5 Benefits of Career and Technical Education Programs for Schools and Districts

May 30, 2024
CTE Learning

Career and technical education (CTE) programs get no shortage of media buzz—but do these programs live up to the hype? In short, yes. 

The practice of CTE is broad, encompassing a number of unique types of programs and catering to students with widely ranging goals. Comprehensive CTE programs are designed to equip students for either continued postsecondary learning or direct entry into high-demand careers. They are flexible, forward-thinking, student-centered, and well worth the investment to expand student options.

Considering a CTE initiative in your school or district? Here are five benefits to consider:

1. Achieve higher graduation rates

According to research from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), high school students in CTE programs are more likely to graduate on time, significantly higher than the national rate of 84.6 percent

What’s more, ASCD research indicates 81 percent of high school dropouts “reported that relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in high school.” These programs offer students various structured career pathways, designed to align with high-demand industries and providing necessary skills and knowledge for rewarding careers.

2. Reach more at-risk students

It’s obvious that CTE options resonate with struggling students. But, equally important, CTE alternatives help them experience academic success and capitalize on that positive momentum. 

When students have a clear, tangible outcome for their learning and are able to recognize their own successes, engagement comes naturally. And, the payoffs are clear—27 percent of people with less than an associate degree, including licenses and certificates, earn more money than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.

3. Retain students and funding

It’s no secret that struggling students are some of the most likely students to leave the traditional classroom for more flexible alternative, virtual, or charter school options. 

CTE programming designed with career preparation at top of mind can help retain these students (and the funding that comes with them) in your district by allowing students to explore a variety of career options within different industries. This exposure helps students discover their interests and passions, leading to a greater commitment to their education and career success.

4. Deepen community ties

When career preparation is the goal, opportunities for real-world application and experience are key. CTE programming is a great chance to engage with the businesses and industries in your area to provide these students with opportunities for job shadowing, mentoring, externships, internships, and more. 

Even better, these experiences provide an outstanding foundation to help students transition directly into community-supporting jobs immediately after graduation.

5. Attain better student engagement with fewer behavior issues

At-risk students are often some of the most disruptive in the classroom—precisely because they don’t see the benefit of being there. Integrating math, science, and language arts into career exploration activities helps students see the relevance of academic subjects to real-world contexts, making learning more meaningful and engaging.

CTE courses prepare students for attaining tangible certifications and career opportunities, leading to more positive relationships between students and teachers while lowering dropout rates.

Enhance Your Career-Connected Learning Offerings

Ready to get started with career and technical education programming in your school or district? Explore Edmentum’s CTE offerings within our Curricula Catalog. Additionally, get the free workbook from Edmentum to design an engaging career-connected learning program.

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