Training students for jobs that are in-demand now

By the year 2020, an estimated 70 percent of jobs will require training beyond a high school diploma. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that youth need to plan to head straight to university.

In fact, thousands in Arizona are already on their way to completing professional training… before they’ve even finished high school. These students are benefitting from career and technical education (CTE) programs that are preparing them for life beyond the classroom.

These youth are actively engaged in learning skills that can be translated into a career. Some may even use their training as a way to work and pay for higher education. Many CTE programs provide students the opportunity to work in clinics and shops in public-facing roles, where they are practicing soft skills, such as how to relate to clients, teamwork and problem-solving. Vet clinics, cosmetology programs and automotive shops are just a few examples of places that youth are practicing real-world skills while still in high school.

Beyond preparing for the workplace, students in CTE programs are more likely to graduate and perform better on academic measures. The impact of CTE learning can’t be underestimated – while 80 percent of all Arizona students graduate from high school in four years, an impressive 98 percent of CTE students do so. They’re playing an important role in the Arizona Education Progress Meter’s goal to raise the state’s overall graduation rate to 90 percent by 2030.

While also completing high school, these students’ hands-on learning experiences and realistic work environments are helping students prepare for work in a variety of in-demand industries, including precision manufacturing, healthcare, veterinary science, automotive tech, aviation maintenance, business, law, welding, construction and more.

Many CTE courses are delivered by one of Arizona’s fourteen Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs), which provide instruction in local high schools and at their own campuses. JTEDs are operating in many school districts, and their popularity is growing. If you think CTE might be right for your high-schooler, check with their school about availability.

Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to ensure every child receives an excellent education every step of the way. For more information visit



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