ALPENA, Mich — Many Michigan students are forgoing college life to pursue jobs in career and technical education. Michigan’s education agency says the number of students completing CTE programs has increased more than 75 percent in the last four years. Students from Alpena High School are joining this new wave of technical learners to jump start their careers.
Kids at the high school are taking what they learn in traditional classroom settings and translating it to on the job experience, right in the same building. Director of technical education at Alpena High, Joyce McCoy, says the program is preparing students to work efficiently right after high school.
“In our programs, we try to replicate what’s out there in industry and we’re teaching our students what they need for a good job, or for continued education wherever they go.”
Since 2014, the number of CTE program graduates across the state has risen from approximately 27,000 to more than 47,000 in 2019 and McCoy says there are reasons for the drastic change.
“The increase in CTE has come about because we know that our employers need a strong workforce and current technical education is a great place for students to get experience in that job and earn certifications beyond even high school.”
Another perk of CTE training is the promising outlook on income it offers, without the debt. Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer announced plans to reach 60 percent of Michigan residents with a post secondary degree, and CTE programs are already helping to meet that goal.
Whitmer says in the release,
“Every Michigander deserves a good paying job that they can support themselves and their families on.”
“This progress is great news to our economy.”
McCoy agrees. She says, “There are some high paying jobs for our students who even go into manufacturing and choose to continue in schooling either at our community college or at training programs beyond that can earn equal to what students with a four year bachelor degree can.”
For students at Alpena High school, CTE classes are providing college credit if they decide to pursue education after graduation.
Students across the state can enroll in a number of different careers in CTE, including marketing, sales and service, IT and health science.