California Assembly Education Committee Explores the Future of Career Technical Education

Assembly Joint Committee, Business Leaders, Educators and Students Gather to Discuss Education and Job Opportunity through K-12 Career Technical Education


(Buena Park, CA) – GetREAL, a coalition of business, labor and educators who believe California schools should provide a balanced education combining academic studies and industry-relevant career technical education (CTE), applauds the California Assembly for holding a Joint Informational hearing to discuss the future of high school CTE in Buena Park on Monday, October 2.

“CTE is crucial to providing our high school students with an excellent education as well as a path forward to securing good jobs and economic security,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Committee on Education. “We need to not only ensure that CTE is well-funded for the long term, but we also must ensure the state is committed to smart implementation and accountability.”

The hearing will cover how the 3-year, $900 million California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant, established as part of the 2015-2016 state budget, has been implemented to expand and enhance district CTE programs. The hearing will also discuss the need for on-going funding to ensure students have access to CTE education that prepares them for well-paying careers in industries like agriculture, energy, manufacturing, construction and engineering, healthcare, hospitality and more.

“Working in the Building Trades allows more than 450,000 of our members – trained through our apprenticeship programs – to participate fully in our society, on a middle-class footing. It also provides a workforce that builds our public and private infrastructure and drives our economy. Some 58,000 of these construction workers are currently enrolled in apprenticeship programs, and I can’t think of a better form of pre-apprenticeship than the one that is provided through Career Technical Education in our public high schools. CTE needs to be recognized in our society and fully-funded in our schools,” concluded Robbie Hunter, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and co-chair of GetREAL.

There is no question that CTE programs are needed for our students and relevant to our workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. require an associate’s degree or less, and 13 of the 20 occupations with the largest numbers of new jobs projected for 2018 require on-the-job training or an associate’s degree.

“Educators and students understand the great value of CTE, which is why more than 300 California high schools and local education agencies applied for and received grants to develop and grow their CTE programs,” said Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy. “Through CTE our schools are making education more relevant to students and setting them up to succeed after graduation. Going forward, we must continue this promise to our students.”

Research has shown that students participating in CTE are more engaged in their school work, perform better academically, have higher graduation rates and are more likely to enter the workforce and earn higher wages after leaving school.

“For many years, California moved away from CTE coursework and instead focused on a one-size-fits-all college-readiness track,” said Assemblymember Rocky Chávez, vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Education. “CTE does not preclude students from pursuing post-secondary education, rather it provides them with more choices and exposure to academics that lead to skilled jobs not requiring a four-year degree.”

CTE programs are aligned with state workforce needs and often partner directly with California industries to help ensure students’ best opportunity to gain meaningful employment when they leave school.

“California’s students are tomorrow’s workforce and our schools must prepare them to be both college and career ready,” said Dorothy Rothrock, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and co-chair of GetREAL. “On behalf of our state’s manufacturers who are the engine of the state’s economy and provide middle class or better jobs for thousands of California workers, we believe it is imperative that the California Department of Education prioritize CTE by establishing policy drivers to ensure that CTE is built into the curriculum. Tomorrow’s jobs demand hands-on, relevant technical education on every middle and high school campus so that all California students are exposed to these life and career inspiring programs of study.”

The Assembly CTE hearing will include Assemblymembers O’Donnell, Quirk Silva, Chávez, McCarty and Muratsuchi, representing the Assembly Education Committee, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance, Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Building a 21st Century Workforce and Assembly Jobs, Economic Development & the Economy. Testimony will be provided by principals, teachers and students involved in CTE, as well as leaders of GetREAL, including the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.

The hearing will be held from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Buena Park High School Performing Arts Center, 8833 Academy Drive, Buena Park.

Please click here to view the event’s live stream.