We know higher education is essential for learning the right skills. They’re needed to get a good job and to be successful.
We also know too often young people aren’t prepared to move on to that level – whether it’s to attend a two-year or four-year college or a technical school. There is a high school program that can prepare students to achieve all three – the right skills, a job and success. It’s called Career and Technical Education and interest in the program is growing in Michigan.
Now after years of decline, CTE programs herehave added nearly 5,000 students since 2015, marking the start of an upward trend inenrollment.
Today, the total number of students in CTE courses stands at 109,005 students for 2017. The largest increase in enrollment for these programs was among eleventh- and twelfth-grade students, which grew from 32.6 percent of Michigan high school students to 34 percent, or 3,402 students.
“The increase in CTE enrollment is an encouraging sign as we look to eliminate stereotypes surrounding these programs and build a more robust and diverse talent pipeline in Michigan,” says Roger Curtis , director, Michigan Talent and Economic Development Department. “We will continue to press on with creating multiple pathways for our students to explore and land one of the many good jobs available in the Great Lakes State, but it’s becoming increasingly clear one standout way to accomplish that is through these programs.”
He points out that CTE programs provide real-world applications of other subjects. Students going into engineering are better equipped, seeing how their math lessons apply to other subjects.
“We want all students to know about these great pathways into the bountiful job opportunities that exist here in Michigan, be it an apprenticeship, specialized training program, associate or bachelor’s degree,” Curtis says. “We cannot accomplish that goal unless we solve our career awareness gap. CTE programs can help do that.”
Career and technical education keeps kids in school by motivating them with hands-on learning experiences as well as apprenticeships and lab settings that mimic real world work environments. According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, the average national graduation rate is 74.9 percent while the graduation rate for students in CTE programs is 90.2 percent.
“Every educator wants their students to be successful – it’s why we do what we do,” says State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “CTE programs give our educators another tool to do that, while ensuring we continue to cultivate the talent of the future and prepare our students to become lifelong learners.”
CTE programs are paving the way for young people to find success in whatever career they choose.
Lead photo courtesy of the STEM Coalition