Career and Technical Education in Chicago Public Schools

How does participation in Career and Technical Education (CTE) impact education and employment outcomes?

Career and technical education has had a resurgence of support from policymakers. It is seen as a pathway for engaging students in high school, for encouraging postsecondary education, and for providing skills and certification that could lead to success in high-demand careers.

Chapin Hall researchers are conducting a quasi-experimental quantitative study of a cohort of Chicago Public School (CPS) ninth graders who participated in Career and Technical Education (CTE) while in high school. By exploring the educational and employment outcomes of these students, the study aims to generate information that will be immediately useful to CPS in its efforts to improve CTE and to other school districts across the nation that are investing in CTE.

The project links student-level CPS administrative data with post-secondary education data from the National Student Clearinghouse and employment and earnings data. This allows us to describe the students and their participation in CTE, analyze how CTE students are different from students taking traditional curriculum, and assess how CTE impacts students’ educational and employment outcomes. Early findings suggest that CTE engagement can promote positive educational outcomes for youth. This includes higher rates of attendance, graduation and post-secondary enrollment when compared with a similar cohort of students not engaged in CTE.

This study is a joint effort of the University of Chicago and Chapin Hall funded by the Hymen Milgrom Supporting Organization (HMSO) through a Successful Pathways from School to Work research initiative grant. The project is led by a strong team of experts in educational outcomes and workforce development research including Dr. Dan Black of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Dr. Robert Goerge of Chapin Hall, and Dr. Beth Weigensberg of Mathematica Policy Research.

A final report on this work will be submitted to HMSO in fall 2018. For more information about this work, contact Shannon Guiltinan.