We Can Build a Stronger Economy by Elevating Leadership in Career and Technical Education
By Peter J. Taylor, ECMC Foundation
Job reports from the Department of Labor paint a rosy picture of the American economy: one with widespread job growth and the lowest unemployment rate in decades. Yet, many of these new jobs are unfilled because employers struggle to find qualified workers with the right education and training.
Our team at ECMC Foundation understood early on that thousands of these jobs in high-demand fields, like manufacturing, information technology and healthcare, don't always require a bachelor's degree, but rather could be obtained by earning career and technical education (CTE) credentials up to an associate degree.
The Foundation has made more than $50 million in investments to date to develop and strengthen programs for adult learners pursuing postsecondary career and technical education pathways. By working closely with our grantees and meeting with leaders across community colleges, career colleges and community based organizations, we've learned more about the exciting opportunities —as well as the challenges—in the postsecondary CTE field.
We learned while CTE programs in high-demand fields exist, the quality and outcomes of programs vary, research is limited on best practices, and leadership and professional development opportunities are uncommon.
The Foundation's grantee partners have made tremendous progress in their own programs, but in order help advance postsecondary CTE the field needs an innovative and targeted solution —one that focuses on elevating its leadership.
Our Response: CTE Leadership Collaborative
In October, ECMC Foundation announced the launch of the CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC), an initiative focused on bringing together diverse perspectives and equipping CTE leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance postsecondary CTE.
In addition to our traditional grantmaking approach, the LC will launch competitive funding opportunities identifying solutions that address specific challenges facing postsecondary CTE. To ensure that the knowledge and lessons learned from the LC have the potential to be far-reaching and impact the field more broadly, grantees and selected ECMC Foundation Fellows commit to sharing their research, experiences and best practices.
CTE Leadership Collaborative Funding Programs
In 2018, we have made two grants under the LC. The first is the CTE Research Program at North Carolina State University—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation, which will advance CTE research and knowledge by supporting graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from a range of postsecondary institutions and a variety of academic disciplines. The goal is to grow high-quality postsecondary CTE research, which currently significantly lacks visibility and financial support. Applications are now open and available here.
The second grant-funded program of the LC is the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE —Sponsored by ECMC Foundation, which will support current and aspiring leaders in CTE. The goal is to provide professional and career growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders at nonprofits and postsecondary institutions offering CTE programs.
Help Us Spread the Message
We hope that you will join us in sharing this exciting news. Included here is a social media kit with tailored email messages, social media posts and additional information about the LC. Be sure to use the hashtag #ECMCFFellows (note the double F!) when referring to ECMC Foundation Fellows.
You can also learn more about the LC by visiting our website, where updates about the LC and recent developments, news and resources about CTE will be shared regularly.
Peter J. Taylor
ECMC Foundation President