Describes promising practices and strategies for career technical education (CTE) programs in rural communities as identified by Advance CTE through interviews with state leaders and case studies from states that have succeeded in connecting learners to industry.

Career Technical Education (CTE) “provides opportunities for learners to gain real-world skills and…experiences through their coursework and direct interactions with industry partners through work-based learning, mentorships and Career Technical Student Organizations….Having access to industry partners and the world of work is critical to learners’ career awareness, exposure and preparation and to the overall quality of the CTE pathway” (p.1).

“To help states unpack the challenges and potential approaches to expanding access to quality [CTE] programs in rural communities, Advance CTE—in partnership with the Council of Chief of State School Officers and education Strategy Group through the New Skills for Youth…initiative—[released] a series of briefs titled CTE on the Frontier. The series [explores] some of the most pressing challenges facing rural CTE, including program quality, access to the world of work, leveraging partnerships to expand program offerings and the rural CTE teacher pipeline. “

Through interviews with state CTE leaders at both the secondary and postsecondary levels, Advance CTE identified promising practices and strategies to strengthen access to and the quality of CTE pathways in rural communities. This brief, [is] the second in the series, [and] explores how states can and are supporting efforts to ensure that all learners in rural communities have the opportunity to engage directly with employers and the world of work” (p.1).

In this brief, the authors describe:

  • “The State role in connecting learners with the world of work” (p.1) and rural CTE.
  • Connecting industry to learners, including lessons learned from West Virginia’s simulated workplace and door-to-door exposure through mobile labs in Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota; And discuss scaling employer interactions through technology using lessons learned in Louisiana.
  • Strategies for connecting rural learners with the world of work, including leveraging existing infrastructure to support industry-led career pathways, such as in the Dakota Nursing Program, cross-system and cross-sector alignment in Montana, and Warren County’s Area Technology Center in Kentucky.
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)