10 CTE Programs to Watch in 2021

CTE programs are designed to give students hands-on experience that develops the skills and competencies they will need to achieve lifelong career success in a variety of industries. In Colorado, the industry areas include: (1) Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy; (2) STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology; (3) Skilled Trades & Technical Sciences; (4) Health Science, Criminal Justice & Public Safety; (5) Hospitality, Human Services & Education; (6) Business, Marketing & Public Administration. 

  1. Cherry Creek Innovation Campus: CCIC allows students to explore their passions while also providing them a pathway to credential attainment. Their vision, Innovation through Collaboration, comes alive in a setting that mimics workplace learning environments and stays at the cutting edge of industry needs through collaboration with industry and higher education institutions. Watch their Succeeds Prize Video
  2. Cañon City High School: As part of its HS Pathways Program, Cañon City High School students complete the Professional and Internship Community Experience (PaICE), an opportunity for every high school student to gain first-hand experience in his/her career choice through a wide variety of partnership with businesses, professionals, and agencies in the Fremont County Area. While the experience is great for students, businesses and local organizations are also provided with much-needed assistance for their business. Watch Their Story.
  3. Montezuma Cortez RE-1: Montezuma-Cortez is committed to ensuring all students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college and career. MCSD recently adopted a three-year strategic plan with key goals focused on achieving Academic Excellence, Building a Team of Effective Educators, Inspiring Community Support, and Student-Centered Budgeting. Read more.
  4. Durango School District 9-R: The mission of Durango School District 9-R, an innovative educational system committed to excellence, is to ensure each student develops the skills and attributes for lifelong learning. Through leading instructional models, globally-minded learning programs, and engaging teaching and learning methods, the district aims to instill in each student the ability to compete and contribute in the global community.
  5. Peyton School District, Trades Program: Not only is Peyton a model for innovative and employer-inspired CTE programs; it also is an excellent example of how smaller school districts can come together to deliver high quality educational opportunities for the good of their students. The level of professional wood manufacturing, math, and problem-solving skills that Peyton’s students gain are in high-demand here in Colorado as well as around the world.
  6. Salida School District: The building trades program is just one of Salida’s many forward-thinking work-based learning opportunities. From a community garden to a drone piloting program, the district has proven to be a leader in collaborating with the local business community to design learning experiences that benefit the entire community.
  7. Mesa 51: Through its Performance-Based Learning model and robust partnerships with local businesses and higher education, Mesa 51 School District is working hard to create graduates that are ready for 21st-century college and career opportunities. D51 is leveraging the incentives from the Career Success Program, which was recently extended through 2024.
  8. STEM School Highlands Ranch: STEM School has built a strong reputation as an academically rigorous school that challenges its students while providing them with abundant hands-on experiences that make education more engaging and relevant than the traditional model. Students help direct their own learning, guided by experienced teachers who know how to facilitate learning without getting in the way.
  9. Fort Lupton High School: Fort Lupton Career Explore Program gives students hope about their plans for the future and has reinvigorated their interest in school. While the Explore program is specifically targeted to help students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, all students are learning the essential skills they will need in the future through updated CTE offerings and courses that focus on financial literacy via school-wide programming. Watch their story.
  10. Emily Griffith: At the Emily Griffith Technical College, the concept of vocational education is being turned on its head. The school offers classes in subjects as varied as auto repair, nursing, computer networking, accounting, HVAC repair, and water quality management, just to name a few. Aimed at teaching both academics and technical skills to students from age 16 to 65, the school creates career pathways with permeability, applying aspects of the successful Swiss apprenticeship model to design a system with the on and off ramps necessary for students to succeed, no matter their stage in life.
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