Editor,

Career and Technical Education in Idaho is not your grandfather’s shop class. It is high-skill, in-demand training that leads to high wages and satisfying careers ranging from health care, business and accounting, hospitality, computer networking, robotics, agriculture and food processing to a wide range of skilled trades in construction and advanced manufacturing.

CTE programs resonate with students because the skills are obtained through applied learning. Every student has asked themselves two basic questions: “Why do I need to know this, and when am I going to use it?” The answers are simple; CTE instructors apply various subjects to real-world situations, enhancing students’ abilities to understand and retain information from science, math and English to technical training. 

Opportunities for obtaining training are blossoming throughout our state. Colleges and universities are partnering with business and local school districts to open and equip facilities and to prepare students.

In Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho College opened a new facility adjacent to the Kootenai Technical Education Campus so that students can transition from the technical high school to a college-level career technical program by walking across the parking lot.

Lewis-Clark State College is opening a similar facility next to the new Lewiston High School under construction.

In Pocatello, Idaho State University’s College of Technology will soon complete its move into the new Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovations Complex, which will help ISU meet growing enrollments associated with increased demand for CTE programs.

Demand is driven by the economy. Employers need skilled workers so they are partnering with education to make sure the talent pipeline is producing the workers they need.

Thanks to Gov. Otter and the legislature, Idaho has made significant investments in CTE, increasing funding for programs by 23 percent in the past four years. Idaho’s Opportunity Scholarship is also now available to adult learners interested in returning to school.

CTE offers technical degrees, two-year degrees, industry certificates and apprenticeships. CTE offers a competitive advantage for all students who are looking for successful careers. The results show in the numbers:

– 96 percent of Idaho CTE concentrators found jobs after graduation or decided to continue their education;

– 64 percent of high school CTE concentrators went on to college compared with just 46 percent of all Idaho high school graduates;

– CTE concentrators have a higher than average high school graduation rate; and

– CTE concentrators have less student debt when they complete college.

Idaho has an ambitious goal in place to help 60 percent of Idahoans ages 25-34 earn and hold a professional certificate or degree. Career technical education provides many different pathways for Idahoans to become part of that cadre of working professionals, benefiting themselves, their families and our state.

I want to thank our national, state and local leaders for their continued and united support of CTE. As we head into the coming school year, that strong, on-going support is critically important for our students’ future careers and for Idaho’s future economic growth.

Dwight Johnson, state administrator

Idaho Career and Technical Education

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