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In Illinois: ISBE Invests $4.3 Million To Cultivate Future Educators Through CTE Education Career Pathway Grants 

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced approximately $4.3 million in state funding for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Education Career Pathway Grants. The grant marks the fourth round of funding for the CTE Education Career Pathway Grant program, which has provided $5.6 million to date and served nearly 12,000 Illinois high school students across 212 school districts and three community colleges.   

The grant provides funding to prepare current high school students in Illinois for careers in teaching and aims to address the teacher shortage in Illinois by recruiting diverse students into the field of education. Participants are equipped for success in college-level teacher preparation programs through tailored coursework, field experiences, and work-based learning opportunities.  

“In Illinois, we’re investing in dynamic, locally designed career pathway programs to strengthen and diversify our teacher pipeline,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “I highly encourage school districts to apply to the CTE Education Pathway Grant program to inspire future educators to pursue a career in their hometown.”  

“Teaching is not only a career; it’s a calling,” said State Superintendent Tony Sanders. “Early teaching experiences can ignite the passion to pursue a career in education. It’s essential for students to encounter the transformative magic of teaching firsthand to feel inspired. These grants not only provide that initial spark but also equip students with the skills, preparation, and clear pathways needed for successful entry into the teaching profession.”  

ISBE recently released unfilled positions data that shows that initiatives like this are paying off, resulting in year-over-year growth in the teaching profession for the past seven years. The number of teachers in the profession increased again in 2023, compared to 2022. However, the demand for teachers also grew, and supply has not kept pace. Illinois districts reported 4,096 teaching vacancies as of October 2023 – a 15% increase in unfilled positions over the previous year.  

Research underscores the effectiveness of career pathways in alleviating teacher shortages by offering diverse entry points into the profession, providing hands-on experience with teaching, and giving candidates a head start on meeting the requirements for licensure by earning college credit or early career credentials.   

“By investing in the Education Career Pathway, we are not just solving an immediate workforce need; we are nurturing a culture of lifelong learning and commitment to education within our community,” said Nancy Awdziejczyk, executive director at the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success, a grantee of the program. “This strategy not only benefits our schools and students, but also strengthens the fabric of our society by ensuring that our educators reflect the diversity and values of the communities they serve.”   

Read the full release on the ISBE website. 

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