More than 6,000 Idaho students will qualify for the first Workforce Readiness and Career Technical Education (CTE) diploma.
The 2021 Idaho State Legislature created the diploma to acknowledge how CTE programs enhance students’ high school experience and prepare them for the demands of today’s employers. The class of 2022 is the first to earn this designation.
“Idaho employers are increasingly seeking an educational system that better prepares students for the workforce,” said Sen. Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls. “Since most of our population does not graduate from college, it makes sense to focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in the workplace as part of high school graduation.”
To earn the CTE diploma, juniors or seniors must complete all graduation requirements established by the Idaho State Board of Education. In addition, they must complete a capstone course for their CTE pathway, pass a technical skills assessment, pass a workplace readiness assessment, and earn all SkillStack® microcredentials for their pathway or an approved industry certification.
“This new diploma is an opportunity for students to explore high-skill, high-demand occupations in Idaho and earn college credit while still in high school,” said Clay Long, state administrator for the Idaho Division of Career Technical Education. “In the process, they earn employer-recognized certifications, develop technical and employability skills, demonstrate college and career readiness, and enter the world confident in their ability to meet their employer’s needs.”
The Workforce Readiness and CTE diploma also helps employers identify candidates who possess the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace and reduce the time and money invested in training new employees.
“This diploma is an example of how education is moving back to relevance and practical application,” said Lent. “Better preparing students for the transition to successful employment also significantly reduces employee turnover.”
Long agrees the diploma benefits students and employers and notes it will help make CTE courses more attractive to students and parents. “Through CTE, we’re training students for well-paying jobs they can find right here in Idaho, which helps employers address critical labor shortages,” said Long.“It’s a win-win-win for the student, their employer, and the state of Idaho.”