Afua Siaw dreamed of being a pediatrician. So when it came time to pick a high school, she chose the High School for Health Professions & Human Services — a decision based largely on the school’s name.

Siaw didn’t know when she applied five years ago that the Manhattan campus boasted a career and technical education program culminating with a chance to earn a medical assistant certification.

Her experience learning about front-line medical work turned her off to pursuing it as a career. But her school coordinated a virtual internship where she conducted survey research to help find solutions to local health disparities, sparking her interest in career possibilities beyond pediatrics.

“The internship kind of helped me realize there’s other aspects,” Siaw said. Now a Tufts University freshman, the 18-year-old plans to pursue psychology and public health.

Siaw’s experience is one that schools Chancellor David Banks is hoping to replicate across the system: jump-starting students’ exposure to career options well before graduation. Urban school districts across the country have increasingly embraced career and technical education programs, also known as CTE. Banks has described putting students on the path to stable careers as one of the “North Stars” of his administration, on par with improving literacy rates.

New York City has long been a leader in offering students a diverse range of CTE programs, with roughly a quarter of high schools offering at least one program, reaching about 60,000 students. Now, city officials are hoping to spread elements of the model to dozens more campuses. They plan to increase coursework focused on career skills, add new concentrations in fields ranging from education to health care, expand opportunities for early college credit, and offer more paid work opportunities before students leave high school.

Read the full article about expanding CTE by Alex Zimmerman at Chalkbeat.