The federal role in “vocational” education began as a way to prepare students for the newly industrialized workplace. Over the years, the program has evolved to match the needs of the changing economy, focusing on postsecondary as well as secondary education while giving students skills they can use throughout their careers.
In 2006, the language “vocational and technical” was updated to “career and technical” education. This transition was more than just a name change. It represented a fundamental shift in philosophy from CTE being for those who were not going to college to a system that prepares students for both employment and postsecondary education. The integration of academic and technical education programs was strengthened, further emphasizing the goal of ensuring that students who participate in CTE are taught the same rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards as all other students. With all school programs now adhering to the same academic standards, the separate “track” system that has stigmatized CTE is disappearing.
— Excerpt from ACTE online, CTE: STRONG ECONOMY FACTSHEET
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