Leveraging Career Development Services to Expand Student Engagement in Career and Technical Education (CTE)

ACTE White Paper - Equity & Access

By identifying root causes and casting light on innovative practices used by CTE educators, many middle and high school students can experience an increase in career knowledge and improved access and equity in CTE. The following white paper takes an in-depth look at practical solutions to specific issues of inequity related to career development.
Three root causes of inequity connected to career development are addressed:

  1. Youth and families’ misunderstanding of the benefits of CTE.
  2. Systemic barriers to student participation and persistence.
  3. A lack of career knowledge and planning information to motivate student engagement.

Additional topics outlined include the important reasons why career development matters, simple methods to evaluate how a site is performing, and techniques using career development to expand student involvement in CTE.

Many educators struggle to locate career planning resources to fit the unique needs of their classrooms and also to then engage students in that course material. Some may find parallels with the root causes outlined in this white paper from ACTE and benefit from the noteworthy resources, innovative practices, and worthwhile approaches presented.

Scenarios explored include:

  • How to bolster the understanding of benefits of CTE by adopting social media marketing strategies, if traditional print marketing efforts have not been yielding the desired effect.
  • Are there systemic barriers in place to student participation in CTE programs? If so, options are presented for web-based virtual learning programs and opportunities that can broaden the outlook for student populations.
  • If a scarcity of career planning information prevents student engagement, perhaps enacting a career path planning session to help students structure their coursework backwards from the end goal, can incite enthusiasm and participation.

In summary, educators may be better able to expand their collection of resources and increase student participation by considering innovative resources like digital textbooks, experiential learning business simulations, or even introducing career exploration early on in middle school.

Download the full Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) authored white paper, Leveraging Career Development Services to Expand Student Engagement in Career and Technical Education, to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and innovative solutions to improve equity and access in CTE programs.

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