National Initiatives  /  CTE Challenge Prize Competitions
Challenges and Prizes in CTE
In our global economy, the need to strengthen the competitiveness of the American workforce is one of the most urgent challenges we face as a nation.

To this end, the U.S. Department of Education has joined with America's innovators through a series of prize competitions to provide students with contextualized skill-building experiences that increase access to and expand the capacity of career and technical education (CTE).

Current Challenges

Rural Tech Project logo

Rural Tech

June 2020 - September 2023

Launched in June 2020, the Rural Tech Project is a national challenge to advance rural technology education. The U.S. Department of Education invites high schools and local education agencies to propose technology education programs that use competency-based distance learning.


CTE Mission: CubeSat logo

Career Z Challenge

Phase 2: August 2023 – June 2024

During this phase of the challenge, semi-finalists are creating and/or enhancing high-quality, WBL opportunities in CTE programs through the expansion of their WBL ecosystems. They are engaging collaborative ecosystems of educators, businesses, industries, workforce professionals, and community stakeholders to provide students interconnected and expansive career development opportunities and experiences across grades 9 – 12.


Rural Tech Project logo

CTE Momentum: Your Place in Space Challenge

March 2023 - February 2024

The purpose of the Your Place in Space Challenge is to create engaging learning opportunities for students to explore the challenges and opportunities in space missions; connect CTE programs with a wide variety of space careers; and inspire students to envision and pursue space careers. The call to action is to submit a design for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration.


Past Challenges

Reach Higher Career App Challenge logo

Reach Higher Career App Challenge

October 2015 - August 2016

Launched in October 2015, the Reach Higher App Challenge called upon app developers, educators, and data mavens to submit mobile solutions that help students navigate education and career paths, and increase the capacity of career counselors to serve students.

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EdSim Challenge logo


November 2016 - October 2017

Launched in November 2016, the EdSim Challenge called upon the virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive solutions that prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century.

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CTE Makeover Challenge logo

CTE Makeover

March 2016 - October 2016

Launched in March 2016, the CTE Makeover Challenge called upon schools to design makerspaces that strengthen career and technical skills through making.

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CTE Mission: CubeSat logo

CTE Mission:

August 2020 – May 2021

Launched in August 2020, CTE Mission: CubeSat is a national challenge to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond. Five finalists have advanced to Phase 2, during which they will build and launch CubeSat prototypes.