This is the first in a series on career and technical education. Future posts will highlight CTE programs across West Michigan and how they’re helping students prepare for college and career.

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, a national campaign to increase awareness and celebrate the value of programs that prepare students for the world of work.

What is Career and Technical Education?

CTE programs provide classes that directly prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers. They are offered through high schools, CTE centers, charter schools, community colleges and four-year universities across Michigan.

CTE has come a long way in the last decade, but there are still outdated perceptions of what it is and isn’t. Today’s CTE programs deliver:

Real options for college and rewarding careers

CTE programs aren’t the shop classes of the past; they prepare students (middle school, high school and post-secondary) for both college and careers. While CTE used to be the college alternative, it’s now more of a college pathway. Today’s programs provide opportunities for college credit, credentials and meaningful work-based learning experiences.

Fact: CTE students are more likely to have a post-high school plan, including college.1

Real-world skills

CTE provides hands-on learning and the skills and confidence to explore and pursue career options in industries that are in critical need of talent, such as health sciences and information technology. CTE students gain practical, relevant, marketable skills that will make them more employable.

Fact: CTE students and parents are three times more likely than those not involved in CTE to report they are confident in their ability to learn real-world skills as a part of their curriculum. 1

A valuable educational experience

CTE programs provide opportunities for specialized classes, internships and networking with industry experts. Student not only learn technical and academic skills, they learn critical employability skills1. Career and technical education helps students see how what they’re learning applies to the needs of employers.

The high school graduation rate for CTE students is 97 percent, compared to an average of 80 percent statewide. 2

  1. The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students, Advance CTE and the Siemens Foundation, April 2017
  2. 2. U.S. Department of Education, Perkins Data Explorer