Career Technical Education & Economic Recovery

11.17.2020 | Credentialing

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our society, and the education system is no exception. Career and technical education (CTE) programs in particular are facing unique challenges due to the technical and hands-on nature of instruction. As we begin reviving the economy and perhaps making more permanent transitions to the current reality, a key to this recovery will be a continuous investment in CTE programs and students across the country.

CTE programs play a vital role in our economic recovery as they equip students with job-ready skills, increase the likelihood of career success, and enable employers to confidently hire candidates with industry-relevant skills and knowledge.

CTE Programs Equip Learners with Job-Ready Skills

The hallmark of CTE education is the work-based and hands-on nature of instruction. Learners have a chance to hone industry-relevant skills and gain practical experience in specific career paths, giving them a significant advantage when entering the workforce and pursuing higher education.

Statistically, students in CTE and their parents are three times more likely to report they are “very satisfied” with their ability to learn real-world skills as compared to students not involved in CTE.

These real-world skills and the adaptability that comes with learning-on-the-job will be important skills for those entering the workforce. Many employers have changed business models in response to COVID-19 and these shifts will continue to evolve. Students will need to be adaptable and develop transferable skills in order to thrive as part of this future workforce.

CTE Programs Increase the Likelihood of Career Success

For those beginning their careers, losing opportunities to gain experience and a foothold in the labor market can have devastating effects. In April 2020, only a few months into the COVID-19 crisis, the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 19 rose to 31.9%, the highest it has been in over 70 years. By May, 7.7 million workers under the age of 30 were unemployed.

CTE programs not only equip learners with industry-relevant skills, but they also help transition learners into the workforce with internships, apprenticeships, and opportunities to continue their education. In the 2016-2017 program year, 86% of learners concentrating in CTE either continued their education or were employed within six months of completing their program. And among high school graduates who directly enter the workforce, CTE learners are more likely to be employed (and have benefits) than peers who did not complete a CTE pathway.

CTE Programs Help Employers Confidently Hire Skilled Candidates

Employers were feeling the effects of the skills gap even before COVID-19. Now, it’s become more difficult for companies to find and hire workers with the necessary skills and knowledge. CTE programs help provide a clear connection between talent and opportunity, making it easier for employers to identify skilled candidates and more cost-effectively build a dynamic workforce.

This connection between learner and employer is facilitated in part through valid and reliable credentials. A credential simultaneously demonstrates a learner’s competency and provides marketable proof a learner has mastered a specific set of skills. Employers evaluating those with CTE credentials have assurance the candidate is properly skilled and will have a better indication of future job performance. Candidates with the correct skills and knowledge are more likely to reach full competency sooner and quickly become a valuable asset to the organization.

To be considered an accurate indication of skills, a credential must be industry-relevant, specific, and regularly updated to ensure it fully encompasses the skills a learner will need to be successful in a specific career path. NOCTI’s credentials are developed by teams of subject matter experts and meet rigorous industry standards, resulting in a credential that measures skills and competencies critical for a learner’s success outside the classroom.

NOCTI’s Role In The Future of CTE

It is critical CTE programs are recognized for the role they play in preparing future workforces for success and the impact it has on economic recovery. As we move forward, CTE programs will continue to play a vital role in equipping current and future generations with the skills needed to be successful in an ever-changing economy and work landscape.

As a national leader in CTE credentialing solutions and resources, NOCTI has been a valuable partner in the CTE community’s efforts to improve America’s workforce for over 50 years. While our services have evolved over the years, our core mission of building a competent workforce through creative learning solutions has remained the same.

We fully expect to continue our evolution to address the need for new solutions. Whether that means updated credentials, new services, or expanded resources, we are here in full support of the CTE community as we meet new challenges and adjust to new learning environments. Contact us to learn more about our services or explore the resource section of our website.