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New Report: The Promise of High-quality CTE


November 10, 2013


New Report: The Promise of High-quality CTE

Recently, key thought leaders in the education and workforce development arena released a new paper outlining the benefits of a high-quality CTE system. The paper, "The Promise of High-quality Career and Technical Education: Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy," was authored by:

  • Harry J. Holzer, Georgetown Public Policy Institute and Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy
  • Dane Linn, The Business Roundtable
  • Wanda Monthey, The College Board

The paper describes the benefits of high-quality CTE, elements the authors believe are essential for such benefits to occur, and suggests federal and state policies that would support the expansion of high-quality CTE.

The paper outlines a strong economic case for CTE, including research on the value of postsecondary credentials and the need to ensure more students move through the educational pipeline to meet the needs of the labor market. The authors state, "Accordingly, what we need in the U.S. are alternative mechanisms or pathways through which American workers can gain the skills sought and well-rewarded by employers."

The paper goes on to outline eight system-level characteristics of a high-quality CTE program:

  1. Career-Oriented Educational Systems
  2. Strong Options for All Students
  3. Rigorous Academic Curricula
  4. Rigorous Technical Skill Development
  5. Employability Skills
  6. Professional Development for Teaching Staff and Leaders
  7. Support Services for Students
  8. Assessment and Accountability

In order to ensure such programs can be developed, replicated and scaled, the authors of the paper suggest several policy recommendations at both the state and federal level, including increased resources; a focus on expanding the most promising innovative models; development and implementation of evaluations, assessments and accountability systems; the use of HEA funding to generate more consistent quality assurances; and the use of a broad range of state and federal policies to break down siloes within the education and workforce systems.

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