Is career and technical education necessary?
One. Two. Seven. These three numbers make up an important ratio that we need to remember.
For every 10 jobs in the United States, one requires a master’s degree or higher. Two out of the 10 need a bachelor’s degree or more. And the remaining seven? These require some sort of career and technical education (CTE) such as an associate degree, postsecondary training, certification or credential.
Does federal funding support CTE?
Between 2004 and 2017, the amount of funding CTE receives declined by over $77 million dollars; the equivalent of a 28 percent decrease in inflation-adjusted dollars. Only 1.7 percent of the total 2016 Department of Education budget was allocated to CTE — that’s $1.13 billion out of $68 billion. However, interest in CTE programs has grown – there were more than 800,000 additional secondary students enrolled in CTE in 2016-2017 compared to 2011-2012.
What do we do to fix the discrepancy?
Research Team 335 states that “it is vital for the government to understand the value of CTE in providing industries with a greater skilled workforce.” We must encourage the government to double the federal investment in CTE.
Remember, 70 percent of the workforce comes from CTE training. By doubling the investment, we’ll see programs expand and more students begin participating. As a result, we’ll have additional employees entering industries, like construction, that are currently facing workforce shortages.
Does CTE only benefit employers?
Absolutely not. It’s crucial that we recognize the value of skilled professionals and not equate a four-year degree or higher as the only path to success.
Many students and their parents are not aware of the opportunities available through CTE or the benefits. Students who attend CTE programs have better academic grade point averages [and] higher rates of on-time graduation. But their accomplishments do not end with secondary education.
Participating in CTE programs helps students see the clear connection between learning materials and tangible opportunities in the labor market — the skills they earn help them have a direct path into a promising career.
From employees to employers to the economy, increased CTE funding will only benefit the U.S. Let’s recognize the high skills that are learned in CTE and the multiple, successful career paths that are offered by offering more support.
This article was written by Rachel Burris, Communications Manager at NCCER