Feature Articles

CTE a valuable part of a students' experience

February 01, 2016 | Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Officer

MADISON — February is recognized as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in the state of Wisconsin. In acknowledgement of that, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) are joining together to share information with students, families, educators, and employers about the value of CTE programs.

In Wisconsin, more than 88,000 high school students, or roughly two-thirds of high schoolers, are taking CTE courses in areas such as health occupations, manufacturing, technology and engineering, agriculture and business. Course offerings are supported by partnerships with local businesses and technical colleges and allow students to explore career options, receive industry certification, and earn postsecondary credits while progressing toward high school graduation.

“I continue to be impressed by the educational opportunities local communities provide students to help prepare them for college and career,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Students continue to pursue a wide variety of career paths. The exercise of thinking through what it takes to be successful and connecting that with the courses they select during their academic career is key.”

Academic and Career Planning (ACP), which is a student driven process supported by educators and families, allows students to create information-based plans for their coursework and career exploration. This year, DPI began an ACP pilot with 25 school districts that will help define the process of implementation and training for districts. When fully implemented in the 2017-18 school year, ACPs will also be informed by labor market data published by the DWD.

“By supporting innovative collaborations such as ACP, as well as developing a bridge between the state’s model Youth Apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs, students across the state will have the opportunity to explore careers and plan for their future,” said Raymond Allen, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. “CTE programs help achieve the governor’s goal to empower Wisconsin workers to become the most prosperous and innovative in the country, while meeting employers’ needs for skilled talent and moving the economy forward.”

CTE programs provide multiple pathways for students to become college and career ready while still in high school and continue to increase in popularity. Through Youth Apprenticeship and other worked-based learning programs, high school students work in paid positions for which they can earn high school credits and industry certifications. Transcripted Credit, the dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits at a technical college free of charge, had 24,779 enrolled during the 2014-15 school year. That figure is up from the 2010-11 school year, when 13,928 students participated.

“This is a critical time for K-12 students and those who influence them to explore skills-based learning as an efficient pathway to contemporary college and career options,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges are committed partners in providing accessible college opportunities and preparing students for success in a changing world.”

Over the course of the month, DPI, WTCS, and DWD will emphasize the value of CTE to Wisconsin’s economy. The partners will visit schools, businesses, and technical colleges that support CTE opportunities and promote partnerships at the local level.

More information: Contact your local school district or technical college to learn more about CTE programs in your area or visit http://www.wtcsystem.edu/initiativeshttp://dpi.wi.gov/cte, orhttp://dwd.wisconsin.gov/.