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Career and Technical Education at Work

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1.      CTE working for students: students who are involved in CTE programs experience more success than the non-CTE student. CTE students are able to participate in rigorous instructor delivered and hands-on instruction; additionally, most CTE programs are associated with a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO). As previously mentioned, CTSO’s provide opportunities for student competitions, leadership development and immersion within the career field.


a.       Most dropouts will say, relevant, hands-on instruction which provided opportunities to learn and practice skills necessary for success within the workforce.

b.      “The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18%, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9%”. Such percentages which include CTE programs validate the importance of providing College and Career Readiness opportunities during secondary education.

c.       Almost 3 out of 4 students who graduate from high school and are CTE concentrators (completers) pursue some form of post-secondary education.


2.      CTE working for College Students and Adults: statistics show, CTE program completion not only prepares students for a high skill, high wage, high demand job, these programs, also prepare them for careers which allow them to receive compensation packages higher than many associate degree graduates.


a.       Out of the approximately 75 CTE students who continue with postsecondary education, 4 out of every 5 students who earned an industry certification are still receiving a postsecondary education after two years.

b.      Money talks. Students earning an associate degree in a CTE field will earn on average anywhere between $4000 and $19,000 more than their peers who earned a traditional associates degree.

c.       “27 percent of people with less than an associate degree, including licenses and certificates, earn more than the average bachelor degree recipient’.


3.      CTE impacts the economy of each state. Impacts are greater in some and less in others. CTE has had a significant impact on Connecticut. For every dollar invested in a community college has a return on investment of $16.40 over the course of a career. “In Tennessee, CTE returns $2 for every $1 invested. At the secondary level, CTE completers account for more than $13 million in annual tax revenues”.


4.      Business and CTE: Businesses believe CTE is the greatest thing next to sliced bread. Business and industry are eager to receive employers who are already trained in the basic skills necessary to begin work. This says time and money. CTE programs provide training in “skilled trades” which are some of the most difficult to fill. Between transportation, trade, manufacturing and utilities, there are almost 1.1 million jobs. Concurrently, Health Care professions requiring less than an associate’s degree combine for three-fifths of the top growing occupations.

50% of all Science, Technology, of today’s STEM intensive jobs are in Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations such as installation, jobs are open to workers with less maintenance and repair; construction;

30% of today’s STEM intensive jobs are in occupations such as installation, maintenance and repair; construction; manufacturing; and health care support.


5.      Interesting Facts:

a.       CTE serves 94 percent of all high school students, including male and female students, students from many races and ethnicities, and students from higher and lower income backgrounds. However, at the start of the 21st century, male students; students from smaller, lower income or rural schools; students who have disabilities; and students who enter high school with lower academic achievement were more likely to participate in secondary CTE at higher levels.

b.      Data provided by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education shows there were almost 3 million completers on at least one pathway.

c.       “In 2002, 88 percent of public high schools offered at least one CTE program”. Additionally, there were 1,200 technical centers in 41 states.

The above data and citations are available from our CTE Today Fact Sheet and from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, and publications from RTI International and MPR Associates.