Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (9/22)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Each year we start off September by celebrating Labor Day, the day set aside to honor the contributions of working people.

But few people know that it’s also Workforce Development Month, and the third Friday is known as National Tradesmen Day.

Last week I attended City & State’s Future of Work Summit, where leaders in workforce development explored how to produce the labor-force of the future.

A major focus of the day was the role of education in developing that workforce — something I have been promoting for decades.

The event featured many local and state officials, who spoke about the importance of training young people to fill jobs our economy needs — particularly trade jobs.

Like last month’s Education Summit, each speaker acknowledged that our schools are not producing enough graduates with trade skills.

We must correct that deficiency by expanding Career and Technical Education and guiding students into the careers they are best suited for. That must become our most important education priority — before it’s too late.

The theme of the day seemed to be, schools must provide training that is paired with students’ talents and abilities, something this column has repeatedly stressed.

The alignment of training that fits the needs of both students and industry must be the goal of our education system.

After decades of reducing trade training programs, leaders of government, education and industry are finally recognizing the error of that policy and actively seeking to correct it.

It was very encouraging to hear many of the speakers reiterate what I have been preaching for years, but there seemed to be a lack of awareness about how to achieve balance in the programs that schools offer.

I was greatly disappointed that none of the speakers were aware of the https://www.march2success.com/ program discussed here last week, even though it was featured at last month’s Education Summit, but pleased that several of the speakers promised to investigate how March2Success could help schools align their offerings with students.

In this month of recognition of the value of all workers, especially those who work with their hands and high-tech minds, with the skills to maintain the modern technology we all rely on every day for our very existence, it’s time to remember how dependent we are on their skills and honor all tradesmen as earlier societies did.

Every day should be Tradesmen-Appreciation-Day. They are among our most essential workers. Show them the respect they deserve and join the CTE Revolution to produce more of them.

Schools must develop each student’s individual natural abilities and talents – whatever they are.

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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