According to a study released by the conservative Fordham Institute, students who take an extra career and technical education course are more likely to graduate from high school, get a job after high school and get higher pay in that job.

The study says a typical student takes five career and technical education courses in high school. That extra course makes a student 3 percent points more likely to graduate high school, 0.6 points more likely to enroll in a two-year college and 1.5 points more likely to get a job after high school. In that job, students who took an extra career-tech course earned more than $100 extra per year.

Taking an extra career-tech course had no effect on a student's likelihood to attend a four-year college.

The study uses a database of more than 100,000 students from Arkansas that follows them from eighth grade through college and/or into the workforce. The database looks at students who entered high school in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Roughly 30 percent of students in the database took fewer than three career-tech courses, while an equal portion took more than six.

Almost 30 percent of the students took a series of courses concentrated on a certain career focus. The study seems to suggest these concentrators ended up better off than other career-tech students: The graduation rate for concentrators was 93 percent, compared to 51 percent for non-concentrators. Concentrators also earned 28 percent more after high school.

Career and technical education courses are more focused on job skills than a typical academic course. The most popular ones in Arkansas are related to business, consumer science (basically home economics) and agriculture.

The study concludes by recommending Arkansas expand dual enrollment in career-tech classes and that other states invest more in career-tech.

Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.