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Staffing Challenges

Fensterwald, J. (2016, April 28). Supply lags booming demand for career technical teachers [Web log post]. Available at

Compounding California's well-documented teacher shortage, districts have an even greater difficulty trying to hire and retain teachers for career and technical education (CTE) programs. This article reports that districts are increasingly incorporating CTE programs into their schools, that universities are increasingly counting those credits toward college admission, and that qualified teachers are essential to the success of those programs. To support these efforts, the legislature had given districts more funds for their CTE programs and there were several bills being considered to support more CTE in the state (at the time the article was written). Although these state funds help address the demand for CTE coursework, they do not solve the teacher supply shortages. There are several structural issues that make this more challenging, including that the state does not collect data on number of CTE staff in schools, that many teacher preparation programs do not provide CTE authorization or certifications, and that there are few individuals in select industries who are willing to change to teaching careers (notably because of a likely pay cut).

McLaughlin, M., Lundy-Wagner, V., & Groves, B. (n.d.). District implementation issues. In Two years into CCPT: Many challenges & great promise: California Career Pathways Trust implementation research report (pp. 38–51). Available at

This excerpt from a report on the first two years of the California Career Pathways Trust  discusses implementation issues for CTE pathways in school districts. For example, pathways introduce challenges in accreditation, recruitment, and retention for CTE administrators, teachers, and counselors. For instructors coming from industry in particular, credentialing provides a barrier to entry, as do lower salaries and moving from Social Security into the state retirement system. Creative solutions include incentives for both traditional teachers and industry professionals and using work experience to fulfill credential requirements. To address the challenge of coordinating CTE class schedules with more traditional academic courses, promising strategies include adding class periods, block scheduling, and prioritizing CTE classes in the master schedule. To address teacher capacity needs, the authors also suggest that professional learning be offered on a district-wide scale, with opportunities for collaborating across campuses as well as across disciplines.