February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) are encouraging students, parents, educators, and employers to discover the CTE programs available throughout the state.

 “CTE programs give high school students the opportunity to develop skills that will prepare them for the next stage of their lives,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said. “Whether that is a career or continuing their education, CTE courses offer students a chance to apply learning from numerous content areas to real world situations that create relevance and improve understanding.”

 “This is a great time for K-12 students and those who influence them to explore skills-based learning and to think about college and career options,” according to Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “To support that, Wisconsin’s technical colleges are committed to delivering hands-on career exploration and opportunities to earn college credit.”

 This month, DPI, WTCS, and DWD will emphasize the value of CTE to Wisconsin’s economy. The partners support the expansion of quality programs to provide more youth with access to dual-enrollment and work-based learning opportunities that lead to good paying jobs and a rewarding career.

 DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said, “Wisconsin’s talent development strategies require strong CTE programs to build a robust pipeline of skilled workers and close the skills gap. In partnership with businesses across the state, DWD’s Wisconsin Fast Forward and Youth Apprenticeship programs play a critical role in moving our economy forward through CTE opportunities that prepare high school students for postsecondary education and career success in high demand fields with industry recognized certifications.”

Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed February as CTE Month to highlight innovative, school-to-work programs and the career opportunities for high school students who attend technical school for short-term training or a two- year degree.

 Through dual enrollment programs like transcripted credit and youth apprenticeship, Wisconsin’s technical colleges, DWD, and local businesses have partnered to expand CTE opportunities for students. Transcripted credit gives high school students a chance to earn college credits at no cost. Youth apprenticeship and other work-based learning programs allow high school students to work in paid positions where they can earn high school credits, industry certifications, and valuable work experience.

“I encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities and for communities and businesses to explore new ways to strengthen and support them.” Evers also noted that students participating in Wisconsin’s CTE programs graduate at a rate of 96 percent, notably higher than students who do not participate in CTE. “That is great for students and for Wisconsin’s economy,” Evers said.

 More than 87,000 of Wisconsin’s high school students are taking CTE courses. Areas of study stretch across a variety of disciplines, such as health occupations, manufacturing, technology and engineering, agriculture, and business. By using academic and career plans, students are able to align their coursework to their career or college aspirations.

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