CTE Momentum is a U.S. Department of Education annual challenge series to prepare high school students for rewarding careers and increase access to career and technical education. 

Many careers require specialized skills, and all students need opportunities to build skills for future success. Career and technical education (CTE) programs offer students hands-on opportunities to apply knowledge and skills that they learn in classroom settings. By expanding access to CTE, high schools can equip students with the skills they need for in-demand careers with promising pathways for advancement.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education will invite educators and high school students to participate in a new challenge focused on a topic of national importance. This annual series will empower educators with resources and inspiration to help American schools become centers of innovation and possibility. 

The Department launched the series in March 2023 with the Your Place in Space Challenge, which inspires high school students to envision and pursue careers in the space industry. The challenge invites high schools to submit designs for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration. Visit the Your Place in Space Challenge website to learn more.


All challenges in the CTE Momentum series are expected to follow a similar timeline.

Challenge launch

Early spring

Submissions close


Judging begins


Winner announcement and next challenge launch



Learn about the importance of CTE programs and recent challenges led by the U.S. Department of Education.

Bridging the Skills Gap: Career and Technical Education in High School

U.S. Department of Education

An examination of how CTE programs equip students with in-demand skills, preparing them for postsecondary and career success.

Ed Prizes

Luminary Labs

A series of prize competitions to foster educational excellence and ensure equal access in career, technical, and adult education.

A look back at CTE Mission: CubeSat

CTE Mission: CubeSat

Results from a 2020-2021 U.S. Department of Education challenge to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond.

Home of the CTE Makeover Challenge

CTE Makeover Challenge

An overview of a 2016 U.S. Department of Education challenge that invited high schools to design makerspaces to strengthen next-generation career and technical skills.