| The Journal Gazette 

INDIANAPOLIS – More Hoosier students than ever are taking career and technical education courses.

And that effort is getting results: a higher high school graduation rate and less remediation needed in the first year of college.

In fact, the old adage about career and tech students not going to college at all – instead going right into the workforce – has been turned on its head.

Those are the latest statistics as Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana Department of Education continue to push career readiness as a major priority.

In the latest legislative session, Pence lost an effort to change how K-12 schools receive funding for career and technical education courses, also known as CTE.

But he persuaded lawmakers to set aside a large pot of money to advance related programs.

“The governor’s vision for career and tech ed has really caught fire,” said Jackie Dowd, special assistant to the governor for career innovation. “He wants two Plan As – college and workforce. It’s all honest work.

“We need to elevate it in the minds of students and parents and teachers alike.”

There are more than 160 approved career and technical education courses in Indiana. They range from advanced manufacturing, accounting and aerospace engineering to welding, veterinary careers and 3-D computer animation.

In the 2012-13 school year, there were 155,021 CTE participants, which means students took at least one course. Of those, about 29,700 were concentrators – which means they are taking more than one course in a particular area of study.

Participation rose to 157,000 kids in 2013-14, and the latest data are not yet available.