CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION TO CLOSE THE SKILLS GAP.
Career and technical education could be an essential element in developing a work force capable of handling a new period in technical industries.
America was built on the back of blue collar workers pursuing highly skilled careers in ever changing fields. Everything from the railroads to the modern day textile industry wouldn’t have been possible without jobs in the career technology positions. Before the years between 1776-1826 regular schooling consisted of classroom learning and core academic subjects. However during the period of time known as The Awakening, apprenticeships were incorporated into regular schooling as an opportunity for students to have a hands on learning experience in a real trade.
As time went on schools began to make this a regular part of the curriculum and bills were passed to support and further explore career and technical training. This set the foundation for modern CTE These courses are considered electives, not academic courses, but it may be time for America to consider these CTE courses as just as important if not more than regular required academic classes. Many people believe that career and technical education is nothing more than an elective with less important academic lessons than core subject, but despite these beliefs, career and technical education should be an essential and equal part of every school curriculum and deserves a more substantial amount of funding.
The first nationwide acceptance of CTE did not come until after the first world war when citizens needed workforce training in order to re-enter the working world. This mass acceptance and necessity for adults built the bridge into adult education. Although technical skills grounded in academics, workplace skills, and personal skills are the most important aspects of obtaining and performing a career at peak proficiency, there is an enormous deficiency in these areas nationally and globally. This is known as the Skills Gap. A survey conducted by the Manpower Group and reported by the Harvard Business Review says “35% of 38,000 employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent; in the US., 39% of employers did.” (Employers Aren’t) This is especially true for middle-skill jobs.
A prime example of the Skills Gap in the U.S. state of Colorado. Middle- skill jobs account for 50 percent of their labor market but only 40% of the state’s workforce is properly trained to the level of proficiency required for the job (National Skills Coalition). A common solution to this problem is on the job training for new hires. This may sound like it would solve many issues but according to a Training Industry Report, in 2014 the annual training budgets for US. small businesses, each business having a minimum of 100 employees, was $308,000(Taylor, Tess). After all these costs, time training, and resources being poured into newly hired employees- they still don’t meet the skill level and are terminated. This creates a cycle of hiring and firing costing small businesses time and money and halting them from expanding.
It’s recommended by the Automatic Data Processing Incorporation that “Recruiting only the most skilled employees, retaining them for as long as possible and using performance reviews to identify training needs early on,”(The Costs). This would be extremely logical and practical, if there were enough skilled workers to fill the jobs. One of the goals of modern high school education is to prepare graduates to enter a work force and be ready to be a working member of society. If this effort was successful