As the national spotlight shines on workforce development to address the skills gap, the German model of apprenticeships has been offered as the gold standard from which the United States can learn. Every year in Germany, close to a million students participate in the nation’s dual system of education. Programs combine the classroom with on-the-job training, a clear pathway to higher education and a high-quality job, contributing to Germany’s low unemployment rate and its leadership in advanced manufacturing.
America’s Career Technical Education (CTE) system provides many students with similar benefits to that of the German program. It enables students to enhance their core high school academic courses with technical, real-world skills that prepare them for the future. In other words, CTE is a powerful tool already addressing the skills gap. It can open more doors and is an essential part of the solution.
Students and parents don’t fully embrace CTE as a viable educational option. In Germany, the vocational education program is just as prestigious as attending a university. In the U.S., CTE is often mischaracterized as an inferior educational pathway to “College Prep.” CTE provides an excellent starting point for young people to explore their passions and learn about careers in growing, high-paying fields such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare. These skilled positions represent more than half of all job openings anticipated through 2022. They require more than a high school education, yet less than a four-year degree, and a technical skill set.
The Heights Career Tech Prep Consortium, which consists of five school districts, provides students with access to more than two dozen program areas that are designed to prepare them to launch into the local and global economy with the necessary technical skill sets. High school students can apply to programs as varied as Audio Engineering, Biotechnology, Sports Medicine & Exercise Science, Automotive Technology, Teacher Academy, Finance, Pharmacy Technician or the Firefighter Academy and often earn not only an industry-recognized credential but college credit as well.
CTE is a great start on a pathway for future success. A recent survey by Advance CTE affirmed that students and their parents are extremely pleased with the educational outcomes of CTE programming and are twice as likely to be very satisfied with the overall school experience than parents and students not involved in CTE.
Students and parents who participated in the survey expressed that college remains a priority. Eliminate the “either/or” mentality of Career Tech and College Prep and ensure all students have access to high-quality educational choices that lead to college and promising careers.
The Heights Career Tech welcomes those wanting to learn about the power of CTE, the promise of student success, and the benefit of a highly-skilled workforce to the annual Career Tech Fair at Cleveland Heights High School on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Learn about the programs serving high school students from Bedford, Cleveland Heights, Maple Heights, Shaker Heights, and Warrensville Heights high schools. Students will present how Career Technical Education serves as a viable complement to traditional educational pathways.