Nearly all students who were enrolled in postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs in 2020 are likely to have taken at least one course online after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in March of that year. To understand how the pandemic has accelerated the transition of CTE programs online, Urban Institute researchers administered a rapid-response survey in partnership with the CTE CoLab coalition in December 2020 to community and technical colleges across the country. In this brief, we explore how the pandemic has prompted these colleges to change the delivery of for-credit CTE programs and provide considerations for institutions transitioning these programs online. We find that many programs that require in-person training are expected to move to a hybrid format—combining online and in person content delivery—after the pandemic. Challenges associated with online programming include technology access and the need for digital skills training and virtual work-based learning options, and opportunities include the ability to flexibly reach students in new ways.
A Summary of College Survey Findings