If you didn’t already know, February was “National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.” To land a steady career in construction, you need the right training and skills. Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a style of education structured around practical, real-world experience. The hands-on training provided delivers competent workers, and keeps our industry and nation strong.
What is Career & Technical Education (CTE)?
CTE is a style of education that allows students to get a head-start on prepping for college and their career. CTE programs are offered in a variety of school settings across America, including high schools and middle schools, career and technical centers, and community/technical colleges.
With the CTE program framework, applied experience is the end-goal. Students learn how core academic subjects are used in real-life, then participate in practical training in their chosen field through job shadows and internships.
CTE in Action
The Southern Regional Education Board found that students at schools with integrated academic and CTE programs out-perform schools without CTE programs, especially within reading, math, and science.
Many CTE programs allow students to earn certifications that are recognized nationally. Students could land a job straight out of high school to bank-roll their college tuition. College students are job-ready and capable after graduation. Graduates can either earn an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the post-secondary level, or an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Why are CTE Programs Relevant for a Career in Construction?
Highly-skilled positions within the construction industry demand rigorous training. You built your career from the ground up, and you didn’t do it by reading a textbook. You got your hands dirty. You worked hard. In industrial and commercial construction, the rewards are great, the training is hands-on, and your future is what you make of it. CTE programs allow students to put down the book and learn on the fly.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than a quarter of the projected fastest growing occupations are related to construction. 18 of the 20 occupations with the most new jobs projected for 2020 will require on-the-job training, an associate degree, or post-secondary credentials.
You’ve paid your dues, but what about today’s up-and-comers? They face different challenges. Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee security. 20 or 30 years ago, a high school diploma was often enough to land a steady job in the construction industry. Those opportunities are drying up. In today’s competitive job market, workers need an edge to succeed. They need to be competent and job-ready. CTE programs deliver the hands-on training required to create skilled professionals within the construction industry.
Building a Solid Future
Bravo to the educators who get that practical training creates more competent workers. At Graybar, we encourage you to join us in setting a strong example for our nation’s youth. Let’s lead by example and encourage America’s youth to pursue a career in the construction industry.
What’s Your Take?
Over to you. What guidance would you give someone looking to build a career within construction? If you could rewind 5, 10, or even 20 years, what career advice would you give your younger self? Feel free to post a comment below and engage with us on Twitter @GraybarESP.
Sources & Credits
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections: 2012-2022
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition
Southern Regional Education Board, Linking Career/Technical Studies to Broader High School Reform, 2004
Todd Reed, National Market Manager
Husband to a professionally-licensed architectural engineer and lighting designer, and son-in-law to an electrician, Todd knows the importance of efficiency, safety, and productivity for electrical contractors. Todd is a seasoned professional, with 5 years’ experience within a family-owned distribution business, and 10 years as a Graybar employee. As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.