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Technical Education: A Vital Element in Today's Workforce Development

Jessica Karsten
Monday, February 29, 2016

As the month of February comes to a close, so does a public awareness campaign recognizing an important educational initiative and career path choice.  

Many people don’t know this, but February is not only Black History Month and American Heart Month, it also serves as CTE Month® by the Association for Career and Technical Education. This is a campaign held throughout the month to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the county.

What exactly is CTE?

Also called vocational programs, career and technical education prepares youth and adults for a wide range of high-wage, high skill, and high-demand career paths including information technology, manufacturing, and construction.

Why does CTE matter?

Investing in career and technical education yields big results for high school and college students, the economy, and businesses. According to ACTE, the skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S., with recent data showing 806,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector and 293,000 jobs open in manufacturing. In the State of Tennessee, CTE returns $2 for every $1 invested, and at the secondary level, CTE program completers account for more than $13 million in annual tax revenues.

This year, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Knoxville took place in the National CTE Letter of Intent Signing Day that mirrored the NCAA National Signing Day for athletes. High school students gathered to sign letters of intent for the 2016-17 school year, as a way to honor and celebrate students who are entering a technical field.

With the high demand for a skilled workforce, it’s time for people to realize the opportunity and value of technical career paths, and it’s time for schools to better promote these available career paths to their students. It’s time to celebrate CTE throughout the year, not just in February, by constantly acknowledging the dignity of the work.

Click here to learn more about career and technical education, and the significant part it plays in today’s workforce development. 


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