- Providing tax credits for businesses offering high school internships and making it easier for schools to involve industry professionals in the classroom are two of the ways policymakers can encourage strong cross-sector partnerships to support career and technical education (CTE) programs, according to an ExcelinEd report released this week.
- The document includes examples of successful partnerships and tools that partners can use to craft elements such as “purpose statements” and partnership agreements. “Often, the education and business sectors speak different languages or value different priorities,” the authors write. “Sometimes partners struggle to find common ground on which all parties achieve mutual return on investment.”
- The authors also recommend that policymakers provide schools with incentive funds to help students earn “high-value, industry-recognized credentials” and target funding to intermediary organizations — the entities that bring together various K-12, higher education and business partners to “provide the long-term stability for sustained action,” the report says.
CTE initiatives, such as career pathway programs, apprenticeships and internships, aren’t very successful if students can’t learn from industry experts or apply what they’re learning in a real work environment. With the Trump administration recently announcing a new $3 million grant program focusing on apprenticeship programs in STEM fields, states have even more incentive to form strong partnerships that help high school students find apprenticeship opportunities.
The ExcelinEd report notes that strong CTE partnerships have three important elements: They are in line with market data on high-growth, high-skill jobs; they meet a state’s current and future economic priorities; and they are connected to postsecondary credential programs. The authors also note that even local CTE initiatives need state-level support.
“While local and regional partnerships may best represent the needs of their stakeholders, they still must collaborate with state agencies and statewide initiatives to secure the flexibility, funding and resources that ensure long-term sustainability,” they write.