Philly City Council, school officials focus on increasing interest in continuing technical education

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Philadelphia city and school district officials testify at a hearing Monday on how to get more students interested in continuing technical education. (Tom MacDonald/ WHYY)

Philadelphia city and school district officials testify at a hearing Monday on how to get more students interested in continuing technical education. (Tom MacDonald/ WHYY)

The demand for high school graduates with technical know-how is still strong, but  many programs in Philadelphia schools are having trouble filling seats.

It used to be called vocational school but now continuing technical education or CTE is producing graduates who can go into well-paying jobs.  Otis Hackney, Philadelphia’s chief education officer, said some programs are full while others are empty.

“Concentrations such as cosmetology have extensive wait lists, while construction and building have struggled to reach full enrollment,” he said during a hearing Monday at City Hall.

Michelle Armstrong, executive director of Career and Technical Education for Philadelphia schools, said educators are working to encourage students to join the CTE programs.

“We need to come up with an idea to have the students exposed to the actual skills in the middle schools so they can come up with their actual interest,” she said.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said the answer might be more publicity for the programs.

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