The Illinois Senate adopted Senate Resolution 983 on Feb. 26, declaring February as Career and Technical Education Month in Illinois.

This resolution brings awareness to the career and technical education that prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers. CTE covers many fields, including healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, hospitality, and more. It encompasses many types of education, from classroom learning to certification programs to work-based learning opportunities outside of the classroom. 

“I have prioritized creating a skilled workforce in Illinois, and it depends on giving students the opportunity to attend high-quality trade schools in our state,” state Sen. Rachelle Crowe said. “We need to be encouraging success from outside a traditional classroom. This resolution works to bring awareness to the vital contributions labor workers provide in economic development efforts. Technical, vocational and trade education strengthens the Metro East at its core.”

Career and technical education delivers options for students pursuing college and rewarding careers; it delivers real-world skills to students, and it delivers a high school experience with more value. Parents and students both want their child or themselves to pursue a career they are passionate about. CTE lets students explore careers and find out what they want, or don’t want, to do after high school. CTE makes the future more affordable by helping families save money and wisely invest their time. CTE students can earn a paycheck, marketable certifications and even earn college credits while in high school, which can lead to better opportunities whether they pursue college or a career. There are a growing number of scholarships designed to help CTE students. 

“Each year, it’s important to recognize the accomplishments and opportunities coming from the world of Career and Technical Education. With career opportunities increasing for those with trade and technical skills, the state of Illinois needs to let students and business owners know that the state will continue promoting and investing in these careers,” state Rep. Monica Bristow said. “As a member of both the Higher Education Committee and the Economic Development committee, I recognize that CTE is an incredible avenue to meaningful and lucrative careers. I am happy to support February as CTE Month to recognize the work being done in the field and increase awareness about the opportunities for those entering the field.”

Career and technical education provides learners with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for college and careers. CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge within a selected career focus. Students take specialized courses, in addition to required courses, and often have the opportunity to participate in internships, engage with mentors and practice what they are learning through hands-on projects. Students can participate in CTE at the middle school or high school level and at postsecondary institutions. 

“Career and technical education creates meaningful pathways for students that allows them to learn through real-world application, explore career fields, and learn technical and employability skills that will last them a lifetime,” Madison County CTE Director Kaleb Smith said. “One important element of CTE is that it doesn’t limit a student’s future career options, it expands them. Students who utilize CTE programs can follow a path that leads to an industry credential, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or beyond. Going through a CTE program really does help a student find who they are and what they want to be and send a student down a path that leads to a meaningful career.”

For more information, visit or call (618) 656-0415. Madison County Career and Technical Education’s address is 6161 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville.

The RiverBend Growth Association provided this article.

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February 28, 2020 at 11:33AM