By Dan Clancy, President, Wisconsin Technical College System and Tony Evers, Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction

drafting photo

For 100 years, the Wisconsin Technical College System has been preparing students to enter the workforce with the most in-demand skills. A drafting classroom today, unlike the one pictured here from the early 1900s, would be computer-based, but would still provide hands-on learning and a path to a great career.

As Wisconsin strides toward economic recovery, it’s important to recognize the role career and technical education has on developing the workforce that new and expanding companies need.

The skills and qualifications employers require continually change. Because career and technical education aligns with workforce needs and provides students with core academic skills and hands-on learning, our state’s career and technical education programs are integral to preparing students for tomorrow’s family-supporting jobs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of the fastest growing occupations will require an associate degree or a postsecondary vocational certificate. Research also indicates that 80 percent of current and emerging occupations require a two-year technical diploma. Very often, these degrees begin with career and technical education courses in high school.

High school career and technical education classes teach students to apply their academic learning in mathematics, science, reading, and writing to challenging, career-focused tasks. Students gain career development experiences through job shadowing, internship, and co-op programs that ground their knowledge in the real world. Through career and technical education coursework and hands-on experiences, students develop creativity, problem- solving, teamwork, and other skills that employers value.

Given the pace of technological advancement in the workplace, career and technical education makes economic sense. For both traditional students looking for their first career opportunities and returning adult students who need to acquire new skills for a changing workplace, career and technical education offers training and skill development to help graduates compete in the knowledge economy. In honor of the February observance of Career and Technical Education Month, let us recognize how important career and technical education is to job creation and a brighter employment and economic future for Wisconsin.

February is Career and Technical Education Month

Family-supporting jobs of the future will require education and training beyond high school. The February observance of Career and Technical Education Month focuses on the importance of strong partnerships among Wisconsin’s technical colleges and high schools so students will be prepared for the emerging occupations of a modern economy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of the fastest growing occupations will require an associate’s degree or a postsecondary vocational certificate. Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges have a long history of equipping graduates with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed for specific occupations. From biotechnology to electronics, health care, and public safety, Wisconsin’s technical colleges provide school-to-career connections that are the backbone of a well-educated and adaptive workforce.

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