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Career and Technical Education as a Conduit for Skilled Technical Careers: A Targeted Research Review and Framework for Future Research CTE

Haviland, Sara; Robbins, Steven B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Career and Technical Education (CTE), Workforce Preparation, Vocational Education, Community Colleges, 21st Century Skills, High School, Pathways, Job Retraining, Student Retention, Student Performance, Career Development, Secondary Education


Workforce development and career and technical education (CTE) have long provided reliable pathways to middle skill jobs and a gateway to the middle class. Given recent changes in middle skills jobs, the education landscape, and federal policy priorities, the role of CTE in the U.S. educational landscape is evolving more rapidly, encompassing a broader range of education, and practices are changing ahead of research. The first part of this report provides an overview of the current state of CTE in the United States, as well as the state of CTE research, and presents an argument for a broader definition of CTE that incorporates workforce development through postsecondary institutions. The second part provides operational definitions and typologies to facilitate future research. Our aim is to build a research framework for CTE that is grounded in a normative path through CTE: getting in (preparation and recruitment), getting through (retention and skill acquisition), getting out (completion and initial hire), and getting on (career progression). Key challenges and priorities for future research are discussed.

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