Ann Huff Stevens, Deputy Director of the Center for Poverty Research, Professor of Economics,
Career and technical education (CTE) is widely viewed as an important alternative to traditional four-year colleges, a means of increasing the earnings of U.S.workers, and an effective response to the changing skill requirements of U.S. employers. While abundant evidence confirms that CTE offerings at public institutions can increase the earnings and employment rates of graduates, substantial barriers to successful expansion of high-quality CTE remain. These barriers include a lack of accessible information about program quality that makes it difficult for students to identify high-return programs and insufficient funding for both CTE students and the public institutions that provide high-quality programs. Low completion rates among those starting CTE programs also limit their positive earnings effects.