Cape Cod's vocational schools continue to grow 8% while student population shrinks 21%

Schools offer programs which ensure graduates immediate employment in the Cape’s dominant industries of tourism and healthcare
Cape Cod's vocational schools offer unique programs, helps 4Cs growth as well

Vocational technical schools buck the Cape's negative enrollment trend

Upper Cape and Cape Cod Regional Tech both show significant enrollment growth

Cape Cod’s two regional vocational technical schools showed a growth of 7.75% from 2001 to 2013 while schools Cape-wide lost 20.8% of their students.

According to statistics published by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Upper Cape Regional Vocational Technical School in Bourne grew from 592 students in Fiscal 2001 to 657 students in Fiscal 2013. Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical School grew from 625 to 654 students during the same time span. Both schools saw higher enrollments in the late 2000s but still bucked the Cape-wide trend of falling enrollments over the past 12 years.

Unique Offerings

No traditional public high school can compete with a vocational technical school on programs – tech schools’ offerings are totally different from anything an academic high school could sustain financially.

For example, at Cape Tech in Harwich students can choose from the following technical programs:

  • Auto Collision
  • Auto Tech
  • Carpentry
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assisting
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Electrical
  • Graphic Arts
  • Health Technology
  • Horticulture
  • HVAC
  • Information Technologies
  • Marine Services
  • Metal Fab & Welding
  • Plumbing and Heating
  • Engineering

Most of the programs above ensure graduates immediate employment in the Cape’s dominant industries of tourism and health care or in industries that support tourism and health care.

Supporting Our Community College

This is not to say that all tech school graduates go directly into the trades. According to DESE figures last updated in 2011, 51.9% of Upper Cape Tech’s graduates attend college after graduation with 63.8% of them attending a Massachusetts Community College. Over in Harwich, 49.6% of Cape Tech’s graduates went on to college with 64.3% of them attending a Massachusetts Community College.

Cape Cod Community College offers many programs that allow a tech school graduate to advance in their career. For example, the dental assisting graduate might matriculate in 4Cs dental hygienist program or the medical tech graduate might pursue a degree in nursing.

A Robust Alternative

The Cape’s two vocational technical schools offer a robust alternative to the program offerings at a traditional local high school. Their trend-defying enrollment confirms vo-tech schools’ value in the Cape’s economy and their role in the ongoing evolution of local public education.

Read the other recent education stories here.

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