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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Career and Technical Education Month celebrates opportunities that lead to great Michigan careers

State highlights programs, educators providing students with real-world skills

TED MEDIA CONTACT: DAVE MURRAY
517-243-7530 | MURRAYD5@MICHIGAN.GOV

LANSING, Mich. — Through his Owosso High School career and technical education programs, Nick Krueger has watched students succeed academically, have greater focus and improve communication skills – all of which will help them after graduation.

Nick Krueger, Owosso High School career and technical education coordinator provides guidance to one of his students.Career-tech students have the opportunity to learn real-world concepts and skills in a hands-on environment as well as connecting them to business and industry professionals,” Krueger said. “This can open many doors, either through college credits, mentorships, or job opportunities after graduation. These programs transform a student’s career outlook and skill level not only in content, but also interpersonal skills.”

Gov. Rick Snyder declared February to be Career and Technical Education Month in Michigan to encourage students and adults to be ambassadors for career-tech classes and celebrate the programs’ role in preparing students for 21st Century high-demand, high-skill and high-wage careers.

Snyder during his State of the State address mentioned career and technical education being a focus and applauded Michiganders working in the Professional Trades, saying the state needs to do to more to support them, and inspire more young people to seek rewarding great careers.

Michigan schools offer career-tech classes in a variety of fields, including finance, health sciences, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

 “Spotlighting Career and Technical Education month allows us to spread the word and change the misperceptions that some have about these programs,” said Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. “We have data and know for a fact that rigorous career-tech classes that incorporate the hands-on, real-world application of math, science and even English Language Arts standards, better prepare students who take them -- no matter what career pathway they choose.” 

There are more than 100,000 open jobs in Michigan, and Snyder has called for increasing the state’s investment in career-tech classes and career awareness so students discover opportunities for good careers. The availability of talent is a key factor when employers look to grow or locate, creating more and better jobs.

Enrollment in career-tech programs in Michigan is up by about 5,000 students since 2015 with total enrollment exceeding 109,000 in 2017. About 95 percent of students enrolled go on to attend a postsecondary education institution, seek advanced career and technical education training, sign up for military service or find employment within a year of graduation, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Krueger was inspired to teach and start an engineering program after years of coaching sports and searching for ways to work with students and help guide them. He says the opportunity for career exploration through career-tech courses is invaluable.

“The ability to learn the same skills used by industry professionals leading to certifications or licenses makes students more marketable,” he said. “Parents need to realize the programs are designed to help students learn new skills and determine a career path they have an interest in before taking on a lot of debt.”

Additional information about Career and Technical Education Month and programs can be found at going-pro.com/cte

Students, parents, educators and anyone else wanting to learn more about careers can use the state’s new Pathfinder website, which includes data on training, wages, projected openings and other information. Additional information about Professional Trades careers is at Going-Pro.com.