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California Invests in Vocational Education

An innovative approach to the long history of vocational education has emerged, and California is helping to lead the way. An investment in practical training for students that involves a less traditional path than the community college or four year university, aims to fill a gap for students eager to qualify for skilled, high wage jobs that can place them on the road to building solid career paths. Additionally, continued integration of career and technical education into K-12 schools expands our definition of the educational experience, promoting inclusivity of lesser known career options. 

Since 2015, California has invested well over $3 billion to expand career and technical education in high schools, making it a leader nationwide. That money has translated to state-of-the-art robotics labs, welding shops, film studios and other career-preparation programs intended to spur the economy and offer students more options for their futures, whether it includes college or not. Students seem to appreciate the opportunities. Enrollment in career pathways has jumped from 18% of all students six years ago to 23% last year. Native American, homeless and low-income students had the highest rates among student groups.