Monroe Community College Gets Grant To Ramp Up Career, Technical Education (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture

Career and technical education (CTE) is everywhere today. Even in a nation often divided along partisan lines, there is a consensus about the role of career and technical education in helping the nation increase its global competitiveness.

The challenges facing the contemporary world demand solutions that are practical and based in both existing and innovative technologies. Moreover, today’s 21st century economy forces us to reconsider ideas of what counts for a solid education. Rather than an either/or dichotomy between the liberal arts and technical skills, career and technical education is beginning to encompass the philosophy of lifelong learning, a rigorous education and learning that is built to last with needed workforce skills and competencies.

If the prior centuries were times of exploration, discovering the world and sorting out the differences between old stories of the universe from demonstrable fact, this century can be best characterized as a time of knowing more about our world, about what works, and about applying these concepts and skills. Our confidence in our place in the world is accompanied by a growing sense of responsibility to the environment and to future generations. CTE embeds many of these contemporary themes we find ourselves in that add great value to our lives.

To engage these themes, CTE has undergone a shift in perceptions. Not too long ago, CTE was seen as less than college-level learning. This is hardly the case anymore. Billions are now spent on CTE and different permutations of CTE are part of the public discourse, e.g., STEM fields and middle-skill, high-wage and high-demand careers.

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