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What is Career & Technical Education?


Career and Technical Education: 100 Years of Advancing the USA

Since 1917 with the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act, federal and state legislation has provided leadership for the implementation and improvement of educational programs that prepare youth for careers and vocations, advancing our economy and society.  Just as there are three domains of learning, the foundation of any successful CTE program is based on three inseparable, equal, and interdependent components: classroom instruction, Social-Emotional Learning/student leadership, and Work-Based Learning.

Academic Development Through the Classroom & Laboratory 

Career and Technical Education prepares students for high wage, high skill, and in demand jobs and careers. It integrates science, math, economics, and art graduation credit, while earning college credits and industry certifications.
CTE education includes courses in agriculture, food, and natural resources; business and marketing; family and consumer sciences; health science education; and trade and industry. 

Social-Emotional Learning Through a Student Leadership Organization

Leadership is a skill and it can be taught. In CTE students learn and practice leadership and social-emotional learning in programs called CTE Student Organizations (CTSO).
CTSOs are not clubs. They are an intracurricular (i.e., within the curriculum) and integral (i.e., necessary, essential) part of the program.
CTSOs develops relationship and career skills through a variety of service events, career development competitions, and leadership conferences and conventions.

Technical Development Through Work-Based Learning Experiences

Students learn best by doing. A work-based learning project is an extension of the classroom, where students develop specific technical and career knowledge that prepares them for their future. 
A WBL experience is different than academic instruction and often, it is more relevant to the student. WBL includes internships, entrepreneurship, research, service learning, apprenticeship, and school-based enterprises.

Minnesota CTE

MN CTE provides statewide services and leadership for Minnesota teachers of Career and Technical Education. MN CTE is a part of the Minnesota Service Cooperatives, as a service of Lakes Country Service Cooperative.  Visit the Minnesota CTE website at




Troy Haugen
Director of Career & College Readiness


Dr. Zane Sheehan
Program Leader, Initial Licensure

Tom Leuthner
Program Leader, Trade & Industry

Dustin Steenblock
Program Leader, Work-Based Learning

Dr. Lavyne Rada
Recruitment and Retention, TIP

Siri Livdahl
Admissions and Advising