To the Editor:
Currently in the United States, millions of jobs remain unfilled as employers struggle to find workers with the right skills to fill positions.
To address this skills gap between the current skills of the workforce and the needs of business and industry, we must offer programs that prepare students with the right knowledge and skills to secure a job and succeed in the global economy. These programs—in high schools and colleges—must be consistent, rigorous, and aligned to current industry demands. I agree with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who said that the largest federal career and technical education, or CTE, program “must be transformed if it is to live up to its potential.”
State CTE directors across the nation are taking action. We have united around a vision and developed the Common Career Technical Core, a shared set of standards that meet a quality benchmark for CTE programs, which will be released June 19. Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, and Palau supported the development of these standards.
We already know that consistent, rigorous standards are essential to preparing students for college and careers. Education stakeholders acknowledged this notion when they rallied behind the Common Core State Standards. The technical core will embrace and align with the common-core standards to encourage rigor and consistency among CTE programs. Further, the technical core will articulate career-ready expectations that industry requires for specific occupational fields.
All students deserve access to CTE programs that educate and train to high standards and industry demands. It’s time for the education community to support the adoption of a next set of standards that will allow more opportunities for students and our nation.
National Career Technical Education Foundation
National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium
Silver Spring, Md.
A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2012 edition of Education Week as Standards Exist for Career and Technical Education