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CTE Leadership Collaborative 2023 Mini-Grant Program Recipients Announced

The program, intended to spark cross-fellowship collaboration and innovative solutions to advance the field of postsecondary CTE, will see an 85% increase in funding in its third year.

September 01, 2023

Now in its third year, the CTE Leadership Collaborative's Mini-Grant Program continues to facilitate partnership among ECMC Foundation Fellows (Fellows) from six fellowship programs, while elevating their leadership profile within the field of postsecondary career and technical education (CTE). 

The Mini-Grant Program is an invitation-only, competitive funding opportunity for Fellows who are interested in launching innovative projects in cooperation with other Fellows. The goal of ECMC Foundation’s CTE LC is to advance the field by bringing together a diverse group of leaders across a range of geographies, approaches and disciplines—including research, data analytics, business and industry, journalism, higher education and government—to promote cross segmental collaboration while developing the next generation of postsecondary CTE leadership.

The 2023 program saw the largest number of applications to date, reflective of the growing number of Fellows, which has exceeded 300. ECMC Foundation awarded a record 15 projects totaling $74,350. In 2022, ECMC Foundation awarded funding to eight projects, bringing funding up this year by an incredible 85%.

This year’s projects support a range of activities from research, training and resource development to programs that promote awareness, accessibility and diversity in the CTE field, support for teachers and administrators, two podcasts and much more.

Congratulations to the following Fellows! Read below to learn more about their projects.

Using Root Cause Analysis to Create Equity in CTE Programs
Fellow Lead Bryan (BJ) Bertucci (ACTE, NextLevel) and Justin Erickson (ACTE, NextLevel) will create trainings for administrators and personnel that will teach how to utilize root cause analysis and the logic model on enrollment data. The goal is for attendees to be able to address equity gaps in enrollment and better plan for student recruitment and support in CTE programs.

Gateways to College Success and Careers with Connie Mesquita Multicultural Center Course Development
Justin Chin (Advance CTE, State Leaders) will fund and upscale Eugene, OR’s Lane Community College’s Gateways to College Success and Careers program to be led by faculty coordinators across different cultural student associations, and to serve a maximum of 300 potential students. The goal is to provide opportunities for students from special populations to engage in career planning and academic success curriculum.

Updating Nursing Skills Lab Equipment
Eric Crawford (ACTE, NextLevel) will update outdated and overused equipment in Ukiah, CA’s Ukiah Adult School’s Vocational Nursing Program, which provides high quality instruction to a mostly rural area, with the goal of creating a supportive, accurate learning experience for students before they start applying their skills to patients.

CTE Signing Day
Carla Arciniega (ACTE, NextLevel) will fund Eugene, OR’s Lane Community College’s (LCC) CTE Signing Day, which provides the opportunity for prospective students and community members to learn about the support systems that LCC offers to help them enroll and complete their programs of study. The goal is to increase enrollment in the program, promote workforce development among special population students and expand social capital and upward mobility in their community.

Broadening Participation in STEM by Building the Skilled Technical Workforce
Kawana Johnson (NCSU, CTE Research) will develop a program that exposes skilled technical workers (those with STEM skills but who lack a bachelor’s degree) in training to STEM technical career options in labs and to professional development topics that will help them become more marketable job applicants. The goal is to target a diverse population of skilled workers in training and provide them with additional support to succeed in their field. 

Advisory Committee Expansion
Kari Lamoreaux (ACTE, NextLevel) will establish formal advisory committees that focus on the different emphases of Utah State University’s General Technology AAS and Technology Systems BS programs, which serve a diverse student population spanning geographically dispersed regions. The goal is for the committees to be geographically diverse and to convene twice a year to inform program and course development, provide valuable internship opportunities and enhance student job placement prospects.

Summer Youth Employment Program
Davil Jackson (Advance CTE, State Leaders) will provide 10 high school juniors or seniors with the opportunity to explore various career fields over a two-month period in the summer of 2024. The goal is to create awareness and access to CTE opportunities in underrepresented populations. 

Establishing a National Applied Research Center on Industry Certifications and Career Readiness for Black Males
Felix Quayson (NCSU, CTE Research) will implement national educational and industry resources to aid Black male students in preparing for college and careers, including creating a podcast that incubates discussions centering on Black male achievement and motivation. The goal of the project is to address disparities and marginalization of Black male students in academic and career readiness and to promote a positive image of Black male students to the country and the world. 

Filling the Gaps: Addressing the Recruitment and Retention of Postsecondary CTE Faculty
Fellow Lead Sophia Alston (ACTE, NextLevel), Jodi Adams and Linda Van Doren (both NCSU, CTE Research) will design and implement a comprehensive survey targeting postsecondary faculty members involved in CTE programs. The goal of the survey is to address the critical issue of recruitment and retention of CTE instructors in postsecondary institutions. 

Postsecondary CTE Teacher Recruitment, Training, and Retention Toolkit: A Nationwide Search 2023
Fellow Lead Lisa Martino, Sara Shaw and Jodi Adams (all NCSU, CTE Research) will compare different state plans for recruitment, training and retention of CTE teachers, while identifying best practices for each aspect. The goal of the project is to add on to a previous project, which created a toolkit which provides information to recruit, prepare and retain quality CTE teachers in postsecondary CTE education.

CTE Industry to Teaching Emergency Transition Kit and First-Year Success
Fellow Lead JoAnna Collins (ACTE, NextLevel), Bran Rick (ACTE, NextLevel), Nzingha Williams (CTE Research, NCSU), Angela Lawhorne (ACTE, NextLevel) and James Bartlett (CTE Research, NCSU) will create an emergency kit that aids in the transition of industry professionals who have been recruited into teaching positions. The goal is to help these new educators solve problems ranging from learning how to present materials to understanding how to navigate their professional development. 

Strategic Networking in Iowa through a State PACE Division
Fellow Lead Kimberley Dreaden, Jeff Henderson, Brad Kisinger, Emily Logan and Ashlee Spannagel, (all ACTE, NextLevel) will establish Iowa’s PACE membership, create a monthly podcast aimed at Iowa CTE leaders, promote professional development, establish an annual retreat and facilitate presentations at conferences. The goal is to better establish the IPACE organization so that CTE leaders in Iowa can organize their strategic network, share best practices, discuss solutions to oncoming challenges and better advocate for CTE. 

The Registered Apprenticeship Wrapper - Creating the Blueprint for Workforce Intermediaries, Community Colleges and Industry Associations
Fellow Lead Nicholas D’Antonio and James Bartlett (both NCSU, CTE Research) will develop a blueprint for workforce intermediaries, community colleges, industry associations and other stakeholders in CTE and apprenticeship success to effectively deploy the “registered apprenticeship wrapper” method. The goal is to promote equity and increase apprenticeship opportunities at companies for people in various regions and communities throughout the country. 

Pathways CTE from Technical Credential to Bachelor Degree
Tachaka Hollins (ACTE, NextLevel) will develop articulation agreements that outline the transfer process for students who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree after completing a technical college program. The goal is to bridge the gap between technical college and university education, offering students a clear pathway to academic advancement and professional growth.  

Class Customization and Labor Market Alignment: A Qualitative Analysis of Student Behavior
Steven Smith (NCSU, CTE Research) will conduct multiple one-hour interviews with students who have taken courses that lie outside of their major or certificate course offerings. The goal is to understand why students take such courses to see if that behavior indicates changing labor market needs and whether it has bearing on the revisitation of primary and elective course offerings within programs.

The CTE Leadership Collaborative Mini-Grant Program application for ECMC Foundation Fellows will reopen in Spring 2024.

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