MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - February is Alabama Career and Technical Education Month. Around the state, schools will be highlighting and celebrating the value of preparing students for their future careers even before they finish high school.
More than 173,000 high school students are putting plans in place for their next steps after graduation in Alabama.
“Across the state of Alabama, we offer programs in all 16 clusters and 79 pathways that are basically offered nationwide. So really, any career a student thinks that they may be interested in there may very well be a program offered at their high school,” said Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Jimmy Hull. “Now, every high school doesn’t offer the program, but this state in general, we do a great job of offering access to all programs across the state.
The programs include engineering, journalism, medical-related, law enforcement, military careers, education, human resources, business and industry, information technology, cybersecurity, and more.
Hull explains that these opportunities allow students to earn certifications potentially. They can then use those to go straight into work or bypass college classes in college where they have already mastered the material. This is an important opportunity for students to get a jump start on their next steps.
Learn more about the CTE programs offered to Alabama students.
“You go into the K 12 education to prepare students for the next phase of their life. And whether or not they’re going into college, at some point, we hope that everyone can find a career that they can be successful in, that they can work in and be happy,”
Career and technical education allow students the opportunity to explore a variety of different potential programs and pathways over the course of their middle and high school years to identify the things that they’re good at, what they like to do, they have an aptitude for, Hull adds.
“Or that they’re just simply interested in,” Hull says. “Hopefully be able to find that cross-section of what they’re really good at and what they’re also interested in, and that be the area that they begin to focus on moving into the workforce.”
Among high school graduates entering the workforce, statistics show those with hands-on learning experiences often earn more throughout their lifetimes.
Statistics also show CTE initiatives across the country have helped reduce student dropout rates and increase graduation rates.