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Innovative CTE Programs

Pennsylvania’s workforce is changing rapidly with emerging industries that include energy production, biomedical technology, information technology, and other fields in which applied knowledge and skills are in great demand. As a result, schools throughout the commonwealth are developing new programs to prepare high school students with the technical and academic skills needed for employment in these fields.

Many cutting-edge opportunities are being offered under the purview of Pennsylvania’s regional Career Technology Centers (CTC). This report looks at five Career Technical Education (CTE) programs offered across Pennsylvania that are creative and on the cutting edge of the connection between industry and education.

In addition to being strongly influenced by their local employer communities, most of these programs also have very close connections with postsecondary institutions, where students have opportunities to earn accelerated college credits while they are still completing their high school education. Of course, some of Pennsylvania’s CTE programs have not yet adopted partnerships with postsecondary institutions beyond establishing program-to-program articulation agreements and still provide more familiar CTE offerings. Such programs develop high levels of skill in fields such as automotive technology, carpentry, and cosmetology. These programs lead to valuable occupations and are constantly upgrading their curricula and technology to stay current with workforce expectations. However, new programs and new partnerships between CTCs and postsecondary education are also emerging to address the rapidly changing workforce.

The programs profiled in this guide represent a variety of initiatives and opportunities for students to take advantage of the training and preparation offered by CTE, which offers more than most people may realize.

Key elements identified in the educational collaborations profiled in this report include:

  • Leadership that scans the economy to identify emerging workforce needs
  • Extensive discussions with employers in the conceptualization of new programs
  • Development of constructive relationships between CTCs and postsecondary partners
  • Identification and recruitment of instructors with strong workforce experience and the ability to develop instructional expertise
  • Creative approaches to curriculum and program design
  • Thoughtful marketing of programs to potential students and employers

Continue reading to discover just a sampling of the innovative programs taking place inside Pennsylvania’s CTCs.​