The world of education is taking notice of the benefits and importance of a rising sector, Career and Technical Education (CTE). For years, CTE has been undervalued, which has led to a shortage of skilled workers in the American workforce. Industries have taken notice of this shortage and have begun to encourage educators to bring skills and career readiness back into the classroom.
In recent years, the positive and life-changing numbers of CTE are only continuing to roll in. According to the Association for Career & Technical Education students who find themselves in CTE programs have a 93% higher graduation rate than students who do not take CTE courses. Relevant topics like health care, mechanics, culinary arts, and agriculture keep students interested in school. One study found that 81% of dropouts would have chosen to stay in school until graduation if they had received meaningful real-world learning opportunities found in CTE classrooms.
According to one educator, CTE classes are a great source of motivation for students. “What I find is that students come to school for their CTE classes, these are the ones they look forward to and reflect back on after High School is finished,” says Jenny Kaslin, Agriculture Teacher at Gridley High School. “Career and Technical Education is so foundational in shaping students to become better versions of themselves.”
This desire to learn also leads students toward the pursuit of postsecondary education. In fact, the Association for Career & Technical Education has found that over 75% of those in CTE courses furthered their education after high school. Gary Blevins, CTE Educator at Greenup County High School says, “I think hands-on education does more than just prepare students for careers but can also help prepare them for many aspects of their life they will face after high school.”
The benefits and opportunities CTE provides goes beyond just numbers. It is training students to be successful, productive adults by providing skills missed in core classes. Blevins continues, “I believe CTE is important because there are so many skill sets needed in the workforce out there. CTE helps students gain as many skills as they can while in high school and be involved in different areas, so they can make decisions about what career they want to pursue. It also helps them get a leg up in going after those career paths.”
We will only continue to see the lasting benefits of CTE to prepare students for their futures. What can you do to promote CTE?
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