A high school diploma, at the very least, is critical in order for individuals to compete in the workforce. An Issue Brief from the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) states that when students drop out of high school they not only lack employment skills but are also at risk for a number of problems which have repercussions for not only the student but for society as well (2007). These problems include living in poverty, incarceration, being unhealthy, and single parenthood. In contrast, those who graduate from high school are more likely to raise healthier and better educated children, are less likely to be teen parents, are less likely to commit crimes, and are more likely to vote or volunteer in their community (ACTE, 2007).
Students drop out of high school for a number of reasons. One significant reason is that they don’t see a connection between the real world and what they are learning, which can cause a loss of interest and motivation in school (ACTE, 2007). The learning experience offered through CTE can allow students to understand the relevance of gaining a high school diploma as they see a direct connection between what they are learning and how this knowledge can be applied to the workplace. Statistics from Texas are evidence of this fact. In 2010–2011, the Texas graduation rate for students with two or more CTE classes was 95.91 percent compared to 85.90 percent for all Texas high school students (Texas Workforce Investment Council, 2013, p.3).
In addition to classes, Career and Technical Student Organizations can further engage students in their learning. These organizations aid students in forming important relationships with other students as well as adult mentors as they work together on projects and competitions. An opportunity is also provided for students to learn important leadership and technical skills, proficiencies that all students need to be successful in the workplace.
For more information regarding CTE’s role in high school dropout prevention visit the websites below.
CTE Clearinghouse: High School Completion and Drop Out Prevention
TEA-Drop out Recovery Resource Guide
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention
Career Technical Education and Outcomes in High School: A Monograph
ACTE (2007). Issue Brief: CTE’s role in High School Dropout Prevention and Recovery. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from: https://www.acteonline.org/general.aspx?id=795#.V5IC4eeAOko
Texas Workforce Investment Council (2013). Career Technical Education and Outcomes in High School: A Monograph. Retrieved on July 21, 2016 from: http://gov.texas.gov/files/twic/CTE_Monograph.pdf
By: Rebecca Bardenhagen