Career and technical education (CTE) is a term applied to schools, institutions, and educational programs that specialize in the skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation. It was formerly called vocational education.
CTE programs frequently offer a blend of academic and career-oriented courses, and many provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience through internships, job shadowing, on-the-job training, and industry-certification opportunities. CTE programs may include skilled trades such as automotive technology, construction, plumbing, or electrical contracting. Other programs are agriculture, architecture, culinary arts, textiles & merchandising, filmmaking, engineering, healthcare, robotics, STEM, cosmetology, and veterinary medicine.
In some cases, career and technical education is provided through a high school, where it may or may not be an integrated part of the school’s regular academic program. For students in Gillette or Rawlins, separate state-of-the-art career technical centers are utilized for CTE instruction for part of the school day. In other cases, career technical programs may take the form of a distinct "school within a school;" for example, the career academies in Sweetwater County School District #1, Campbell County School District #1, Natrona County School District #1 and others. These academies are interdisciplinary and career-oriented programs in which academic coursework is aligned with specific career paths, such as culinary arts, health sciences, or engineering. The practical learning experiences that are often provided in career technical programs appeal to many students, and certain common elements—the focus on critical thinking, new technologies, real-world settings, hands-on activities, and the application of learning to practical problems, skills that are valuable throughout a student’s life.
The Wyoming Department of Education (Career Technical Education Team) is responsible for assessing the needs of the educators throughout the state and connecting school districts and community colleges with resources available to support and grow their CTE programs in a fashion that is unique to their communities’ and students’ needs.
Focus Areas in Wyoming
- Innovative CTE programming
- Professional development for CTE educators – new technologies, best practices, practical content knowledge and strategies for collaboration.
- Developing stronger partnerships among business and industry, secondary and postsecondary institutions and core academic and CTE educators.
- Collection, evaluation and dissemination of data to provide evidence of success and program improvement for CTE.
- Alignment of technical skills necessary to prepare students for success in the workplace.
- Connecting CTE students with Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) to play an important part in preparing young people to become productive citizens and to assume roles of leadership in their communities.
- Wyoming has 5 CTSO’s which include, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA and SkillsUSA.