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History of Career and Technical Education

Known as vocational education in the United States throughout the early and mid-20th century, this model of technical training initially focused on agriculture and manufacturing. As students learned “hands-on skills” that qualified them for apprenticeships or direct employment, many communities came to view vocational education as an entry point into the skilled labor force. At the dawn of the information age (also known as the Age of Computing) in the 1970’s, many employers and colleges began to value the development of high-tech skills and preparation for the emerging Knowledge Economy.

In NYC, new CTE schools were not created from 1968 until 2003, which allowed some of the existing 18 schools to linger with outdated vocational education programs for decades. This 35-year gap was the motivation to initiate a broad overhaul of existing CTE programs in the early 20th century, and to create over thirty new CTE schools. All current CTE schools offer high-tech and modernized programs aligned to labor market demand, with robust industry partnerships allowing students to master core academic subjects while gaining work-based learning experience via internships outside of the classroom.

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