What Parents Ought to Know About Career Technical Education

What’s the purpose of school?


Is it to encourage intellectual growth? Or is it to prepare students for the workforce? Or both perhaps?

According to a 2016 survey, 68% of respondents believed schools should offer career-technical or skills-based coursework. Unfortunately, school programs don’t often sync up with public opinion or the rapidly changing economy.

As a parent of three children, sports coach, and community volunteer, I’ve mentored students of all walks of life. While Northshore School District boasts academic accolades like the International Baccalaureate program at Inglemoor High, I often wonder about the students who don’t have aspirations or luxury of earning a 4-year degree.


Are parents informed about the choices their children have with regards to alternative career path offerings? Do these students have the same support to achieve their goals of entering the workforce?


While the Northshore School District is lucky enough to have an excellent Career Technical Education program, I can’t help but wonder about its sustainability due to federal and state funding patterns.

Behind the Scenes of
Career Technical Education Funding

Federal funding for Career Technical Education or CTE is provided by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Allocated funds support a variety of technical programs at local secondary schools, two-year and four-year colleges, CTE centers, and others.


But according to a report conducted in 2012, federal funding for CTE has decreased by $188 million. Despite the fact that over 7 million students pursue at least 1 credit of CTE in secondary schools.


This decrease has affected the allocation of state and local funds for CTE. Washington state notes that while needs for CTE have stayed constant, the funds have declined over time. This is due to the rising cost of keeping these programs running and combining CTE allocations with basic education funding.

Schools in Oregon have experienced this as well. It leaves teachers like Guy Marchione to utilize their networks to create their own technical education programs. It should be the school district’s initiative to ensure students have access to educational programs that meet the demands of our economy.

“ Since many local governments and industries cannot afford additional                    funding for CTE at this time, partnerships among employers and

       educational institutions are especially critical for ensuring the efficiency

       and relevance of all CTE programs to local and regional economies.



~ National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education

Here’s a System That’s Helping Students Get
In-Demand Jobs

With over 310,063 students pursuing CTE in Washington state per year, it’s crucial that we continue to support these programs to compensate for federal budget cuts.


If school districts don’t measure the outcomes of programs like CTE, federal and state funds will continue to dwindle. As a result, we’ll be sending students into an economy without crucial skills that could impact their earning potential.

To make Career Technical Education a priority, I would like to --


  • Advocate for CTE educators who want to expand their programs by helping with access to local and state grants.

  • Encourage the District and WaNIC partners to continue to collect and analyze detailed data on post-secondary job placement, apprenticeship and technical college entrance and success.   We need student success stories to help protect and encourage additional federal and state funding.

  • Continue to develop public/private partnerships with employers to ensure that secondary CTE programs are meeting local economy opportunities.

If you believe in supporting our students with skills to meet the needs of our local economy, let’s partner together to make sure it continues in the Northshore School District.