Increased Interest in CTE Programs Leads to More Research and Studies

Published Thursday, September 6, 2018

Across Oregon districts are offering more courses and programs in Career Technical Education (CTE) due to increased funding from Measure 98 passed in November 2016. Indeed, interest in CTE programs is growing across all states nationally.

New and expanded programs are also spurring more attention from the research community, including Education Northwest, member of Oregon Business & Industry (OBI). 

Steve Fleischman, chief executive officer of Education Northwest and co-chair of OBI’s education committee notes, “Research and data play a critical role in pinpointing CTE and workforce development needs, identifying promising approaches that meet local needs, and evaluating efforts to support continuous improvement and measure return on investment."  

The demand for these programs is high - from students, parents, and industry. Thanks to the increased funding, high school students have better access and more hands-on learning to courses and programs ranging from traditional woodworking to residential construction, 3D design and production. CTE activities also include internships, apprenticeships and in-school programs designed to foster work readiness.

With renewed attention to CTE and the expansion of existing and new programs, Education Northwest recently compiled a list of some of the latest studies and resources from which states, districts, and schools can draw to create and improve their CTE programs. A few findings include: 

  • 98 percent of public schools offered CTE programs to high school students during the 2016-2017 school year. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2018)
  • Students taking CTE courses in high school are less likely to dropout and graduate on time. (Source: American Educational Research Journal, 2017)
  • Students taking upper-level vocational courses have higher earnings, with nearly 2 percentage-point wage premium for every additional year of coursework. (Source: Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, 2017) 

These and other findings, along with studies that evaluate the different approaches to CTE programs, are essential to ensuring Oregon continues to implement sound and tested programs that improve our low graduation rates and meet our current and future workforce needs.