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CTE Research

History of CTE


Career and technical education as we know it today has its roots in the founding of the United States. From the start, a strong knowledge base and skill set for citizens were considered important. The following four articles from the old AVA Journal in 1976 show how career and technical education has adapted over time to stay at the forefront of American society.

The Awakening, 1776-1826
The right to a free public education for children was stressed early in the United States as there was a need to educate future leaders. Apprenticeships were giving way to formal schooling in certain trades. During the first 50 years of the United States, public education was largely limited to boys, although in the early-1800s, girls began to enter schools to prepare for teaching.

Independent Action, 1826-1876
In the early 19th century, the workforce and the public education system started to work together to create a continuous stream of workers for different jobs. Schools specializing in training students to enter a certain area of the workforce started to open their doors, creating the basic framework for career and technical education. The idea started to spread to women’s colleges in the 1840s. The beginning of public high schools is explored to continue to educate citizens.

The Vocational Education Age Emerges, 1876-1926
The first manual training school, established in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1879, set the foundation for modern career and technical education. The school combined hands-on learning with classroom learning. The article describes the first trade school, which opened in New York in 1881. Near the turn of the 20th century, agricultural education started to thrive with agriculture schools starting to open their doors. Bills passed to support career and technical education are explored.

Coming of Age, 1926-1976
The first mass acceptance of career and technical education came after World War I and the movement spread in the years that followed. Career and technical education expanded to include adult education and retraining citizens to re-enter the workforce. World War II caused a surge in career and technical education as technical skills were needed for defense purposes.

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CTE Clearinghouse: Postsecondary Pathways and Credential Completion

Techniques Advert Events Partners Countdown Pathways within postsecondary education, leading to attainment of certificates and degrees, foster student success today and in the future. The following resources include best practice articles, research reports, podcasts, Webinars, policy papers and presentations that address strategies CTE programs have used to foster attainment at different levels of the postsecondary system. ACTE Resources Techniques Articles  An Education for All Seasons of Life  Postsecondary Partnerships: Valdosta State University Partners with Regional Technical Colleges  Postsecondary Partnerships: UW-Stout's Bachelor's in Industrial Management  Manufacturing Careers, Skilled Workers and the Economy  Launching Students into Their Decade of Transition (All Access)  The Certification Advantage  Ensure Portability and Transferability of Credits and Skills Attained  Issue Brief  CTE’s Role in Worker Retraining  VISION Presentations  Using Adult Career Pathways Models to Meet the Needs of Adult Learners—Richard Hinckley (2010) NRCCTE Resources Research Reports  Relative Impact of Interventions to Improve Achievement and Retention in Postsecondary Occupational Programs  Moving Beyond the GED: Low-Skilled Adult Transition to Occupational Pathways at Community Colleges Leading to Family-Supporting Careers – Research Synthesis  Career and Technical Education Pathway Programs, Academic Performance, and the Transition to College and Career   Podcasts  Moving Beyond the GED  Career and Technical Education Pathway Programs, Academic  Performance, and the Transition to College and Career  Reports Advancing by Degrees - A Framework for Increasing College Completion (California State University–Sacramento Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (CSUS IHELP)) Policy Brief - Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Parts I and II (CSUS IHELP)  Certificates Count: An Analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates (Complete College America)  Complete to Compete: Improving Postsecondary Attainment among Adults (National Governors Association) Replenishing Opportunity in America: The 2012 Midterm Report of Public Higher Education Systems in the Access to Success Initiative (Access to Success) Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)) The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm (CEW) The Undereducated American (CEW) A Stronger Nation through Higher Education: How and Why Americans Must Meet a "Big Goal" for College Attainment (Lumina Foundation for Education)  Modeling the Role of Community Colleges in Increasing Educational Attainment and Workforce Preparedness. BHEF Working Paper (Business-Higher Education Forum) Leaving No Worker Behind: Community Colleges Retrain the Michigan Workforce--and Themselves (Jobs for the Future)  Overcoming Obstacles, Optimizing Opportunities: State Policies to Increase Postsecondary Attainment for Low-Skilled Adults (Jobs for the Future) Guide to Adult Education for Work: Transforming Adult Education to Grow a Skilled Workforce (Jobs for the Future)  Employers, Low-Income Young Adults, and Postsecondary Credentials: A Practical Typology for Business, Education, and Community Leaders (Workforce Strategy Center)   Adult Education and Postsecondary Success. Policy Brief (National Commission on Adult Literacy) The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate: Emerging Lessons for State and Local Implementation (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office of Community College Research and Leadership) Help Wanted...Credentials Required: Community Colleges in the Knowledge Economy (Community College Press) A Model for Accelerating Academic Success of Community College Remedial English Students: Is the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) Effective and Affordable? (CCRC Working Paper No. 21) Turning the Tide: Five Years of Achieving the Dream in Community Colleges (CCRC) What Can Student Right-to-Know Graduation Rates Tell Us About Community College Performance? (CCRC Working Paper No. 6) What We Know about Community College Low-Income and Minority Student Outcomes (CCRC) The Condition of Education 2012 (National Center for Education Statistics) College Completion Tool Kit (United States Department of Education) Peer Reviewed Research Journal Articles  Degree Aspirations of Two-year College Students (Community College Journal of Research and Practice (CCJRP), $) The Applied Baccalaureate Degree: The Right Time and Place (originally published in CCJRP) The Community College Baccalaureate Movement: Cutting-edge Dissertation Research (originally published in CCJRP) Hispanic Community College Students and the Transfer Game: Strikes, Misses, and Grand Slam Experiences (CCJRP, $) Transfer Between Community Colleges and 4-Year Colleges: The All-American Game (originally published in CCJRP) The Career Pathway Model: Small Steps to Big Leaps (originally published in CCJRP) Pathways and Persistence: Basic Skills Students at One Washington State Community College (CCJRP, $) Attrition, Completion, and Graduation Rates in Georgia Technical Colleges Before and After the Initiation of the HOPE Grant (originally published in Career Technical Education Research)  

CTE Clearinghouse: Work-based and Service Learning

More and more, schools are turning to work-based and service learning methods to improve academic performance and student engagement as well as to help the community. The following resources include best practice articles and research reports on how CTE has used work-based and service learning to support and improve outcomes for students, businesses and the community.


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