The Importance of Career & Technical Education (CTE) in Schools

Meeting 21st-century skilled workforce demands has become a challenge in the United States. According to a ManpowerGroup survey from 2021, talent shortages in the U.S. have more than tripled in the last ten years, with 69% of employers struggling to fill positions, up from just 14% in 2010.

So, how can we address this ongoing issue? 

One of the most effective ways is through implementing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in schools. 

What is CTE?

The main goal of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs is to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for future careers and secondary education. Most programs offer a variety of learning opportunities that touch many different industries, including STEM, healthcare, IT, business, and more.

Benefits of CTE

If you’re considering incorporating a CTE program into your school or district, here are several key benefits to take into account: 

  1. Higher graduation rates.

Students who actively participate in a CTE program are more likely to graduate. In fact, the average high school graduation rate in 2012 for CTE students was 93%, compared to the national average of 80%. 

How so? Well, CTE programs help students see the value of a good education. These programs use real-life applications so students and easily apply them to future career interests. As a result, they are more engaged and invested in their learning and education, making them more likely to graduate.

  1. Exploration of high-demand career options.

Many students who graduate or are close to graduating are unsure of what to do with their future. But incorporating a CTE program into their educational pathway will provide them more opportunities to explore a variety of career paths through hands-on learning and real-world experience. These real-world experiences can include automotive students fixing cars, welding students learning how to build parts or every young adult learning how to prepare a meal in FACS class. This type of exploration gives students an understanding of what interests them, providing a clearer path to their future career goals. 

  1. Teaches technical and employability skills.

Research shows that CTE programs not only teach students the technical skills needed to do a particular job but also those “soft” skills that are essential in today’s workforce. These soft skills include problem-solving, teamwork, time management, communication, critical thinking and more. 

Plus, CTE programs equip many students with applicable certifications and credits that put them one step closer to attaining their career goals. In 2017, 70% of high school graduates earned at least one credit in CTE. 

Incorporating CTE In Your School District

Receiving Funding

One of the biggest sources of funding for CTE programs is the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). The Perkins Act offers many incentives for school districts that provide opportunities for students to participate in career-based learning and earn industry-recognized certificates. 

Need more funding? Apply for these CTE grants

Designing Learning Spaces for CTE Instruction

While a “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t usually work with CTE learning spaces, flexibility and adaptability are the main ingredients to a successful space for CTE instruction. 

The first step to ensuring flexibility and adaptability are at the forefront of your design is to choose the right furniture for the space. 

At Diversified Spaces, we offer furniture specifically designed to meet the needs of the most common skilled learning spaces.

  1. Industrial Arts. Looking to design an industrial arts classroom? From tool cabinets and workbenches to mobile carts and lumber racks, we offer a complete range of industrial arts furniture for schools. If you’re in search of a more simple workbench that will work with many different applications, check out our Forum Fixed Workbench. We also provide more industry-specific options including our Apprentice Side Clamp Bench or Apprentice Sheet Metal Bench. Whatever your needs are, we can help you choose the right furniture for your CTE learning space. 
photos of industrial arts furniture
  1. Culinary Arts. If you’re looking to furnish a culinary arts space, we can help! Our durable, steel Menu Culinary Tables come in many configurations to meet your classroom requirements. Plus we also have a matching Menu Culinary Wall Shelf for extra storage of pots and supplies. 
photo of culinary arts furniture
  1. Robotics. Believe it or not, the robotics sector saw a 70% annual increase by the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020. Because of this, providing future generations with a space to explore and learn about robotics early on in high school is now more important than ever. That’s why we’ve designed several robotics furniture options to outfit your space including workstations, workbenches, storage and more. Check out our full line of robotics furniture!
photo of robotics furniture
  1. Design, Architecture or Engineering. Many high schools offer drafting courses to help students prepare for future careers as designers, architects or engineers. When looking to design a drafting space, the most essential pieces of furniture are drafting tables. Whether you need an instructor drafting table, one with light or a unit to fit two students, we have many drafting table options available. 
photos of drafting tables


CTE education is needed now more than ever. By encouraging more schools to incorporate CTE education into their curriculum, future generations can use the valuable skills they’ve gained to address critical talent shortages in the United States. 

Need help outfitting your CTE space? Reach out today to get started.