Original story published on GladwinMI.com on October 11, 2017. Click here to view the original story on GladwinMI.com. 

Students wanting good jobs in Michigan are realizing Career and Technical Education programs in high school help pave a solid pathway to those jobs.

CTE programs in Michigan added nearly 5,000 students since 2015, marking the start of an upward trend in CTE enrollment. These programs provide students with the necessary skills and training to land rewarding and lifelong careers here at home.

“The increase in CTE enrollment is an encouraging sign as we look to eliminate stereotypes surrounding these programs and build a more robust and diverse talent pipeline in Michigan,” said Talent and Economic Development Department Director Roger Curtis. “We will continue to press on with creating multiple pathways for our students to explore and land one of the many good jobs available in the Great Lakes State, but it’s becoming increasingly clear one standout way to accomplish that is through these programs.”

Districts across the state today are starting their annual enrollment counts.

The total number of students in CTE courses is at 109,005 students for 2017. The largest increase in enrollment for these programs was among eleventh- and twelfth-grade students, which grew from 32.6 percent of Michigan high school students to 34 percent, or 3,402 students.

“Every educator wants their students to be successful – it’s why we do what we do,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “CTE programs give our educators another tool to do that, while ensuring we continue to cultivate the talent of the future and prepare our students to become lifelong learners.”

Schools across the state, like Kent and Jackson County intermediate school districts, are having considerable success with these programs, and so are their students.

“We want all students to know about these great pathways into the bountiful job opportunities that exist here in Michigan, be it an apprenticeship, specialized training program, associate or bachelor’s degree,” Curtis said. “We cannot accomplish that goal unless we solve our career awareness gap. CTE programs can help do that.”

Curtis said CTE programs provide real-world applications of other subjects. Students going into engineering are better equipped, seeing how their math lessons apply to other subjects.

“Our young people benefit by knowing about the rewarding careers in the Professional Trades – and all career pathways – and we have a responsibility to make sure they get the skills and experience needed to attain them,” Whiston said.

Expanded CTE programs and enrollment aligns with the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance initiatives announced in June by Gov. Rick Snyder, TED Director Roger Curtis and State Superintendent Brian Whiston, as well as MDE’s Top 10 in 10 initiative.

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