ACSA testifies on issues with CTE grants

February 10, 2020
During testimony to legislators in Sacramento, ACSA’s Career Technical Education Council President Mariane Doyle shared concerns about two grant application programs that have become burdensome to administrators. Doyle testified Jan. 29 before the Assembly Education Committee oversight hearing on the status of K-12 Career Technical Education in California. Doyle, who is also director of Career Technical and Adult Education at William S. Hart Union High School District, began her remarks thanking legislators for committing to preparing students for their future careers.  She emphasized ACSA’s support for ongoing collaboration with community college partners. However, Doyle said the grant application process for the CTE Incentive Grant from the California Department of Education and the Strong Workforce Grant from California Community Colleges has proven difficult for many districts. “This effort has been mired with obstacles that are primarily a result of two completely different systems that do not align at very fundamental levels,” Doyle said. The direction and intent of the Strong Workforce Grant varies from region to region, Doyle said, and multiple rounds of application can require different guidelines. The uncertainty surrounding funding estimates for the Strong Workforce Grants from year to year has caused concern for some district chief financial officers as well, she said. “It is our hope that this process can be modified to better meet the needs of school districts and their community college partners, and provide clearly sustainable commitments to program expansion and improvements,” Doyle said. She added that the “paper burden” of applying for the various grants has become time-consuming for many districts. “As one colleague shared, ‘Are we all to become full-time grant managers at the expense of our faculty and programs?’” Doyle said. While community colleges are important partners in building K-14 pathways, she cautioned against limiting the scope of the grant program to only one of the many post-secondary options that are available to students.  “With Strong Workforce only acknowledging pathways that continue to community college, we are risking the exclusion of students pursuing any other post-secondary options including trade schools, universities, the military, or directly entering the workforce,” Doyle said. “On behalf of ACSA and my own district, we ask that the assembly continue to support our efforts while keeping sustainability in mind as we work to serve each and every student in our K-12 districts.”
Director of Career Technical and Adult Education at William S. Hart Union High School District Mariane Doyle, who also serves as ACSA’s Career Technical Education Council president, testified before the Assembly Education Committee oversight hearing on the status of K-12 career technical education in California.

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