The traditional American high school has long represented a critical decision point at which students must choose to pursue college or a career. Yet the twenty-first-century American high school needs to shift its focus and prepare students to succeed in both. Unfortunately, many of today’s high schools are not providing students with an engaging experience that is relevant to the workforce and that integrates partnerships with industry and higher education.
Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs combine academic rigor with work-based learning opportunities, providing the real-life relevance most students do not get in traditional high school settings. In high-quality CTE programs, students concurrently take rigorous courses, cultivate career skills, and can earn credit toward a postsecondary credential while in high school. Modern CTE programs offer students a greater breadth of knowledge and skills than traditional vocational education programs of the past, giving students more opportunities after high school, whether students pursue postsecondary education or enter the workforce directly.
Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006