New Survey Results Address Image Challenges of Career Technical Education (CTE)


New Survey Results Address Image Challenges of Career Technical Education (CTE)

April 20, 2017 – Silver Spring, M.D. –Today, Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, released, The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students,” which explores the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in Career Technical Education (CTE), as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to improve understanding of the promise and opportunity of CTE.    

The research was conducted to address the image challenge CTE programs often face, which has contributed to CTE enrollment remaining stagnant over the last decade, even as demand for a skilled workforce has increased.

“There is a perception problem in promoting vocational education – or Career Technical Education, as we call it in the U.S. — and it’s hurting our students and our society,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation.  “We hear time and again about the need for skilled workers and the realities of careers requiring postsecondary education –not always a traditional 4-year degree – in order to fill these demands.   These results shed light on better ways to communicate the very substantial benefits of Career Technical Education as a pathway to college and a thriving career.”

The survey found that high school students who participated in CTE programs and their parents are more satisfied with their education experience as compared to those not involved with CTE. In fact, more than double the percent of CTE parents and students are “very satisfied” with their overall education experience  compared to that of prospective parents and students, and CTE parents and students are more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their classes, teachers and opportunities for career exploration.

The report highlights findings that can help states, district and local leaders more effectively communicate with parents and students to encourage interested students to enroll in CTE programs.

Additional findings include:

  • Finding a career passion was the most important critical selling point for parents and students (over 90 percent) – even surpassing having a career that pays well;
  • The vast majority of parents and students (85 percent) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration;  
  • Across the board, CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits related to college and career success;
  • These findings were consistent across all socio-economic groups, with a notably higher appreciation for high school CTE graduation success amongst lower-income, black and Hispanic groups; and
  • Counselors, teachers and CTE students and alumni are among the most trusted sources of information for students and parents alike.

Advance CTE will now take these learnings and work with Maryland, Indiana, New Jersey and Washington State to implement recruitment activities incorporating the messages in their work.  These four states were chosen through a competitive process to utilize this new messaging in their planned CTE outreach programming.

“This report provides us with valuable insights into what students and parents want out of their education, and how CTE can successfully meet those needs,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “We have worked hard to transform CTE to meet the need of the modern economy. This reports makes it clear that it’s now time for us to do the same with how we communicate about the value and promise of CTE. We can better position CTE as an option that helps more learners discover what they love and are good at so that they can have a lifetime of career success.”

To learn more, visit      



Siemens Foundation
Elizabeth Cho

Advance CTE 
Katie Fitzgerald



About the Siemens Foundation:
The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $100 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math.  The Siemens Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are closing the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. For further information, visit  or follow @sfoundation.

About Advance CTE:
Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Established in 1920, Advance CTE supports visionary state leadership, cultivates best practices and speaks with a collective voice on national policy to promote academic and technical excellence that ensures a career-ready workforce.