You Should Care About CTE Pathways for Manufacturing

Katherine Anderson
Monday, September 26, 2016 - 12:30pm

In this blog series, we delve into four important Career Clusters® that are in need of more educated and well-trained students to fill the higher-skill, higher-wage jobs open to them. These Career Clusters are health science, information technology, business management and administration, and manufacturing. In this post, we focus on the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing: The Backbone of Our Country

There are many reasons why you, and your students, should care about the manufacturing industry! Manufacturing employs a remarkably large share of the labor force and produces materials required by consumers and sectors such as national infrastructure and defense. Modern manufacturing contributes to economic growth and raises both the technological stock and skills of a country. It is the backbone of our country and can be a strategic advantage for countries worldwide.

Looking at the numbers in the United States, there are 12.33 million manufacturing workers who account for 9 percent of the total workforce. Manufacturing supports an estimated 18.5 million jobs—about one in six private-sector jobs. In 2014, the average manufacturing worker earned $79,553 annually, including pay and benefits.

Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed. Two million of these jobs are expected to go unfilled due to a skills gap in the workforce. This is where Career and Technical Education (CTE) comes in. CTE curriculum is a solution to educate and train the next generation of skilled manufacturing workers.

Life-Long Manufacturing Career Preparation with CTE

Educators should no longer be satisfied teaching students a narrow set of skills sufficient for entry-level jobs—they should be focused on preparing students for life-long careers. Outdated vocational education curriculum that consisted of low-level courses, job training, and single electives, is being replaced with CTE programs that are academically rigorous, integrated, and sequenced programs. These CTE pathways directly lead to postsecondary education or career certification.

The numbers speak volumes about the success of CTE pathways. The average high school graduation rate for CTE students is 90 percent, well above the national average graduation rate of only 81 percent. Among students who didn’t finish school, 81 percent say that relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in school, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Through CTE, students are inspired to grow and continue in their academic endeavors when provided with the ability to succeed in real-life scenarios using lessons that directly apply to their future career path. If a student wants to explore a career in manufacturing, they will be given the option to do so within a comprehensive CTE pathway, and find rich preparation for a bright future in the manufacturing industry.   

Blended and Online Comprehensive CTE Pathways

Online and blended learning offers an ideal solution for districts looking to transform their schools and expand their CTE offering quickly, affordably, and thoroughly. You might be wondering what a comprehensive CTE online and blended program looks like? Here are some important points to look for when choosing a CTE curriculum solution:

  • A program solution that offers a variety of high-demand Career Clusters®
  • A progression of high-quality, rigorous courses in every pathway offered
  • The opportunity for students to earn industry-recognized certifications
  • Rich supporting services offerings such as:
    • Certification exam preparation
    • Career exploration platform and tools
    • Career and technical student organizations

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