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NASBE’s Standard Explores the Opportunities and Challenges of Getting Students Career Ready

Alexandria, VA – By 2025, 68 percent of U.S. jobs will require education and training beyond high school. With the triple reauthorization of the federal Perkins, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and the Every Student Succeeds Act, state leaders gain opportunities to ensure that every student has the academic and technical skills to embark on a path toward a good career during their K-12 years. The authors in NASBE’s latest issue of the State Education Standard dive into the opportunities and challenges of realizing this vision for career education.

Kicking off the issue, Kathleen Mathers of the Education Strategy Group paints a national landscape of states that are reframing and expanding career readiness opportunities for K-12 students. State boards have a role to play in ensuring that these programs are high quality and truly reach all students.

Advance CTE’s Austin Estes and Brianna McCain discuss equity in career and technical education (CTE), historically and now. To ensure that minority and low-income students take advantage of CTE courses aimed at high-wage employment, Estes and McCain urge state boards to examine disaggregated program data, engage diverse students and parents, and remove barriers to program access.

Amber Northern and Michael Petrilli provide a rundown on a recent Fordham Institute study that asks how states and districts can determine which CTE course enrollment in high school aligns with work available in local labor markets. State boards and agencies can help make better matches, they conclude.

CTE expert Wanda Monthey details types of apprenticeship programs available to students across the country, while West Virginia’s Kathy D’Antoni writes about a unique program in the state that leverages cross-agency and business support to transform CTE classrooms into student-led companies.

For another state perspective, NASBE chair Rachel Wise, along with state chief Matthew Blomstedt and Ryan Foor, tell Nebraska’s CTE story and how they are developing a guiding vision for career education.

On the federal policy front, Alex Perry of Foresight Law + Policy lays out the timeline for developing state plans for implementing Perkins V and suggests ways state boards might best take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

The NASBE Interview highlights a conversation with U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump at NASBE’s Legislative Conference earlier this spring. He urges state leaders to set a vision for expanding career pathways for students and to think creatively in crafting Perkins V plans. “We need to make sure that pathways that empower individuals to thrive are not just there but are equally valued.”

Read and share the September 2019 issue of NASBE’s State Education Standard. 

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at



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