The Trend toward Career Technical Education

Reporter Darren Svan set out to investigate how new investments in secondary career technical education programs are shaping the direction of students preparing for post-graduation careers or technical colleges.

Idaho spent an unprecedented amount of money in 2024 to expand CTE programs, build new facilities and provide students with the latest equipment. Darren talked to industry partners, school leaders, CTE teachers, students and recent graduates. Education leaders, lawmakers and parents want to know if the money is having an impact.

He journeyed to more than half a dozen high schools and several CTE centers from the new Portneuf Valley Technical Education Career Campus near Pocatello to the Kootenai Technical Education Campus north of Coeur d’Alene.

Through its secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, Idaho is undergoing an intentional effort to bolster its skilled workforce to meet industry demands. Local and regional businesses say it couldn’t come at a better time. Teenagers love the classes.
His investigation uncovered several truths:

  • Students are truly thriving in these programs
  • Attracting qualified teachers will be difficult
  • The state needs a universal measure of success

This series takes a look at the schools and teachers who inspire students to pursue in-demand careers in agriculture, welding, automotive repair, cyber security, law enforcement or construction.

These stories were supported with a generous grant from the Education Writers Association.

State leaders push millions toward meeting workforce demands and student interests

The number of Industry trade jobs is growing every year. And teens are interested in learning those skills in high school.

Industry partnerships shape employment opportunities for high school graduates

There are hundreds of Idaho professionals helping high schools maintain cutting-edge programs with the most up-to-date industry equipment. Both sides benefit from this collaboration.

Wanted: Professionals and retirees to teach high school CTE courses

Schools must attract converts from industry with job experience to lead CTE programs that guide teenagers directly into the workplace.

What are taxpayers getting for their CTE investments?

Measuring the success of secondary career technical education programs elicits varying conclusions depending on who you ask. Educators, policymakers and parents have different ideas.

Modern CTE facilities will boost prospects in rural Idaho

In New Plymouth, some students stay in school just to weld in the high school's career technical education agriculture program.