A new resource from the Foundation for Excellence in Education explores the role of strong cross-sector partnerships in creating and sustaining statewide career and technical education (CTE) programs.
Building Cross-Sector Partnerships to Support Career and Technical Education Pathways: A Playbook for State Policymakers is ExcelinEd’s second playbook in a series intended to help states align CTE programs with industry demands. (Click here to learn more about the first publication in the series, Putting Career and Technical Education to Work for Students.) According to the report, partnerships among K-12 education, business and industry organizations, and postsecondary institutions are a crucial component in aligning CTE opportunities with both the labor market and postsecondary credentials, and creating experiential learning opportunities.
In the report, ExcelinEd examines seven common elements of effective cross-sector partnerships, including a convening agency or intermediary, purposeful stakeholder recruitment, and process-wide success metrics. The report notes that partnerships often develop at the local and regional levels, but still benefit from state-level engagement:
“While local and regional partnerships may best represent the needs of their stakeholders, they still must collaborate with state agencies and statewide initiatives to secure the flexibility, funding and resources that ensure long-term sustainability.”
The playbook also includes an inventory of tools used by convening organizations to form and strengthen partnerships, including detailed real-life examples of stakeholder engagement materials, partnership agreements, data dashboards, and more.
ExcelinEd’s playbook concludes with recommendations for state policymakers and a spotlight on partnerships in Delaware, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Texas. Recommended legislative strategies include:
- Supporting schools and districts in transporting students to formal work-based learning programs.
- Providing incentive funds to schools for students who earn industry-recognized credentials and/or complete work-based learning experiences in coordination with formal business and industry partnerships.
- Securing flexibility for districts to recruit and certify industry professionals for instructional opportunities in high school CTE pathways.