California revamps career technical education standards to prep students for jobs

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Computer lab at Davidson Middle School in San Rafael, CA. (Photo Credit: John Guenther)

Middle and high school aged students are the reason behind sweeping updates to California’s career technical education standards. Reaching them while they’re young–okay, they’re not that young, but you get my drift—will help them achieve success in a high paying job all while supporting and elevating the state’s economy.

The State Board of Education believes the updates reflect the modern workplace outfitted with new technology, as well as set higher academic goals.

The new standards are part of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Career Readiness Initiative which is an aggressive plan to support, sustain and strengthen Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the State.

“This new frameworks sheds light on many new 21st century industry pathways, from game design and mental behavioral health to green energy and international business,” said Torlakson. “They also tie in well with the rigorous academics and modern relevance demanded under the Common Core State Standards.”

The new standards were written for grades seven through twelve. They lay out 59 different pathways students can graduate ready for careers and college within 15 different industries.

The state board of education reached out to more than 300 representatives in business and industry, labor and post-secondary education, to mental health experts and environmental innovators to outline the new standards.

Here is just a sampling of the updates:

  • Arts, media, and entertainment (added game design and integration pathway)
  • Business and finance (added an international business pathway)
  • Health Science and medical technology (rewritten with new pathways for patient care, public and community health and mental and behavioral health)
  • Information and communication technologies (updated to include new ICT formats in communication and added a games and simulation pathway)
  • Transportation (rewritten to include all new pathways to represent all phases and modes of transportation: operations, structural repair and refinishing, systems diagnostics and service)

Torlakson said “some two million students across California are already pursuing career technical education in their middle and high schools. Students in these programs tend to graduate at a higher rate than their counterparts.”

California currently ranks 47th in how much we invest in education. So any way the state can help better prepare students to enter the workforce will help fix the California’s economic woes and to make the future golden again.


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza