Graduate Pathways Logo: CTE Program Marketing Solutions

October 25, 2023

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs play a pivotal role in preparing students for future careers by equipping them with practical skills and knowledge. Those students may go on to work in a variety of areas and industries, but you can start offering them opportunities by partnering with local businesses. The connection between CTE programs and local businesses can be a win-win approach that benefits both sides. In this article, we will explore the strategies and benefits of engaging local businesses through email marketing and events, which strengthens the ties between CTE programs and the business community while expanding resources for students.

The Importance of Local Business Engagement

When CTE programs connect with local businesses, they create a collaborative environment where students can gain real-world experience, while local businesses can access a pool of potential employees with the skills they’re looking for. Both students and businesses can enjoy benefits like:

1. Real-World Experience for Students

One of the most significant benefits of connecting with local businesses is that students get the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world scenarios. This experience is invaluable as it helps them understand the practical aspects of their chosen fields. Students gain insight into the specific skills required in the industry, which, in turn, helps them make more informed career choices.

2. Tailored Curriculum

Engaging with local businesses allows CTE programs to tailor their curriculum to meet the current and future needs of the local job market. This adaptability ensures that students are equipped with skills that are in demand locally, increasing their chances of finding meaningful employment after graduation.

3. Networking Opportunities

Connecting with local businesses provides students with networking opportunities. They can build relationships with potential employers, mentors, and industry professionals, which can be invaluable when they start looking for jobs or internships.

4. Access to Resources

Local businesses often have resources, equipment, and expertise that CTE programs can tap into. This partnership can lead to better-equipped classrooms, labs, and workshops, ensuring that students have access to the latest technology and industry-standard tools.

5. Work-Based Learning

By collaborating with local businesses, CTE programs can offer work-based learning experiences such as internships, apprenticeships, and co-op programs. These opportunities give students a chance to earn while they learn, which is a great incentive for pursuing CTE pathways.

Your CTE programs can expand endlessly and beneficially with these partnerships. Students who choose not to attend college, for a variety of reasons, can often lose out on opportunities that college attendees gain simply by being in an environment where they can utilize each others’ connections. Providing a similar experience as part of your CTE programs will not only bolster the experience and learning they have, but also may incentivize students considering CTE to enroll.

Strategies for Engaging Local Businesses

Now that we understand the importance of local business engagement, let’s explore some of the most effective marketing strategies for CTE programs to actually connect with local businesses.

1. Create a Business Advisory Board

Forming a business advisory board is an excellent way to involve local businesses in the decision-making process of the CTE program. The board can provide insights into the industry’s needs, offer guidance on curriculum development, and suggest opportunities for collaboration.

2. Leverage Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool for reaching out to local businesses. Create an email list of contacts and regularly send updates about your CTE program’s activities, achievements, and opportunities for collaboration. Share success stories of students who have benefited from engaging with local businesses.

3. Host Networking Events

Organizing networking events is a fantastic way to bring local businesses and students together. These events can include job fairs, industry panels, or open houses where local businesses can showcase their work and students can present their projects. These interactions facilitate relationship-building.

4. Participate in Local Business Associations

Many localities have business associations or chambers of commerce. CTE programs can become members of these associations to network with local businesses, attend meetings, and collaborate on community projects.

5. Engage on Social Media

It may feel silly to create social media accounts for your CTE programs, but they’re an essential tool for making connections. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are excellent channels to engage with local businesses. Share updates, success stories, and opportunities for collaboration on these platforms.

Examples of Businesses Suited to Your Programs

You might be wondering which local businesses can actually benefit your programs and provide value to your students. Of course, not every local business falls under the CTE umbrella. A local bookstore, for example, may be something your students are interested in, but doesn’t quite match up with one of your offered courses. Consider these options:

  • CPA firms
  • Restaurants
  • Factories or local production centers
  • Electronics repair stores
  • Landscaping companies
  • Local health centers, like allergist offices or family practices
  • Marketing firms
  • Veterinary offices
  • Fire stations
  • And more!

Many businesses have something they can offer. Even that aforementioned local bookstore may be able to teach business management and planning for interested students. It’s important to create far-reaching connections with many businesses in your area to provide opportunities for students on the whole.


Engaging with local businesses is a win-win approach for CTE programs. It offers students the opportunity to gain real-world experience, access to tailored curriculum, networking opportunities, and work-based learning. It also benefits local businesses by providing them with a skilled workforce, community support, access to fresh talent, improved reputation, innovative solutions, and enhanced resources.

By implementing strategies such as creating a business advisory board, leveraging email marketing, hosting networking events, participating in local business associations, and engaging on social media, CTE programs can build strong relationships with local businesses. These connections are essential for the growth and success of CTE programs, local businesses, and the communities they serve.
Local business engagement helps transform CTE programs into dynamic hubs of education and opportunity, benefiting students, businesses, and the community at large. Graduate Pathways can help you implement the strategies that will drive these results for your programs. Contact us today by scheduling a consultation.

Share this post