Report highlighted renewed fervor among state policymakers in supporting CTE

Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education released their 11th annual review of CTE and career readiness policies from across the country in February, finding that in 2023, 47 states enacted 115 policies, marking the second-highest number of states taking action to strengthen and expand CTE in the past decade.

The policy areas states focused on most were similar to previous years with industry partnerships and work-based learning as the top policy area for the second consecutive year, as outlined in the report, State Policies Impacting CTE: 2023 Year in Review.

“The industry partnerships and work-based learning category’s position as the most common policy area showcases states’ continued investment in responding to industry needs for a prepared workforce,” researchers wrote. “Over the past 10 years, the top five policy categories addressed by states have been funding; industry partnerships and work-based learning; industry-recognized credentials; dual/concurrent enrollment, articulation, and early college; and data, reporting, and/or accountability. However, since 2019, access and equity has often had enough policies to rank as one of the top five policy categories, representing an increased focus among states on how CTE-related policies can more equitably serve learners.”

Most common policy areas across the U.S.
  1. Industry partnerships and work-based learning — 48 policies were enacted, including in California, to engage industry to drive student learning through work-based learning or other means.
  2. Data, reporting and/or accountability — 37 policies were enacted, including in California, to address data and research activities that support CTE, including the use of labor market information and the inclusion of career readiness indicators within accountability systems.
  3. Funding — 32 policies were enacted to address significant changes in CTE funding, such as increasing or decreasing allocations, creating a scholarship or grant program, or investing in a pilot program.
  4. Governance — 24 policies were enacted to address responsibility within the state for CTE, including new committees or task forces and transfers of authority.
  5. Graduation requirements — 18 policies were enacted to ensure CTE courses count for academic credit toward high school graduation requirements or adopt CTE or career readiness objectives into state requirements.
  6. Access and equity — 17 policies were enacted, including in California, to remove barriers for learners from diverse backgrounds to access CTE programs within their states.
  7. Industry-recognized credentials — 17 policies were enacted to address attainment of credentials recognized by industry, including micro credentials, such as badges and educational degrees.
  8. Dual/concurrent enrollment, articulation and early college — 15 policies were enacted, including in California, to address postsecondary credit attainment and transfer through dual/concurrent credit attainment, credit transfer agreements and early college programs.
  9. CTE teacher certification — 11 policies were enacted targeting preparation, licensing and credential requirements for CTE instructors and professional development for CTE educators.
  10. Career/academic counseling — 10 policies were enacted, including in California, to ensure school counselors or career advisers provide guidance such as disseminating college and career information and implementing individual academic and career plans.