5 Strategies to Increase CTE Teacher Recruitment, Engagement and Retention through Professional Development

By Chen, Shani; Ney, Cheryl | Techniques, May 2020 | Go to article overview

5 Strategies to Increase CTE Teacher Recruitment, Engagement and Retention through Professional Development


Chen, Shani, Ney, Cheryl, Techniques


Developing sustainable career pathways is the key to meeting workforce needs, but administrators in the Los Angeles region have growing concerns about more effective ways to recruit and retain qualified career and technical education (CTE) teachers. The current shortage has left administrators in a difficult position because the success of their CTE programs and opportunities for students depend on an increasingly scarce supply of instructors (Chen & Ney, 2019; Ball, 2016). The shortage of credentialed CTE teachers also jeopardizes the development of new pathways and the sustainability of existing pathways, as districts simply cannot find qualified industry professionals. Some schools experiencing the repercussions are now forced to turn away interested students from the increasingly popular CTE programs due to being understaffed.

A recent study conducted at California State University LA's Charter College of Education examined the perceptions of CTE teachers, school administrators and industry experts about their needs to foster and sustain pathway programming through regional professional development (PD) opportunities in Los Angeles (Chen & Ney, 2019). In conducting nine interviews with administrators, two industry experts and a focus group of six CTE teachers, each district faced its own set of challenges. The participants all share common themes in identifying the need to place a higher priority on the five key strategies below. The emphasis on these objectives would not only provide richer PD experiences, but also increase engaged professional learning to improve instruction for current and prospective educators, while positively impacting teacher retention and recruitment.

1.Increase Awareness Among Faculty and Staff About CTE Opportunities

Creating greater awareness to recruit teachers can help increase interest in the career benefits and leadership opportunities, which can minimize confusion or preconceived misconceptions. Districts are more intentionally identifying active academic teachers with previous work experience, who could potentially qualify for a CTE credential ahead of time. However, a sizable number of single-subject teachers could become dual credentialed as a result of their prior work experience in other sectors (Chen & Ney, 2019). Identifying these types of candidates can provide growth opportunities for interested educators.

The consensus from the participants indicates limited CTE information and understanding among the professional learning community.

Old institutional norms still permeate school cultures around vocational education, so the revitalization of CTE requires reeducating stakeholders, which is being overlooked.

This is a necessary step to redefine CTE, reset core values, reeducate support staff and teachers to inspire an open mindset, garner buy-in and encourage stakeholders to engage in new opportunities.

The first strategy is to conduct indepth interest surveys and target qualified teachers. This data can provide the administration more information about teachers' prior work experience, which can mark the beginning of an intake process that can be followed up with an informational session for recruitment.

The informational sessions can generate interest by outlining the reasons why one would want to earn a CTE credential, as well as highlighting the benefits and incentives. Single-subject teachers with a CTE credential identified the process to earning a CTE credential as cryptic for the average end user; they had questions but felt uncertain about how to get them answered.

CTE teachers identified a need for more live interaction to get more information, and they outlined where they often felt confused about various career opportunities for earning a CTE credential. Being more informed about the various ways to make a positive impact can generate leadership interest and opportunities through identifying career benefits and learning about the value of holding a CTE credential. …

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