Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (11/24)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Students: Be thankful for…

By Mike Porcelli

During this week of Thanksgiving, what should students be grateful for?

American students should be grateful they live in the only country where everyone, regardless of their background, has every opportunity to obtain all the education they want.

Students lucky enough to enroll in schools that develop their natural talents and abilities as much as possible, should be the most thankful. It’s proven they’ll enjoy the greatest long-term career and life success.

Unfortunately, as stressed here constantly, many schools still do not offer programs best suited to each student and continue to disparage and defund skilled trade training that could best fit many students’ needs.

We should all be thankful for the U.S. Military, because it not only protects us, it’s also our largest career training institution, where every member is evaluated and trained in the skills best suited to their abilities. More schools should follow their example. Every veteran I know is extremely thankful for their training in military and career skills, leading to later career success.

Even though the public and many education professionals now realize, the high school to college pipeline of the past 50 years has failed many students, schools continue to “guide” students into programs that don’t meet their needs, leaving them in debt, under-skilled and under-employed.

Even those “misguided” students can be grateful for the wide array of training programs available in all trades. Everyone in this country can obtain training which does suit them – even if belatedly. Students prevented from entering their preferred programs in high school or college, can find training in every profession, much of it available at little or no cost. They should be grateful for and take advantage of those opportunities.

Those previously denied their ideal education can be grateful for the numerous job-training programs available in every trade area. There are countless stories of high school and college-graduates, and non-graduates as well, who return to school to obtain skilled-trade-certifications, leading to satisfying careers. They can be grateful for training for high-paying jobs – at any age. Many trade-training programs have students of every age-group – proving it’s never too late to learn.

This year, I am thankful for the support expressed by many readers of this column each week and the increased interest in CTE programs shown by school board members and the Department of Education. I am particularly grateful that, possibly because of the thoughts expressed here, the City Council will soon consider passing legislation that will provide increased resources to expand and improve much-needed CTE programs in more schools. 

Everyone should immediately contact their City Council and school board members to demand expanded CTE programs wherever possible.

If this becomes a reality, next Thanksgiving, more students will be able to give thanks for entering their CTE program of choice, and their best possible education experiences.

Our students deserve it. Let’s do it!

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/ 

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (11/17)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Trade workers: Most essential

By Mike Porcelli

Photo by Kateryna Babaieva via Pexels

Last week – Veterans Week – many events highlighted the importance of trade workers to our economy and military forces.

As I marched with my fellow Veterans up Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade, I was reminded of how important trade workers are to military units.

The military equipment and vehicles on display at the parade require troops with the skills to repair and maintain them. Without such skilled workers, no military unit could function, just as no corporation operates without skilled workers to keep everything running.

After the parade, during ceremonies at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, the array of military equipment on the ship prompted me to ask a Navy Captain: What percentage of sailors on such a ship use trade-skills to support the ship’s mission? The answer was – more than half of all ship personnel are in trade related fields, from cooks and electricians, to mechanics who maintain both the ship and the aircraft it carries.

I’ve previously reported that NASA could not launch a single mission without their skilled workers who maintain all spacecraft and ground equipment. Likewise, our military could not launch a single mission without their skilled trade workers.

The reduction of trade education programs in schools for over half a century, has been detrimental to both our economy and military forces.

Civilian sector companies and military branches are finding it more difficult than ever to hire workers with trade skills.

This shortage of skilled workers has been detrimental to corporate bottom-lines, the economy in general and is a grave danger to National Security.

The only way to prevent economic collapse and a military without operational equipment is to immediately restore trade education in every school district nationwide.

I’ve written about several local events that are working toward that goal. Last week, another event on Long Island showed school board members the importance of trade-training and the vast opportunities it provides students. This is very encouraging.

To help reverse the decline of education generally, local recruiters from the Army were at the Long Island event and the Community Board 5 meeting to explain the benefits of march2Success.com for students.

The program, which can help students determine their aptitudes for various career paths and help them become better test-takers, can greatly assist schools in matching their education resources to student’s needs. 

I strongly recommend schools assist students in utilizing march2success as a tool to guide them to their best career paths. 

Everyone must recognize and respect not just the service of our combat veterans, but remember to honor the support troops whose trade skills keep military equipment functioning. 

Schools must also respect the needs of students who want such training and provide it, because: trade workers are most essential.

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (11/10)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Student ability and performance

By Mike Porcelli

Last week on the Dr. Phil and Martha MacCallum TV shows, Suffolk County Community College Professor of Political Science Nicholas Giordano, reported on the disturbing decline of student performance in American public schools.

Why is this important and how could it be allowed to happen in the greatest country in the history of the world?

It’s important because the continued success of our nation depends on the education of our next generation of workers.

For over a century, the U.S. has been the leader in developing new technology, the only country to visit the moon and been at the forefront of the quest to visit other planets.

This technological leadership will not continue if we do not improve the ability of our schools to produce the world’s best trained workers – in every area.

