ANN ARBOR – Poor and non-white students have less access to high school career-tech programs that can lead to jobs earning middle-class wages, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Across the state, 54 percent of white students enroll in at least one CTE class in high school, compared to 41 percent of African-American students and 44 percent of Hispanic students, according to the study, co-authored by Brian Jacob, professor of education policy and economics at U-M.

There was no disparity in enrollment between minority and white students attending the same high school, according to data provided to Jacob by the Michigan Department of Education. That leads Jacob to conclude the different rates of enrollment are a result of differences in access to career-tech programs between school districts.

Economically disadvantaged students also are less likely to enroll in career tech programs (47 percent at some point in their high school careers) than the state average (51 percent).

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