06/30/2015 02:36 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT

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

WASHINGTON - 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.

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.