Readers' voice

Dear readers,
    The world of work is changing.  As technology and global competition continue to disrupt work and higher education models, the need for career-technical education (CTE) is becoming more important everyday.
    February is Career-Technical Education Month, and Michigan Works! of Berrien-Cass-Van Buren salutes the thousands of students in our region preparing themselves for college and a career.
    The U.S. Manufacturing Institute says more than three million job openings are coming in the next decade – two million of which could go unfilled due to a skills gap and shortage of technical workers.  According to Fortune Magazine, as many as two-thirds of U.S. companies across multiple industries are finding it hard to fill jobs, with the biggest gaps in technology and health care.
    Closer to home, occupations requiring CTE courses will account for more than 15,500 jobs in the region, accounting for 16% of the payrolled employment in Southwest Michigan.  The benefits of CTE are many:
    •    In our region and the country, students are more likely to graduate if they participate in a CTE class.  The graduation rate nationally is over 10 percent higher than students who do not participate in CTE, and the rate has been growing over the last five years.
    •    Students develop employability skills.  CTE students say they develop problem solving, project completion, research, time management, and critical thinking skills during high school.
    •    Students also tend to achieve better in other subjects.  Students at schools with highly integrated academic and CTE programs score higher in reading, math, and science than students in less integrated programs.
    •    CTE students also gain job specific skills relative to a specific career pathway, and in many cases in Southwest Michigan can earn certifications while still in high school.
    Every day we hear from employers about talent.  It is  the number one issue facing job creators and communities.  It helps drive economic development.  Michigan will be facing a huge professional trades workforce gap of over 545,000 openings in the next six years.  CTE is one of the solutions.  One of the solutions with real results.
    We encourage our educators in Southwest Michigan to continue to look for ways to innovate and provide high level career-technical education.  We understand that new equipment, new processes, and training for the next generation of jobs won’t be easy or inexpensive.  Michigan Works! Berrien-Cass-Van Buren stands ready to work with you to inspire positive economic change one person, one business, and one community at a time.

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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