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Nursing is most popular CTE program in Kansas

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State education officials said Wednesday that the number of Kansas high school students enrolled in college-level career and technical education classes nearly doubled this year, largely due to passage last year of a bill that provides them with tuition reimbursement.

And by far, they said, nursing and other health science fields are the most popular CTE programs for high school students.

Jay Scott, assistant director of career and technical education at the Kansas State Department of Education, said there were roughly 3,500 high school students enrolled in post-secondary CTE programs in September. That's just slightly less than the number who completed CTE courses in the previous two years combined.

Scott provided an update of the state's CTE initiative to the Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday.

Last year, lawmakers passed SB 155, which provides tuition reimbursement for high school students who enroll in CTE classes at a community college or technical school. The bill also provides school districts with incentives of $1,000 for each student who graduates with an industry-recognized certificate in a training program for jobs determined to be in high demand in Kansas.

Based on this year's enrollment, Scott said, nursing and other health science-related fields aaccounted for about 30 percent of high school CTE enrollment. Automotive programs were second with 13 percent, followed by manufacturing programs at 12 percent and computer-related programs at 10 percent.

Scott cited a 2012 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce which showed that currently, only about 41 percent of Kansas adults have a post-secondary degree, but that within five years 64 percent of all jobs in Kansas will require some amount of post-secondary education.

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