Expanding Access to Career Vocational Technical Education

Expanding Access to Career Vocational Technical Education

MBAE is a member of the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education (AVTE), a broad-based association of diverse partners from across Massachusetts that seeks to increase access to high quality vocational education for middle and high school students in the Commonwealth—a mission supported by MBAE.

The Alliance has worked over the last few years to raise awareness of the positive impacts of a vocational technical education and its value to the Commonwealth. In its latest release, High Quality Career Technical Education in Massachusetts: A Critical Investment in Our State’s Future, AVTE defines what high quality career and vocational technical education looks like in Massachusetts and why the Commonwealth should increase access to it.

MBAE’s goal as part of the AVTE is to ensure that all students have exposure to career and vocational technical education experience whether they attend a CVTE school or a traditional high school. CVTE schools serve as models for how to integrate academics and career preparation. That is why we are very pleased to see and fully support recommendations in the report that address how CVTE schools can partner with traditional schools to accomplish that goal.  Below I highlight key recommendations that MBAE supports and why.

  • Provide students and parents with all adequate information about their educational options for high school, and ensure a bias-free and fair admissions and interview process for English Language Learners, students of color, students with special needs, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

We can and must do more to ensure that ALL students have equal access to a career technical education. That can only happen if information is made accessible to all.

  • Sponsor innovative and collaborative CTE demonstration programs where students split time between their academic or comprehensive high school and a school offering Chapter 74 programs. The student would take academic classes in the morning and vocational courses in the afternoon when the equipment is available.

Vocational schools have a long established track record of graduating students who are both college and career ready. We should take advantage of this expertise and create more options where CTE schools can provide learning opportunities in non-traditional ways.

  • Incentivize collaboration between high school faculty and guidance counselors of schools offering Chapter 74 programs and those that do not to utilize resources developed by CTE to provide access to skill-training and career options for all students.

School counselors and staff at career technical schools have a wealth of knowledge they can share to help traditional schools implement career readiness instruction and skill development program. This information sharing should begin as soon as possible.

  • Actively promote and facilitate the introduction of CTE programs that align with regional demand into comprehensive high schools.

Employers highly value the caliber of graduates coming out of CTE schools, but surveys show that there are not enough graduates with the knowledge and skills employers seek. Another option to address this challenge and expose more students to this opportunity is to identify traditional high schools that are ready to integrate targeted CTE programs that address regional employer demand.

The Alliance for Vocational Technical Education will release its White Paper at an event at the State House on Friday, March 2 at 10:30am. RSVP for the event here.

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