A brief focused on the efficacy of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs released last week found that approximately half of all Michigan students enroll in at least one CTE course during high school, but female, Black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students are less likely to participate in such programs.

The brief, published by the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab, the Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and Georgia Policy Labs looked to shed light on access to and enrollment in Michigan’s high school CTE programs.

As students look for alternative career pathways paved with less debt, CTE programs have emerged as a popular strategy for improving young people’s chances of finding and keeping stable jobs, researchers said. And CTE programs have received bipartisan support in Michigan. Former Gov. Snyder and Gov. Whitmer both called for more funding for CTE programs to strengthen the state’s workforce.

“Despite this wealth of attention, we know relatively little about the efficacy of CTE programs,” the brief states. “Stakeholders like parents, students, state and local administrators all have a vested interest in better understanding the predictors and outcomes of CTE participation.”

Key research findings are:

  • Approximately half of all Michigan students enroll in at least one CTE course during high school. Business, marketing, and health sciences are the most popular programs.
  • Female, Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students are less likely to participate in CTE. These differences are smaller among students who attend the same high school, suggesting disparities in opportunity rather than student demand drive statewide participation gaps.
  • More than 500,000 skilled trade jobs are expected to become available in Michigan through 2026, primarily in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, automotive technology, and information technology. While many CTE programs align with these high-demand fields, some exhibit low participation and completion rates.

You can read the full brief online.