States are designing innovative approaches to link career and technical education programs with registered apprenticeships, RTI International researchers find

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA — A new study by researchers at RTI International explores strategies states are using to link high school career and technical education (CTE) programs with registered apprenticeships.

The study report offers guidance for education officials at a time when both employers and the federal government are seeking to expand the pipeline of skilled workers.

The RTI researchers found that CTE and registered apprenticeship are natural partners given their overlapping educational training and workforce development goals. The six profiled states use a continuum of approaches to link the two programs, ranging from formal registered apprenticeship programs, to pre-apprenticeship programs, to ‘registered’ CTE curriculum.

“CTE and registered apprenticeship have many similarities,” said Olivia Rice, a research education analyst at RTI and the lead author of the study. “Well-designed programs, developed in collaboration with employers and professional associations, ensure students learn industry-vetted skills, while simultaneously earning CTE and registered apprenticeship credits and enabling them to jumpstart their career.”

The states profiled include Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington. The report highlights key features of the state programs, the number of students participating, and the top career fields. It also provides strategies for addressing challenges related to developing and growing programs that link CTE and registered apprenticeship.

The study was published in July by the National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education, an RTI-based research center funded by the Department of Education and focused on expanding and improving career and technical education.

A teacher and young adult students in a classroom


  • Career and technical education and registered apprenticeship share many goals
  • Aligning programs helps high school students jumpstart their careers
  • Researchers highlight strategies to mitigate challenges to program alignment