WestEd and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are collaborating with the Florida Department of Education to better understand how community and technical colleges align their career and technical education (CTE) programming to the labor market. The project is part of the Accelerating Recovery Research in Community Colleges (ARCC) Network; the network includes research teams exploring student success at community colleges in the post-pandemic economy.
New changes to the federal CTE policy require postsecondary institutions to ensure that their CTE offerings are validated by local labor-market demand. Yet, institutions may have minimal knowledge of best practices to draw upon as they carry out the new mandates.
This research study is designed to answer the following questions through a variety of data sources:
- To what extent can institutional factors and the demand for CTE jobs in the labor market predict students’ CTE course-taking, concentration, and award completion?
- How do community and technical colleges develop, offer, and update market-aligned CTE programs of study?
Researchers are administering a statewide survey to catalog institutional practices that Florida community and technical colleges use to align their CTE programming to the local labor market. The project team is combining the survey data with labor market data and student-level data to examine the relationship between institutional practices; labor market demand in students’ geographical areas; and students’ participation, concentration, and completion in CTE programs. The team is also conducting case studies of select Florida community and technical colleges to better understand institutions’ processes.