years since then, the working paper discusses the principles that underlie PBL, how PBL has been used in K-12 settings, the challenges teachers have confronted in implementing it, how school and district factors influence its adoption, and what is known about its effectiveness in improving students’ learning outcomes. October 2017.
  • Re-Balancing Formative Assessment: Placing Formative Assessment at the Heart of Learning and Accountability - In response to high-stakes testing and top-down accountability, McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and co-authors from Measured Progress propose in this 2015 white paper a new, more balanced formula for assessment based on curriculum-embedded performance assessments (CEPAs), which better support the deeper learning expected of students today. They also outline how states can use CEPAs in accountability systems and reduce the emphasis on end-of-year summative assessments.
  • NASWA Workforce Links - Links to Department of Labor sites, legislative and other federal sites, and national associations/organizations, from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
  • Sub-baccalaureate STEM Education and Apprenticeship - Technicians and other STEM workers with sub-baccalaureate credentials make substantial contributions to the science and engineering enterprise. This report explores the delivery of sub-baccalaureate STEM education in the United States, including both college-based programs and registered apprenticeships. It discusses barriers to delivering high quality sub-baccalaureate STEM education and major federal investments in these education and training programs.
  • Fair Use Resources - A variety of resources about fair use and fair dealing, both of which are essential limitations and exceptions to copyright that allow the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances.
  • State Jobs Picture - A map from the Economic Policy Institute that shows the current unemployment rate in each state, and the percent change in the number of jobs in each state over the preceding 12 months. Clicking on a state will also show the change in that state’s unemployment rate or change in the number of jobs over the last 3 months, 12 months, and since December 2007—the peak of the previous business cycle.
  • Improving Teaching Effectiveness - This 2018 RAND Corporation report summarizes the results of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching project.
  • Aligning State Systems for a Talent-Driven Economy: A Road Map for States - In June, 2018, The National Governors Association (NGA) released a comprehensive report, Aligning State Systems for a Talent-Driven Economy: A Road Map for States. The road map highlights the current disparities in the U.S. between the high number of jobs requiring advanced technical education and the dwindling population of workers with the skills to fill them. The report also identifies the process for governors to solve this challenge by aligning education and training with the needs of states’ economies.
  • Skilled Non-College Occupations in the U.S. - A June 2018 working paper from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that presents a new approach to the identification of relatively skilled occupations that do not typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry.
  • Charting a New Course for Next Generation Business Leaders - This toolkit for faculty and administrators looking to blend business education and the liberal arts combines exemplary syllabi from 26 leading institutions with step-by-step strategies to advocate successfully for curricular innovation. From June 2018.
  • Making Work-Based Learning Work for Retail: A Guide for Retail Employers - This guide is designed to provide an overview of work-based learning models and advice on how to implement them to develop stronger talent for the present and the future. It delivers basic background information on work-based learning. The findings in this guide are based on an extensive literature review; focus groups of retail employers, retail employees, and training providers; and three in-depth case studies of retailers Best Buy, Gap Inc., and Wegmans, which all have successful work-based learning programs. June, 2018.
  • Role of Education in Work Experience Programs - This 2018 Data Point from the National Center for Education Statistics examines the extent to which work experience programs (such as internships and apprenticeships) are related to formal education, and the characteristics of these education-based programs.
  • Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030 - We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and 'thinking machines' are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. But what will the future look like? This 2018 study looks at four possible Worlds of Work for 2030 to help you kick-start your thinking.
  • Advance CTE Video: Making the Case for CTE - This May 2018 video from Advance CTE provides an overview of how CTE prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country. Use this video with critical stakeholders to continue to combat false perceptions of what CTE is and who it is for. This video is designed to help you make the case for CTE in your community and demonstrate the many benefits of today's CTE.
  • The Effectiveness of Education and Employment Programming for Prisoners - Inmates in American prisons are undereducated and underemployed. Compared to adults in the US, prisoners are at least three times more likely to be without a high school or general educational development (GED) diploma and four times less likely to have a postsecondary degree. Would increasing prisoner access to programming lead to greater educational attainment and more employment? And, if US prison systems could improve educational and employment outcomes for prisoners, to what extent would it reduce prison misconduct and recidivism? This May 2018 report addresses these questions by reviewing the available evidence on the effectiveness of education and employment programming for prisoners.
  • Apprenticeships and Community Colleges: Do They Have a Future Together? - There is a growing belief that colleges are not adequately preparing students for the jobs and careers needed in the 21st century and that a substantial gap exists between the training and education America’s college graduates receive and the skills today’s labor market demands. Of the many options being actively discussed to bridge the divide, apprenticeship programs are attracting widespread bipartisan support. From May, 2018.
  • CTE Programs in Public School Districts - This 2018 report is based on the 2016–17 survey “Career and Technical Education Programs in Public School Districts” and provides nationally representative data on career and technical education (CTE) programs. The survey defines a CTE program as a sequence of courses at the high school level that provides students with the academic and technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions.
  • Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom - This 2018 report from the National Center for Education Statistics draws upon nationally representative data sources, existing research, and relevant state and local intervention efforts to examine the five research areas designated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and to provide a comprehensive picture of student access to digital learning resources outside of the classroom.
  • Incentivizing Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders - Evidence indicates that ex-offenders have substantially lower probabilities of being hired than members of other disadvantaged groups who do not have a criminal record. When ex-offenders experience poor economic outcomes, they are more likely to engage in criminal activity, which further affects their job and earnings growth and the standard of living for their families, friends, and wider community. To inform efforts aimed at improving employment rates and earnings potential for ex-offenders, RAND researchers conducted experiments to examine employer preferences of policy options designed to incentivize employment of individuals with felony criminal records. From 2018.
  • Hard Work and Soft Skills: The Attitudes, Abilities, and Character of Students in Career and Technical Education - CTE has traditionally been seen as an alternative to academic programs. This nonacademic stigma brings on a stereotype, especially for high schoolers: Students in CTE programs are unmotivated, uninterested in learning, and unfocused. What truth is there in this stereotype? Are students who lack the noncognitive skills generally associated with academic success (e.g., motivation, persistence, self-control, and conscientiousness) more likely to take CTE courses? An April, 2018 report.
  • The Failure Wall - An April 2018 essay on how acknowledging your failures can lead to a culture shift and greater success.
  • The Practice Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development - This March 2018 report outlines promising practices that show how students, teachers, parents, and administrators can integrate social, emotional, and academic learning in preK-12 education. The report, which represents the vision of the 34-member Council of Distinguished Educators, calls for widespread implementation of these strategies as essential to students’ success in their schools, homes, workplaces, and communities.
  • Different Skills, Different Gaps: Measuring & Closing the Skills Gap - In this March 2018 report for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Burning Glass Technologies used “an innovative new model to map both supply (using federal workforce statistics) and demand (based on job postings)…to assess the worker shortfall at an occupational level, role by role. This provides a picture of which roles, industry by industry, have robust talent supply chains and which face gaps. With this insight, training providers and policy makers can direct resources into the right channels.
  • Project-Based Learning: A Promising Approach to Improving Student Outcomes - The concept of project-based learning (PBL) has garnered wide support among a number of K-12 education policy advocates and funders. PBL is viewed as an approach that enables students to develop the “21st century competencies” — cognitive and socioemotional skills — needed for success in college and careers. This January 2018 paper finds that the approach holds promise for improving students’ outcomes but that much remains to be learned about its effectiveness and about how its implementation can be strengthened. A literature review is also included.
  • States Continue Advancing Strategies to Scale Work-Based Learning - States increasingly need a more highly skilled workforce to meet the requirements of businesses, keep up with a rapidly changing economy and accelerate growth that leads to economic opportunity for workers and families. As a result, governors recognize that their role is to bring together education, workforce and economic development as talent pipeline partners to better equip workers with skills businesses need. Work-based learning approaches have emerged from these partnerships as a promising strategy to address the mismatch between employer needs and the skill levels of available workers. This January 2018 report summarizes key actions governors can take to embed work-based learning across education, workforce and economic development systems.
  • Apprenticeships for the Modern World - This January 2018 report highlights successful programs that include blended learning, mentorship, competency-based training, a direct tie to industry-recognized credentials and either paid work experience or an employment relationship.
  • Measuring Social and Emotional Learning: A Brief Guide - This January 2018 guide from Education Northwest “can help you think through important decisions on why to measure SEL, how to use SEL data and which skills, mindsets and capacities are appropriate to measure.”
  • Learning How to Measure Social and Emotional Learning - A January 2018 commentary on the need to measure student mastery of non-academic competencies that are associated with success, such as employability skills, interpersonal and intra-personal skills, or social and emotional learning.
  • No-Box Thinking: Navigating Change Resistance in Small Town America - This 2018 resource from the University of Wisconsin-Extension “offers a framework for understanding the automatic and powerful resistance to change those engaged in community development often face. With an overarching case study and evaluation examples, this book details how to convert the powerful sources of community change resistance—identity, emotion, and social connections—into powerful forces for transformational change.”
  • A New Era: K-12 Accountability Under Scrutiny - 2018 is poised to be a landmark year for K-12 organizations. They face uncertain next steps regarding accountability for ESSA implementation. Meanwhile, student demographics continue to change. And, funding and staffing declines march on. However, there is hope on the horizon.
    This January 2018 report gives insight into the seven biggest challenges for 2018.
  • How to Reinvent Your Company for Its Digital Future - Digital transformation is a topic of rich and vital discussion in boardrooms and among executive teams around the world. These materials reflect the emerging insights on what it takes to lead and deliver a digital transformation.
  • What's after what's next? - Today, corporate leaders see disruption as both an opportunity and an existential threat. This 2018 Megatrends report explores the key disruptive trends of the future while explaining where disruption comes from and where it’s headed.
