My name is Alisha Hyslop. I have been involved in career and technical education (CTE) for the last 20 years, first as a student and then as an advocate. Largely due to my experiences in the Future Homemakers of America organization (one of the national career and technical student organizations), during high school I decided that I wanted to pursue a career promoting and advocating for CTE. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Public Relations from Florida State University, I was fortunate to be offered a position at the national Association for Career and Technical Education.
Since then, I have had the privilege to represent CTE teachers, administrators, students and other stakeholders in critical policy discussions at the federal level, and to assist members with promoting their programs to local- and state-level decision makers as well. While earning my Master’s degree at Virginia Tech University, I strengthened my knowledge and gained additional experience that helped me to progress in the field.
When I started at ACTE, I wanted to be a “lobbyist,” but over time became more and more interested in the various facets of education policy and how laws are actually developed and implemented. While I’m still legally considered a registered lobbyist, my work has moved more toward technical writing and legislative analysis. I am now in a position focusing on policy study, position development and communications, and am assuming responsibility for managing the research and data collection efforts necessary to support our work. While I have gained a great deal of knowledge about CTE programs and research and evaluation during my years at ACTE, I realize that there is much more to learn. Numerous stakeholder groups are interested in exploring the impact of CTE and working with ACTE to develop research and evaluation tools. In order to best represent the interests of our field, I must be able to fully participate in these conversations and offer input into the design and development of activities.
I am pursuing a doctorate in order to strengthen my skills in data analysis, research interpretation and program evaluation techniques in order to better represent ACTE in these conversations, better inform our public policy efforts, and more generally, to improve CTE programs around the country. I plan to focus my studies and research on program evaluation and exploring the impact of CTE on broader education, workforce and economic development goals.