About

About the Career and Technical Education Research Network

More than 8 million secondary students and nearly 4 million postsecondary students are enrolled in career and technical education (CTE), which is supported by more than $1.1 billion in federal and state investments. CTE provides students with academic knowledge and technical and employability skills that prepare them for career fields and credentials. CTE also is increasingly seen as an opportunity to strengthen the connection and coherence among K–12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce development efforts. Yet, rigorous research—that is, studies designed to show a causal impact—on CTE programming is limited. In response, the CTE Research Network seeks to promote and disseminate high‑quality studies examining the impact of CTE.

Our Primary Areas of Focus

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Research

Increase the number of studies examining the impact of CTE policies, programs, and practices on student outcomes

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Training

Strengthen the capacity of researchers and practitioners to conduct, use, and share rigorous and causal CTE research

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Coordination

Improve coherence among CTE research projects, identify new research priorities, and share strategies to address research challenges

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Dissemination

Engage stakeholders in network activities and share findings to inform efforts to improve CTE programs and student outcomes

Network Lead

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and its partners—the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), JFF, and Vanderbilt University—serve as the CTE Research Network Lead. The Network Lead provides network administration and coordination as well as research, training, and dissemination to increase the number and quality of CTE impact evaluations and strengthen the field’s research capacity.

American Institutes for Research

AIR, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1946, is one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations. AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving people's lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. Learn more

Association for Career and Technical Education

ACTE is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association empowering educators to deliver high-quality CTE programs that ensure all students are positioned for career success. For more than 90 years, ACTE has provided CTE professionals with advocacy, public awareness, and access to resources, professional development, and leadership opportunities. Learn more

JFF

JFF is a national nonprofit that drives change in the American workforce and education systems to create access to economic advancement for all. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. JFF is building a future that works. Learn more

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is a private research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The university is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Learn more

Network Lead Team

Kathy Hughes head shot
Kathy Hughes, Ph.D.
Director/Principal Investigator
American Institutes for Research
Shaun Dougherty head shot
Shaun M. Dougherty, Ed.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
Vanderbilt University
Lisa Soricone head shot
Lisa Soricone, Ed.D.
Network Coordination Lead
Jobs for the Future
Trey Miller head shot
Trey Miller, Ph.D.
Research Co-Lead
American Institutes for Research
Kelly Reese head shot
Kelly Reese
Research Co-Lead
American Institutes for Research
Jill Walston head shot
Jill Walston, Ph.D.
Research Training Lead
American Institutes for Research
Stephen DeWitt head shot
Stephen DeWitt
Communications Co-Lead
Association for Career and Technical Education
Joni Wackwitz head shot
Joni Wackwitz
Communications Co-Lead
American Institutes for Research

Network Members

The CTE Research Network brings together IES-funded research teams focused on measuring the impact of CTE programs on student outcomes. As network members, the research teams participate in collaborative activities to share findings, strengthen their research, and learn from one another. The network currently consists of four teams but may eventually include up to six.