Career and Technical Education (CTE) lies at the center of a huge national conversation about the disconnect between education and career readiness. At the Bridge of Southern New Mexico, we truly believe Career and Technical Education is the path forward.
Students in these pathways graduate at far greater rates than those outside of them. In both Las Cruces and Gadsden districts, CTE students graduate at over 90%, 10 to 15 points higher than district-wide rates.
From the White House to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to statewide implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, to communities across the country there is a clear understanding of the importance of Career and Technical Education pathways in preparing ALL students to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.
Those same national conversations about closing the gaps that are hurting kids, their families and our country, are focused on better equipping schools and Career and Technical Education teachers with resources and knowledge and help bridge this gaping divide with high-quality programs and returning our country to the global leader we used to be.
In recent years, Career and Technical Education pathways have become more sophisticated in content and design, but less utilized in the drive to get all students prepared for university success, when in fact, far less than half of those who enroll in universities will finish.
When CTE students have access to a connected sequence of courses, combined with dual credit courses that carry them forward into post-secondary training, they are blazing their own trails toward certifications and degrees that either propel them into lifetime success in high demand career fields in middle-skills jobs or a more comprehensive understanding of their field when they pursue a four-year degree.
Due, in part, to The Bridge’s work to prioritize CTE as the foundation of its first-of-their-kind workforce pathways, it was selected by the New Mexico Public Education Department to cultivate 10 regional “consortia” led by business and economic development groups working in partnership to prioritize how the state will invest over $9 million in federal CTE funding in SY 20-21. The Bridge and its partner, NS4ed, brought local labor market analysis to the forefront of conversations with business, education, workforce, and other community stakeholders to assist each consortia in prioritizing industries where CTE could make the greatest economic impact in their regions.
CTE Success Stories
According to the Association of Career and Technical Education and New Mexico Public Education Department, CTE has significant benefits across the board:
For High School Students:
Graduate at 94% vs. 71% for non-CTE students
91% with 2-3 CTE credits enroll in college
58% of NM CTE concentrators go to college, advanced training, military service, or employment within six mo. after graduation
81% of HS dropouts say relevant, real-world opportunities would have kept them in school
For College Students and Adults:
Technical or Associate of Applied Science degrees out-earn bachelor degree holders by $2,000-$11,000. (Research from TX, CO, VA)
27% of those with licenses or certificates earn more than average bachelor’s degree holder
48% of CTE concentrators earn credentials or diplomas
68% employed, in military service, or apprenticeships in 6 mo. of graduation
Significantly more likely to develop soft skills
50% STEM jobs require less than a 4-year degree
Aligned to middle-, technical-, and high-skilled jobs, hard-to-fill jobs, and jobs in demand
For the Economy:
Annual economic benefits ($3.5 billion in OK)
Increased contributions to state economy ($5.1 billion in CO)
Returns $26 in lifetime earnings and benefits for every $1 invested in HS CTE (WA)