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ERIC Number: ED524217
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Road Less Traveled: Realizing the Potential of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges
Shulock, Nancy; Moore, Colleen; Offenstein, Jeremy
Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy
The Career Technical Education (CTE) mission of California's community colleges is not well understood by policymakers in comparison to the transfer mission of the colleges. This exploratory study, to be followed by a more comprehensive research agenda, is motivated by the belief that CTE is a vital piece of the college completion agenda but is not receiving sufficient attention. While students can be successful in CTE in ways besides earning a certificate or degree, the issuing of workforce-related credentials is an undeniably important function of the colleges. As a basis for exploring CTE more generally, the authors studied patterns of student enrollment and progress in four high-wage, high-need pathways (information technology, engineering technology, engineering, and nursing), visited CTE programs, interviewed faculty and staff, and reviewed college catalogs and other materials. The authors know they can't generalize to all programs in all colleges, given the great variety in both, but the following findings strike them as important to any effort to understand and improve student outcomes in CTE programs: (1) Data constraints limit knowledge and college actions; (2) Good student progress is not translating into credentials; and (3) Pathway structures do not promote attainment of technical credentials. The authors have much to learn from the work ahead, but this exploratory research, in the context of national momentum to increase structure and simplify pathways for students, leads them to make the following recommendations: (1) Require students to declare a program of study and colleges to ensure access to programs; (2) Consider fewer and more consistent program offerings; (3) Focus on basic skills for CTE; (4) Reexamine associate degree; and (5) Conduct additional research. (Contains 10 figures, 4 tables and 44 notes.)
Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy. 6000 J Street, Tahoe Hall 3063, Sacramento, CA 95819. Tel: 916-278-3888; Fax: 916-278-3907; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: James Irvine Foundation
Authoring Institution: California State University, Sacramento. Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy
Identifiers - Location: California