Postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) is a broad term that encompasses academics, technical skills and on the job training to prepare students to enter the workforce upon completion of a program. In postsecondary education, there are a variety of CTE programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates and two-year degrees offered through community and technical colleges and other postsecondary institutions.
There is evidence that middle-skill jobs – those that require some postsecondary education, but not a four-year degree increase economic mobility by providing career ladders and sustainable wages. Developing middle skills pathways provides students with the opportunity to succeed in the developing labor market by expanding career opportunities that allows to obtain stackable credential and being able acquire specific skills that are in demand by regional employers.
As demand for career ready and skilled workers increases, states are looking into the development and expansion of high quality CTE programs in postsecondary education to support more students on the path to middle-skill jobs.
State policy options that support postsecondary CTE programs and students include CTE-focused approaches to funding and appropriations, career pathways, and student supports.
- Funding and Appropriations – State appropriations and financial aid programs that support students seeking access to postsecondary CTE programs.
- Career Pathways – Actions states are taking to provide meaningful, actionable information to students and families about career pathways in postsecondary CTE.
- Student Supports – Investments in student support programs that boost successful outcomes for students in postsecondary CTE programs.