CTE Programs

Did you know that you can gain additional skills, knowledge and training that can help you succeed in life as a high school student? Career tech education (CTE) programs prepare students for high demand careers through career exploration and skill development. CTE programs introduce courses specifically geared towards a career pathway and expose students to a variety of careers within that pathway. Many of these high demand jobs require no advanced college degrees, but can be afforded to those who hold an industry recognized certification. 

CTE programs allow students to become immersed in hands-on “real-life/real-world” experiences while introducing students to employability, leadership, collaboration, and critical thinking skills necessary in high demand careers.  It provides an opportunity for students to gain invaluable experience while improving employability and applicable workforce knowledge. CTE programs allow students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously, as well as work closely with businesses, industry partners, and the community to ensure students get required training on the latest, state-of-the art equipment. These programs also provide additional work-based learning activities such as training, mentorships, internships, and networking opportunities. Upon graduating from high school, many CTE students qualify and obtain entry level positions in the career field of their interest, thereby affording them the chance to earn a living towards becoming self- sufficient citizens.

Kent Career Tech Center provides students in 10th and 11th grade students throughout Kent County with an opportunity to gain technical training, learn valuable skills, explore careers, obtain certifications, internships,and apprenticeships that will prepare them for the workforce. Located at 1655 East Beltline, Grand Rapids, MI., and with 20 Career Technical Training programs students can explore, KCTC will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve their career goals. 

Check out the Tech Center's website

Kent Career Tech Center

Tech Center Programs Students Can Explore:

Applied Construction Technology Graphic Communications
Auto Collision Repair  Health Careers
Automotive Technology Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (HVACR)
Aviation Maintenance Technology Hospitality and Culinary
Criminal Justice Information Technology
Design Lab Mechatronics
Diesel & Equipment Technology Precision Machining Technology
Digital Animation & Game Programming Sustainable Agriscience
Engineering & Architectural Design Teacher Academy
Entrepreneurship & Marketing Welding Technology


Choosing the best career path is an important decision that involves interest, skills, and educational background. Understanding the 17 Michigan CTE career clusters can help students select a career path that is aligned with their overall career goal. Below is a detailed Michigan CTE career clusters guide.

Work-based learning plays a critical role within CTE Programming. Work-based learning opportunities provide real-life work experiences that expose and prepare students for the workforce and for their future careers. Through sustained interactions with teachers, administrators, employers, business owners, and community professionals, work-based learning connects the workplace to the classroom and students get an opportunity to engage, learn, and develop skills from the professionals.  Through a variety of work-based learning experiences, students can connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities. Work-based learning experiences, may include:

  • Job Shadowing: Job shadowing is a popular on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development intervention. Essentially, job shadowing involves working with another employee who might have a different job in hand, might have something to teach, or can help the person shadowing him or her to learn new aspects related to the job, organization, certain behaviors or competencies2.
  • Career Mentorship: A mentor is one who teaches or provides guidance and advice to a less experienced and often younger person3.
  • Career Related Competitions: Career-related student competitions are work-based learning activities that require students to demonstrate mastery of career-related skills through presentations or competitions that are judged by professionals. Presentations demonstrate culminations of student effort over time, often involving teamwork. Career technical student organizations sponsor such competitions in the fields of agriculture, business, health, hospitality and industrial technology.
  • Informational Interviews: An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in a career area/job that interests you, who will give you information and advice. It is an effective research tool in addition to reading books, exploring the internet and examining job descriptions. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings4.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering is when a person donates his/her time or efforts for a cause or organization without being paid. It may be a one-time only or an on-going commitment. It should directly or indirectly benefit people outside the family or household or else benefit a cause, even though the person volunteering normally benefits as well. Most volunteer sites are non-profit organizations.
  • Workplace Tours/Field Trips: A group excursion for the purpose of first-hand observation to specific work sites. Students learn about the business, meet employees, ask questions and observe work in progress5.
  • Internships (Paid Or UnPaid): An internship is a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, and it can be paid or unpaid. An internship is an opportunity to develop specific job related skills before you are qualified for an actual job.

Michigan Department of Education Work-Based Learning (Non-CTE Program)

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