Connecting Afterschool to College and Technical Careers

Afterschool goes to college

By Jillian Luchner | October 9, 2018

What does higher education have to do with afterschool and summer learning? As it turns out, quite a bit! Below, we highlight the top five connections between afterschool and higher education.

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Today’s economy offers enormous opportunity, but distributed mainly to the well-prepared. Tomorrow’s economy will be even more skewed and those underserved in our education systems are at the greatest threat of being left behind.

Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce anticipates that by 2020:

  • 35% of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher[1]
  • 30% will require some education beyond high school including associate’s degrees
  • 36% will not require more than a high school diploma

Afterschool and summer learning are supporting and in some cases leading the way in the preparation of tomorrow’s workforce and future innovators. When out of school, students have the space, flexibility, and time to develop their interests, build skills in team work, communication, problem solving that employers of all stripes have come to value. Through activities and experiences such as competency based learning, hands-on STEM, mentorships, site-visits and apprenticeships, afterschool and summer programs are becoming an essential piece in re-envisioning career pathways for school aged youth.

Federal Legislation

The Career and Technical Education Law, H. 2353 the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act ” (known as Perkins V)  was signed into law July 31st, 2018, replacing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006

Recent Funding for CTE State Grants (85% of these allocated to states by formula)

FY 2015:

$1.118 Billion

FY 2016:

$1.118 Billion

FY 2017:

$1.118 Billion

FY 2018:

$1.193 Billion

FY 2019:

$1.193 Billion

Learn about CTE in your state (including your state director, and stats in enrollment, funding, career clusters and indicators):

See your states 2019 estimated allocations here.

From ACTE, find out about your state CTE policies, delivery and operation, and outcomes measures and see a diagram of how funding under the new law Perkins V (see below) will be spent

Federal Action

  • The Perkins V Law includes important updates for afterschool including:
    • Employability Skills: The law mentions the importance of employability skills in career development (like collaboration, communication, and problem solving).
    • Middle School Career Exposure: The law expands eligible uses to allow for career exposure, exploration and preparation, and it permits use of funds as early as the middle grades (fifth grade through eighth grade).
    • State Planning: As in the past, the law requires inclusion of interested community-based partners in the state planning process.
    • Working with Intermediaries: The law mentions partnerships with community-based partners within the definition of qualified intermediaries (non-profits that connect students with opportunities).
    • Eligible Uses of Local Funds: The law for the first time explicitly lists partnerships with community-based and youth-serving organizations as eligible uses of local funds.
  • Get to the Table to Talk Today: Here are some resources that may help
  • The law goes into effect for the 2019 school year. Afterschool partners can get a head start by reaching out to their state CTE office. As in the past, the requirements for state plan consultation include: “interested community representatives, including parents, students, and community organizations,” so let them know if you are interested. Reach out to them and to local administrators (superintendents, principals, CTE directors) with examples of how afterschool and summer learning programs support students’ career pathways including in the middle school years and for non-traditional populations.
  • Expected Timeline: The Federal Government is working to finalize the state plan which offers the option for a 2019 one year transition plan which we have heard all states will be taking advantage of. Conversations are beginning now to discuss the details of the transition plan and stakeholder engagement meetings on the larger 2020 4-year plan (Due April 2020) have already begun in some states. Look up your state to see how to get involved in the conversation.
  • Important connections between Workforce and Afterschool: Afterschool and summer programs have long been partners in connecting students with both locally relevant and broadly in-demand career fields. Besides the great work programs do in supporting students gaining employability skills, they also introduce students to career pathways and provide skill sets, training, credits, and certification. Examples abound in these areas including automotive maintenance, aviation, welding, health care, engineering and digital technology, food services, construction, and more. Additionally, programs often focus on supporting students in non-traditional careers and providing opportunities to students from underrepresented groups.
  • Program Examples

ESSA includes Workforce in 21st CCLC

The Every Student Succeed Act (the 2015 reauthorization of ESEA, formerly No Child Left Behind) included a provision in Title IV, part B, the section which designates funds to 21st Century Community Learning Centers to add workforce development/CTE as an allowable activity. The addition is based on the Afterschool and Workforce Development Act, introduced by Senator Baldwin in April 2015.

Additionally the Department of Education recognized the important role afterschool programs can play in career preparation by issuing a grant program for states to work with 21st CCLC programs on career readiness and pathways. Four states received grants, NH, TN, UT, and IA. Career Pathway Award grant applications can be found here.

US Department of Education

The federal education law, ESSA, which supports K-12 education for low-income students, contains multiple references to career education, including a Title I, Direct Student Services component, whichallows states to reserve 3% of their allocated funds for a variety of activities provided by schools, colleges, community based providers and other entities to support student success in fields including CTE and the Title IV B 21st CCLC component mentioned above.

Department of Education Guidance on Gender Equity in CTE

Allied Groups and the Private Sector

An initiative between JP Morgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is providing $100,000 seed grants to 20 states to plan coordinated CTE systems that integrate needs of employers. A pool of 10 states will then be selected to receive $2 million to implement their systems.

More Career and Technical Resources and Information