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Students encouraged to explore education and career pathways during Career and Technical Education Month
February 08, 2024
LANSING, Mich. — Recognizing the important role high-quality, hands-on learning opportunities can play in addressing the state’s 520,000 annual projected job openings through 2030, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in proclaiming February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.
CTE offers high school and college students hands-on learning experiences that can be applied to real-world training and career pathways. Throughout the month of February, individuals of all ages, including students and those seeking new career opportunities, are encouraged to explore programs across the state that prepare them for successful career entry, advancement and/or continuing education.
“Career and Technical Education programs offer young Michiganders tangible skills they can use to land good-paying, in-demand jobs in growing fields,” said Governor Whitmer. “CTE programs also support our state’s businesses by developing the talent pipeline they need to grow and expand right here in Michigan. Since I took office, we have made record, bipartisan investments to improve CTE education on our high school campuses and expanded tuition-free paths to skills training and associate degrees. By continuing workforce initiatives like CTE, the Going PRO Talent Fund and Registered Apprenticeships, we can help every Michigander ‘make it’ in Michigan.”
High schools, colleges and some universities across Michigan offer CTE programs that are aligned with in-demand, high-wage careers in fields such as business, information technology, healthcare, hospitality and manufacturing. Most high school programs also offer early college credit opportunities to provide a seamless transition to postsecondary education.
“Career and Technical Education programs create pathways that can lead to a rewarding future, so during CTE Month, we encourage Michiganders to explore the many options available to them,” said LEO Director Susan Corbin. “Career and Technical Education programs offer academic, technical and real-world skills that prepare our high school and college students for lifelong success.”
During the 2022-2023 school year, 108,874 secondary students (24% of all secondary students) were enrolled in CTE programs with 95.9% of CTE concentrators graduating from high school. In 2021-2022, 95.4% of CTE concentrator graduates placed into continuing education, employment, military or national service, as measured about six months after high school graduation.
“Career and Technical Education is an integral part of the pre-K-16 education system that provides a natural link from the classroom to the workplace,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Tens of thousands of Michigan students benefit annually from the guidance and training that they receive in the classroom to take that next step into successful and high-demand careers. I am very proud of the work of CTE educators in our schools and the highly skilled graduates that our schools develop in and for Michigan.”
Michigan also offers Early Middle Colleges (EMCs), an MDE approved five-year program of study. EMCs work closely with postsecondary partners to provide students with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and one or more of the following: 60 transferable college credits, an associate degree, a professional certification, the Michigan Early Middle College Association technical certificate and/or participation in a registered apprenticeship.
“Every young Michigander deserves the opportunity to explore career pathways and plot their own path to prosperity. For many students that starts in career and technical education,” said Michelle Richard, acting director of Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential (MILEAP). “CTE programs let students explore careers and learn skills that help them excel in the workforce or continue their education at a community college and university. MiLEAP is proud to celebrate CTE Month alongside CTE students and educators.”
Postsecondary institutions in Michigan have 370 qualifying CTE programs, offering a certificate or associate degree. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 113,821 students enrolled in these postsecondary programs in the state.
“We’re working hard to ensure all students have equitable access to CTE opportunities,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. "The education and hands-on training CTE students receive gives them a head start on their pathway to a certificate in professional trades, registered apprenticeships or a college degree."
Several events will be held throughout the state in celebration of CTE Month.
On February 16, Lansing Community College will host an “LCC Celebrates Career and Technical Education” event to spotlight Career and Technical Education resources and programs that support students and businesses. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the LCC West Campus in Lansing. For more information about the event, contact Nicole Reinhart-Huberty, LCC Technical Careers Program Improvement Manager, at email@example.com or (517) 483-1104.
On February 28, the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency’s Technical Education Center (TEC) in Marysville will host “CTE: Design 4 the Future,” a luncheon and tour for business leaders, state and local legislators, and education leaders interested in learning more about Career and Technical Education. Contact St. Clair County TEC Director Pat Yanik at firstname.lastname@example.org or (810) 455-4216 for more information.
To learn more about these and other events, visit MDE’s CTE Month website.
Students, parents, educators and others interested in exploring career options, training, wages and projected openings should visit Michigan’s free online career exploration tool, Pathfinder. Additional high school CTE resources and information may be found on MDE’s website.
Also check out MiSchoolData.org, the State of Michigan’s official source for pre-K, K-12, postsecondary and workforce data to help residents, educators and policymakers make informed decisions to improve student success.
Career and Technical Education supports Gov. Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal to have 60% of Michigan’s working adults in the state with a skills certificate or postsecondary degree by the year 2030.
CTE also supports Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan Goals 4, 5 and 6, to expand rigorous secondary school programming, including CTE; to increase high school graduation rates; and to increase postsecondary credential attainment rates, respectively.