The most disturbing takeaways from these shows was how low our public school students rank among their peers in other developed nations, that this trend has been getting worse for decades, and our schools are lowering their standards to cover up the fact this decline is occurring.

I suggest that a major contributor to poor student performance could be an important principle stressed here each week… the need for schools to match their curricula to each student’s abilities and aptitudes.

When this is not the case, and education is not targeted to the student’s interests, the natural curiosity every student possesses is not satisfied, leading them to become disinterested – resulting in low grades, high dropout rates and unfulfilling professional and personal lives.

The first problem has been that schools generally do not have assessment programs in place to determine what subjects students are interested in, and what career paths coincide with those interests.

The second strike that students face is the generations of school administrators who decree, “Everyone must go to college.”

This attitude results in pushing students into programs they are not interested in, leading them to drop out and leaving them with limited employable skills and high levels of student debt they can’t pay.

What can be done to correct this situation before it’s too late?

As reported here many times, March2Success.com and other free programs offer schools the ability to help students assess their own aptitudes, skills and best career paths.

Schools must begin to implement these programs in order to balance their curricula with the demand in each subject area.

Schools must then develop and staff their academic and skilled trade programs to meet their respective demand. This is the only way to ensure that every student suited for CTE can receive it.

This goal must be accomplished if our country is to remain the world’s leading technological and economic power.

Government must get this done before it’s too late.

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/ 

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/ 

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (10/27)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Think CTE is not important? Think again.

By Mike Porcelli

For several decades I’ve served on trade education advisory boards, where I’ve witnessed the reduction and often destruction of most of those programs. Several no longer exist. It’s a great disservice to students who cannot benefit from the training once provided to previous graduates.

In recent years, I’ve been a member of DOE advisory commissions for the automotive, engineering and construction programs. These commissions, comprised of industry leaders, educators and administrators, advise DOE on ways to improve CTE programs in their respective industries.

Members of these commissions donate their time and expertise to help ensure the programs deliver the type of training needed to properly prepare students to fill the millions of skilled jobs that are growing faster than we can fill them.

We do so in the hope that school systems can increase CTE programs to the level needed to serve the diverse educational needs of students and produce graduates with skills needed by industry.

I commend DOE for creating the commissions and hope our efforts can increase and improve these programs.

Sadly, in conversations with other commission members last week, I learned of the loss of more CTE programs.

Two related how their schools scrapped hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment when they replaced their automotive programs with a graphics department — a mistake that I hope can soon be corrected.

Not because art is not an important educational path for students with the aptitude for it, but because, when we can’t fill the jobs vacated by retiring qualified mechanics, our entire transportation system will literally crash.

While art offers pleasure for people, mechanics provide life-saving essential services that are the backbone of industrial life. Schools must understand this and set their priorities accordingly.

Another commission member related how NASA actively recruits to fill jobs in every trade category, because they can’t launch a single mission without them.

To demonstrate the importance of trade jobs to the space program: no astronaut has ever left this earth — and returned safely — without the work of the mechanics and other trade workers who build and maintain their ships.

Like the skilled worker shortage in every industry, if NASA cannot find enough trade workers, the entire space program will fall behind.

School boards and administrators who have disparaged, disrespected and defunded CTE programs in the past should ask astronauts, airline pilots, truck drivers and ship captains how much their lives depend on the skills their maintenance crews acquired in CTE programs.

They should also ask themselves how safe they will feel flying in planes or riding in cars or elevators that are serviced by technicians who lack the essential skills they could have learned in the CTE programs they’ve disbanded.

Schools must provide CTE programs that produce enough technicians to maintain every type of vehicle — from baby carriages to spaceships.

All our lives depend on it.

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/ 

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/ 

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (10/13)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Last Friday, my quest to report on the latest in current career opportunities led me to Manufacturing Day at the Nassau County Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Manufacturing Day is held annually on the first Friday in October with events throughout the month.

It’s organized nationally by The Manufacturing Institute and features thousands of local events to introduce students, parents, teachers and community leaders to modern manufacturing careers by encouraging companies and educational institutions to open their doors to prospective students.

Manufacturers reach out to future workers all month, as they seek to fill over four million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade.

Friday’s event, billed as: Long Island manufacturers open their doors both virtually and in-person to welcome their future workforce to the exciting world of manufacturing. It was organized by Ron Loveland and the Hauppauge Industrial Association.

Loveland opened the afternoon by noting that the audience included over 60 manufacturers, more than 80 students and parents, with 300+ attendees and a virtual livestream audience.

He added that since its inception seven years ago, job connections between students and industry have continually increased.

The afternoon was keynoted by Derek Peterson, CEO of Soter Technologies, with an inspiring presentation about education and his rise from humble beginnings to the top of the manufacturing world.

He inspired all students to do what he did, by taking advantage of the incredible opportunities in the endless variety of jobs for college grads, and those with no degree requirements offering on-the-job training.

Several presenters spoke about their path into the industry, mostly without adequate guidance from their high schools.

