Opportunities in CTE Through Collective Impact

A summary report from the 4th Annual CTE Summit at the University of Wisconsin-Stout
Kathryn Feuerhelm | February 14, 2020

June 20-21, 2019

Sylvia Cheuy, consulting director from the Tamarack Institute, kicked off the 4th annual UW-Stout Career and Technical Education Summit on June 20, 2019 with an inspiring keynote speech emphasizing the value of collective impact. Collective impact is a cross-sector approach to solving complex social and environmental issues on a large scale. For success in collective impact, there needs to be a common agenda with continuous communication, and those involved must be willing to collaborate over a long-term commitment (Sylvia Cheuy, 2019).  This model and its application to CTE was reflected in the theme for the 2019 event, Opportunities in CTE Through Collective Impact: Understanding the Power of Together. Recognizing that many stakeholders engage in work which is critical to workforce development, the focus was on collective impact, specifically community building, sharing resources, systems change and collaboration.

Following the keynote, Sylvia facilitated a panel consisting of individuals from various sectors related to career and technical education, training and the workforce.  Although they came from a variety of backgrounds, one commonality that the panel members shared was their engagement in collective impact work.  The panel consisted of Karen KatzOffice of Children's Mental Health-Wisconsin; Stacy EslickReach Higher Initiative; KT GallagherDunn County Health, Dunn County Health & Human Services; Cristy LinseCreating a Healthier Community, UW-Stout; Andrea Gabel, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; and Chelsea Powell, Higher Expectations Racine County.  Each panelist introduced themselves through the lens of their collective impact work, stating the issue/opportunity that they were working to address, accomplishments to date, results and learnings, and next steps for their work.  The engaging conversation highlighted work happening across the state.

Summit participants then had opportunities to share ideas, learn and network with other professionals engaged in workforce development through small group discussions throughout the afternoon.  Participants took a closer look at the issues and opportunities in career and technical education through the lens of collective impact, using a variety of tools and techniques to identify areas for collaborative work.

At the end of the afternoon, a networking reception offered more opportunities for attendees to connect and share ideas.  Student and faculty research was also featured, with researchers present to share findings from their projects. 

The next morning, summit participants were welcomed back by Sylvia Cheuy with a question and answer session on collective impact.  The conversations and activities from the previous day had stirred interest in this collaborative strategy for addressing large social dilemmas.  Referencing her expertise and lived experience, Sylvia discussed common themes from the prior day’s conversation and shared stories of other communities' experiences using collective impact.

Lively roundtable sessions followed the opening session and included Ben Neuhaus, District Administrator, Florence School District; Michael Lee, Community Engagement at the Pablo Center at the Confluence; and Joe Folsom, Director, Pierce County Economic Development Corporation, all individuals whose organizations are involved in collaborative community engagement.  Other roundtable sessions included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), with Karin Smith and Gregg Curtis representing ACP, Wisconsin Pathways, and their integration with CTE; and Sharon Wendt and Robin Kroyer-Kubicek providing information from the Wisconsin DPI CTE Team. These interactive roundtables offered participants an opportunity to get to know educational leaders from across the state and learn about their unique and diverse programs and educational supports.  Many of the roundtable presenters related their work to collective impact, partnership and shared goals.  From there, summit participants moved to a final breakout session to reflect on what was learned and share recommendations and next steps.  This information recorded for future planning.

After a full morning of discussions and networking, the event wrapped up with a group discussion facilitated by Deanna Schultz, Director of the Emerging Center for CTE Excellence.  The next UW-Stout CTE Summit is scheduled for June 23-24, 2020.  Save the date!


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