As more industries are feeling the discomfort of open jobs, paired with the rising costs of a college education, Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs have made a resurgence in schools across America. Yet, many people are unclear what “career and technical education” is and what type of students are in these programs.
CTE programs teach specific career skills to students in high school. Applied Educational Systems says that CTE programs are often split into 16 career clusters that apply to different, high-demand careers including: Health Science, Business, Sales, Finance, Information Technology, STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Manufacturing, Logistics, Hospitality, Government, Law, Agriculture, Human Services, Construction, Training and Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications. Many of these areas are in high demand and can lead to high-paying careers.
CTE is unique in that its coursework is focused on learning skills versus a university-based education which is based on theory. CTE may include some theory, but it weighs heavily on experience, practice and application. The hands-on application of knowledge gained within the CTE path is critical because many of the careers in the field require workers to have experience in their field before starting a career. In many cases, students earn certification while they are in high school. When they graduate, these young adults are prepared for their careers or enter into a formal apprenticeship program.
There is a myth that the CTE path is only a good option for students who don’t excel in academics, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Careers in technical fields are a great option for students who thrive with interactive, hands-on learning. Take senior Brock Wolf, for example. Brock has been a highly capable student but he wasn’t sure he wanted to spend the time or money on a college education that would put him in a job behind a desk. Brock tried the Welding program during his junior year and loved it, so he’s enrolled in Welding again for his senior year. Brock said “I really liked getting to learn how to function in a shop environment. It’s also really great how local businesses develop a positive relationship with the school and offer job opportunities to students.” With help from his CTE teacher, Mr. Schmidt, Brock is currently working at Dura Mold, learning the skills required to be successful in their business.
Lakeshore Schools are fortunate to have educational paths that can support many different types of future opportunities for our students. From STEM and dance to automotive technology, welding to the arts, Lakeshore Excellence Foundation is proud to support these inclusive options for our students.