CTE Leadership Collaborative

Last Updated: 03/12/2024

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The CTE Leadership Collaborative launched in 2018 by ECMC Foundation to bring together diverse perspectives and equip postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance the field. Through grants, ECMC funded six fellowship programs offering professional development including mentoring and skill-building opportunities; in-person and virtual convenings; writing and presenting about learnings; attending conferences; and participating in capstone projects. Each fellowship program supported leaders from a range of geographies, a variety of disciplines, and a mix of approaches—all dedicated to improving postsecondary CTE.

ECMC ensured collaboration across all the programs, and grantee partners oversaw the majority of the programmatic activities:

  • Postsecondary Career and Technical Education Research Program, North Carolina State University
  • Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship Program, Advance CTE
  • Strategic Data Project for Postsecondary Data, Harvard CEPR
  • Postsecondary Leadership Success Program, ACTE
  • Higher Education Media Fellowships from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars
  • Talent for Tomorrow from Jobs for the Future (JFF).

ECMC issued a Request for Qualifications in fall 2022 to identify an evaluator to assess the professional growth of the ECMC Foundation Fellows, review the impact and efficacy of fellowship programs, analyze the initiative as a whole, and identify advances to the postsecondary CTE field more broadly.


By 2025, it is projected that 500 ECMC Foundation Fellows will be working to improve postsecondary CTE by addressing field-level research gaps, incorporating evidence-based approaches to student success, deepening related media coverage, improving campus-specific data use, integrating company hiring practices, advancing state-wide policies, and more. Fellows will advance the field by uplifting the needs and opportunities to increase financial support, build public will, improve practice and policy, and drive equitable student outcomes in CTE, with the ultimate goal of boosting program persistence and credential attainment to ensure graduates can access positions paying family-sustaining wages and employers have the qualified and diverse talent they need.


Across the country, there is a critical shortage of qualified workers needed to fill middle-skill jobs—jobs that require more education and training than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree. Many middle-skill jobs in high-demand industries (e.g., manufacturing, information technology, healthcare) pay family-sustaining wages and can be accessed by attaining postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) credentials.

While CTE programs in high-demand fields exist, the quality and outcomes of programs vary, according to the 2013 research report (The State of Career Technical Education - An Analysis of State CTE Standards) conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEC).  Research has found awareness of best practices are limited, and leadership and professional development opportunities are uncommon.


CTE Leadership Collaborative Initiative | ECMC Foundation

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