Blueprint Explainer: Career and Technical Education

Breaking Down the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

This is part of a series of articles explaining what’s in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (HB 1300/SB 1000) as introduced. Look for other articles on salaries and staffing, pre-k, community schools, and more.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future elevates career and technical education (CTE) to the important place it should have to better serve today’s students. The Blueprint calls for the creation and expansion of career counseling and CTE programs, and not just in high school grades. Schools are encouraged to develop introductory CTE courses with the goal of making CTE a part of all elementary, middle, and high school curricula.

In the Blueprint plan, students will benefit from early career guidance and greater opportunities to develop skills and earn certificates that qualify them for well-paying jobs upon certification. CTE program areas include engineering, information technology, media and communications, business management, finance and entrepreneurship, health and human services, plumbing, mechanics, culinary arts, and more. In the Blueprint, local oversight program committees will collaborate with local business and industry representatives to identify workforce opportunities, creating clear pathways to jobs and stronger local economies.

The Blueprint goal is to prepare students for a diverse, modern economy. It sets a target that by school year 2029–2030, 45% of graduating public school students achieve an industry-recognized occupational credential before they graduate.


The Blueprint would appoint local and state committees to ensure accountability and local autonomy in the development and execution of the CTE program plan.

A state CTE Committee within the governor’s Workforce Development Board will be composed of labor, education, and commerce representatives. The CTE Committee is assigned to “build an integrated, globally competitive framework for providing CTE to Maryland students in public schools, institutions of postsecondary education, and the workforce.”

The state CTE committee will set county board goals and supervise a CTE expert review team program for schools with CTE programs. At the local level, county boards will approve CTE programs that are consistent with the state committee guidelines. The review teams will visit schools for the purpose of assessing progress toward goals.

Career Counseling

The Blueprint also sets the expectation that each county school board will establish a memorandum of understanding with a local workforce development board, a community college, and, if appropriate, a job center to offer career counseling to middle and high school students. Individualized career counseling will be provided to each middle and high school student and will be tailored to the local workforce needs and opportunities.

CTE Works

CTE builds a path to both good jobs and college success. The Blueprint’s CTE plan is based on an examination of successful CTE program models from Switzerland, Singapore, and Finland. The Center on International Education Benchmarking says such programs are “aligned with education and with current industry demands to ensure that newly trained students can smoothly transition from schooling and training into in-demand jobs.”

Data compiled by the Association for Career & Technical Educa­tion (ACTE) show CTE students acquire a more complete education than non-CTE students. ACTE reported that the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs in 2012 was 93%, compared to an average national graduation rate of 80%. ACTE reports that taking just one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school, and 91% of high school graduates with two to three CTE credits subsequently enrolled in college.

The Time to Act Is Now

Click here to email your legislators and urge them to pass the Blueprint and a new funding formula that will be a game-changer for our students and schools.

For further information on CTE in the Blueprint, see pp. 77–79, 119, and 159–166 of the bill at this link.