With a substantial percentage of the workforce in Michigan’s Great Southwest still working with their hands to make things and/or help other manufacturers to make things, this month’s focus on Career & Technical Education in the Great Lakes State is music to the ears of manufacturers in search of skilled labor across the region.
Through career and technical education, students are trained in an environment where they are taught using hands-on techniques that can be applied to real-world, 21st-century careers after graduation.
Manufacturers are delighted that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared February to be Career and Technical Education Month in Michigan in a bid to expose students and their influencers to the career-tech classes and programs here in the region and all across the state that teach skills needed for limitless high-demand, high-skill, high wage career opportunities.
Gov. Whitmer says, “Every child deserves and has a right to exceptional public education, and career and technical education is another viable path for our high school students to build strong academic foundations and specific technical skills to succeed in their chosen career path.” The Governor adds, “As parents, educators and influencers, we need to encourage students to explore all career pathways and make sure they know these programs exist.”
With more than 811,000 open jobs in Michigan through the year 2024, the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education have called for increasing the state’s investment in its most valuable resource – talent.
Stephanie Beckhorn is Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. She contends, “Highlighting Career and Technical Education month is a time to focus on the state’s efforts to encourage students and educators to get involved and take advantage of these successful programs.” Beckhorn adds, “Research is clear, career-tech classes are highly effective in better preparing students for their educational pathway and leading to a rewarding career.”
Schools across Michigan offer career and technical education programs in a variety of fields, including finance, health sciences, business marketing and administration, information technology and advanced manufacturing which can lead to filling the state’s high-demand jobs, such as registered nurses, accountants and auditors, commercial truck drivers and operations managers. Michigan’s Career and Technical Education community have access to an abundance of resources relevant to CTE programs in their schools through the Office of Career and Technical Education website.
Sheila Alles is Interim State Schools Superintendent. She argues, “We need to continue expanding Career and Technical Education programs in Michigan schools to make sure our students have the real-world, hands-on experience they need to take advantage of rewarding career opportunities,” and adds, “As we move to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years, it is important that we inspire and encourage students to explore all options along their educational journey.”
The state needs the support of educational institutions and other stakeholders to create innovative solutions to uphold teachers in the classroom, working with these students to prepare them for a certificate in Professional Trades, apprenticeships, a two-year or a four-year college degree.
Enrollment in career-tech programs in Michigan is up by over 6,000 students since 2015 with total enrollment exceeding 110,000 in 2018. Over 95-percent of students who complete a CTE program go on to attend a post-secondary educational institution, seek advanced career and technical education training, sign up for military service, or find employment within a year of graduation, according to the Michigan Department of Education.
Students, parents, educators and life-long learners looking to know more about potential career options can use the state’s Pathfinder website, which includes data on training, wages and projected openings.
Additional information about Professional Trades careers and Career and Technical Education Month and programs can be found at Going-PRO.com/CTE.
The Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan (Ted) allows the state to leverage its ability to build talent with in-demand skills while helping state businesses grow and thrive. Joining job creation and economic development efforts under one umbrella, Ted consists of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Michigan Strategic Fund, Talent Investment Agency and Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority.
You can learn more about Ted online at www.michigan.gov/Ted.