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Students encouraged to explore education and career pathways during Career and Technical Education Month

February 3, 2021 

Media Contact: Mike Murray, 517-275-1820 

With more than 529,000 Michigan job openings projected annually through the year 2028, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to proclaim February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.  

Career and technical education offers high school and college students hands-on training that can be applied to real-world training and career pathways. Additionally, as part of the governor’s Michigan Back to Work initiative to grow the state economy and encourage good-paying jobs for Michigan workers, this month state officials are encouraging students to explore viable programs across the state that teach skills needed for high-demand, high-skill, high-wage career opportunities. 

“There are many career pathways that can lead to a rewarding future, and it’s important that Michigan students can access and explore the many options available to them,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Career and technical education programs offer academic, technical and real-world skills that prepare our high school and college students for success in today’s 21st century economy.”   

High schools, colleges and some universities across Michigan offer CTE programs that are aligned with in-demand, high-wage careers in fields such as information technology, health care, hospitality and manufacturing. Most high school programs also offer early college credit opportunities to provide a seamless transition to postsecondary education.  

“Jobs requiring skilled employees demand more education and training than ever before,” LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin said. “CTE programs prepare students for these career opportunities, giving students a head start on their pathway to a certificate in professional trades, registered apprenticeships or a college degree.” 

Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, over 97,000 Michigan high school students participated in CTE in the 2019-2020 school year. More than 95% of students who concentrated in CTE go on to attend a postsecondary educational institution, seek advanced career and technical education training, sign up for military service, participate in national volunteer service, or find employment within a year of graduation, according to MDE.  

MDE data also shows students who completed a high school CTE program and went on to earn a two-year degree earn an average starting wage that is $5,200 more than their peers with no high school CTE. 

“Expanding CTE programs in Michigan schools helps to ensure students have the real-world, hands-on experience they need to explore rewarding career opportunities,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “CTE helps meet one of Michigan’s strategic education plan’s goals to expand secondary learning opportunities for all students – helping to inspire and encourage every student to explore all options along their educational journey.” 

Postsecondary institutions in Michigan have more than 3,600 qualifying CTE programs, offering a certificate or associates degree. There are nearly 90,000 students enrolled in these programs in the state.  

Students, parents, educators and life-long learners interested in exploring career options, training, wages and projected openings should visit the state’s Pathfinder website. Additional high school CTE resources and information may be found on MDE’s website.  

To explore professional trades careers, including Day-In-The-Life videos from real Michiganders highlighting their careers, and learn more about Career and Technical Education Month, visit