Addressing Equity Gaps in Workforce Development
In this commentary, Darlene Miller, executive director of the National Council for Workforce Education, highlights four areas to address through policy and practice to increase the equity of CTE and workforce programs: access to high-quality CTE programs and higher paying career pathways, faculty professional development, data collection and program review, and engagement with advisory committees. Because structural barriers and systemic racism are entrenched in CTE and workforce programs, Miller stresses that a systemic and intentional approach is needed to address equity gaps and ensure policies and practices support students of color in achieving their goals.
Miller's recommendations are based on significant learnings from the Career and Technical Education CoLab (CTE CoLab) initiative. Funded by ECMC Foundation and managed by the Urban Institute, the CTE CoLab seeks to reduce inequities in academic and career outcomes for students of color—especially students who are Black, Latinx or Indigenous—who are enrolled in credit-bearing, online postsecondary CTE programs. The National Council for Workforce Education is one of five national organizations participating in the CTE CoLab.