How should the United States government revitalize career and technical education (CTE) to meet 21st century needs, including collaboration and partnership between K-12 public education and the workforce?
The need for a national career education program is driven by a few principles. Firstly, CTE can help to keep students in school. In 2011, seven percent of American students dropped out of high school (“Dropout rates”, n.d.). CTE programs help to keep students in school because they connect what students are learning to the outside world, giving students a purpose and motivation for finishing school. They also tend to focus more on hands on learning, which can appeal to a different style of learner than traditional schooling.
Secondly, CTE can improve the job outlook for students who graduate with a high school diploma. Approximately 3/4 of the workforce begins with less than a 4-year degree. Many of them do not have the skill set necessary to fulfill the jobs available (“School-to-Work”, 1994). Public schools and community colleges need to help these students develop skills for the workplace and/or motivate them to continue their education. The unemployment rate for high school graduates is at 4.3%. However, for those with an associate’s degree, unemployment is 3% (Liming & Wolf, 2008). CTE programs in school can help high school graduates have employment rates closer to those of students with associate’s degrees because they have more training in their vocation. Students with a high school diploma typically work in fields such as transportation, food service, production, construction, installation, and maintenance, and specifically in positions such as carpenters, brick masons, electric...
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Hughes, K. L., Bailey, T. R., & Mechur, M. J. (2001). School-to-work: Making a difference in education. Retrieved from Teachers College, Columbia University website: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED449364
Liming, D., & Wolf, M. (2008, Fall). Job outlook by education, 2006-2016. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 2-29. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2008/fall/art01.pdf
NAPE 2013 Perkins Act reauthorization position paper. (2013). Retrieved from National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity website: http://www.napequity.org/public-policy/current-laws-and-bills/carl-perkins-career-technical-education-act/
Obama, B. H. (Presenter). (2014, January 28). State of the union address. Speech presented at The Capitol, Washington, DC.
School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994, 103-239 U.S.C. (1994). Retrieved from http://www.fessler.com/SBE/act.htm
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