Career technical education is critical to meeting the state’s workforce needs.
If current trends continue, roughly one-third of new jobs in California will require some training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. Career technical education (CTE), also known as vocational training, connects students to these career opportunities by providing industry-based skills. In addition to improving career options in the short term, CTE can provide pathways to higher education; for example, about a third of high school CTE courses meet the admission requirements for California’s public four-year universities.
Public high schools and community colleges are the primary providers of CTE.
During the 2016–17 school year, close to 800,000 high school students (45%) enrolled in a CTE course. Arts and media courses are especially popular, as are CTE courses in information technology, agriculture, and health. At community colleges, nearly 420,000 students (35%) participated in CTE. Arts and media is once again the most popular industry sector, followed by education, business, health, and public services. While for-profit colleges also offer CTE training, enrollments have declined in recent years.