Career Technical Education (CTE) in Hawai’i serves over 33,000 learners each year. In fact, because we operate as a single statewide school district, we’re one of the largest districts in the United States. We offer programs in a diverse array of industries from architecture to healthcare, preparing learners for bright futures in in-demand, living-wage careers.
The outcomes of CTE demonstrate how effective it is in setting learners up for success. Our secondary learners graduate high school at a rate of 98 percent, about 14 percentage points higher than the national average. Our postsecondary learners also have exciting opportunities to pursue programs in a variety of fields that make a difference in our community. For example, Hawai’i, like most states, has struggled with a severe shortage of CTE teachers. One of the contributing factors was that there was not a single program in the state where individuals could earn a CTE teaching certificate. That’s when Leeward Community College stepped in and developed an alternative CTE licensure program. This one-of-a-kind program is accredited and has produced high school CTE teachers that serve as instructors in all of Hawaii’s CTE pathways across all of Hawaii’s islands.
To make opportunities like this possible, Hawai’i took advantage of federal and state funds for CTE. Doubling the federal investment in CTE would mean that Hawai’i could make more opportunities like this one available to learners. We would be able to develop more industry partnerships, support more programs that allow learners to gain real-world skills, and scale up programs like the one at Leeward Community College. For Hawai’i, doubling the investment in CTE would create more career options for our learners and a brighter future for our community.
This article was written by Bernadette Howard, State CTE Director at the University of Hawaii and President of Advance CTE’s Board of Directors.