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The issue of Career and Technical Education (CTE) enrollment and completion is no doubt complex; family, culture, media, and society all play a significant role in setting stereotypes that enhance or limit the interests and abilities of students. Nevertheless, available evidence shows that aspects of the school environment, such as counseling that steers students into CTE classes that are traditional for students’ gender or school procedures that fail to promptly and adequately address sexual harassment and bullying in the classroom, also play a critical role.
Schools around the state have taken steps to make a real difference in achieving a greater representation of students in nontraditional CTE. Other schools are searching for short and long term solutions to break down barriers for nontraditional students. Technical assistance from the Career Equity Resource Center (CERC) will provide mechanisms to develop targeted remedial strategies to facilitate local and state compliance with federal and state antidiscrimination mandates and the requirements of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education of 2006 (Perkins IV).
Evaluations conducted by CERC will focus on disparities and barriers that may limit opportunities for marginalized students’ participation in CTE classes that are aligned with top earning high-skill, high-demand job fields. The findings of such evaluations will be broadly relevant, since improvements in equity in CTE will improve the caliber of CTE programs for all students and will help schools to focus on and address barriers that may limit students’ opportunities across program areas.