Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Illinois

Light gray background. Stand for Children Illinois logo. Three silhouettes of adults standing behind the silhouette of a child reaching their hand to the sky on a dark blue background. Dark blue circle with an outline of a megaphone on the bottom left. The circle reads "Career and Technical Education". On the bottom right of the circle there are two cyan blocks reading "Advancing CTE in IL."

Illinois has undoubtedly made progress in career and technical education (CTE) over the last decade—both in expanding opportunities for students and in collecting disaggregated data to support equity. School leaders are clamoring for more CTE investment and it’s a win-win proposal: smart for students and their individual futures and a strategic investment for Illinois’ economy. Last year’s budget saw a $4.6 million increase to the program; however, if Illinois had kept pace with inflation, the CTE appropriation would be about $80 million instead of $48 million.

State Secondary CTE Appropriation line graph. X axis (time) 1999-2024. Y axis (appropriations) $10,000,000-90,000,000. The ISBE Appropriations line remains fairly constant over the years. In 1999 it is just above $40,000,000, and in 2024 it is just below $50,000,000. Adjusted for inflation, the appropriations would have been just under $80,000,000 in 2022.

But strengthening CTE is not just about more funding. It’s also about deliberate growth of programming in high-demand, high-skill, high-pay career areas, and equitable opportunities for students in every zip code. This report identifies four strategic policies to advance dual credit in Illinois:

  • Conduct a return-on-investment analysis.
  • Commit to sustainable funding.
  • Complete a capital needs assessment.
  • Provide CTE course parity.

We also hope this report is a helpful hub of CTE information – like historical budget information, funding allocation flowcharts, links to existing datasets, models from other states, exemplars from several school districts, and other pertinent resources related to Career and Technical Education, Workplace Learning, and Dual Credit.

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