COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the most foundational aspects of our society, including our education systems and nation’s economy. With millions of Americans unemployed and some industry sectors shuttered or undergoing rapid transformation, Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less and female workers have been disproportionately impacted. Now, more than ever, Career Technical Education (CTE) is vital to our nation’s learners, employers and America’s economic recovery.
While there is great uncertainty about the pandemic’s ongoing and long-term impact on our country, there is certainty that CTE is vital to recovery because of its proven track record. The postsecondary completion rate is nearly doubled for learners in CTE programs (56.8%) compared to all two-year institutions (29%). And 86% of adult CTE learners continue their education or are employed within six months of completing a program. Additionally, about a third of CTE learners are enrolled in programs in leading fields such as health care, information technology and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) – careers that are especially important during the coronavirus.
Through CTE, displaced workers can upskill and reskill and prepare for reentry into the workforce and employers can find a pipeline of well-qualified talent who can adapt to and thrive in the ever-changing world of work. This is especially important given that after the last recession, the majority of new or replacement jobs went to employees with more than a high school diploma, including 3.1 million jobs that went to those with an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificates.
As our nation simultaneously continues to fight the pandemic and also begins to respond to the economic downturn that has harmed so many businesses and families, ensuring that equitable access to CTE is part of the solution is a message every policymaker needs to hear. To that end, today, Advance CTE released new tools including a short video to help state CTE leaders make the case for CTE to policymakers and other key stakeholders.