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Advance CTE is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State CTE Directors and state leaders of Career Technical Education. Learn more about our mission, vision and what we do in this section.

Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work, first established in 1920, is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State CTE Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Support visionary state leadership, cultivate best practices and speak with a collective voice to advance high-quality CTE policies, programs and pathways that ensure career success for each learner. 

Transform and expand CTE so that each learner – of any background, age and zip code – is prepared for career and college success through state leadership, advocacy and partnerships. 

View Advance CTE’s statement on equity in CTE.


Advance CTE is an advocate for policies and legislation that enhance and sustain high-quality CTE programs throughout the nation. To that end, Advance CTE represents the CTE interests of its members in the nation’s capital by actively monitoring federal legislative developments and maintaining a focus on the latest research, news and issues influencing the dialogue on CTE and education policy.

State Policy Support
Advance CTE supports states in the development and implementation of state policy through research, resources and technical assistance initiatives such as New Skills ready network, Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships, and Equity and Access in CTE.  

Perkins V Implementation Support
Advance CTE is leading a multi-year effort to support states in the design, development and implementation of Perkins V state plans, which includes cross-state implementation meetings, targeted technical assistance, a peer review process, shared solutions workgroups and the development of actionable resources and tools.


Professional Learning

Professional Development
Advance CTE provides in-person and virtual professional learning opportunities to its members through annual meetings, webinars and cross-state calls on key issues in CTE. For more on our work and how to become a member visit our membership page.

New State Director Leadership Program
Advance CTE’s New State Director Leadership Program supports and empowers new State CTE Directors to develop and advance comprehensive policies, infrastructure and programming that lead to and sustain high-quality CTE for all learners in their states. The program offers a structured, progressive life cycle of professional development to cover strategic planning and visioning, content knowledge, and leadership and management skills.

Advance CTE routinely provides the CTE community with vital tools, resources and timely information required to support high-quality CTE, including policy briefs on key CTE topics, promising practices and success stories from on the ground, and relevant research from the field.

Promote High-Quality CTE

Case-Making and Branding 
Advance CTE oversees CTE: Learning that works for America®, a national branding campaign to support the promotion of high-quality CTE. Over 700 local schools, districts and organizations use the campaign’s brand and resources to communicate the benefits of high-quality CTE to all stakeholders. 

Messaging and Recruitment
Drawing on original research, Advance CTE supports state and local leaders in the development of communications strategies anchored in effective messaging and recruitment efforts to encourage more learners to enroll in CTE programs.
The Center to Advance CTE

The Center to Advance CTE is Advance CTE's 501(c)3 affiliate organization (formerly the National Career Technical Education Foundation). The Center to Advance CTE has a shared vision with Advance CTE and a mission to support and promote a positive environment in which high-quality CTE policies, programs and practice can be developed, nurtured and sustained by:

  • Amplifying the successes of and lessons learned by state CTE leaders,
  • Cultivating critical partners and perspectives,
  • Promoting and facilitating innovation, and
  • Expanding capacity across the CTE community.

The Center to Advance CTE has shared governance with Advance CTE, and its Board of Directors is comprised of the Advance CTE Executive Committee and three public members: 

  • President - Dr. Sarah Heath, State Director, Colorado
  • Vice President -  Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director, Oklahoma
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Ms. Heather Justice, State Director, Texas
  • Past President - Ms. Bernadette Howard, State Director, Hawaii
  • Public Member – Mr. Alex Harris, Strategic Advisor, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation
  • Public Member - Dr. Nicole Smith, Research Professor and Chief Economist, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
  • Public Member - Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director, SHRM Foundation 
Annual Report

Download the report here

Speaker Request

With expertise in a wide array of topics, such as the history of CTE, programs of study, federal and state CTE policy, work-based learning, industry credentials and communications strategies, our Advance CTE staff are able to bring expertise and a national perspective to your professional development convenings or support you in your implementation needs. 

You can look to Advance CTE’s most recent reports and tools for other presentation topics. 

Please fill out the form here with all of the necessary information to request a representative from Advance CTE to provide a presentation, workshop or other technical assistance to get the process started.

As a member benefit for State CTE Directors, Advance CTE will waive any speaking fees for those requests submitted by the State CTE Director, leaving only the cost of travel and direct expenses.