Did you know? February marks Career and Technical Education (CTE) month; supporters argue that CTE options help all students find success after high school by exposing them to different pathways they follow to have a rewarding career.
Advocates of CTE point to studies that indicate high schools that offer CTE programs provide their students with better chances of success. Students who participate in CTE programs, according to ACTE, are:
Overall, ACTE says that supporting CTE programs helps support the national economy.
"In Washington, for every dollar spent on secondary CTE students, taxpayers receive a $9 return on investment. Wisconsin taxpayers receive $12.20 in benefits for every dollar invested in the technical college system. Los Angeles County's economy receives roughly $9.1 billion annually from the Los Angeles Community College District," ACTE notes.
New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has continuously announced her support of CTE programs that provide students with multiple choices for future success.
In the opening statement of her confirmation hearing, for example, "DeVos stated that we need to 'embrace new pathways of learning,' by 'support[ing] all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools and community colleges,'" Advance CTE notes.
Just yesterday, DeVos applauded the country's community colleges for offering students CTE options.
"Instead of insisting that students adjust to your schedules and traditions, you adjust to their needs—from employees who seek new skills and credentials to further their careers, to students who need some extra help preparing to do college-level work. With options like night and weekend classes, online courses, child care, academic and career counseling, and part- and full-time programs, community colleges are thoroughly student-centered," DeVos said.
DeVos said that she, in partnership with President Trump, will use her position to expand the CTE options available to U.S. students.
"The President's 100-day action plan is his contract with the American voter. This plan notes the importance of expanding vocational and technical education—the types of career and technical education that community colleges excel at providing—and making two- and four-year college degrees more affordable. He has called multiple paths for postsecondary education 'an absolute priority' for his Administration, and I share that vision," she said.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will be working hard in the near future to finally reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and expand CTE options for students once and for all.
CTE advocates hope the reauthorization will provide more funding and resources to the country's CTE programs.
"At a time when enrollment in CTE programs is growing and the demand for skills training is increasing, the need for additional funding and resources is critical. A newly reauthorized Perkins Act is therefore essential to ensuring CTE programs receive the necessary federal investment to support the development and access to high quality CTE programs throughout the United States," CareerTech.org said.
In October, the "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act" passed nearly unanimously in the House but failed to pass in the Senate due to language that restricts the role of the U.S. Secretary of Education. Given the controversial appointment of Betsy DeVos, senators might be more likely to consider such restrictions now. Only time will tell.
If you're now inspired to support CTE, here are some resources you can use to do so:
Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor