Secretary's Column
By Dr. Melody Schopp
Department of Education

February is Career & Technical Education Month, and there are so many reasons to celebrate. Earlier this week, Gov. Daugaard announced the school districts that have received the Governor’s Grants for Career & Technical Education, made possible with over $8.5 million from the Future Fund.

These grants will help schools partner with each other, postsecondary institutions, and business and industry to improve CTE offerings. It will be exciting to watch these plans unfold. When students have access to career guidance and training through strong CTE programs, they connect their classroom work to the real world. The result is students who are better prepared for all of the opportunities awaiting them after high school.

The Governor has also proposed making dual credit courses more affordable for students and families. This would help more students enter college and technical institutes ahead of the game. Students who graduate high school with some postsecondary credits are more likely to complete degrees.

Here at the department, the new CTE regional outreach model is now in place. With this shift, districts have one point of contact who can assist with making connections among local business and industry partners, postsecondary instructors and state initiatives. Regional specialists can share best practices and coordinate efforts between district CTE programs and career development.

With these endeavors, I’m confident that career and technical education can be integrated into every student’s K-12 experience. Did you know? Among students who take two or more CTE classes in high school, the graduation rate is 97 percent. Thanks to all of you who have committed to CTE! CTE related programs are helping students across the state accomplish amazing things.

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