Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (02/23)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Career Ed – Respectable Again?

Dr. Anthony Carnevale

Dr. Anthony Carnevale


As we close CTE Month for 2023, I am pleased to report that last week, two events made me optimistic for the future of Career and Technical Education and its growing popularity and positive image among students & their families.

Last Friday, I attended the Conference on Community College Excellence at Bronx Community College, where I currently teach automotive technology.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Anthony Carnevale, a research Professor and Director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

An economist with decades of experience in employment studies, Dr. Carnevale has a wealth of knowledge on workforce issues. His remarks were filled with hope for the future of community colleges, our economy and the future success of our skilled trade workforce.

Although Dr. Carnevale repeated the common assertion that those with college degrees have higher career earnings than those without them, his talk included details that added vital context to that somewhat misleading fact.

He noted that for high school graduates not going to degree granting universities, post high school technical training will be required for career success in the future. He further stated that those who currently obtain skilled trade training at two-year colleges or private trade schools often will earn more than recent grads with bachelor’s degrees during their first decade of work.

Another interesting fact was the statistic that showed how one’s field of study is a major factor in the earning potential of graduates of both colleges and skilled trade training institutions.

Some of the other fascinating statistics presented were related to the importance of skilled trade training as the best path to the middle class, especially for those who have been historically underprivileged and underserved by our schools. 

Among the key takeaways from Dr. Carnevale’s presentation: The outlook for our economy is good, in the next decade over a million new jobs will be created for college graduates, and another million highly-paid trade workers with post-secondary certifications will also be needed.

Additionally, community colleges offer one of the best options for students to obtain required job skills, because they also offer a direct path to further education – bachelor’s degrees and beyond.

His presentation’s most important points were:

1 – Combining college degrees and skilled trade certifications, offers the best opportunity for long-term career success and income. (Highly recommended)

2 – High schools and community colleges need to provide students with more accurate information on educational and employment opportunities, along with career guidance matched to individual students’ interests and needs. (a must)

The other event that gave me great hope for the future of CTE, was the Annual Economic Summit of the Hauppauge Industrial Association, where several of Long Island’s leading CEO’s discussed factors affecting their businesses, including the importance of skilled trade workers to their success.

The HIA speakers and audience both expressed great respect for the work of skilled tradesmen and were extremely supportive of increasing CTE programs.

Each speaker I saw last week, was singing my song with the same thoughts presented here – Giving me hope that:

CTE is Respectable Again!

Academic & Trade Education are Two Sides of a Coin. 

This column explores the impact of CTE programs on students, society, and the economy.

Mike Porcelli: life-long mechanic, adjunct professor, and host of Autolab Radio, is committed to restoring trade education in schools before it’s too late. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-porcelli-master-mechanic-allasecerts/ 

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