DES MOINES — More Iowa high school and middle school students are enrolling in educational programs offering courses directly related to employment in current or emerging occupations.

Dennis Harden oversees the career and technical education area for the Department of Education. “The number of CTE courses continues to increase with 9,643 courses offered in 2022, which was a 7.6% increase from the previous year,” he says. School districts are required to offer at least 12 units of coursework within four of the six CTE service areas.

Harden says all school districts experienced growth in courses with a statewide average of two courses being offered. “The participation rate continues to climb as well, with the participation rate in 2022 being 73.1%,” he says.

Harden detailed some of the key areas of student interest. “Our largest CTE service area with 90 programs is applied science, technology, engineering and manufacturing, followed by health science and information solutions, human services, business, and finally agriculture,” Harden says.

CTE programs are delivered through middle schools, high schools, and community colleges, which include state regional centers.