Two recent engineering graduates relayed that they found their way into the field on their own without any school-provided career guidance, a sad fact of life for too many high school students that must come to an end.

Schools must begin to do more to assess students’ talents and provide them with appropriate career guidance.

Labor commissioners of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, representatives of seven local colleges, dozens of companies and panels of students, teachers and businesses continually stressed the wide array of available jobs.

A recurring theme of the day was that half of those high-paying jobs do not require college degrees.

I commend all the organizations and individuals who participated in Manufacturing Day, and strongly recommend that every high school student, their parents, teachers and school administrators view the video of the presentations on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL7HM7usd7U&t=986s

Take away from the event: Schools must learn the needs of industry to provide instruction and career guidance for all students entering college and/or the workforce.

Schools must deliver the training and career guidance students deserve. 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/ 

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (10/6)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Last weekend my mission to restore trade education in our schools included a road-trip to Warren, Michigan, where I attended electric vehicle training at the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College, home of one of the finest automotive education programs.

CAAT is part of a network funded by the National Science Foundation to ensure that the workforce of the future includes people with the skills needed to maintain ever-changing technologies.

The workforce development part of the presentations included many of the ideas espoused here each week regarding the need for schools to match their instruction to the talents and abilities of students and produce graduates with the skills needed by industry.

CAAT works with high schools and colleges to promote programs that produce graduates with the needed combination of skills. They also bring talent exploration programs to middle and grade schools to help young students understand the types of careers that match their natural talents – another constant theme here. They do this by providing funding to improve and disseminate programs that prepare students for jobs in advanced automotive technology.

The idea that such programs are sorely needed was dramatically illustrated by the event’s keynote speaker, Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, a think-tank helping to design the future of the automotive industry.

Bailo became a leading industry engineer and executive despite her high school counselors’ determination that she should become a journalist or politician.

Against the advice of her school’s “experts,” who told her that “girls like her don’t need science classes,” she enrolled in chemistry, where the teacher recognized her natural aptitude and advised her to study engineering, something she never considered to that point.

She credits that teacher’s astute recognition of her potential, with setting her on a path to become one of the most successful engineers in the auto industry, and a role-model for young women in STEM careers everywhere.

Sadly, Bailo regrets her son lacked accurate guidance from his high school, and his college major was not suited to his natural talents, causing him to later learn a trade that did fit his talents.

Each of the other speakers spoke about various CAAT-sponsored programs that help schools improve their assessment of students and help guide them into their best academic and career paths.

Bailo summed up the essential objective of CAAT, and this column, by saying: “The education establishment must change to accurately assess students’ abilities and provide instruction matched to them, thereby maximizing their individual potential.”

Go to: http://autocaat.org/Home/ to see how local schools can implement CAAT’s and Carla’s recommendations.

Every school MUST meet this goal. 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/ 

Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (9/29)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

In my continuing mission to advocate for the availability of career training best suited to students, I constantly encounter groups dedicated to helping them discover their best career paths. Every school and family of young students should take advantage of the career exploration counseling services offered by these organizations. They represent many industries; most are widely available, and many are free to use.

This week, I introduce you to: https://techforce.org/ – a nonprofit committed to career exploration and workforce development for students and professional technicians in automotive, aviation, collision, diesel, marine and other mechanical technologies. It is composed of students, working technicians, instructors and industry professionals committed to empowering the industry workforce.

TechForce inspires young people to explore the technician profession, supports students obtaining the technical training to become workforce-ready and connects techs with resources, mentors and employers to advance their careers. They champion students through their technical education and into the trades by offering career exploration tools to middle and high school students and guiding future techs through their education, career development and job placement. 

It is a hub for career exploration, workforce development and job placement of professional technicians, and is the largest nonprofit scholarship provider for those entering the industry. Since 2007, they’ve awarded over $17,000,000 in scholarships and grants to more than 40,000 aspiring technicians.

In order to better reach the students who can most benefit from their services, TechForce has built the first-ever social network dedicated to aspiring and professional technicians. The network is free to join and allows techs and students to connect with industry events, scholarships, and jobs, all while having fun. Explore TechForce’s social network at: http://techforce.org/Network/

TechForce and other such career development organizations recognize that students are all wired differently, that many can be better off not incurring the debt of a 4-year college degree, and there are many different paths to career success. It’s time for our schools to acknowledge these facts and restore respect for technical education, the skilled trades and the essential workers who keep America moving by expanding CTE programs nationwide.

In order to accomplish their goal to be the champion for all technicians, TechForce collaborates with every willing school, company, association and nonprofit across all industry sectors to identify solutions that help current and future techs successfully navigate their career paths, from entry to placement. They currently have working relationships with over 300 Partner Schools in the TechForce Network.

Readers should participate in local school board meetings to demand that school systems join with TechForce and similar services to maximize the development of every student’s natural abilities and talents so they can have successful careers.

For our economy and society to continue to prosper: 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/ 

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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