Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about job creation, which is a great and necessary pursuit. But, as many in the CTE field are aware, a variety of career fields already have an abundance of jobs that aren’t being filled because employers in those industries are having trouble finding qualified candidates to hire.
In order to help fix the discrepancy between the types of jobs that are available and the types of jobs for which students are training, two things need to happen.
First, students, schools, and training programs need information to guide their decisions and illuminate pathways to success. In other words, they need to know which careers are in demand.
Harris School Solutions, working with CAROCP, already came up with a solution to address this issue: the California CTE College and Career Indicator Dashboard.
The second thing that needs to happen is for all of us who are part of the CTE community to take actions based on the information available in the dashboard.
Here are the three actions we need to take in order to help more students achieve successful futures:
1. Guide parents and students.
The first step in helping students get into successful careers is to let parents and students know that job opportunities exist. Many students may not be aware that opportunities already are available, especially with the recent national push to create new jobs.
But even for students who understand that certain industries are, in fact, hiring, those students likely don’t know which fields have a ton of opportunities and which ones don’t. That’s why it’s important to educate parents and students on the facts of the matter – there are jobs out there if you know where to look and if you train accordingly.
2. Promote internships in schools.
Once you’ve created awareness, the next step is to promote student internships in high school.
There are too many benefits of internship programs to list them all, but a few include:
- Students get a better sense of what working in a particular field really is like, making it more likely that they’ll find jobs that are right for each of them as individuals (which translates into long-term career success for CTE students).
- Companies get to promote themselves and their industries, which is good for their businesses.
- Schools and programs, as a result of all of this, build on their success rates – and student success, after all, is the goal of every educator and trainer.
- In the long term, filling more jobs helps the economy, which in turn helps to create even more job opportunities. It’s a cycle that builds on itself.
3. Get businesses involved.
Following up on the last point, internship programs are a two-way street. That means that, while promoting internships in schools, you also need to encourage participation among businesses.
Beyond just setting up an agreement where students get hired by businesses in order to learn about specific careers, a solid internship program goes even further.
To get the most out of an internship agreement, it helps to encourage businesses to visit schools and help educate students on the current state of employment. This means holding career fairs with local employers, bringing in entrepreneurs to speak to classes, and getting businesses to share information about which careers are in demand, which jobs pay the best, and more.
By taking these three steps in conjunction with the data from the CTE College and Career Indicator Dashboard, you can help students, schools, businesses, and the CTE community — both locally and as a whole — to succeed.
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