Skip to Content

CTE Leadership Collaborative Fellows on Racial Equity in Postsecondary CTE

A roundup of recent work from ECMC Foundation Fellows

October 27, 2022


By Anna Fontus, Program Officer

Postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) has proven itself to be a ladder to the middle class for many, but must continue to evolve to benefit all students who enroll in these programs. People of color and women are overrepresented among students who are unable to finish programs and among those with lower wage gains when they do complete. Ignoring inequities in postsecondary CTE not only affects students’ earnings potential in the short-term, but can potentially exacerbate wealth gaps for these communities that echo across generations. The field is fortunate to have many equity-minded practitioners committed to student success and, with sufficient resources, postsecondary CTE programs can address racial and gender inequities, meeting its promise of being a reliable and strong lever for inclusive economic advancement.

Since 2018, ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative has been working to change the face of postsecondary CTE leadership by equipping a diverse group of emerging leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance the field. The CTE Leadership Collaborative fosters connection and collaboration across a range of approaches and disciplines – with Fellows working as postsecondary-focused researchers, CTE practitioners, data analysts, human resource professionals, journalists, and government officials – informing the evolution of the field from different angles.

Here are highlights from ECMC Foundation Fellows that explore how the field is working to address racial inequities and meet the needs of all students motivated to pursue postsecondary CTE. (Read our previous post highlighting work from Fellows on gender equity in CTE.)

  • Alia Wong in USA Today: “Green jobs’ path to middle class, sustainability largely blocked to Native Americans”
  • David Tobenkin in Hechinger Report: “Demand among Black, Latino students fuels college entrepreneurship programs”
  • Ron French in Bridge Michigan: “$100M Kalamazoo career tech center shows promise, inequities in Michigan”
  • Hillary Burns in Biz Journals: “Overlooked and underfunded: How 2-year HBCUs are building critical tech-talent pipelines despite the odds”
  • Chandra Thomas Whitfield in Higher Ed Dive: “How Morehouse School of Medicine is growing the biotech worker pipeline”
  • Jenny Brundin on Colorado Public Radio: “Colorado’s Latinas Are Key To Confronting A Child Care Worker Shortage. Even So, Challenges Remain”

In addition to the work of the Fellows, ECMC Foundation staff and other grantee partners have shared resources and reflections on racial equity and CTE:

  • The Community College Research Center (CCRC) periodically updates their dashboard of college completions and associated earnings, which provides a powerful visual to understand postsecondary CTE program completion and wage gains across diverse student populations.
  • Noting that the basic needs insecurity gap between Black and white students was 19 percentage points, my colleague Rosario Torres highlights the role of safety net programs in advancing equity in CTE.
  • In a blog post from 2020, we discuss how data is an important tool for improving equity in CTE programs.

Back to News