"Grass-top" Funding & "Grass-roots" Priorities: Funding Data-driven Interventions for CTE
Using state Perkins funding administered through our Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE), our team offered a new "mini-grant" to close disparities in CTE student populations, identified by campuses, based on data.
Address Equity Gaps
Ciera Franks-Ongoy
Perkins Equity and Compliance Program Manager

Each institution developed its own set of evidence and its own goals.


Leveraging the Rural Reserve allocation of state Perkins funds to build campus data inquiry practices, campuses were encouraged to disaggregate data for CTE access and success, and propose strategic, research-backed, interventions to close equity gaps on campuses among their CTE student population.

Institutional goals included:

Great Falls College - Mentorship and cultural competency supporting American Indian students in CTE.

Gallatin College - ESL student population interventions (using technologies, translating CTE materials and covering fees for ESL students).

City College - Increasing access and equity in Fire Science (investing in technologies and equipment to improve accessibility and confidence of female students).

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned included:

Providing the funding is a big catalyst, but not the only catalyst to supporting grass-roots capacity.

Operating at the system office, standardizing campus priorities is not often possible.

Despite system warehouse data being sourced directly from campus IR/Registrar offices, data skepticism persists, and there is no such thing as too much transparency.

Different decision makers have vastly different preferences for receiving and ultimately understanding data. (i.e., interactive dashboard, stagnant infographic/reports, Excel workbooks, lists, etc.)