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$2 Million Grant from ECMC Foundation will enhance research on Career and Technical Education

The ECMC Foundation has awarded the NC State College of Education a $2 million, three-year grant to enhance and strengthen postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) research at universities nationwide through the establishment of the CTE Research Program at NC State-Sponsored by ECMC Foundation.

Nationally, the focus of career and technical education research has been at the secondary level, said James E. Bartlett, II, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator and associate professor of workforce and community college education at the NC State College of Education. “However, we know that over two-thirds of the jobs in the future will require some form of postsecondary education beyond high school and the success of students in postsecondary career and technical education is critical to meet labor market demands.”

The CTE Research Program at NC State-Sponsored by ECMC Foundation will provide resources for new scholars to be able to focus their research efforts on postsecondary career and technical education, as well as create a network of resources for scholars to continue their work. In addition to receiving financial support for their projects, ECMC Fellows will be supported to participate in two research institutes and online professional development, and they will be assigned nationally recognized scholars as mentors.

“The program will support a community of researchers excited to study postsecondary CTE and recruit between 15 to 18 postdoctoral and doctoral researchers each year,” said Michelle Bartlett, Ph.D., project co-principal investigator and teaching assistant professor.  

Ideal fellows will come from a range of postsecondary institutions and a variety of academic disciplines, such as education, economics, sociology and business.

“We are excited about the opportunities that the CTE Research Program at NC State–Sponsored by ECMC Foundation will create for rising CTE researchers,” said Peter Taylor, president of the ECMC Foundation. “In addition, the research they uncover will increase the knowledge base necessary to grow the field and support strong student outcomes.”

In addition to James Bartlett and Michelle Bartlett, other NC State Education faculty working on the project are co-PIs Audrey Jaeger, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, and Rey García, professor of the practice.

With colleagues across the college, the project team will

  • create a community to engage and support postsecondary CTE researchers,

  • engage postsecondary CTE scholars and leaders to create professional development,

  • implement a mentor program for the postsecondary Fellows,

  • provide support to disseminate research related to postsecondary CTE, and

  • create a structure to support CTE Fellows as they seek employment as postsecondary CTE researchers.


About ECMC Foundation: Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation is a national foundation that makes investments in postsecondary programs and initiatives. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis, which together work to help students succeed. The Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to fund both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with its grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential.

About the NC State College of Education: The NC State College of Education leads the way in preparing professionals, conducting research and engaging communities to improve educational outcomes for all learners across North Carolina and beyond. As a research-driven college of education grounded in its land-grant mission that enrolls over 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students, the college is North Carolina’s largest producer of STEM educators and master’s-level literacy specialists, graduates teachers who rate among the best on statewide performance measures, and has created a pipeline of leaders for schools, community colleges and higher education. In addition, with two-thirds of its faculty engaged in active sponsored research, the college ranks No. 1 in education research productivity in North Carolina and in active grants. U.S. News & World Report ranks the college in the Top 12 percent nationally among 385 graduate colleges of education and No. 1 in North Carolina for its online graduate programs.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.