Career College Industry: Trends
New education policies around career college education, the development of diverse Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways, and high male and whites enrollment rates are three examples of major trends seen in the career college industry and mentioned across several reports nationally, statewide, and district-levels. The trends in this industry are impacting high school students significantly; hence, most trends tend to be seen from the perspective of high school education. Importantly, some colleges such as the Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) in Virginia, are responding positively to these changes by streamlining their offerings to match the new education needs of high school students.
NEW EDUCATION POLICIES
- Since 2017, states across the U.S. are prioritizing career study as an alternative to the traditional four-year college study that has proved not to work for all students. For example, Oregon enacted a new law requiring its education department to collaborate with the state's labor bureau to create a list of apprenticeships to be sent to schools and shared with parents and their students.
- In Virginia, Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) and Norfolk State University (NSU) are offering high school juniors and seniors in Newport News Public Schools dual enrollment college credits. Therefore, these students earn college and high school credit concurrently, which can support a post secondary diploma, certificate, or degree at a Virginia public institution.
- Other states are pushing forward on career study to be introduced in middle school. Maine, for instance, enacted a law that expanded career and technical education into middle schools. Equally, Indiana started experimenting a pilot program with an online "career explorer" tool, which will be available in middle schools and used by 8th grade students.
- By July 2018, the "Career Explorer" program in Indiana had expanded by 20 middle schools. Some schools in the program include South Henry School Corporation, White River Valley School District, Manchester Community Schools, and Crawford County Community School Corporation, among others.
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) PATHWAYS
- The development of pathways in CTEs has been trending in recent past following increased activity in this specific area. These pathways are either developed at the national, state, or district-levels or are adopted in collaboration with national and advocacy groups programs.
- These pathways seek to help students progress through their secondary academic careers by adhering to specific benchmarks, such as completing a specific sequence of courses, attaining field-specific technical credentials, participating in work-based learning experiences, and advanced, pre-college coursework.
- Several states in the U.S. such as Indiana, Utah, Chicago, Virginia, etc., and education shareholders like the Chicago Public Schools College and Career Success, offer diverse CTE programs to prepare high school students for careers. Schools such as the Canyon High School are offering their students district-level CTEs.
- Clovis Community College is one example of a college offering career and technical training to help students attain their educational and career goals. The college prepares its students for employment by helping them enter the workforce with the essential skills necessary to succeed in today's competitive job environment.
HIGH MALE AND WHITE ENROLLMENT RATES IN CTE PROGRAMS
- Trends based on demographic data tend to show more whites and males enroll in these CTEs compared to females and other ethnic groups. National data shows that in 2018, there were approximately 7.4 million students in CTE programs.
- Male enrollment in CTE programs was nearly 10 percentage points higher (54.1%) versus female enrollment at 45.9%.
- Whites were the majority enrollees at approximately 51.2%, African-American at 16.1%, and Hispanic/Latino at 23.2%.
To identify the two trends in the career college industry and examples of colleges that are implementing them, your research team started by exploring education databases and reports published by various shareholders in the education sector. We found numerous reports showing the trends impacting the career college industry, especially students who have completed high school and intend to join colleges to pursue higher education. In these reports, we focused on the key items that are trending nationally, statewide, and at district-level. We selected these key items as trends, since they were mentioned as trends and are repeated across the many reports we examined.
Therefore, based on that approach, we discovered that in the career college industry, there are new education policies being enacted around career college education across many states in the U.S., and the development of diverse Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways as two examples of trends impacting this sector. We also included some trends based on student demographics to provide a snapshot of how the career college industry is impacting different genders and ethnic groups. Overall, the trends reported try to provide insights into the career college industry based on what institutions are doing to provide better education to students, and how are demographics responding to the industry, which is reflected based on enrollment rates into the many career college programs offered by various institutions.