By Krystal Yang
Today, the American workforce is more competitive than ever. It’s not enough to get just a college degree—one must also possess other skills such as critical thinking, team management, and problem solving in order to be successful in the workplace. To align with this need, Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses have been implemented in schools all over America.
CTE used to be called vocational education (VE). However, while VE was a program designed for students who wanted to go directly into the workforce after high school (i.e. not attend college), CTE courses are designed to enrich student’s noncognitive skills, which helps both in university and when trying to get a job. CTE courses are supposed to apply what students learn in class into the real world through hands-on activities and research. Examples of CTE classes include computer programming, business marketing, nursing, and accounting. These CTE courses are often paired with internships and field trips in order to help students gain a more first-hand experience. These programs have been a huge success. According to a study conducted by Nan Maxwell, “students from career academies [CTE schools] have higher academic achievement upon leaving high school, less need for remediation in English at university, and increased graduation rates from the university than students who are not from the academies.” Students often find themselves immersed in the life of the career they wish to pursue, which is a valuable asset for college and beyond. By taking classes geared towards training for specific jobs, students can discover the answer to the foreboding question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This will help them narrow their interests when they are applying to college, selecting college classes, and constructing a job resume.
CTE courses are on the rise, and for a good reason: they have been proven to help students past university and beyond.