Students with benchmill

CONCORD, NH (Feb. 9, 2023) — Career and Technical Education (CTE) is opening new doors for New Hampshire youth by helping them advance their education, jumpstart their careers and prepare them for college. 

This February, which is CTE Month, the New Hampshire Department of Education is raising awareness and celebrating the many achievements of CTE students and programming statewide.

“CTE programs in New Hampshire prepare students to be able to enter into the job market with the knowledge and skills required by employers, so that those employers only need minimal on-the-job training to get the new employees working efficiently and effectively,” said Jeff Beard, deputy state director for Career and Technical Education. “While this helps to close the skills gap for employers, it is evident that CTE learners are excited and passionate about their ability to learn real world skills in technical, STEM and information technology fields.”

There are 26 CTE centers across New Hampshire and five CTE centers in Vermont that accommodate 9,500 high school students from the Granite State. Areas of study include business, information technology, public safety, advanced manufacturing, cosmetology, automotive technology, building and construction trades, engineering and culinary arts and hospitality.

For Jack Mallett, a junior who is studying culinary arts at the Wilbur H. Palmer CTE Center, this route of study has been an enriching and rewarding experience. “CTE has created an advancement on my skills, an answer to my questions and a pathway for my life. CTE was the best choice for my future,” said Mallett.

“Career and Technical Education is the perfect convergence of all forms and styles of students and learners. No where else are your feet, hands, heart, head and soul all held in equal value for your learning – the true essence of educational equity – where any type of learner has the opportunity to be a star,” said Matthew Holland, culinary arts teacher and Hospitality Management Program advisor at White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield. “As both a byproduct of a quality CTE education in the 90s and now an educator, I can speak from first-hand experience what it did for me and how it better prepared my transition to the workforce … as an industry chef.”

According to Michele Halligan-Foley, director of Career Technology Education at the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center in Rochester, student pathways begin at the elementary school where students often focus on career awareness activities. Career exploration is then promoted at the middle school level, and by high school, students have the opportunity to complete Career Preparation and Application programs.

“These CTE programs offer students pathways to success either moving on to a career or a post-secondary program. Students develop confidence, goals and marketable skills that they can take with them. The leadership opportunities through CTSO’s (Career and Technical Student Organizations), Dual/Running Start credits, industry-recognized credentials and the ability to communicate, collaborate and be self-directed are skills that will be used for a lifetime,” said Halligan-Foley.

“Our CTE programs are a great example of integrating student educational opportunities with our vibrant business community, giving students the benefit of hands-on learning in key industries across the state that will serve them well, no matter what career pathway they pursue,” added Frank Edelblut, education commissioner.

There are two exciting projects being proposed in the state’s new biennium budget to develop additional CTE programming in New Hampshire:

Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center in Newport seeks to add eight new programs – welding, animal and plant science, forestry and natural resources, business, engineering, health science, cosmetology and automotive technology.
Winnisquam CTE Center seeks to expand its regional agricultural sub-center to a full CTE Center and add five programs – general agriculture, forestry and natural resources, animal and plant science, advanced manufacturing and cosmetology.

Annually, about $6 million in funding is allocated and distributed toward CTE programming throughout New Hampshire; an additional $9 million is spent annually on tuition and transportation costs.