February is Career and Technical Education Month

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The Association for Career and Technical Education, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, and Career and Technical Student Organizations and career and technical education professionals across the country will celebrate CTE Month in February, raising the public’s awareness of the value of CTE programs for students, schools, communities, business and industry and the economic well-being of our nation. CTE encompasses 94 percent of high school students and 13 million postsecondary students in the United States, including the National FFA Organization.

During the month of February, CTE programs and CTSOs across the country host a variety of events showcasing their programs and students’ successes to their community, policymakers and business leaders. This year’s theme is “Career and Technical Education Works!” to emphasize that CTE works for students, business and industry and the economy. CTE programs can be found at the secondary and postsecondary levels and prepares students to be college-and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills and technical, job-specific skills. High school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates. The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9 percent.

As the American economy recovers, the role of CTE is critically important. The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 550,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 246,000 jobs open in manufacturing. Additionally, middle-skill jobs, or jobs that require education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor degree, are a significant part of the economy. Of the 46.8 million job openings created by 2013, 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate degree.

ACTE provides free promotional resources for CTE professionals wishing to participate in CTE Month, including student-made PSA videos, promotional posters that can be downloaded, a calendar of nationwide activities during the month and more. For more information on CTE Month and the activities ACTE, NASDCTEc and the CTSOs are hosting, visit www.ctemonth.com.