Reimagining Career-Connected Learning to Serve All Students

Mar 08, 2024
Expanded cte library Edmentum article

By Todd Mahler, Edmentum Chief Product Officer

Education leaders across the nation are grappling with redefining what student success looks like. In more than a dozen states (and growing), the definition of what it means to educate and launch productive citizens of society is showing up in “portrait of a graduate” legislation. So, what does it all mean? More than just attaining required credits to earn a diploma, reimagining what it means to be a successful graduate means shaping students who are global citizens, critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and effective communicators. To help achieve this threshold of empowered learning, Edmentum is prioritizing a vision for career learning that connects more students to bright futures so that they don’t just graduate—they thrive.

Brought to center stage most recently through the U.S. Department of Education’s Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success initiative, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona reminds us, “It’s time we bridge the divide between our K–12 systems and our college, career, and industry preparation programs, which leave too many students behind and perpetuate inequities in our most diverse, underserved, and rural communities.”

U.S. government data from the 2021–22 school year show that nearly two-thirds of students attend a school challenged by chronic absenteeism and that college enrollment continues its steepest slides on record since 2018. However, at the same time, the demand for career-connected learning is only growing stronger. A Georgetown University projects report states that, by 2031, 72 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require postsecondary education and training.

Career-Connected Learning That’s Built to Last

With this in mind, we’re investing in a new Edmentum career and technical education (CTE) catalog that changes the conversation on how schools and districts can provide the very best career-connected learning opportunities for all students.

Pathways for Exploration to Employability

Perkins V funding expanded pipelines for CTE not only at the high school level but also into middle school. Edmentum’s CTE library supports 42 Career Pathways that include career exploration beginning in grades 6–8 to build durable skills and allow students to investigate a career theme of interest. From there, high school pathways support concentrated multiyear depth to keep students engaged and on track to graduate. Ultimately, certification preparation ensures that fully realized pathways turn concentrators into completers—preparing students for their next step.

High-Demand Cluster Coverage

Investing in CTE isn’t just about giving students more options; it’s also about creating connected and coherent course sequences in Career Pathways that matter. According to 2021–22 Perkins Collaborative Resources Network (PCRN) data, the top five Career Clusters® account for 64 percent of overall CTE participation. Building multiyear pathways in high-demand Career Clusters® means expanding our reach in all of these areas (and more).

  1. Health Science
  2. Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
  3. Business Management and Administration
  4. Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications
  5. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
Engaging and Dynamic Instruction

We build our content to national CTE pathways standards and strategic state-standard expectations. Our new Edmentum CTE courses feature proven instructional design and scaffolded content designed to help students successfully unpack and retain concepts connected to real-world applications. Moreover, administrators have the flexibility to modify courses to suit the specific needs of their district, school, and students. When paired alongside other familiar Courseware offerings, educators and students alike can expect a consistent course experience for seamless ongoing learning.

Industry-Recognized and Evidence-Based Options

Edmentum CTE courses are recognized for quality, both by third-party organizations and education partners across the nation. As the leading K–12 publisher approved by Quality Matters, our courses meet strict guidelines for standards alignment, course design, and accessibility. State education agencies in California, Indiana, and Maryland also recognize our courses for quality, effectiveness, and local relevance.

Educators we partner with are also already achieving great outcomes. Take graduation and career success at Harvard Community Unit School District (CUSD) 50 in McHenry County, Illinois, as just one example. Harvard CUSD 50 is providing new opportunities for its students aligned to the jobs of the future, ultimately leading to increasing its on-time four-year graduation rate by 8.4 percentage points from 2018–21.

We at Edmentum believe the path to sparking student engagement and contextualizing learning in real-world skills requires reimagining career-connected learning. With our new Edmentum CTE library, we stand beside you, ready to serve all students as they explore career themes, learn technical competencies, and develop durable skills to accelerate employability, all while they earn a high school diploma.

The Career Clusters® brand is a registered trademark of The Center to Advance CTE—and is managed by Advance CTE on its behalf.

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