MDRC Center for Effective Career and Technical Education
Motivated by a desire to address both education and wage disparities, policymakers, educators, employers, and philanthropists have increasingly begun to invest in new models of career and technical education (CTE) that are based on the premise that all students need postsecondary credentials to adapt to an increasingly complex labor market. No longer simply a stand-alone vocational class in high school or an occupational skills course at a community college, CTE now encompasses a broad range of multi-faceted models — including career pathways, apprenticeships, sectoral training, and employer partnerships — and serves everyone from secondary and college students to at-risk youth and adult workers. Yet, despite the recent expansion of career and technical education programs, few evidence-based guides or syntheses of lessons learned have been created for practitioners.
The MDRC Center for Effective Career and Technical Education aims to change that. The Center incubates new ideas, synthesizes findings and lessons learned, and disseminates this knowledge to policymakers, practitioners, and other researchers in order to ensure that expansion of CTE programs is informed by a growing evidence base. The Center draws on knowledge across education and training systems and uses a broad lens to detect cross-cutting issues, develop a targeted research agenda, and share findings. In short, the MDRC Center for Effective CTE is a hub for building and synthesizing evidence on the effectiveness of career and technical education.