  • State-Level Policies Supporting Equitable K-12 Computer Science Education - This 2017 report summarizes states’ progress in developing state-level policies that support equitable K–12 computer science education for today’s students. It has two main goals: (1) to provide a resource for states to use in reflecting on their own progress toward realization of K–12 computer science education for all; and (2) to identify other states as possible resources.
  • Shifting Times: The Evolution of the American Workplace - From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Fourth Quarter 2017: “In this article, we explore…shifts in the American labor force and workplace. We show that the identity, education and occupations of the average American worker have all been changing. We also show that there are big changes in who does what, especially in the higher-skilled and higher-paying occupations.”
  • Digitalization and the American Workforce - A November 2017 report of the Brookings Institution that “presents a detailed analysis of changes in the digital content of 545 occupations covering 90 percent of the U.S. workforce in all industries since 2001. The analysis categorizes U.S. occupations into jobs that require high, medium or low digital skills and tracks the impacts of rapid change.”
  • Projections of Education Statistics to 2025 - This 2017 publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2025. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2025. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.
  • Military Spouses in the Workplace - This June 2017 report presents findings from a Hiring Our Heroes survey of spouses of active duty military service members and recent veterans.
  • Understanding and Cultivating Social Emotional Learning - This April 2017 resource from Education Northwest “was created as an easy-to-read, research-based primer for people just beginning to think in new ways about SEL. Teachers, coaches, after-school staff, and employers can use this resource to facilitate conversations about how young people can reach their full potential by developing nonacademic skills.”
  • Career Readiness Stakeholder Engagement Tool - This March 2017 tool, developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, guides users through nine steps in planning effective interactions with specific stakeholders.
  • The Revolution in Teaming: Essential Insights, Tactics and Tools for the New Era of Collaboration - Today’s accelerating reality requires teaming: continuously, in real time, and always taking into account the larger picture. In industries such as healthcare and transportation, for instance, teaming is essential to improving outcomes and is becoming more valuable to organizations than ever before. Teaming on this scale requires more than a conscious willingness to innovate. It calls for an array of enabling technologies. This March 2017 Forbes Insights executive brief examines both those technologies and the cultural shift required to maximize the value of collaboration.
  • Summary of research on online and blended learning programs that offer differentiated learning options - This 2017 report presents a summary of empirical studies of K–12 online and blended instructional approaches that offer differentiated learning options. In these approaches, instruction is provided in whole or in part online. This report includes studies that examine student achievement outcomes and summarizes the methodology, measures, and findings used in the studies of these instructional approaches. Of the 162 studies that were reviewed, 17 met all inclusion criteria and are summarized in this report. The majority of the studies examined blended instructional approaches, while all approaches provided some means to differentiate the content, difficulty level, and/or pacing of the online content.
  • Tracking America's progress toward 2025 - The nation faces an urgent and growing need for talent. To meet that need, many more people must earn college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications and other high-quality credentials. This 2017 report discusses education levels by state and by ethnicity.
  • Career-Themed Curriculum - This 2017 report describes the use of career-themed curriculum (CTC) as a dropout prevention strategy based on a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 U.S. public high schools. A career-themed curriculum is a sequence of courses that integrate core academic and career and technical education (CTE) themes. CTC includes not only specific CTE coursework that students elect to take, but also school-wide reforms or instructional strategies, college and career preparation, and applied learning opportunities.
  • The New Learning Economy and the Rise of the Working Learner - The rise of the working learner in the New Learning Economy signifies a dramatic shift in the way we think about working and learning in life. Historically, research has focused on   working and learning separately following parallel paths with little or no intersection. In  addition, just like any other economy, the new learning economy operates at many different levels: global, national, state, regional, and local. This anthology provides a synthesis  of recent evidence that sheds light on how these work and learn paths coincide at all levels to create a new reality on the future of working and learning. October, 2016.
  • Cracking the Gender Code - Accenture's research with Girls Who Code identifies three key actions to get 3x more women in computing.
  • Fostering a Safe and Bias-Free Learning Environment: A Guide for Educators - This June 2016 guide from Education Northwest “addresses the more comprehensive issue of bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the school by capturing similarities in the causes, types, and responses to different forms of bias while also addressing the legal aspects of dealing with this problem.
  • Employer Perspectives on Competency-Based Education - An April 2015 report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) researched employer perspectives on competency-based education (CBE) using a survey of hiring managers across the country. The survey identified several obstacles to the expansion and acceptance of broader CBE efforts across the labor market. Given the lack of awareness of CBE in the field, an opportunity exists to engage employers proactively as partners in the further development of CBE programs.
  • National Professionalism Study - Results of annual surveys of recent college graduates by the Leadership Development Center at York College of Pennsylvania.
  • Defining High-Quality CTE: Quality CTE Program of Study Framework, Version 4.0 (Beta) - This resource from the Association for Career and Technical Education provides a research-based blueprint for designing and implementing strong programs of study. The framework can be applied to a single, local CTE program of study spanning secondary and postsecondary education and can be used for self-evaluation, program improvement and catalyzing partnerships.
Last Modified on Oct 20, 2022
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