Governance Structure of Career and Technical Education

A joint meeting between multiple legislative committees was held on Wednesday to review a report on the funding and governance structure of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Vermont.

Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc. (APA) partnered with the National Center on Education and the Economy were contracted by the State of Vermont via legislative Joint Fiscal Office in October 2022 to conduct the study, which was authorized by Act 127 of 2022. In order for Vermont to reduce barriers to enrollment and improve the quality, duration, impact and access to CTE, as well as to meet the state’s evolving workforce needs, the legislation recognized that "simple changes" in the system’s governance and funding would not be sufficient. The studies recommendations assume that Vermont sees CTE as a key part of the statewide workforce development system to meet evolving workforce needs. 

Many of the recommendations are related to two overarching themes identified in the study team’s work. These impact not only CTE, but other areas of the state's k-12 systems: alignment and economies of scale. The report layed out the study approach used by APA and then identified 10 recommendations as follows:

  1. Funding - Provide additional funding and incentives or grants to create more accessibility for students whose sending high school is not on a shared campus with a CTE center. Data show that proximity to CTE center is a strong predictor of participation. Stakeholders identified a disincentive to send a student to CTE centers, including impacts on opportunities for other student in the sending districts and transportation is a barrier for access for many students.

  2. Funding - Create a facilities funding system for CTE centers to address current facilities deficiencies, update program equipment, address enrollment needs, and plan for the future. Their recommendation is that a state board would distribute funds with a focus on updating current facilities and equipment along with adding capacity. The distribution of funds should focused on alignment with Vermont’s workforce development needs.

  3. Funding - Design a funding system that treat all CTE equitably while incentivizing additional CTE capacity in high growth sectors, utilizing a weighted student funding formula that differentiates funding by program type, with funding flowing directly to CTE centers from the education fund, eliminating tuition-based funding. The state should focus on providing equitable opportunities for students across the state. With the transition to the Education Fund as a revenue source, this also means that all districts in the state would share in the costs CTE which may reduce the impact on local education tax rates.

  4. Policy - Require regions to align certain system policies, including calendars and academic requirements, to improve the efficiency of the system for students and staff, providing better outcomes within the system. Stakeholders highlighted the impact of misalignment on opportunities and "time on task" for students. Under their recommendations, districts would be required to have regional calendars and transportation to provide lowest barriers for CTE center students. Also contemplated was specific CTE course requirements for graduation.

  5. Policy - Review CTE teacher preparation, licensure requirements, and salary policies with an aim of attracting high-killed industry professional to CTE teaching. Barriers exist to attracting and retaining qualified staff, including overall compensation rates, variability of pay across districts and licensure requirements. Current policies in some districts could be leveraged to ensure that pay systems recognize industry credentials and experience appropriately.

  6. Capacity - Invest in additional staffing at the Agency of Education (AOE) to provide support to CTE educators across program areas to increase program quality, monitor the system, and to help ensure equity of CTE opportunity across the state. Vermont’s numerous small settings makes coordinated technical assistance and statewide support important. Stakeholders reported AOE has seen reductions in staffing in CTE, and other areas, which has led to less support across the system.

  7. Capacity - Require that career exploration be offered to all middle school students across the state in order to increase awareness of CTE offerings as students enter high school. there is no consistent curriculum or guidance for middle school students in regards to CTE. While ensuring educators have the time and resources, middle and high school counseling should include career planning.

  8. Capacity - Encourage greater secondary postsecondary collaboration and require alignment and acceptance of credentialed Vermont CTE center pathways as precursors for enrollment into postsecondary CTE programs. This eliminates the need for core course repetition and ensures faster and lower cost credentialing for students. Stakeholders consistently reported barriers for students to remain in-state to complete CTE credentials after high school. The goal is to ensure time and cost of credentialing in-state is similar to regional and national  opportunities.

  9. Systems - Examine current distribution of programs across the centers in the state and consider offering more programming outside of CTE centers (eg at sending schools or state colleges) in order to expand opportunities for students. This could allow for the expansion of programs with more sophisticated equipment needs than centers currently provide.

  10. Systems - Consider creating either a coordinated regional governance structure or a single district for CTE centers to ensure equity for all students in developing a statewide workforce. To meet these goals, the state needs a more coordinated and coherent statewide strategy for CTE. Given the states economies of scale (or lack thereof), more centralized decision-making may be beneficial.


The next steps recommended by ASA was to consider the work performed in the report and to develop an plan to design and implement new funding and governance models supported by the report and its recommendations.




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