MADISON – Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in Wisconsin to highlight the state’s efforts to develop students for a wide-range of careers, post-secondary education, or both. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, approximately 70 percent of 11th and 12th graders in Wisconsin participate in CTE courses in fields like agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, business and information technology, health science, marketing and entrepreneurship, and technology and engineering. The high school graduation rate of students who participate in CTE courses is approximately 10 percent higher than students who do not participate in CTE courses in high school.
“There is more to an economy than creating jobs and monitoring an unemployment rate – we must, as government officials, provide every opportunity to our youth so that they can position themselves to succeed,” Governor Tony Evers said. “Strong investments in education and career and technical education programming empower our future workforce with the skills and training they need to thrive. As governor, my administration will measure success in many ways, one of which will be the success of our students.”
Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program has experienced a steady increase in demand over the previous years. During the 2017-2018 school year, a record 4,363 students participated in the program.
“CTE programming is vital to both the development of our future workforce and increasing the number of students who graduate high school well-positioned for their future careers,” Department of Workforce Development Secretary-Designee Caleb Frostman said. “By expanding the capacity of important education and workforce programs, we will improve the quality of life for our citizens and build a Wisconsin where our talented residents choose to stay after graduation and attracts workers from other parts of the globe.”
Growing strong relationships between K-12 schools and businesses is essential to building and expanding opportunities for all Wisconsin students. Programs like Academic and Career Planning and Pathways Wisconsin are designed to give students interaction and experience with businesses, as well as to align the coursework required to succeed. But they need strong collaboration from regional industry partners to be successful.
“Having the ability to plan for and experience a career, while still finishing their academics, helps students make more informed decisions about the courses they take and their life trajectory,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “It is our job, as leaders of the state, to make sure those opportunities exist for all of our students.”
Wisconsin’s tech colleges work with K-12 districts to provide dynamic, hands-on career awareness and exploration for students of all ages. They also awarded nearly 154,000 transcripted college credits to more than 40,700 high school students last year alone, at no cost to students or their families.
“Our work with K-12 partners puts countless students on a meaningful pathway that helps them better understand education and career options. If they’re ready, it also prepares them for a chosen career by the quickest, least expensive route possible,” said Wisconsin Technical College System President Dr. Morna K. Foy. “Students are now earning technical college credentials – from Certified Nursing Assistant courses to Associate Degrees in Information Technology – before they graduate from high school.”
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes joined DWD Secretary-Designee Frostman, Superintendent Stanford Taylor, Milwaukee Area Technical College President Dr. Vicki Martin and Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley today at WE Energies in West Allis to hear from students involved in WE Energies’ Line Mechanic Internship and Design Engineer Youth Apprenticeship programs and job shadow student participants as they demonstrated the skills acquired through both programs to officially kick-off CTE Month. Additional events to celebrate CTE Month are being planned throughout the state.