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Parent Resources

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?


CTE courses, put simply, are the classes that teach students real world skills to prepare them for work in industry. Watch this short video to hear student, parent, educator and business and industry perspectives on the value of CTE. In the VALEES region CTE classes fall into the following categories:

Agriculture/Horticulture Automotive Technology/Auto Body Repair Business, Marketing and Computer Education Culinary Arts
Early Childhood Education Fashion and Clothing Fire Science/Emergency Medical Technician Graphic Communication
Health Occupations Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Technology and Engineering Education (Industrial)

Why IS CTE Important for Students?

image of a student raising thier hand in a lecture hall.


Read about successful high school CTE graduates in the CTE Graduate Profile.

Students enrolled in CTE courses learn marketable skills, earn industry certifications and degrees, and have meaningful work-based learning experiences that will help them find gainful employment. CTE courses are hands on classes that use industry standard equipment and practices. Studies show that CTE students are more satisfied with their education and have lower drop out rates.

CTE students in the VALEES region can earn industry credentials and education benefits, participate in skill building workshops and competitions, and connect with business and industry.

CNA License

EMT License (Basic)

Gateways ECE Credentials

OSHA 10 Card

Microsoft Office Certifications

Serv Safe Manager Certification

Articulated Credit

Dual Credit

High School Transcript Endorsements

Early Childhood Education Visit Day

Graphic Communications Bootcamp

IBM Cyber Day for Girls

Microsoft DigiGirlz Day

Raspberry PI Workshop

Automotive Technology Competition

Burger Cook-Off

Fire Science Challenge

Graphic Communications Student of the Year Competition

IDEA Competition

Skills USA Competition

Welding and Fabrication Challenge

Business and Industry Tours

Business and Industry Internships

Fox Valley Building and Trades Apprenticeship Expo

Manufacturing Day Tours

Union and Trades Visit Day

opportunities in career and technical education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) students are diverse. More and more non-traditional students are taking CTE classes. Listen to their inspiring stories of success in CTE.

Review Illinois career opportunities including growth, wages, future outlook and local employers with your student using the Illinois State Board of Education Career Guide.

College is not the only pathway to success in a CTE field. The illustration below demonstrates the earning potential of careers in the skilled trades where learning and earning go hand-in-hand.

This table is from page 16 of the full report “The Apprenticeship Alternative.”

Where can I learn More?


Your local high school

The counseling department at your local high school, is an excellent place to find information regarding all the CTE classes available at a school. Larger high schools often have a CTE department head. This educator works with all the CTE departments in the school and can help students find the classes that will teach them the skills they wish to learn.

The Internet

The Association for Career and Technical Education is also a great resource for parents, students and educators. The website has scholarly articles and studies that detail the benefits of CTE classes.

Advance CTE is also an excellent site with a resource center which contains links to articles, reports and state-by-state program information.

Your Local Education For Employment (EFE) Agency

EFEs receive and distribute Federal and State grant funding to Career and Technical Education programs in regional high schools. EFEs work hand-in-hand with the administrators, educators and students in a select geographic area to support CTE programs. EFEs distribute funds to improve CTE programs, provide professional development for educators, offer career exploration opportunities for students and grow connections with business and industry. VALEES is an EFE and the VALEES website has information on local professional development, student events and other resources relating to local CTE classes and programming.

A full list of EFEs in Illinois can be found here.

special populations

Life After High School: College Accommodations, Apprenticeships, WorkNet, and Other Resources


Slideshow and list of presenters 

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