Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (10/20)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Last week brought another workforce development event to our city, the annual NYC Employment and Training Coalition Conference.

Attended by hundreds of professionals from dozens of workforce development organizations and government in the metropolitan area, the event highlighted the latest efforts by government and the private sector to produce workers needed by modern industries in the coming decades.

The day was kicked off by Gregory J. Morris, in his first week as the new Coalition CEO. Morris and his staff presented an agenda filled with a wide array of knowledgeable speakers with an understanding of the past failures of school systems to deliver education as needed, and a desire to correct those errors.

Panels of experts and individual speakers addressed all areas of education and career training from every angle.

Everyone agreed that the herding of every high school graduate into college before they’re ready is a disservice to both students and employers, and a large segment of those students are better suited for trade career opportunities. The key is, how to distinguish which students should go where after high school.

I was gratified to see many speakers reiterate that students’ skills assessments are necessary to match students with their best path.

One presenter from SkyHive.ai, a company that seeks to optimize labor skills distribution, spoke about their artificial intelligence platform that generates skills intelligence information to match the supply of labor skills with demand.

Their objective is to provide a future-proof workforce that closes the skills gap. It’s a worthy program that I hope our education system can utilize. 

This year’s conference theme was “Advancing Talent & Equity for a Thriving Economy,” by examining solutions within workforce and economic development. A theme that coincides with the purpose of this column each week – to promote a system that delivers training equitably geared to the talents of each student, thereby allowing them to maximize their personal potential, while meeting industry needs. That’s the essence of workforce development.

Among the many speakers was Mayor Eric Adams, who spoke about bringing trade education back to public schools and equitably matching curriculum to the needs of students.

As the mayor exited the stage, I offered him my help to accomplish those goals, and was greatly encouraged when his staff immediately responded with a request for a meeting. I hope that meeting, and the mayor’s experience as a mechanic, will result in a more rapid restoration of CTE classes for all students who can benefit from them, and the expanded use of tools like ShyHive.ai and March2Success.com to fill those programs with candidates. 

The major consensus of the day revolved around the need to expand CTE programs and career exploration for younger students.

A key takeaway was stated by one of the speakers, to great applause: “K to 12 education = workforce development.”

Schools must deliver programs and career guidance with that in mind. INSIST THAT THEY DO!

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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