Learners and aspiring leaders need role models who look like them and share similar experiences to ensure they have the spaces and supports to thrive. While the demographics of the United States and of those enrolling in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs are more diverse than ever, the demographic diversity among state CTE leadership is lagging behind. According to the 2019 Advance CTE Member Services Survey, 87 percent of State CTE Directors self-identified as White while the 2020-2021 Perkins Collaborative Resource Network data shows 53 percent of CTE learners self-identify as non-White. Technical Education Leadership Landscape.
“Representation in [leadership] is really important. To make positions more welcoming for other aspiring leaders of color, the first thing [we] need to do is hire more leaders of color…[Y]ou can’t be what you can’t see.” shares Janelle Washington, alumni of the inaugural cohort of the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE —Sponsored by ECMC Foundation (Fellowship) and Director for Career Technical Education, Illinois Community College Board.
“We don’t create pathways for leaders, we don’t harness great talent and develop them,” shares Carlos M. Lopez, alumni of the inaugural cohort of the Fellowship and Associate Director of Admissions, Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. “Some of us that are first-generation workers, first-generation college students, we don’t know how to become executives. It’s a skill set, we need to be taught how to have those skills… and how to be those executive leaders.”
To address these challenges, Advance CTE with the generous support of ECMC Foundation has released The Building a Diverse CTE Leadership Pipeline Toolkit, a free resource that aims to empower states and institutions to increase leadership stability and achieve more demographically representative state CTE leadership.
“Diverse leaders offer diverse solutions in a changing and complex learning environment by aligning policies and practices to the communities being served,” said Dr. Kevin Johnson, Sr, Senior Advisor, Advance CTE and Lead for the Fellowship. “Our experience with developing and leading the Fellowship has allowed us to recommend proven processes that increased knowledge and skills in two cohorts of 25 diverse Fellows with an immediate impact on their current and future career goals.”
The toolkit is designed to help states and institutions replicate the successes of the Fellowship by providing training, mentorship and opportunities for their aspiring CTE leaders who are demographically representative of the learners they serve.
“If we are to continue to expand the reach and impact of CTE programs, we need to ensure those programs are available, accessible and welcoming to all learners, regardless of where they live, what they look like or how they identify,” said Kate Kreamer, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “To meet this critical challenge, we must recruit, retain and support a diverse and culturally competent set of CTE instructors, administrators and state leaders. This Fellowship and the resulting toolkit are vital to achieving this goal.”
Source: Technical Education Leadership Landscape
Explore the toolkit and suite of resources today!
Advance CTE is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Established in 1920, Advance CTE supports state CTE leadership to advance high-quality and equitable CTE policies, programs and pathways that ensure career and college success without limits for each learner.