New program will build teacher capacity and expand effective education models.
American competitiveness and national security depend upon our ability to engage and empower today’s students with the technical and nontechnical skills to thrive in emerging careers such as aerospace and cybersecurity. Career and technical education (CTE) is uniquely suited to meet this urgent and growing need. Most American students have access to CTE programs of study in high school; middle grades CTE is relatively nascent, but could be expanded to offer high-quality, accessible, and inclusive learning opportunities to all students.
This week, we’re delighted to announce that Luminary Labs will design and produce the Middle Grades CTE Accelerator on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). This contract is part of the Department’s Experimental Design and Advanced Research Projects Accelerator (ED ARPA).
The new engagement builds on Luminary Labs’ prior work with OCTAE, including CTE CyberNet and CTE Mission: CubeSat. To realize the transformative potential of CTE in grades 5-8, the Middle Grades CTE Accelerator will increase instructional capacity, expand on education models that work in different contexts, and strengthen local education ecosystems.
In grades 5-8, students are already building foundational technical knowledge and employability skills. These grades are also a critical time for forming identities and developing perceptions of career pathways. Positive experiences in the middle grades can help girls, students of color, and other underrepresented groups imagine themselves in fulfilling STEM careers. We are honored to continue our eight-year relationship with OCTAE by supporting this important effort to inspire students and prepare them for the jobs of the future.