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High Quality CTE Programs Across the Country
posted by: Melissa | May 16, 2017, 07:43 PM   

This morning, Rep. Virginia Foxx was at AEI speaking about the importance of career and technical education. She’s not the only one. This once demeaned field is getting new life in the 21st century, fueled by increasing reports of a skills/jobs mismatch. In other words, there are great jobs out there for students with a high school or associates degree in technical fields, however there aren’t enough people with the skills needed to fill all of those jobs.

Many schools and districts are attempting to fill that gap by revitalizing their career and technical programs. Read on below to see what districts across the country are doing to breathe new life into CTE.


In Warren County, TN, schools replaced their old CTE program with a new program that focuses on mechatronics. Mechatronics is a field of engineering that combines mechanical engineering, electronics, and telecommunications engineering. High school students graduating from this program are ready to step into a $45,000 a year job, pursue certifications and an associate’s degree for even higher pay, or head to a traditional 4-year college to major in mechanical engineering.

Arlington Heights, IL has also revamped their CTE program in recent years, but their new emphasis is on the rapidly increasing field of cyber security. Students take courses such as Advanced Network Systems and start earning IT security certifications all while they’re still in high school, putting them in the position to earn additional certifications after graduation or to go on and earn a bachelor’s degree in IT.

In Franklin County, NC, CTE students abandoned the classroom to put their skills to the test. After the local Rotary Club raised money to renovate a baseball field, local CTE students were the ones who worked on projects like replacing the restrooms and building a new press box.

Meanwhile, in Milford, CT the emphasis has not been on what’s been taught or how it’s been taught, but rather increasing enrollment, especially for girls. The district promotes CTE early using what they call STEM Nights where elementary-aged students can learn about CTE and STEM fields. Business and industry partner-groups participate in the event by setting up booths and showing students demonstrations of their work. Perhaps most importantly, there is a strong focus in these events in attracting girls as well as boys.

All of these programs share a few characteristics in common. First, they focus on the students and what the students need to be successful. Second, they work with local businesses and industries to help ground the programs, provide relevant skills, and improve job placement after students graduate.

How is your school improving CTE?

Share below!

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