Implementation of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Influences on Youth Aspirations

Nationwide, support for Career and Technical Education (CTE) is growing as educators and policymakers seek to expand postsecondary opportunities for youth and meet the human capital needs of a technologically advancing labor market. This is a major shift in the U.S., where vocational learning in the past has been widely considered low-status and struggled to garner significant educational investments. I used a case study approach to investigate recent efforts to revitalize CTE in comprehensive high schools and the ways CTE students make decisions about college and work in a changing occupational landscape.

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Report for Educators, Workforce Development Representatives, and Other CTE Stakeholders

June, 2021

This report summarizes major findings from the dissertation, with a focus on student beliefs about college and careers. It also discusses implications for practitioners as they work to expand access to career exploration and training programs.

Dissertation: Career and Technical Education in the Era of College and Career Readiness: Youth Postsecondary Aspirations in “Oaksburg, USA”

June, 2021

The increasing popularity and decentralized spread of CTE nationally has led to variation in how educators understand its goals, with unknown implications for program design and student outcomes. Some scholars of education and sociology have expressed concern that CTE’s success at preparing students for sub-baccalaureate education and work may come at the expense of rigorous preparation for four-year college, inadvertently reproducing tracking between academic and CTE coursework. Drawing on sensemaking and vocational development frameworks, this dissertation reveals how ideals of equity are manifest by educational stakeholders as they make sense of and implement CTE, and it analyzes implications for student experiences and aspirations.

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