It is an exciting time in our country for Career and Technical Education (CTE).
Our transition to a service-based economy over the past few decades has had both its ups and downs. However, as we move forward in a time of economic uncertainty, it is clear that both as individuals and as communities, Americans are going to have get back to creating and innovating new products and services in order to be competitive in a global market.
It seems like all trends are pointing towards a significant increase in exposure and demand for quality workforce and vocational education. Students today require skills that will prepare them for a successful career, and that education doesn't just start in college anymore.
High school programs across the country are beginning to fully realize the value of career education and the teachers that are committed to vocational education. Carl D. Perkins technology grants are back this fiscal year, not to mention that a large percentage of the 100 billion dollar education stimulus in accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been earmarked for soultions that will create jobs, and emphasize workforce education and relevant assessment methods for all types of learners.
As the educational spectrum continues to change, states are taking initiative by issuing standards and competencies for each of the 16 career 'clusters' that are designed to provide benchmarks for secondary and post secondary education. From 2004-2009, our research has shown numerous states publishing detailed objectives for CTE educators. These standards are clearly being used to reinvent and revitalize CTE programs across the nation.
In addition to transitioning to a competency-driven curriculum, state and national institutions are pushing for the integration of core academics and career education. The goal is to create a learning environment that is both realistic and relevant to all students. As this trend continues, CTE education in America will undoubtedly see greater recognition and funding, which willy not only provide a greater range of opportunities to students, but will pave the way for a productive and competitive American workforce.