February is Career and Technical Education month

AUGUSTA — Maine’s career and technical education schools and educators of applied technology and workforce development are being recognized during the month of February.

“From industry-recognized training and dual enrollments in colleges, to professional licensures and industry-recognized certificates, approximately 8,500 of Maine high school students enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) programs are demonstrating industry and college proficiencies, ranging from robotics to coding, from culinary arts to welding, building trades to health services, and marketing to auto technology. CTE programs adhere to rigorous industry-recognized standards and offer students hand-on learning at its best,” says Maine DOE’s Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley.

In Maine, CTE is provided at 27 regional schools in all counties across the state, each affiliated with a group of nearby sending high schools. There are 60 different programs; an ever increasing number leading to industry-recognized credentials while credits are earned towards high school graduation and post-secondary attainment. Most programs have articulation agreements or lead to an industry pathway.

Maine DOE’s Career and Technical Education Director Margaret Harvey says she hears a variety of comments from students about their CTE experience. “Students are engaged and excited to be in CTE, and we routinely hear students say, ‘CTE is the reason I am still in school; CTE makes learning relevant.’  School review teams also hear students describe that they are treated like they would be in a professional workplace, and students have said, ‘The instructors are mentors and role models.’”

Studies reported by the National Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) note that the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. More than 75 percent of secondary CTE students pursue postsecondary education shortly after high school.

At the postsecondary level, students with a CTE-related associate degree or credential earn an average of $4,000-$19,000 more than students with a humanities associate degree. Twenty-seven percent of those CTE students having less than an associate degree but holding licenses and certificates are earning more than the average bachelor degree recipient.

“CTE and related skill development courses are an essential component of Maine’s K-12 public schools. Students thrive on this high school level CTE experience that provides critical thinking and deeper learning, offering students not only a continued interest in their education, but a tangible skill, trade and training that takes them into the future.” says Beardsley.

To learn more about career and technical education in Maine visit www.mainecte.org or www.maine.gov/doe/cte. For more information about regional CTE schools, contact Maine DOE’s Director of Career and Technical Education Margaret Harvey at margaret.harvey@maine.gov or Director of Communications Anne Gabbianelli at anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov or 624-6747.