WALTHAM, MA | March 5, 2014
A rapidly aging workforce and increasingly demanding workplaces have led to a new focus on the field of career and technical education (CTE) and its role in preparing high school students for college and careers. To help inform CTE discussions and policy-making, EDC has published a new white paper, Opportunities and Challenges in Secondary Career and Technical Education, which will be presented during the 2014 Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) Policy Seminar today in Washington, D.C.
Authored by EDC college and career readiness expert Ilene Kantrov, who will co-present at the seminar with colleague Joyce Malyn-Smith, the white paper offers a panoramic view of CTE—its strengths, needs, and possibilities. Findings are drawn from EDC’s 2013 survey of 850 CTE educators nationwide, a series of interviews with state CTE leaders, and a review of relevant literature.
“Our survey and interviews reflected that career and technical education is in demand, is important, and needs additional resources to expand,” said Kantrov. “When it blends hands-on work experience with rigorous academic learning, CTE cultivates key skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration—skills students need to thrive in the workplace, as well as in college.”
Key findings include the following:
- Interest and enrollment in CTE is on the rise. Workforce experts view the range of careers for which CTE prepares students as both important to the U.S. economy and financially advantageous to students.
- Investments in supporting and expanding CTE programs remain low. Fully 73 percent of survey respondents reported flat or declining budgets over the past five years.
- The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) underscore the importance of career readiness as well as college readiness. Yet CTE leaders feel that non-CTE educators may interpret CCSS as simply requiring more rigorous academic content and overlook the value of the real-world work experience that is the hallmark of CTE.
- Fewer than 18 percent of survey respondents reported that their students take academic courses in which CTE is an integral part of the instruction, compared with nearly 60 percent of CTE courses that integrate academics.
- CTE programs that have strong partnerships with thriving industries and higher education are well-positioned to ensure students’ college and career readiness.
The paper, available here, is the first in an EDC series on CTE.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is a global nonprofit organization that creates learning opportunities for people around the world, empowering them to pursue healthier, more productive lives. EDC manages 250 projects in 30 countries. Visit www.edc.org.