- Florida’s Career and Technical Education program is experiencing all-time-high participation numbers.
- Among high school seniors considered 12th-grade concentrators, 65 percent graduate with at least one industry certification.
- Students considered 12th-grade CTE concentrators are demarcated by remaining in the same school district for all four years of high school and having taken at least three courses in the same program of study for a specific career-focused curriculum.
- 12th-grade concentrators were also found to have a 98 percent graduation rate.
An audit of Florida’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program showed rising numbers of participation in schools statewide, including a finding that 65 percent of high school seniors enrolled in a CTE concentration graduate with at least one industry certification.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on K-12 Education on Tuesday, chancellor for the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Career and Adult Education Dr. Kevin O’Farrell relayed information to state senators on the status of workforce education in public schools.
Students considered 12th-grade CTE concentrators are demarcated by remaining in the same school district for all four years of high school and having taken at least three courses in the same program of study for a specific career-focused curriculum.
Health Science is the most enrolled CTE pathway for 12th-grade concentrators, according to O’Farrell, with 11,460 participants statewide, while Hospitality & Tourism and Arts & Communication are the second and third most enrolled, respectively.
The majority of the 12th-grade concentration fields were found to have high rates of industry achievement, with Energy leading all fields with 88 percent of students graduating with at least one certification.
Key workforce sectors like Information Technology (78 percent), Engineering and Technology Education (71 percent), and Health Science (69 percent) also report high certification rates.
The graduation rate of students enrolled in a concentration is also high, with an average of 98 percent of all students completing high school. Of all 17 concentration fields, no subject area has a lower graduation rate among its participants than 95 percent.
“[The certification] can prepare students for continued studies and accelerated credits in post-secondary education,” said O’Farrell. “There are a lot of benefits to that.”
Overall, just under 800,000 students between 6th and 12th grade enrolled in a course under the CTE umbrella during the 2021-22 academic year.
The figure marks a 9.5 percent increase in participation across a five-year span dating back to 2017 and is the highest number of students involved in the program since its inception.
Of the 799,150 students, 31 percent are in middle school, while the remaining 69 percent is high school enrollment.
CTE programs have been the recipient of recurring funding from the state, with $2.7 million to assist school districts and state colleges buy industry-standard equipment given in October.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly touted a goal to establish Florida as the top state in the nation for workforce education by 2030.
“Training highly skilled individuals to work in health care, law enforcement, emergency management, and education will help communities now and prepare them for the future,” he said.