Magazine article Techniques

CTE: Evolving and Relevant, despite a Changing World

Magazine article Techniques

CTE: Evolving and Relevant, despite a Changing World

Article excerpt

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE WORLD I GREW UP IN has changed significantly and that the workplace has changed with it. Take communication, for instance. When I entered the full-time workforce in 1986, computers were little more than word processors, and faxing was the quickest way to communicate a mass message. Compare that with all the communication choices we have today--e-mail, instant messaging, Tweeting, Facebook, and the list goes on.

With so many choices available, it becomes even more important than before that employees do more than "know." They must be able to "apply" and "do" as well. And they must apply and do more quickly than ever. Today's fast-paced work environment often demands it.

Viable and Competitive

If the United States is to remain competitive in the future, we must continually innovate and adapt to evolving workforce trends of the world market. For years, federal policymakers have been concerned about America's ability to stay competitive with other nations. That is why they often cite international rankings, like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's "Education at a Glance 2012" report that indicates our competitive standing in education is declining.

To illustrate: A little over two years ago when President Obama asked if Apple could bring jobs back to the United States, Steve Jobs reportedly told the president that "those jobs aren't coming home." He went on to explain that the reason for Apple's increased overseas production was not clue to higher U.S. salary costs, but, at least in part, it was attributable the efficiency and skills of the foreign workforce. Many nations have worked diligently to develop their education and workforce systems, and the results are showing.

In many cases, companies like Apple are leaving our shores because there is not sufficient emphasis on support for high quality career and technical education (GTE) programs to address the needs of business and industry.

CTE and Credentialing

Much of the Association for Career and Technical Education's (ACTE) policy focus addresses these concerns by highlighting the value or CTE and advancing policy solutions to support the field. The 2010 ACTE paper, "What Is 'Career Ready?,'" defines the knowledge and skills students need to be truly career ready. GTE advocates have used that definition to inspire their states to develop their own college- and career-ready definitions, and many of those states are now beginning to implement policies that align with these definitions. …

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