• First lady Michelle Obama reaches out to give Jacob Smith, of Whitehouse, Texas, a hug before speaking at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama recognized students and educators for their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    First lady Michelle Obama reaches out to give Jacob Smith, of Whitehouse, Texas, a hug before speaking at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington,... Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama recognized students and educators for their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

  • First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama recognized students and educators for their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama recognized students and educators for ... their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

  • First lady Michelle Obama speaks to a student in the audience at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama recognized students and educators for their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    First lady Michelle Obama speaks to a student in the audience at the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education (CTE) event in the South Court Auditorium in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama ... recognized students and educators for their work connecting the classroom to real-life career opportunities. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

First lady Michelle Obama says career, technical education an alternative for students

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Michelle Obama is telling students a high school diploma is not enough to compete in the global economy, but a college degree is not the only option.

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The first lady says pursuing career and technical education programs after high school can still offer professional skills for high-demand jobs "at a fraction of the time, and more importantly, a fraction of the cost." The programs offer training in technical skills, such as culinary arts.

Mrs. Obama spoke Tuesday at a White House event celebrating educators, students and innovators in career and technical education programs.

She says a 3-D printer to create chocolate sculptures, a 4-inch-cube satellite to study the atmosphere and a laser sensor system to detect baseball strike zones are among the innovations that have come from such programs.