Our nation is confronting a growing challenge. As a result of the globalization of industries, employers’ increased need for skilled workers, and changing economic and social conditions, there is an explicit and urgent demand from states and districts to support the preparation of all students for success in four-year colleges, two-year colleges, industry certification programs, and careers. Our school systems must become more agile and continually adapt as we educate a more diverse student population and accommodate extremes of need and opportunity not imagined when the current systems were designed.

One meaningful way to increase completion is to create scaffolded programs from high school that prepare students with technical and professional skills for in-demand employment that leads to career opportunities that pay a family-sustaining wage. And while CTE programs are moving in the right direction in terms of growth of participation, quality of instruction, and alignment of programs to industry needs, there are still fundamental and important challenges that must be addressed to ensure that students leave high school prepared for the challenges of college and careers.

C&J works with states and districts, with attention to their unique needs and challenges, to develop and maintain the core set of conditions needed for change to occur successfully and sustainably for CTE students.

These are:

1.  Support enhanced rigor and relevance in CTE programs of study, including:

a.  Relevant and rigorous curricula that scaffold to third-party, validated, and recognized credentials;
b.  Teachers who are certified and whose skills are current in the industry certification area in which they are teaching; and
c.  Rich opportunities for work-based learning experiences.

2.  Integrate into programs and curricula non-academic, cognitive competencies that teach transferable knowledge and skills required for varied career and college options and marketability—supports that promote the learning of critical mindsets and beliefs that students need to thrive in work and life.


Read more about the history of CTE and the urgent and growing need to reshape the current system.