CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook (Career & Technical Education)


‘Each learner can access CTE without borders’ is one of the five principles of Advance CTE’s Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education. The view is that policies and programs should enable (not limit) mobility and access. To achieve this, states must come together to develop and expand new models of collaboration by investing in open-access systems that allow access both within and across state lines.

The Executive Summary to the CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook (May 2023) notes that CTE without borders allows learners to engage in learning opportunities regardless of location. Without borders, learners have the flexibility and support to engage in learning opportunities regardless of their zip code, and no matter whether they are engaging in online or hybrid learning or attending courses and programs on campuses outside of their home districts or local institutions. To achieve CTE without borders, significant policy and programmatic changes are needed regarding how CTE is designed and delivered. The Playbook supports state and local leaders developing policies and programs to advance the expansion of CTE and work-based learning within and across state borders.

The Playbook:

  • Developed with input from more than 100 state and local leaders through interactive roundtable discussions and interviews.
  • Recognizes the history of CTE programs (once called vocational education) were sometimes associated with the tracking of historically marginalized populations into lower-wage occupations with limited opportunities for advancement), but today’s improved CTE programs have become the preferred path for many secondary and postsecondary learners.
  • Recognizes many learners do not have access to high-quality CTE programs in their communities, especially rural learners, requiring a new commitment to a CTE without borders strategy.
  • Focuses on expanding access to learners both within and across states, and within and across secondary and postsecondary institutions.
  • Provides key strategies, actions, and policies across six areas:
    • Align Partners, Values and Vision
    • Drive Decisions with Data
    • Incentivize Access with Flexible and Sustainable Funding
    • Capture Learners’ Credits, Credentials and Experiences
    • Optimize the Conditions for Virtual and Hybrid Learning Opportunities
    • Inform and Support Learners and Families.

Playbook sections:

The Playbook provides access to a number of resources to include state policies related to CTE, reports on promoting equity in CTE, and mapping the steps state leaders can take to build trust in marginalized communities that CTE historically failed to serve equitably.


Advance CTE, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), Walton Family Foundation

Relational Map: Key Connections within the Learn-and-Work Ecosystem

CTE Without Borders Policy Playbook (Career & Technical Education)

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