A father and daugther looking at a map on a kitchen table.
Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, supports states and communities across the country in their efforts to attract and recruit learners into high-quality Career Technical Education programs of study.

Advance CTE, with support from the  Siemens Foundation, embarked on an initiative to help state and local leaders communicate effectively with learners and their families. Enrollment in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs has remained stagnant over the last decade, in part because of outdated perceptions of CTE programs. Advance CTE conducted national research to find out the messages and themes that would most resonate with learners and their families, and piloted the communications research with 11 states over the last two years. Find the research, tools and resources and state work below.

Research & Case Studies
Case Studies: Advance CTE has developed a number of resources to help you communicate about the value of CTE. Supported by the Siemens Foundation, Advance CTE worked with states to pilot innovative and effective models to communicate about CTE with key stakeholders, students and their families, to guarantee career success for each learner. Learn about model strategies and approaches in three new case studies:

Research: Advance CTE commissioned a national survey to better understand the promise and opportunity of CTE, outlined in a new report, The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and learners. Through this work, Advance CTE found that:

  • Finding a career passion was the most important critical selling point for parents and learners (over 90 percent) – even surpassing having a career that pays well;
  • The vast majority of parents and learners (85 percent) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration;  
  • Across the board, CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits related to college and career success;  
  • These findings were consistent across all socio-economic groups, with a notably higher appreciation for high school CTE graduation success amongst lower-income, black and Hispanic groups; and
  • Counselors, teachers and CTE learners and alumni are among the most trusted sources of information for learners and parents alike.

Read the full report.

Messaging Resources and Tools

It is important that state and local leaders begin to use this research to better promote CTE programs, and offer recruitment activities that encourage learners and parents to consider CTE as an option for education. The tools below can help guide this work.  

Core Messages for Attracting Learners to CTE: A description of the message triangle - or core motivators - that should be at the center of any communications effort.

Summary of Messages to Engage Families and Learners: An analysis of the messages that were tested with families and learners - and what worked and didn't.

Value and Promise of Career Technical Education messaging card with fast facts.

The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education webinar recording

Do's and Don'ts for Engaging Learners and Families around CTE: A simple, easy-to-follow resource on how to put the research into action.

The Value and Promise of CTE PowerPoint and Talking Points (Word, PDF): A set of slides, with talking points, that can be used to explain the research and train others around it.

Making a Winning Case for CTE: How State Leaders Can Put This Research to WorkA tool for state leaders on how to begin to build their communications and recruitment strategy.

Increasing Student Enrollment in CTE Programs: Parent Engagement Tool: A tool to help state and local leaders develop an effective strategy to engage parents and guardians.

The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education Fact Sheet: A brief overview of top-line findings to be used as an advocacy tool.

CTE Advocacy 101: An overview of how to advocate for CTE issues.

An Employer Guide for Making the Case for CTE: An overview of how the business community and employers can advocate for CTE.

Digital and Print Materials
NEW: Templates to use with students and families:

Tips for using the templates:

  • You must have Adobe Indesign (.INDD) to edit these templates
  • Substitute photos from your school or program. You can also find free stock photos here(Advance CTE does not endorse this website.)
  • Collect testimonials from students, families, employers, administrators, educators or more to include 
  • Use the Learning that Works logo from your state. Download the logo here
CTE Posters and Postcards: These materials, created by the New Jersey Department of Education, explain the benefits for learners participating in CTE programs while integrating the messages we know resonate with parents and learners.
CTE Social Media Guide: Based on a guide developed by the Maryland State Department of Education, Advance CTE has developed a social media guide explaining how to effectively use social media, integrate the messages into your posts, and highlights effective campaigns.
Focus Group Discussion Guide (Word, PDF): Learn firsthand what families and learners think about CTE by conducting focus group discussions. This simple, easy-to-follow resource provides you with questions for the moderator, icebreaker activities, and a pre-event homework assignment for attendees. By assessing your community you can determine the best ways to communicate about CTE.
Videos and Video Resources
CTE 101 Video: This video provides a basic overview of CTE targeted to students and their families. 
Using Video to Promote CTE in Your State (Scroll to the bottom of the page): The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board developed a series of videos highlighting CTE across the state and a video toolkit to help local schools, instructors, and learners develop their own videos promoting CTE in their communities. The guide provides technical tips for setting up shots, capturing sound, and conducting interviews. The toolkit also links to the sample videos so learners can learn, step by step.
NEW: Turning Dreams into Careers video series by the Utah State Board of Education x
Colorado Community College System (CCCS) developed a series of videos targeted towards learners, families, school counselors and the general public.