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What is Cass County CTE?

“What is CTE?”

As Director for the Cass County Career & Technical Education Center, I get asked on regular basis, “What is CTE?” In short, CTE stands for Career and Technical Education, formerly known as vocational education. Rooted as far back as Greek and Roman apprenticeship programs, vocational education has been founded in learning by doing through real-world projects and work-based experiences. In the United States, the absence of formal educational systems from the revolutionary war through the industrial era lent to vocational training as an avenue for men and woman to learn skills needed to become self-sufficient and to secure employment.

 Over the centuries, vocational education in the United States has transformed from skill-based learning to a broader spectrum of career education due to high-tech equipment, emerging employment options, industry demands, and college opportunities. In 2000 the name “vocational education” also experienced a transformation, making the conversion to “career and technical education” (CTE). Today, CTE’s vision is to offer cutting-edge, rigorous, and relevant career and technical education programs that aid students in identifying career pathways that lend to industry certifications, technical careers, and college degree programs. Foundational to North Dakota high school CTE programs are: agriculture education, automotive technology, business education, construction, family consumer sciences, health sciences, information technology, marketing education, manufacturing, and welding.

 “So why CTE?”

According to statistics from the Association for Career and Technical Education,

    • CTE Works for Students – as studies show that high school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better, and graduate at higher rates.
    • CTE Works for College – as it prepares students and adults for in-demand careers.
    • CTE Works for the Economy – as it yields big returns for state economies.
  • CTE Works for Business – as it addresses the needs of high-growth industries and helps close the skills gap between what’s needed by industry and what is available in the employment pool.


 “Then what is the Cass County CTE Center?”

Expanding on the District’s current CTE programs, the Cass County Career and Technical Education Center (CCCTEC) was established as a collaborative effort between Fargo and West Fargo Public Schools and Northern Cass School District. CCCTEC member schools are working together to strengthen career and technical education options for all high schools in the region through the sharing of teachers, facilities, equipment, and students.

Considered a “Virtual Center,” the CCCTEC’s programs are not located in one physical location (center), but may be housed in one or more of the member district’s high schools. Schools sharing courses may transport students to off-campus sites to attend classes; and in the future, options are being developed for students to participate via interactive video (ITV) and\or on-line options. The sharing of programs create efficiencies in cost while creating opportunities for more students to enroll in CTE. The Department of Career and Technical Education is also providing incentives for Virtual Center collaboration and offering reimbursement funds to offset program costs.