Career and Technical Education

Issued Date
May 20, 2021
Education, New York City Department of


To determine if the New York City (NYC or City) Department of Education (DOE) is aligning Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at the high school level with high-demand, high-growth occupations; ensuring students have reasonable access to CTE programs; and accurately collecting and reporting CTE placement data. The audit covered school years 2015-16 through 2017-18 and examined CTE programs and interviewed DOE officials.

About the Program

CTE programs (referred to in the past as vocational, occupational, or practical arts education) provide students with academic and technical skills, workplace competencies, and hands-on training to prepare them for future careers in occupational fields. During the 2017-18 school year, DOE offered 278 CTE programs to about 60,000 students at 124 high schools. State, federal, and local law, as well as a mayor’s initiative, set guidelines and expectations for CTE programs in NYC. These guidelines and requirements aim to, among other things, provide high school students with access to CTE programs relating to high-growth, high-demand fields in accordance with labor market needs; expand and upgrade delivery and availability of CTE programs; and ensure State plans measure post-graduation placement.

Key Findings

  • DOE could not show how existing CTE programs aligned with labor market and student demand. Information provided did not reflect how DOE is overseeing or assisting high schools to align CTE programs with high-growth, high-demand industries. For example, we found that, while the construction industry had expected job growth and relatively high paying jobs, no significant changes were made in the number of related programs offered.
  • CTE programs at some high schools are not accessible to all students. For three high-growth industry programs reviewed, we found school requirements and program admission priorities (based on residence in a particular borough or attendance at a fair or information session) made it difficult or impossible for some students to qualify or attend.
  • DOE does not currently report post-secondary placement data for CTE students, as required by the State Education Department (SED).

Key Recommendations

  • Evaluate whether CTE programs offered at the schools align with high-demand or high-growth occupations through collaborative interactions and planning with school officials and stakeholders.
  • Revise admission program priorities and eligibility requirements to grant students a fair and equal opportunity to apply to and gain acceptance to CTE programs.
  • Develop a process to capture and report post-secondary placement data per SED’s guidelines.

Kenrick Sifontes

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director:Kenrick Sifontes
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236