Career Preparation, Life Skills, and 21st Century Learning
Montgomery, Ala. – Teachers, students, and communities statewide will celebrate Alabama Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, February 1-28. To celebrate, many local school systems statewide have planned great activities for students including career fairs, college and business tours, Job Shadowing Days, and professional dress and etiquette workshops.
Many national experts now believe that in order to remain competitive in the expanding global economy, America’s middle and high school students must have a more diverse education in business, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
Across our state, more high school students than ever before are earning specialized credentials, which will give them a “real edge” in being hired for top employment opportunities, and considered for top internships and apprenticeships.
"A well-educated and highly skilled workforce is exactly what our nation must maintain to remain strong and prosperous in the future,” says Philip Cleveland, Director of Alabama Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development. “CTE is a vital part of the total education system and provides students with essential life skills and prepares them for the “world of work” and postsecondary learning. Our students explore career options in over 300 courses offered statewide, earn professional credentials, and can receive college credit while still in high school. CTE Month is just a great time for everyone to visit our programs to see all of the great hands-on learning taking place in our classrooms.”
Currently, about two out of every three high school students in Alabama – 461,000 students statewide – participate in a CTE program. Alabama’s CTE students participate in programs of study in the following areas:
- Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
- Architecture and Construction
- Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications
- Business Management and Administration
- Education and Training
- Government and Public Administration
- Health Science
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- Transportation, Distribution , and Logistics
Among high school graduates entering the workforce, research shows that those with a technical-based background often earn more over a lifetime. “Prime-age” employees (ages 25 to 54) are projected to be more than 60 percent of America’s labor force in 2020.
Last year, a special leadership panel, made up of 65 leading Alabama professionals, economic experts, and educators worked to develop new strategies to further the impact of Alabama’s career tech programs. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Commission, appointed by Governor Bentley and the Alabama State Board of Education researched effective ways to ensure Alabama’s CTE programs remain an important part of the state’s overall economic development process. This commission thoroughly reviewed the state’s high school curriculum, researched the needs of Alabama’s business community, and drafted recommendations to create new opportunities for this program to reach a wider range of students, parents, and local school systems.
Interesting Facts and Statistics
- The high school graduation rate for Alabama CTE concentrators is more than 90 percent. CTE concentrators are students who earn two or more credits in a program of study.
- Nationally, CTE programs have been shown to reduce high school dropout rates.
Examples of some of the career fields that Alabama’s CTE students can prepare for include Education Administration, Engineer, Journalism (radio, television, print), Aquaculture, Sports Turf Management, Human Resources, Graphic Design, Public Relations, Culinary Arts, Social Work, Medical Professions (physician, nursing, dentistry), and Marine Technology.
To learn more about Alabama CTE Month or any of the special activities taking place in your community, contact your local Board of Education, visit www.alcareertech.org, or contact Alabama CTE Information Specialist, Ed Crenshaw, at 334-353-5220.