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CTE: Learning that works for America.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager
Office: 301.588.9630
Cell: 301.641.9358


We appreciate your interest in CTE and look forward to working with you in your efforts to provide your audience with information about CTE.

CTE is making a tremendous impact across America—in our schools and colleges, in our business and industry, in our economy, in our communities—and most importantly, in the lives and futures of students.

If you have a specific issue related to CTE—or if your audience has an interest in a specific CTE program/career area, please contact us. We can connect you with CTE leaders across the nation—as well as business and industry leaders who can provide the information you need.

Following is some basic background and data on CTE that you may find helpful. We have more. So please let us know how we can help.

What is CTE?

CTE (Career Technical Education) is helping our nation meet the very real and immediate challenges of economic development, student achievement and global competitiveness.

CTE programs in secondary and postsecondary institutions are developing America's most valuable resource—its people; helping them gain the skills, technical knowledge, academic foundation and real-world experience they need to prepare for high-skill, high-demand, high-wage careers—and keep America working—in every sense of the word.

The baby boomers are leaving America's workforce—with 10,000 turning 65 every day for the next 19 years (1).

CTE is preparing a highly skilled, sustainable workforce with the technical expertise, work ethic and employability skills that American business and industry need to remain globally competitive.

Some Key Facts About CTE

  • Some 14 million students are enrolled in CTE programs—encompassing every state—in nearly 1,300 public high schools and nearly 1,700 two-year colleges (2).

  • CTE is organized by a national framework called Career Clusters™. This framework presents students with a complete range of related career options across the entire economy, helps them discover their interests and passions, and empowers them to choose the educational pathway that can lead to success in high school, college and their chosen career. As a result, CTE students are more informed and more focused when they enter postsecondary education. That can help save tuition money and accelerate entry into the workforce.

  • Students in CTE programs have a higher-than-average high school graduation rate. The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18% compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9% (3).

  • CTE students outperform their peers in reading and math—at both the secondary and postsecondary level. Secondary CTE students outperform their peers in reading and math performance levels—exceeding target levels in both areas, while the aggregate of all students failed to reach target levels (4).

  • CTE students surpassed state target performance levels in secondary reading/language arts, secondary mathematics, and in both secondary and postsecondary technical skill attainment (4).

  • High-risk students in CTE programs are 8 to 10 times less likely to drop out of high school in 11th or 12th grades (5).

  • Students concentrating on CTE programs in high school are more likely to attend college and stay there to graduate. Seventy-nine percent of CTE concentrators enrolled in postsecondary education within 2 years of high school graduation (4).

  • Seventy Percent of students concentrating in CTE stayed in postsecondary education or transferred to a 4-year degree program (compared to overall average state target of 58%)—and transitioned to postsecondary education or employment by December of the year of graduation from high school (4).

(1) Passel, Jeffrey S. and Cohn, D’Vera, Pew Research Center, U.S, Population Projections: 2005-2050, 2008
(2) National Center for Education Statistics
(3) U.S. Department of Education, Office of VOAE, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006,Report to Congress on State Performance, Program Year 2007-2008
(4) U.S. Department of Education, Perkins Consolidated Annual Reports, 2009-2010. Office of Vocational and Adult Education
(5) Kulik, James, Curriculum Tracks and High School Vocational Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1998)