Right now, there’s a labor shortage. The U.S. has more jobs available than there are people to work them. This means individuals who are just starting their careers can more easily snag positions in trade occupations, such as construction, cosmetology, HVAC, and more. But in order to take advantage of these opportunities, students first need to know that they are available.
StrataTech Education Group’s survey found that while 70 percent of students attend high schools that offer career and technical education programs, only 32 percent promote the trades as a potential post-graduation path. Despite this, 51 percent of students consider pursuing trade school. What holds them back? A lack of support, confidence, or knowledge–challenges that high schools can solve with enriched CTE programs.
If more schools enhanced their CTE programs, more students would feel comfortable pursuing the trades. The good news is that boosting program participation is not a huge investment. In fact, bringing in passionate professionals could be enough to get students excited about their career options. Here are four ways to get started:
1. Ask students what industries and occupations interest them.
CTE programs must be designed with students, not just for students. If not, there will be a disconnect between what educators hope to convey and what young people are taking away. The best way to guide young individuals toward meaningful job opportunities is to let their insights guide the curriculum. Which industries are they interested in? What occupations do they think they are suited for? Who would they like to hear from?
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