Career Technical Education

Career 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. Minnesota supports CTE programs in a wide variety of career fields aligned to national definitions and regional workforce needs. Those include:
  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Business, Marketing and Information Technology
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Health Science
  • Service Occupations
  • Trades and Industry
  • Work-Based Learning and Experiential Learning
Learn more about Minnesota's CTE programs.
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. Access the full text of the Perkins V legislation. 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. Implementation of Perkins V ensures that career and technical education programs are an integral part of a well-rounded secondary education, meeting the needs of students and educational systems as part of Minnesota's "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) plan. Learn more about Minnesota's ESSA plan.

Planning for Students' Successful Transition to Postsecondary and Employment
Legislation requires all students starting in 9th grade to have a Personal Learning Plan. This plan should include academic scheduling, career exploration, 21st Century Skills, community partnerships, college access, all forms of postsecondary training, and experiential learning opportunities. Visit the Personal Learning Plans page for more information.

Industry Engagement and Student Organizations 
Engagement from business and industry partners is an essential element of providing quality CTE programs. Minnesota requires Perkins V funds recipients to create and use local advisory committees comprised of business partners who have occupational and industry insights on the types of knowledge, skills and attributes required for student success in a given career field. Advisory committees are essential to ensuring program relevance and quality, providing students and school districts with new opportunities and resources, and connecting students and educators with the larger regional, state and national employment communities.

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) are key components to a strong CTE program. These organizations engage local businesses to help students understand career pathways while bringing relevance to the classroom that prepares students to be career and college ready. Student organizations also provide industry-based competitive events and leadership experiences at school, state and national levels.  Learn more about industry engagement in CTE programs and student involvement in CTSO programs.