North Carolina high school students set a recent record for Career and Technical Education credentialing during the 2022-2023 school year, according to fresh data from the state Department of Public Instruction.

CTE students scored a 41% credential attainment rate last school year, a jump from 28% in 2021-2022 and the highest rate in the last 13 years. DPI data also show a 44% increase in credential attainment that aligns with the North Carolina Workforce Credentials partner list.

In a statement, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt underscored the importance of CTE credentialing because they represent a work-ready credential that doesn’t require a four-year college degree. High-school students who enroll in CTE concentrations also have a more impressive graduation rate — 98% compared to the statewide rate of 86.5%.

“Aligning the K-12 education system with workforce needs has long been a priority for me. This report is fantastic news for the state of North Carolina because it shows the hard work that CTE educators across the state are doing to bridge the skills gap,” Truitt said. “The process of earning industry-recognized credentials gives students an advantage in a competitive labor market and real-world experience. For potential employers, a credential is a sign that a student has both the knowledge and durable skills they need to succeed in the workplace.”

(Source: DPI)

The news comes after $3 million in new funding for CTE programs was announced in 2023.