Career and technical education programs have grown into robust training opportunities for students

CTE-edCareer and technical education (CTE) or vocational education: either term used to stir up negative images of students without ambition. But those misplaced reputations are disappearing. CTE has established itself as a path that many high-achieving students choose in pursuit of industry certifications and hands-on skills they can use right out of high school, in training programs, or in college.

Instead of being dismissed as the class for low-achieving or behaviorally-challenged students, CTE has emerged as a way for students to develop practical skills while participating in rigorous and high-quality courses.

In fact, 94 percent of high school students are part of CTE—and this doesn’t include the millions of postsecondary students who also are enrolled in CTE programs, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Students who focus on CTE programs have an average high school graduation rate of 90 percent, compared to an average national freshmen graduation rate of 75 percent, according to ACTE data.

Of high school students in CTE programs, more than 70 percent enrolled in postsecondary education soon after completing high school.

(Next page: What are educators saying about CTE, and how are states supporting CTE efforts?)

Laura Ascione
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