Today at the 29th Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference at Space Center Houston, the U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of CTE Momentum, an annual challenge series to prepare high school students for rewarding careers and increase access to career and technical education (CTE). Each school year, the Department will invite educators and high school students to participate in a new challenge focused on a topic of national importance. 

Building skills for future success

Many careers require specialized skills — and students need new opportunities to build them. CTE programs are uniquely positioned to meet this need because they 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 more students with the skills they need to identify and enter in-demand careers with pathways for advancement. 

CTE Momentum builds upon the Department’s history of advancing CTE through prize competitions. The series encourages schools to explore resources and winning submissions from past competitions, including:

  • CTE Makeover Challenge (2016)
    A national challenge that called on high schools to design makerspaces to strengthen next-generation career and technical skills.
  • CTE Mission: CubeSat (2020-2021)
    A national challenge that invited high schools to bring space missions to students by designing and building CubeSat prototypes. 

This new annual format for prize competitions will promote continuous school engagement, building a long-term ecosystem of support. 

Launching soon: the Your Place in Space Challenge

The Department expects to commence the series early this spring with the launch of the Your Place in Space Challenge, which will inspire high school students to envision and pursue careers in the space industry. The Department will invite high schools to submit designs for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration.

Help spread the word

Drawing upon public and private collaboration, CTE Momentum will empower educators with resources and inspiration to help American schools become centers of innovation and possibility. Help us spread the word: Access the CTE Momentum communications toolkit for sample content and graphics to share across digital channels, including social media, email, and websites — or click to tweet.

To receive updates about challenge launches and other series news, sign up for the CTE Momentum newsletter.

Just announced: Meet the winners of the first challenge in the CTE Momentum series!