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Building Bridges: An Analysis of Career and Technical Education in Metro Milwaukee

Our latest research shows that Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are popular among high school students, though course offerings and participation vary among districts. CTE is designed as a sequence of courses bridging high school to college and career, but in practice, few students are actually completing the curriculum. Additionally, CTE concentrators are not benefiting from learning opportunities--such as internships and co-ops--often cited as critical components of robust CTE programs.

Key findings:

  • Nearly 75% of CTE concentrators continue their education after high school, with 68% attending a 4-year college.
  • Less than 17% of CTE concentrators in the region enter the workforce directly from high school and most take jobs unrelated to their CTE training.
  • The number of CTE teacher assignments in Metro Milwaukee has grown in nearly 14% in recent years, yet a shortage of CTE-licensed teachers remains a constraint to expanding CTE courses.

We present a number of policy recommendations for strengthening the CTE curriculum, including establishing a universal CTE definition and improving data collection, better defining CTE pathways by enhancing partnerships with higher education, and further developing relationships with businesses and community partners.

Media Coverage

Report Looks at Success of Career and Technical Education in Milwaukee

This research was funded in part by grants from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Northwestern Mutual Foundation.