Federal Way school district’s CTE courses grow in demand

Over 4,000 students gaining industry skills through programs.

The Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) district’s Career and Technical Education courses offerings are gaining popularity, which led to a jump in enrollment this school year. February marks Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.

These courses help the district ensure every student who graduates from high school is ready for college, career and post-secondary experiences.

CTE courses are offered at select middle schools and all four comprehensive high schools in the district. CTE courses enable scholars in grades 6-12 to explore various fields of interest, connect their learning with the real world, and gain important skills necessary for life after high school and future careers.

High school scholars have access to six CTE programs of study, aligned with the Washington State Office of Public Instruction (OSPI), which include:

  • Agriculture Education
  • Business and Marketing
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Skilled and Technical Sciences
  • STEM

Each program includes a sequence of two or more specialized CTE courses aligned to the district’s strategic plan and High School and Beyond Plan learning benchmarks. Scholars can reduce post-secondary tuition costs by earning dual credit, industry-recognized certificates and degrees in eligible courses.

This school year, 4,128 FWPS scholars are enrolled in at least one of the 45 available CTE dual-credit courses and earning college credits from local colleges — a 38% increase over the last year.

Some of the most popular subjects include videography, culinary arts, principles of biomedical science and automotive technology.

In addition to the six CTE programs of study, FWPS offers specialized CTE programs including INCubatoredu entrepreneurship and several pre-engineering courses through Project Lead the Way. Eleventh and 12th grade students can also acquire trade skills through the Pre-Apprenticeship Program and earn certifications with preferred entry into all trades.

As a result of these programs, the number of industry-recognized certificates earned by FWPS students increased by almost 113% from the 2020-21 to 2021-22 school year.

CTE courses support the district’s strategic plan Goal 5, Persistence to Graduation: High School Graduation Through Successful Transitions. With courses like STEM Garden and Robotics also offered at the middle school level that aligns with high school programs of study, FWPS CTE courses provide a focused pipeline and approach to learning that promotes academic rigor, real-life application and career readiness.

For more information about CTE course opportunities, including a list of courses offering dual credit and/or industry certifications, visit www.fwps.org/CourseCatalog.