Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (11/3)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

The Growing Importance of CTE

By Mike Porcelli

Two events last week highlighted for me why CTE is increasingly important for students now more than ever.

First, I attended another event highlighting the tremendous job opportunities available to workers of all ages trained to operate and maintain the latest technology.

Manufacturing Day kicked off last month with an event presented by Long Island Manufacturers talking about the high-paying careers in all levels of their industries. Recent grads spoke about how various STEM programs and initiatives like Robotics Camps and industry internships helped guide them to very satisfying career choices.

In a follow-up to closeout Manufacturing Month, Haas Automation and their community of educators held a Demonstration Day to expose students to the power of modern, advanced manufacturing equipment, and the vast array of high-paying jobs for the operators.

Their goal is to produce enough high-tech machinists for generations to come, something our economy must achieve to survive. These jobs require high levels of training that CTE programs can provide, leading to very demanding, profitable and secure careers quickly.

Such modern manufacturing equipment is totally unlike the simple machinist tools I used in high school. Today it’s all computer-controlled, and all future machinists will need to be computer programmers as well. Hence, the increased importance of CTE for every trade.

The other encouraging event I participated in last week was a meeting with the DOE’s new Pathways Office. I’m so happy to see the DOE is pursuing a strategy of career guidance for students at an early age and will no longer push every student into college programs that don’t meet their needs.

Working toward his objective to better match education programs to each individual student, Chancellor Banks has outlined a bold vision reimagining the student experience based on career-connected learning that leads to long term economic security for all, rather than programs that benefit the administrators more than the students – a great improvement over the previous system.

His vision is to integrate academic excellence with real world skills and experience, giving students a shortcut to rewarding careers. CTE is an essential part of this vision. I hope to see the new Pathways Office implement programs that work for all students.

Speaking of all students, DOE also has a new office of Diversity and Inclusion. I’m sure the work they do will be beneficial, but when it comes to providing students with their best educational experiences, diversity must mean offering the wide variety of programs that match each student in terms of their aptitude and ability to succeed, and inclusion must allow every student to be included in the program that best suits their needs, not those of the “system.”

Diverse training and matching the diversity of student abilities must be achieved.

Student success depends on this

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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