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Over the past few years, student enrollment in career and technical education programs has increased as overall high school populations are decreasing. With baby boomers retiring in droves, it’s important that skilled workers enter the trade industry.

In this episode of Keystone Education Radio, we are joined by Matthew Stem, deputy secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Dr. Lee Burket, director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, as they explore career and technical education as a vital part of the broader education system.

Skip to: 01:21 How many CTCs are there in PA? How many school district high school programs?
Skip to: 01:46 How are CTE programs delivered at the secondary level?
Skip to: 02:38 What is the CTE enrollment across the state, and has it increased in recent years?

Enrollment around the state right now is a little over 67,000 students that are enrolled in CTE programs.

Skip to: 03:30 Within those total enrollment numbers, have you seen gender shifts or increases in what may have been seen as nontraditional (such as males in nursing or childcare, or females in engineering technologies)?

We’ve actually seen, just in the past two years, over a 6.6% increase in females in programs that were traditionally male dominated fields.

Skip to: 04:26 Explain how career and technical education can help prepare students for career or college.

We believe that career and technical education still remains one of the hidden gems in our education system.

We’ve had over a 27% increase in the number of students receiving industry certifications just in the past four years.

Skip to: 07:11 Is there a demand in industry for CTE students?
Skip to: 08:34 Are there some high-priority occupations? Are there industry clusters that you’re seeing?
Skip to: 09:30 How does the Department of Education work with other state agencies to meet current industry demands?
Skip to: 11:46 What qualifications must be met for a CTE program of study to be approved by the state?
Skip to: 13:38 Is it possible for CTE students to graduate high school with credits toward a college degree?
Skip to: 14:54 Could you explain how the state’s graduation requirements were changed to provide flexibility for students in CTE programs (Act 6 of 2017 & Act 158 of 2018)
Skip to: 16:19 How are CTE programs funded?
Skip to: 17:24 Can you tell us the purpose of the Perkins Act?
Skip to: 19:01 What does the state, and schools, have to do to meet Perkins requirements for the federal funding?
Skip to: 19:55 What are the goals of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education and do you have things coming up that you’d like to highlight that will help increase academic and occupational achievement?

Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Matthew Stem is the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. He assumed this role in the spring of 2015 and is responsible for the management and oversight of all programs related to K to 12 education for the 1.74 million students in Pennsylvania. These include oversight and funding of basic education, special education, career and technical education, federal programs and safe schools as well as all associated statutes and regulations.

Mr. Stem and his team have worked closely with stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth to build networks around such key issues as STEM education and career readiness. He has also supervised the preparation of Pennsylvania’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan which was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in January 2018. As part of the state’s ESSA plan, Mr. Stem is leading efforts to develop Pennsylvania’s new strategies to provide support and assistance to schools identified as needing comprehensive support and improvement.

Lee Burket, Director for Bureau of Career and Technical Education

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Lee Burket is the Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She plans, develops and directs statewide programs to improve career and technical education offered at secondary and postsecondary entities.