We never pass up an opportunity to celebrate. February is fabulous because it’s a chance to celebrate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Dive into the world of CTE this month and find out how you can celebrate CTE in your community.
What is CTE?
Career and Technical Education is all about preparing students for the workforce. CTE was born in the US in 1917 with the passing of the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act, marking the first federal investment in secondary vocational training. We’ve come a long way in the last one hundred years, and today CTE courses cross a wide range of career clusters, including arts and AV technology, business management and administration, finance, information technology, and STEM.
Why is CTE relevant for today’s learners?
The impact of CTE courses is substantial. Both high school students and college and adult learners engaged in CTE earn two- and four-year degrees, and industry certifications to prepare them to successfully transition to a successful career. According to the latest reports from the National Center for Education Statistics, 94% of CTE high school students go on to graduate high school, with the majority continuing to higher education. These students gain technical expertise, strengthen their academic skillset, and gain valuable skills demanded by today’s employers.
The Association of Career and Technical Education cites several key benefits for today’s CTE learners, including:
- CTE students are much more likely than their non-CTE peers to develop key skills demanded by employers, such as problem-solving skills, communication and time management skills, and critical thinking skills.
- CTE students gain valuable career knowledge, higher self-esteem, and better grades.
- CTE exposes students to STEM skills, which are demanded across a wide cross-section of industries and careers.
Career and Technical education also benefits the states in which the students reside. States across the U.S. that invest in CTE are seeing an incredible return on investment. Here’s just a couple examples:
- Washington’s seen $15 Billion in net economic benefits from investing in community college and technical college CTE programs.
- Iowa’s community college alumni generate $4.8 Billion in added income across the state.
How can I celebrate CTE Month?
The stats don’t lie, and it’s obvious that Career and Technical Education deserves to be celebrated. This month, you can shine a light on the accomplishments of CTE programs and the importance of CTE for all students of all ages. There’s lots of ways to celebrate, but we have a few ideas to get you started:
The Association for Career and Technical Education has created some great resources to help generate positive awareness of CTE, including a social media toolkit, a video contest, merchandise, and a CTE advocacy toolkit. You can use all these tools (and more) to help increase awareness of the benefits of CTE in your community, district, and state. Download what you need on the ACTE website.
Spend time learning
You can also celebrate CTE month by learning about the value of CTE. Advance CTE is a great resource to help you dive into the history of CTE. They’re a non-profit organization that supports state CTE leadership to advance high-quality and equitable career and technical education policies, programs, and pathways that ensure career and college success for each learner.
Check out the CERTIFIED Educator Podcast episode where we sat down with Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, to discuss the history of CTE, the educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what the future of CTE looks like. Kate also offers incredibly practical, data-based advice on how to improve CTE outcomes in your classroom, district, and state.
Collaborate to improve CTE in your state
Finding time to collaborate with your fellow educators is a great way to improve your CTE classroom. This month, we're hosting CERTIFIED Academy: Business to give CTE educators an opportunity to learn and collaborate together. See details for all our sessions here.
You can extend the learning past February as well. Join us at CERTIFIED 2023 for your opportunity to connect with educators who are passionate about CTE and the value of industry certifications. CERTIFIED is the only education conference dedicated exclusively to exploring the full promise of certification in the classroom—by providing administrators, teachers, and industry experts with an engaging, energized forum for professional development, sharing their ideas, and experiences. Take advantage of our early bird discount for $100 off your registration.
Our work wouldn’t be the same without the contributions of CTE educators. Happy CTE Month from all of us at Certiport!