Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Transform CTE From an Educational Backwater Into an Engine of Our Economic Recovery

A recent National Review article by Andrew P. Kelly, “Beyond Home Ec: Vocational Programs Are A Good Investment”, presents a strong case for career and technology education (CTE).

The author cites several issues concerning CTE such as the “skills gap” issue, a mismatch of skills in college graduates and high school students moving into postsecondary programs, and the education policies that perpetuate this problem. The author also mentions how students at the secondary and postsecondary level desire for learning to be tied to the world of work.

The article also goes on to cite the underfunding of CTE despite the obvious need and evidence in support of it, the lifelong economic benefits of graduating with a CTE-focused degree or certificate from secondary and postsecondary institutions, and the efficiency of the public dollar when it is applied to CTE programs.

Here is a short excerpt from the article:
For post-secondary students, evidence is mounting that the payoff for occupational-certificate programs of at least one year can be quite large--often outweighing the benefits of an associate or bachelor's degree. Nationally, the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce estimates that 43 percent of workers with occupational certificates and licenses out-earned associate-degree holders, and 27 percent had higher earnings than bachelor's-degree recipients.

Evidence from Florida reveals a similar pattern: Graduates with a post-secondary certificate from a Florida community college earned $2,500 more per year than bachelor's-degree recipients from the state's four-year colleges. Certificates in health care, nursing, and information technology tend to post the strongest returns, and almost 45 percent of the certificates awarded in 2007-08 were in health care and related fields.
I hope you will take the time to read the article in its entirety as "with some initiative and imagination, policymakers and leaders in the private sector can transform CTE from an educational backwater into an engine of our economic recovery."

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