Magazine article Techniques

Connecting CTE to American Competitiveness

Magazine article Techniques

Connecting CTE to American Competitiveness

Article excerpt

"HIGH-QUALITY CAREER AND TECHNICAL education can ensure America's future in the global economy through increased student engagement, the innovative integration of math, science and literacy skills, and by meeting the needs of both employers and the economy as a whole."

CTE educators agree with this statement and understand the important link between quality CTE programs and a robust American economy, but not everyone does. ACTE has distributed its competitiveness issue brief widely in an effort to improve public opinion about CTE, and bring awareness to the great potential these programs offer not only to individual students, but to our nation's economy as a whole. The document has been an important part of the ACTE message to legislators.

Some Members of Congress are beginning to make the connection between CTE and competitiveness; but more needs to be done. The new Perkins Act makes some connections, but most new legislation containing the word "competitiveness" fails to mention CTE.

It's ironic that CIE is overlooked, or worse yet, ignored, as a pathway to economic strength and growth when these programs provide some of the clearest links between education, student academic success, and the needs of business and industry. Consider the research:

* CTE concentrators take more and higher level math than other students;

* Students at schools with highly integrated rigorous academic and CTE programs have significantly higher student achievement in reading, mathematics and science than do students at schools with less integrated programs;

* CTE graduates are 10-15 percent more likely to be in the labor force, and earn 8-9 percent more than graduates of academic programs; and

* More than 80 percent of respondents in the 2005 Skills Gap Report indicated that they are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers overall--with 13 percent reporting severe shortages and 68 percent indicating moderate shortages. Also, 90 percent of respondents indicated a moderate to severe shortage of qualified skilled production employees, including front-line workers, such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians.

As advocates, this disconnect between CTE and public policy should be of concern. …

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