LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky’s two systems of career and technical education for high school students are merging.
Previously, the Kentucky Department for Workforce Investment operated 53 Area Technology Centers across the state, while 34 schools districts oversaw their own career and technical centers. Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday with the goal of making the systems more unified and efficient.
Officials also plan to put more emphasis on rigorous academics.
“If you look at machine, tool, and industrial maintenance, you’re looking at a lot of uses of physics and mathematics. In construction there’s geometry. So now the focus is, you just don’t learn that skill without being able to truly understand the academics behind that technical skill,” says Dale Winkler, Executive Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education.
State leaders and education officials say they want to make career and technical education a first choice option for Kentucky high school students, not just a last resort. An advisory committee will help develop and implement the career and technical education programs.
“There’s going to be one curriculum that’s going to have a lot of input from industry and tell us what is really needed for our future,” says Winkler.
Officials say last year around 75 percent of Kentucky high school students were enrolled in a CTE program.