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What Could 2022 Hold for Career & Technical Education?

As we continue drudging towards the post-pandemic era, CTE programs across the U.S. continue to capture attention in various fields. For example, labor statistics hint that career and technical education programs could play a substantial role in how our nation recovers from the pandemic. This notion is especially true for Healthcare CTE programs, where highly trained and certified staff are still in demand.

All the advanced skills, new funding sources, and approaches the industry has introduced over the past 18 months are helping to drive an extension of program services. And as a result, the thousands of employers continuing to scramble to hire qualified workers now find CTE graduates especially appealing.

We could expect to see more government program education and implementation.

Our U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, posted an open letter to the nation's students and their parents immediately following his confirmation. In that letter, he shared his plan layout for education. For example, one crucial plan element he suggested was that a heavier focus would be on CTE programming, making it an essential part of what’s next in education. 

In fact, we learned that Cardona, himself, is a product of CTE programming, which makes him a continued advocate and big proponent of career and technical education. As a result of initially studying as an automotive mechanic, he soon shifted his focus onto college and became a teacher. Because he values education and the power of CTE programming, he wants to ensure that every student has as much flexibility as needed for helping them choose the best career path. 

Also, we could anticipate more CTE college and career readiness experiences for students. 

Since Cardona introduced his new focus and commitment to helping students prepare for life beyond high school, CTE advocates welcome his ideas and embrace its future. For instance, Meredith Hills, the Senior Policy Associate for Advance CTE, stated, “I think we've seen that there is this huge interest in CTE, and we've heard CTE being talked about at the national level in a way that it really hasn't been before.”1 “… Cardona – he understands it, he gets it.”

Other Advanced CTE staff and administrators shared their insights on what the future could hold through Cardona’s plan as well. For instance, one executive discussed how, for many years, CTE’s focus was on college OR career readiness instead of on BOTH. She stated that when students have the opportunity to choose both a college AND career experience, the true essence of CTE can be solidified and made clear.

The executives also foresee Cardona’s education department focusing more on CTE equity, where there’s a renewed emphasis on opening access to post-secondary education and community colleges. Overall, CTE program advocates hope this new education plan ensures one major thing. They hope that as resources become available, what comes from the government gets into the hands of institutions and organizations that are prepared to expand and build CTE programming.

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