In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs to discuss questions of equity. MDRC wanted to bring these people together so that they could share their knowledge about the barriers they must overcome to achieve their equity goals and their approaches to those barriers. While many of these programs serve different populations and have different aims, the conversation revealed that they share challenges. Topics of common concern included how to define “equity” and how to increase equity in both access and outcomes.
This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them. While the bulk of the brief comes directly from this conversation, several examples also come from MDRC’s other research activities. The brief begins with a short overview of how the group defined equity and the main causes of inequity. It continues with discussions of inequity in access and outcomes, covering the challenges identified in both areas and some proposed solutions. It concludes with a discussion of how research can help practitioners address equity, and how policymakers can support equitable delivery and outcomes.