Bridging Gaps for a Brighter Future

Doc1This past week St. George News published a great article entitled ‘How to give your high schooler a leg up; programs to bridge gaps, brighten futures’.  I value not only Dixie Applied Technology College’s innovative idea of ‘providing a kinetic approach to studying the four education focuses of today’s industries; of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math‘, but throughout the article included the influential component of the parent and the concept of the ‘vision gap’.  High school students, along with their parents, ‘look towards and transition into college and career, but struggle for direction and purpose.’   As high school students are establishing their independence it is important for school districts to work collaboratively with parents to help guide and influence what is truly best for the student.  It is important to help educate parents to the variety of available avenues of post-secondary education and training opportunities.  The post-secondary education and training opportunity route, for their student, may look vastly different compared to when they were enrolled.

The article briefly mentioned Mike Rowe (TV host, writer and spokesman) collaborating with Caterpillar to launch a new initiative ‘Profoundly Disconnected’, focused on technical recruitment.  Mike Rowe also runs the ‘mikeroweWORKS Foundation’, which awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the skilled trades.  Mike Rowe is closely associated with the Future Farmers of America, along with the SkillsUSA organization.  Mike Rowe’s website has a vast amount of information pertaining to the Skills Gap.  The Trade Resource Center of his website contains an interactive U.S. map to locate resources on school, organizations, training programs, financial aid and more.

A public school counselor in the U.S. now has an average caseload of 471 students, according to the American School Counselor Association, or ASCA.  It is vital to not only educate the students in post-secondary opportunities, but the parents as well. Parents can play a valuable role in helping to influence a successful post-secondary path for their son or daughter.

5 States Facing the Skills Gap

The Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC) was formed a little over 18 months ago. The mission of the IWNC is to, ‘increase the population of ready skilled workers in America through better alignment between the educational system and the opportunities created by industry.‘ The IWNC members believe industry should start supporting and championing the critical education programs America needs to build the pipeline of ready skilled workers for our future.

The IWNC focuses on strengthening Consumer & Technical Education (CTE), helps Doc1align business and education while promoting the change in negative perception pertaining to CTE. Furthermore, the IWNC understands the importance of identifying the skill and competency within industry in an economic region, the alignment of educational outcomes to meet those needs, and the level of engagement of industry in supporting and nurturing the system. Similar ideology to the IWNC is focused within this article entitled ‘5 States Facing a Skills Gap and What They’re Doing to Beat It’ posted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As the article noted, ‘states and their governors play a pivotal role in filling the talent pipeline, providing critical leadership to link businesses with the education system’.  Each of our 50 states have their own economic challenges with differing levels of need for its’ individual industries, but what all 50 states have is the need and availability for collaboration between industry and education.

Career Tech has Big Champion in President Obama

business-improvement2The article below highlights not only President Obama’s support for CTE, but also the success of Worcester Technical High School and CTE programs overseas.  Vocational education, now referred to as Consumer and Technical Education (CTE) has had a bad reputation in the U.S. Typically, CTE classes were suggested for the ‘underachievers’. Today, high school is being used as a building block to better prepare students for the changing workforce needs. To change the perception of CTE has been slow to refine, but still hopeful. The article echoes the statement that ‘when done well, CTE is no dumping ground for students, but a good fit AND Plan A.’

Click here for the article by Juana Summers: Career Tech has Big Champion in President Obama

What_Is_CTE_infographicThe attached article can truly be summed up with this quote from Debbie Biastre of the Lackawanna City School District, “A lot of the focus has been on college readiness and not necessarily career readiness, and we’re missing an entire facet of the workforce.”

The article entitled, ‘Assemblyman Pushes For Career And Technical Education Diploma,’ supports the following statistics well from ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education).  Statistical facts include:

  • 81 percent of dropouts say relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in high school.
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9 percent.
  • Postsecondary CTE fosters postsecondary completion and prepares students and adults for in-demand careers.
  • A person with a CTE-related associate degree or credential will earn on average between $4,000 and $19,000 more a year than a person with a humanities associate degree.
  • The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 726,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 256,000 jobs open in manufacturing.
  • Middle-skill jobs, jobs that require education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree, are a significant part of the economy. Of the 55 million job openings created by 2020, 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate degree.




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