By Carissa Moffat Miller
College and career readiness programs — from earning college credit in high school to securing internships — are critical to student success after high school. Despite efforts across the country to advance career pathways, too often, participation in career education programs remain a privilege that only some students can enjoy. Through New Skills for Youth, an initiative funded by JPMorgan Chase to advance college and career readiness across the country, 10 states are beginning to tackle the inequities that exist within their career readiness programs by carefully monitoring the gender, race, and income level of students who have access to and participate in career pathway options. More importantly, they're doing something about the gaps they find.
CCSSO is proud to partner with Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group to support these 10 states in their efforts.
Here are just a few of the ways New Skills for Youth states are working to improve educational equity:
- Louisiana developed an online supplemental course academy to provide all students, especially those who are historically disadvantaged or who live in rural communities with limited resources, with access to career and technical education courses and internship opportunities.
- Ohio mapped the distance from school districts to pathway programs in an effort to ensure that geography is not a barrier to student access.
- Massachusetts is beginning to collect data on program waitlists to make sure that there is equitable enrollment in its career pathways.
- Delaware developed a career advising program specifically for youth with disabilities as they transition into high school with support from several state agencies and national partners.
- Nevada committed to increase the percentage of underrepresented students in computer science, and the number of female and Latino students taking an AP computer science course more than doubled this school year.
- Rhode Island offers statewide open enrollment for all career and technical education programs, ensuring that any student can pursue a career pathway regardless of where they live.
Addressing inequities within career readiness programs is a group effort and partners in this work are key to ensuring all schools can advance equity in career pathways. For example, earlier this month, Advance CTE released a white paper called Making Good on the Promise: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE, which outlines five strategies states can implement.
Further, the progress to create more equitable opportunities in career pathways is not limited to the 10 states participating in the New Skills for Youth Initiative. Many other states are working to advance career pathways for students, and at CCSSO, we are making sure all states can learn from one another’s successes so every student has access to the tools they need to be successful in college, careers and life.
For more information on New Skills for Youth or CCSSO’s additional support to states around career readiness, visit www.ccsso.org/topics/career-readiness.
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