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Career and Tech Education Month: Students encouraged to look into skilled trades

February was recently been declared Career and Technical Education Month by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
The girl solders the sensors with a soldering iron under a microscope.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With more than 545,000 Michigan job openings through the year 2026, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Michigan Department of Education to declare February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. 

Career and technical education offers high school students hands-on training that can be applied to real-world, in-demand education, training and career pathways. 

During this month, state officials encourage students, parents, and educators to explore programs across the state that teach skills needed for high-demand, high-skill, high-wage career opportunities. 

“It’s important that Michigan students understand and explore all education and training pathways that lead to a prosperous future,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Career and technical education programs offer academic, technical and employability skills that prepare our high school students for rewarding post-secondary education and 21st century career opportunities.” 

Schools across Michigan offer CTE programs that are aligned with high-demand, high-wage careers in fields such as finance, health sciences, business marketing and administration, information technology, skilled trades and advanced manufacturing. Most programs also offer early college credit opportunities to provide a seamless transition to post-secondary education. 

Enrollment in Michigan CTE programs is up by over 6,000 students since 2015 with total enrollment exceeding 110,000 in 2019. The number of CTE program completers has increased from 27,014 in 2015 to 47,314 in 2019 – a 75 percent increase. More than 95% of students who complete a CTE program go on to attend a post-secondary educational institution, seek advanced career and technical education training, sign up for military service, or find employment within a year of graduation, according to the Michigan Department of Education. 

Michigan’s data also shows that students who completed a CTE program, and went on to earn a two-year degree, earn an average starting wage that is $4,300 more than their peers with no CTE. 

“We need to continue expanding career and technical education programs in Michigan schools to ensure students have the real-world, hands-on experiences they need for rewarding career opportunities,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

Students, parents, educators and life-long learners interested in exploring career options, training, wages and projected openings may visit the state’s Pathfinder website. More information about professional trades careers, Career and Technical Education Month and programs can be found at Going-PRO.com/CTE and on the Michigan Department of Education’s website.


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