Engage Key Audiences

CTE advocates have a diverse array of stakeholders to whom they need to pitch the educational value and return on investment of CTE. Engaging audiences not only around high-level value of CTE, but also through real-world examples is critical to deepening understanding of CTE among critical stakeholders as well as the general public. Below are resources uniquely tailored to engaging with and to talking CTE with key audiences: educators, policymakers, and business leaders.

Educators
In order to spread the CTE: Learning that works for America® brand message, educators must be made aware of the brand messaging, and then equip with the tools necessary to carry the branding message forward. Educators are at the front line in communicating the importance of CTE to students, parents, administrators, guidance counselors and their fellow educators. Many states have provided local educators with an introduction to the brand and information about how to obtain the logo. Some states have developed strong campaigns to encourage local educators to promote CTE at a grassroots level, and many states encourage educators to promote the importance of CTE during CTE Month.
 
Best Practice: Engaging Educators 
Local CTE educators must be educated about the brand and equipped to carry the brand messages. See what two states have done to engage local educators in the branding effort. 
 
Tools & Resources:
State example resources that can be used to engage with local educators:
Tips for engaging local educators:
  • Help educators understand the entire brand story and the intent behind the national brand.
  • CTE State Directors have the discretion of providing the logo directly to local educators to use, or they can ask that local educators work through Advance CTE to obtain the logo. Establish the process you’ll use in your state and clearly communicate it so that local users can gain access to the logo and the campaign materials.
  • Maintain close contact with educators using the brand in order to ensure that they are appropriately using the brand.
  • Consider surveying educators to find out how they are using the brand and what additional assistance they need to help them communicate the brand message.
  • Showcase strong examples of local usage of the brand.
  • Provide educators with posters or banners they can display in their classrooms.
Policymakers
While state CTE offices are constantly communicating the CTE message, many states are looking for ways to advocate to policymakers. The importance of these audiences cannot be overstated, as they have a direct impact on the workforce and on policies. It can be difficult, though, to get the attention of policymakers and business leaders and provide them with messages that have impact. Some states have taken an innovative approach in their communications with these audiences.
 
Policymakers are an important target audience. They must know and understand CTE in order to make informed decisions about the policies and investments that impact CTE. Learn how one state reached out to policymakers to share the CTE brand message. 
 
Tools & Resources: 
Fact Sheets
Many policymakers support and advocate for CTE already. Lifting up these examples can be a perfect way to build confidence in policymakers who haven’t quite been convinced. 
State examples:
Tips for engaging with policymakers: 
  • Plan a showcase where CTE students and programs can demonstrate the strengths of their programs. Consider timing the event to coincide with other important events like CTE Month (February). 
  • Assemble brochures, fact sheets, rack cards and other resources into packets that can be handed out during scheduled visits or showcases. 
  • Invite key audiences to special events. They are more likely to attend if they are asked to speak or present an award. 
  • Create an advisory group, and include policymakers and business leaders who will add useful input. 
Industry and Business 
Industry and business leaders are critical partners as advocates for CTE, as well as in carrying out high-quality CTE programs of study. When CTE is aligned with business and industry, students are able to gain the skills they need to perform in successful careers, while industry and business benefit from a pipeline of ready and prepared potential employees. To properly, ‘connect learning to work,’ industry and business must be a part of the conversation. Below you will find ways to engage this audience as well as best practice examples of how this has been accomplished at the local levels.  
 
Upper Valley Career Center’s HVAC program of study was a 2015 Excellence in Action award recipient and is a model example of how educators and business can partner to create a high-impact program of study. 
 
Tools & Resources:
Talking Points:
State examples:
Report:
From its earliest roots, employer engagement has been a part of CTE's legacy. Yet little is known about what is really happening consistently and systematically across the country, and what state leaders can do to accelerate effective engagement. Advance CTE conducted a survey of the State CTE Directors to better understand how and in what ways employers are engaging in CTE today - or the "state" of employer engagement in CTE across the nation. This report highlights the survey's results and seeks to illustrate the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states are and can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students.
 
Tips for engaging industry and business: 
  • Plan a showcase where CTE students and programs can demonstrate the strengths of their programs. Consider timing the event to coincide with other important events like CTE Month (February). 
  • Assemble brochures, fact sheets, rack cards and other resources into packets that can be handed out during scheduled visits or showcases. 
  • Invite key audiences to special events. They are more likely to attend if they are asked to speak or present an award. 
  • Create an advisory group, and include policymakers and business leaders who will add useful input.