Career and Technical Education

What is Career and Technical Education?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are a sequence of courses that integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge and skills to provide students a pathway to postsecondary education and careers. CTE teaches transferable workplace skills in applied learning contexts to provide opportunities to explore high-demand career options, and gives students the technology and skills needed for success in adult life.

CTE programs help to connect students with high-skill, high-demand science, technology, engineering and math fields where many good jobs are waiting. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) defines “well-rounded” education as courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subjects as determined by state or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.

Much of our work is driven by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) to improve career and technical education and create opportunities to enter high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand employment for all learners. This Act provides an increased focus on the academic achievement of CTE students, strengthens connections to experiential learning and work-based learning opportunities, and increases emphasis on student progress toward earning industry-recognized certificates and postsecondary credentials. Access the full text of the Perkins V legislation

High-Quality CTE Programs

The elements of high-quality CTE programs include:

  • Standards-aligned and Integrated Curriculum: development of CTE program curriculum and standards.
  • Integrated Network of Partnerships: business and community partnerships to support CTE program alignment and success.
  • Course Sequencing and Credentials: coordination of coursework progression in CTE programs and career pathways that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials.
  • Career-Connected Learning and Experiential Learning: career planning and career-based experiential learning opportunities.
  • Industry-specific Facilities, Equipment, Technology and Materials: facilities and equipment specific to work in given career fields.
  • Work-Based Learning (WBL): firsthand, onsite student engagement opportunities in a given career field.
  • Data for Program Improvement and Advocacy: use of data for continuous program improvement and advocacy.
  • Student Leadership Development: leadership development through embedded classroom activities and Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) opportunities.
  • Access, Equity and Inclusion: CTE program promotion and support for all student populations.
  • Student-Centered Instruction: instructional strategies that support attainment of career-relevant knowledge and skills.
  • Professional Development for Knowledgeable Experts: qualifications and professional development of secondary CTE teachers.

Did you know

  • The high school graduation rate for Minnesota students who are CTE concentrators (enrolled in two or more CTE courses) is 92%.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Minnesota high school CTE concentrators enroll in postsecondary for further education and career development.
  • In Minnesota, 86% of postsecondary students completing a CTE program were placed in employment by the end of the second quarter following program completion.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of jobs will require some postsecondary training and/or education beyond high school.