Georgia Policy Labs Reports

Work-Based Learning for CTE

Work-Based Learning for CTE

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Thomas Goldring:

Carly Urban:


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Under Perkins V, there is a renewed emphasis on work-based learning (WBL) as a key component of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Perkins V encourages collaboration between schools, employers, and industry stakeholders to develop high-quality WBL opportunities for students. It emphasizes the importance of preparing students for in-demand careers through internships, cooperative education, and other WBL models. The law also allows states to set performance indicators and accountability measures related to WBL.

In this report, Thomas Goldring and Carly Urban examine WBL with a focus on a particular aspect of WBL that has received little research attention to date: the collection of WBL data under Perkins V and how those data are being used to inform CTE policy. Our insights are derived from three sources. First, we convened our Career & Technical Education Policy Exchange (CTEx) research and policy partners in July 2023 to discuss WBL data and its uses. CTEx states that participated in this conversation include Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Texas, and Washington. Second, we conducted case studies by analyzing administrative data on WBL from two states: Michigan and Montana. Third, we conducted a review of other research studies and policy manuals that address WBL, particularly newer documents that focus on WBL under Perkins V.

The first part of the report discusses how states are implementing WBL under Perkins V, including the decision of whether to report participation in WBL as a Perkins indicator of performance. A consistent theme in our multi-state reports is highlighting the challenge in comparing outcomes across states given the considerable latitude that states are given to implement CTE policy; WBL is no different. The second part of the report details how states are collecting WBL data under Perkins V, what data is collected, and how those data are used. We find that the states view WBL as important but have limited (or at best evolving) data to describe or evaluate it. Although our analysis spanned only five states, the limited detail in state-level WBL data collection, along with the hypothesized importance of this set of experiences, suggests that there is much more that states could and should be doing to improve measurement and encourage robust data collection in this area. The federal government also has a significant role to play in aligning definitions and encouraging more consistent WBL data collection methods across the states.


Work-Based Learning for CTE