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CTE Month: A Cause for Celebration!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly have proclaimed February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month! Here in Wisconsin, we have a lot to celebrate! The transformation of CTE over the last several years has been remarkable, and CTE Month is the ideal time to reflect on these ongoing changes.

Gone are the days when “vocational” education was an alternative option only for students who were considered not on a college track. Today’s Career and Technical Education prepares every student for success in college and the career of their choice. Most important, because it is for ALL students, it is a powerful way to bridge opportunity gaps and ensure all high school graduates are prepared for their next step after high school.

A leader in this transformation, Wisconsin has brought together employers, educational organizations, and economic and workforce development leaders to form employer-led regional collaborative groups. Each regional group works together to build Regional Career Pathways that reflect the needs and vision of the communities in their area. They also lead to high-wage, in-demand careers in their local economy.

As a result, local districts not only feature traditional career pathways in auto repair and construction, but also pathways in health science, engineering, computer science, sustainable agriculture, media, education, and training … whatever pathways are in demand in the region. No matter what their chosen career, students participate in their pathway’s quality CTE components, including a sequence of CTE courses, industry-recognized credentials, dual-credit opportunities, work-based learning, and career and technical student organizations — all in their career pathway.

CTE has changed for the better. In the short-term, research shows that students in CTE courses perform better, are more engaged, and have higher graduation rates — about 10 percent higher — than the overall student body. In the long-term, CTE is part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's overall vision for every student to graduate high school academically, socially, emotionally, and life ready. That’s something to celebrate!

For CTE teachers, coordinators, administrators, employers, and community members involved in CTE, learn how you can promote CTE in your area using resources in the CTE Toolkit.

This item was submitted by Carol Hutchison, Communications Specialist, Career and Technical Education, The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.