Maricopa County (and Arizona) has some of the best Career Technical Education programs in the nation. These programs prepare students for good paying jobs right out of high school.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said half their U.S.-based employees didn’t have four year degrees, but had the skills and creativity to do great things within their company. (

I taught CTE Media Production for several years. I have seen firsthand that through CTE programs, not only do students earn industry skills, but many of the soft skills that companies are looking for in successful employees.

I frequently hear from parents who are concerned a focus on CTE programs means that their child won’t attend college. In reality, the data shows just the opposite: 91 percent of high school graduates who earned 2-3 CTE credits enrolled in college. The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent.

Maricopa County Schools offer a variety of excellent Career Technical Education Programs. Two CTE Districts that support a majority of these programs are the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), and Western Maricopa Education Center (West-Mec).