Rural IL CTE Project

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs bolster the capacity of rural and small schools to provide students with high-quality and individualized education. Rural students who follow these CTE pathways can have the opportunity to forge the bedrock of their future social and professional lives all while supporting local businesses and industry. With this hope, the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have partnered together to create the Rural IL CTE Project. The primary goals of this effort are to better understand the needs of rural CTE programs, highlight the equity gaps in funding and support, and voice recommendations for future growth of rural schools to ISBE.

To accomplish these goals, AIRSS will conduct a series of surveys, host conversations and focus groups, and support rural CTE programs through the tools and resources presented on this page.

Strong, equitably funded CTE programs are an imperative for rural and small schools, and AIRSS is excited to advocate for such programs through this unique project with ISBE. If you would like to have your district’s CTE experiences seen and heard, or if you would like to learn more about the Rural IL CTE Project, please reach out to AIRSS Program Director John Glasgow.

Resources for Rural CTE Programs

Finding, keeping, and enriching outstanding educators is a central problem to building strong CTE programs. To help, this Rural CTE Resource Database compiles tools, tips, and assistance websites into one, easy-to-use and understand source. This database is intended for any CTE educator, school administrator, and community partner to find the inspiration and support they need to launch or grow their CTE programming. New resources will be added over time, so be sure to check back frequently. To recommend or revise a listing, please contact us.

CTE Project and Grant Opportunities
CTE Administrator and School Counselor Support

Rural IL CTE Advisory Council

This high-level group brings together CTE educators, rural school administrators, nonprofit advocates, national experts, and industry partners to discuss the present state and future growth of rural CTE programs. Their reflections and reviews are instrumental in forming the recommendations for equitable program growth shared with the Illinois State Board of Education. Learn about each of the council members below.

Sally E. Arnett

Professor & Coordinator, Illinois State University Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Education Program; Past President, Illinois Association of CTE

Garrett David Hunter

Engineering & Technology Professor, Western Illinois University

Matthew Klaska

Superintendent, V.I.T. CUSD #2

Brooke May

CTE Career Pathway Coordinator, Vienna HSD #133

David Messersmith

Director, Education for Employment Regional Delivery System #265

Blake Noland

Founder, Birddog Careers

Mariah Suddarth

Education & Industry Partnerships Manager, Trane, Inc.

Dan Whisler

Dan Whisler

Educator in Residence, Trane, Inc.

Joe T. Wood

Joe T. Wood

CTE Educator, Advocate, and Expert

Dr. Mark Twomey with Dr. Beth Purvis