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

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

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 take into account:

1. Achieve higher graduation rates

According to research from the  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), 93 percent of high school students in CTE programs 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.” 

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.

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, like high-demand manufacturers, 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. Engaging these students in CTE courses that lead to tangible certifications and careers is beneficial not only to them but also to their fellow students and school staff.

Ready to get started with career and technical education programming in your school or district? Explore Edmentum’s CTE offerings, including direct-to-career pathways powered by our new partnership with Smart Horizons

sarah.cornelius@edmentum.com's picture

Sarah Cornelius is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Edmentum and has been with the company since 2014. In her role, she works to provide educators with engaging and insightful resources. Sarah received her B.S. in Professional Communications and Emerging Media from the University of Wisconsin - Stout.

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