Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

What's CTE Gotta Do with It: Are CTE Graduates Employed in the Fields in Which They Received Their Training?

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

What's CTE Gotta Do with It: Are CTE Graduates Employed in the Fields in Which They Received Their Training?

Article excerpt


Anyone who has a true passion to understand the things that have embodied the area of Career and Technical Education will find it necessary to examine its dynamic heritage. When beginning to look at early education history, many immediately think of the agricultural period, move into the industrial revolution, and finally into the information/ technology society we have grown into today (Scott & Sarkees-Wircenski, 2001).

There was a strong political class system in the early days of vocational education, which is now CTE, and many people were educated in the humanities. This period of early education began with roots in the family units and in church. In the early days, family units served as the nucleus for education. The needs of education were served in this way until the advent of the apprenticeship training programs (Scott & Sarkees-Wircenski, 2001). Apprenticeships were designed for the working class who wanted their children to learn a skill or a trade, with the family serving as the center. Apprenticeships were a very integral part of education even as the churches continued to play a major role in education. Apprenticeships are still active today and serve as a vital component in the transfer of knowledge and skills (Scott & Sarkees-Wircenski, 2001).

Career and Technical Education programs offered through schools and by community and technical colleges attempt to provide its participants with the skills and training necessary to compete successfully in the workforce of the millenium and into the future (Cohen & Besharov, 2002). Upon graduation, Career and Technical Education students may enter the employment arena, to include active military, apprenticeship programs, technical college degree programs or other postsecondary training. Career and Technical Education seeks to provide hands-on applied learning experiences that build academic knowledge, problem solving skills, general employment skills, and specific career skills.


Currently, there is limited research focused on Career and Technical Education program graduates. Career and technical education has the ability to benefit students directly by providing earning advantages, both before and after graduation (Brown, 2003). The problem of this study was to assess if CTE program participants were employed in the fields they received their training. This study also sought to determine their current employment status, when the students obtained their employment, how they obtained their employment, and whether their were higher unemployment rates among certain occupational groups.


While Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are not the only target of controversy with the No Child Left Behind Act, they are in fact a focal point of this federal legislation. CTE programs provide students with an additional option to the traditional college prep programs, programs that some students may not have the knowledge, skills, or ability to achieve success in (Cohen & Besharov, 2002). If CTE intends to remain a significant alternative for students in secondary schools, it is imperative that leaders in the area be able to demonstrate that these programs are effective in equipping students with valuable workplace skills.


Specifically, this research attempted to answer the following research question:

Will there be substantial agreement between the occupational group a CTE student enrolled in and the occupational group in which a CTE graduate gains employment?

Subsidiary Question

An additional question, subsidiary to the research question was the following:

Do certain occupational groups tend to have higher unemployment rates than others?


Career and Technical Education


Early in the 20th century, manual training was beginning to be questioned about its effectiveness. …

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