Career and Technical Education
In 2019, Illinois’ budget appropriation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) saw its first funding increase in over a decade. Even so, the appropriation is still lower than neighboring states. Investment in CTE is a cost-effective way to expose students to a career area and prepare them for a meaningful career. Students who ‘concentrate’ their CTE studies in a given career pathway are more likely to graduate than non-CTE students.
In Spring of 2020, Illinois’ revised and improved CTE plan is due to the federal Department of Education. Called the “Perkins plan,” this gives the States’ education and workforce development stakeholders the opportunity to align their plans and maximize our funding. The business world relies on the education system to educate a skilled workforce, and the education sector relies on businesses to offer real-life workplace experiences and internships to students. Through Perkins “reserve” funds, Illinois could set-aside funding for critical improvements in CTE infrastructure and regional planning among schools and employers.
Based on available data, Illinois appears to have a significant misalignment between CTE course enrollments and job growth areas. Perhaps even more telling, the data itself appears difficult to access and analyze. Modernized course coding and transparent data would move the needle forward to allow relevant CTE coursework and necessary analysis.