CTE: Learning that works for America.

CTE is at the convergence of the interests of business/industry, education, economic development—and our nation as a whole.

CTE is developing a productive workforce ready for the careers of today and tomorrow through technical knowledge, innovation, skill development and entrepreneurship. By preparing students who are ready for both college and career, CTE is crafting effective and efficient educational pathways through high school and postsecondary education to help students achieve their goals.


CTE is generating higher personal income through lifelong education and preparation for high-skill, high-demand and high-paying positions. It all adds up to a better educated, better paid workforce—and that means a more robust economy and a higher standard of living across the entire nation.

CTE improves student achievement—and improves ROI in public and private education.

As more and more data are gathered, the impact and return on investment of CTE in terms of student achievement is clear. Students in CTE programs have a higher-than-average high school graduation rate. The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18% compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9%. (1) High-risk students in CTE programs are 8 to 10 times less likely to drop out of high school in 11th or 12th grades (2).

CTE increases college-going rates.

Students concentrating on CTE programs in high school are more likely to attend college and stay there to graduate. Seventy-nine percent of CTE concentrators enrolled in postsecondary education within 2 years of high school graduation (3). Seventy percent of students concentrating on CTE stayed in postsecondary education or transferred to a 4-year degree program (compared to overall average state target of 58%)—and transitioned to postsecondary education or employment by December of the year of graduation from high school (3). As CTE students attaining degrees and credentials, our nation develops a highly educated workforce ready for the high demand, high skill jobs that will keep America at the forefront of the global economy.

CTE is developing a skilled workforce to keep America innovating and growing.

As America's workforce ages and retires, CTE is developing the next generation of skilled, technically proficient employees to American business and industry. Experts predict 47 million job openings in the decade ending 2018. About one-third will require an associate's degree or certificate, and nearly all will require real-world skills that can be mastered through CTE (4). Through CTE programs, this workforce successfully integrates core academics with technical skill ad knowledge—as well as workplace behaviors and attitudes that make America's economy thrive. Adult job seekers are turning to CTE programs in our nation's community colleges to retrain and qualify for new jobs requiring new skills.

CTE is on the cutting edge of advancing, changing and evolving to help America stay globally competitive.

CTE leadership continues to increase the rigor and standards for CTE programs to further improve the delivery, consistency and quality of education. CTE utilizes technology to not only educate, but to provide students with the technical skills that the careers of today—and tomorrow—require. CTE is developing the skills and technical knowledge required by critical industry sectors such as energy, information technology, food production and processing, engineering, logistics and transportation, and many others.

CTE is generating economic development across the United States.

CTE is preparing our next generation of skilled workers, technology innovators, entrepreneurs and community leaders in America's rural, suburban and urban communities. CTE programs are providing local employers with a skilled, technically proficient workforce that keeps them competitive—and keeps local economies vibrant. The next generation of America's skilled and professional workforce is among the 14 million students currently enrolled in CTE programs across the nation—encompassing every state—in nearly 1,300 public high schools and nearly 1,700 two-year colleges—helping ensure that essential services and businesses will continue to be available in local communities and cities over the long term. CTE provides the "know how" and the "how to" for America's future—from coast to coast, from border to border.

CTE is developing the next generation of American entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is an important component of many CTE programs, with an emphasis on innovation and know-how when it comes to starting and running a successful business. This is where American innovation and creativity begin—with ideas and skills and the knowledge to transform them into the businesses of tomorrow.

CTE is providing what American business and industry needs.

CTE prepares students for careers across the entire economy. CTE is organized by a national framework called Career Clusters™. This framework presents a complete range of related career options to students, helps them discover their interests and passions, and empowers them to choose the educational pathway that can lead to success in high school, college and their chosen career.

CTE encourages and invites public-private partnership.

Internships, cooperative education programs and curriculum development put CTE and its business and industry "customers" together to develop CTE programs that are congruent with workplace needs and expectations. By engaging business and industry, CTE helps ensure that what happens in the classroom is relevant to the needs and demands of the workplace. The collaboration of the public and private sectors pays significant dividends to local, state and national economies as costs, objectives and outcomes are shared for the benefit of all.


(1) U.S. Department of Education, Office of VOAE, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006,Report to Congress on State Performance, Program Year 2007-2008 (2) Kulik, James, Curriculum Tracks and High School Vocational Studies, University of Michigan, 1988 (3) U.S. Department of Education, http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/2010report/fy2010-apr.pdf (4) Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce via Harvard's "Pathways to Prosperity" Report, p.29, http://cew.georgetown.edu