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CTE Leadership Collaborative Initiative

The CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC) Initiative brings together diverse perspectives and equips postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance the field.

Across the country, there is a critical shortage of qualified workers needed to fill middle-skill jobs—jobs that require more education and training than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree. Many of the middle-skill jobs in high-demand industries, like manufacturing, information technology and healthcare, pay family-sustaining wages and can be accessed by attaining postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) credentials.

While CTE programs in high-demand fields exist, the quality and outcomes of programs vary, research and awareness of best practices are limited, and leadership and professional development opportunities are uncommon.


In 2018, ECMC Foundation launched the CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC), an initiative focused on bringing together diverse perspectives and equipping leaders with the resources and skills needed to advance postsecondary CTE. Through grants made to leading organizations and institutions, ECMC Foundation provided funding for six fellowship programs offering professional development including mentoring and skill-building opportunities; in-person and virtual convenings; writing and presenting about learnings; attending conferences; and participating in capstone projects. Each fellowship program (listed below) supports leaders from a range of geographies, variety of disciplines and mix of approaches—known as ECMC Foundation Fellows (Fellows)—dedicated to improving postsecondary CTE.

While the six grantee partners oversee the majority of the programmatic activities, ECMC Foundation ensures collaboration across programs. In addition to convening Fellows across programs on an annual basis, we host receptions and networking events at conferences and offer funding to support Fellows interested in collaborating on projects.

We estimate that by 2025, more than 500 ECMC Foundation Fellows will be working to improve postsecondary CTE by addressing field-level research gaps, incorporating evidence-based approaches to student success, deepening related media coverage, improving campus-specific data use, integrating company hiring practices, advancing state-wide policies, and more. Through these efforts, ECMC Foundation Fellows will advance the field by uplifting the needs and opportunities to increase financial support, build public will, improve practice and policy, and drive equitable student outcomes in CTE, with the ultimate goal of boosting program persistence and credential attainment to ensure graduates can access positions paying family-sustaining wages and employers have the qualified and diverse talent they need.

Meet our Fellows

Funded Fellowship Programs

The CTE Research Program at North Carolina State University  supports graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to increase postsecondary CTE-focused research.

The Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE supports CTE practitioners to develop leaders at nonprofits and postsecondary institutions offering CTE programs.

The Higher Education Media Fellowship at the Institute for Citizens & Scholars supports journalists to increase and improve coverage of postsecondary education, especially CTE.

The Strategic Data Project - CTE at Harvard University supports community college data professionals to improve student success and generate insights about workforce outcomes.

The CTE Industry Fellowship Program at JFF supports industry leaders to promote CTE graduates within company hiring policies and practices.

The Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship Program at Advance CTE supports aspiring state leaders to implement high-quality and equity-centered programs and policies.

Moving Forward

We will continue to serve as the connective tissue – convening the ECMC Foundation Fellows and offering funding opportunities – to ensure collaboration across fellowship programs and among ECMC Foundation Fellows. The Foundation will work with an evaluator to assess the professional growth of the ECMC Foundation Fellows, review the impact and efficacy of fellowship programs, analyze the initiative as a whole, and identify advances to the postsecondary CTE field more broadly.

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Meet our Fellows

With more than 100 ECMC Foundation Fellows and counting, the CTE Leadership Collaborative continues to bring together diverse perspectives, equipping a growing number of CTE leaders with the tools, resources, and skills needed to advance postsecondary CTE.

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