Career and Technical Education (CTE) has growing importance in schools nationwide. As states look to prepare their students for postsecondary success, gaining hands-on experience aligned with career interests is critical for creating the learning bridge required. Our team has included best practices to elevate CTE within your school district to engage students and make data-driven decisions to drive growth. 


Enable Career Exploration for Students Before Choosing a CTE Pathway 

Students exposed to early career exploration gain a broader scope of careers available, opening their minds to what job they may want to pursue. Students can be exposed to local industries through career day partnerships, but they should also have a look into careers at a national level to expand their mindset.  

Software solutions like Kuder Galaxy for PreK-5th grade students and Kuder Navigator for 6-12th grade students are equitable, inclusive options for guiding students through career exploration and ensuring they can review national careers aligned to their career interests. 


Relate Opportunities to Your Labor Market 

One way to elevate your CTE program is by staying aligned with local and national labor market trends. From exploring which industries are up-and-coming to new equipment local businesses use to streamline their processes, equipping students with relevant and timely information is critical for long-term success. 


Drive CTE Program Expansion Based on Student Interest Data 

For school districts on the precipice of growing their CTE programs, it’s important to make data-driven decisions to decide which programs should be enhanced or new programs to offer. A few strategies to review which programs can be grown using data include: 


Create Community Connections 

When students engage with local businesses in hands-on learning projects, their experiences are significantly elevated. Hearing from a regional leader and seeing firsthand what a day may entail or what projects are happening locally can influence a student’s interest in a particular career and industry. 

We encourage creating community connections with local businesses, organizations, and non-profits by utilizing your local Chamber of Commerce! This resource helps streamline communications and holds existing relationships to help connect everyone’s needs in the community. 


Match Students to Learning Opportunities Based on Career Interests 

Ensuring students gain meaningful experience throughout CTE programming is essential to help them solidify their postsecondary plans and achieve the full benefits available by completing an entire CTE program at your school. One way to help ensure students have an impactful experience is by providing their program enrollment aligns with their career interests. Students can complete this through career assessments, such as those offered via Kuder Navigator. 

For school districts utilizing Navigator, students can seamlessly view CTE Pathways aligned to their Kuder career assessment results using the Pathways Link tool. In addition, students’ assessment results are mapped to work-based learning opportunities utilizing the Connect 2 Business tool within Navigator. These tools help bring opportunities aligned with student interests front and center to guide them toward programming that may be more meaningful to them. 


As you plan to evaluate and grow your CTE programming, consider the five tactics above to elevate your program. Reach out to our team of college and career readiness experts to learn more about solutions to advance CTE initiatives for your school or schedule personalized training for your school district to learn how to maximize your existing tools.  

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is the Senior Retention Marketing Specialist at Kuder. Sarah has a passion for empowering individuals in their college and career journeys. With a wealth of experience in crafting marketing campaigns, Sarah seamlessly combines creativity with data-driven insights to guide readers through the intricacies of college and career decision-making.