January 31, 2023
4 min read

Celebrating CTE Month: Why is CTE Important?

Greater New Bedford Tech

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is important for bringing real-world industry experiences to the classroom and preparing students for the workforce with practical skills and certifications relevant to local in-demand jobs. We're celebrating CTE month by highlighting the impact of CTE programs in New England.

Career and Technical Education Facts and Statistics 

First, let's look at some significant career and technical education facts specific to New England.

Over 200,000 high school students are enrolled in CTE programs in New England, and more than 90% graduate high school. Source

There are 2,450 high school CTE teachers in New England. Source

Across New England, companies are experiencing skills gaps. Approximately 50% of jobs in each state require skills training (more education than high school but less than a four-year degree). Source

Vermont will need 10,000 additional workers per year by 2040. Source

CTE programs help train students in skills companies need. The industries range across New England but include advanced manufacturing, health care, and renewable energy. Source

Benefits of Career and Technical Education

The benefits of career and technical education are multifaceted: helping students, parents, and local companies. 

Students gain valuable skills and certifications in CTE programs that provide them with greater employment opportunities immediately following high school graduation or more competitive college applications. CTE programs also engage students in school beyond core academic subjects. The range of CTE programs allows students to explore their interests before committing to a job or post-secondary school and get exposure to work environments. Students are challenged to problem solve, work in teams, and succeed in a supportive environment. 

Students at Minuteman High School in the Festo Industry 4.0 Certification Program
Students at Minuteman High School who completed level 1 courses in the Festo Industry 4.0 Certification

Parents benefit from CTE programs with peace of mind that their children are learning practical skills that will lead to financial independence and contributions to society. Involvement in CTE programs also helps offset the cost of four-year degrees, either by earning credits to be applied to a degree or entering the workforce faster. For example, in Massachusetts, electrical engineering technicians make an average of $63,640 and the typical education is an associate's degree. 

CTE programs help local companies that need employees to run and grow their businesses. They provide internships and jobs to skilled students from CTE programs, benefiting the student, company, and local economy.

Why is CTE Important?

CTE is important because of its impact on a community. CTE programs engage students of all types with valuable learning opportunities, whether it's helping students who want a hands-on learning experience, who wish to enter the workforce right away, or who want to get ahead before pursuing a four-year degree. And the skills that CTE students gain help the community by being ready to hit the ground running at local companies, filling critical gaps in hiring.

Students using an Epilog Laser at the Skills USA MA 2022 Competition
Students using an Epilog Laser at the Skills USA MA 2022 Competition

New England Career and Technical Education Example

Bristol Technical Education Center (Bristol TEC) in Connecticut prepares students for careers in the growing mechatronics, robotics, and automation engineering technology fields. They have incorporated the Festo Industry 4.0 Certification into their curriculum, providing students with experience using the same Festo automation equipment used in the workforce and a valuable industry-recognized Introduction to Mechatronics certification. 

Local companies in Connecticut, like The Arthur G. Russell Company (AGR), advocate for closer connections between technical schools and the industry. Mark Burzynksi, Technical Talent Development Advisor at AGR shared, "As the pace of automation and industry 4.0 technologies accelerates, the demand for technicians with these skills is exploding. Because our industry is changing so fast, it is essential for students to learn an up-to-date curriculum using up-to-date equipment. A hands-on learning component, such as an apprenticeship (or pre-apprenticeship) and industry-recognized credentials, are other important components of a robust training program. AGR fully supports the developing mechatronics program at Bristol Tech. "

We're thrilled to see the growth in enrolled students and support for CTE programs over the years, and we're excited about its continuing support. We celebrate teachers and students for CTE Month (and beyond) who are making a long-lasting impact!