Career Technical Education Programs; What are They and What is the Benefit?

Career Technical Education Programs; What are They and What is the Benefit?

Career Technical Programs are in Demand Because Trade Jobs are in Demand.

But why are there more trade jobs in demand? I’m glad you asked.  

For a number of reasons, the baby boomer generation had more workers in the trades. First off, because of the post-World War II economic boom, there was a strong demand for skilled labor in crafts like plumbing, electrical work, and building. Many people chose professions in the trades as a result of the numerous job opportunities readily available. Second, there was a cultural emphasis on physical labor and doing things by hand during the baby boomer generation. Many young people began to think about jobs in the trades as a result. Thirdly, many high schools during this time period featured vocational education programs that gave students practical experience in professions like carpentry, welding, and automobile repair, assisting students in preparing for careers in these fields.

Currently, the retirement age is being reached by a large number of skilled tradespeople, including HVAC specialists, plumbers, and electricians. The baby boomer generation—those who were born between 1946 and 1964—is now old enough to retire. Another cultural shift in favor of earning a college degree resulted in a fall in the number of young people choosing to pursue employment in the trades. As a result, many industries are experiencing a scarcity of trained personnel. Several regions are feeling the effects of the shortage, and some firms are having trouble filling positions with enough workers to fulfill demand. 

There are a number of factors that make pursuing trade occupations more appealing.  A growing number of adults whose parents believed they needed a college degree to secure a good career are instead saddled with significant student loan debt. Not wanting the same for their children, parents are now looking for alternatives to a complete four-year college education for their own children.  Young men and women can now take advantage of possibilities to earn top money right out of a trade program in high school thanks to the lack of trained workers in the trades. For the purpose of luring and keeping skilled staff, many organizations are prepared to pay greater wages and provide better benefits and even pay for training or technical schooling.

Because of this, schools that offer vocational education programs that provide students with hands-on training in trades such as plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry are much more appealing. Schools should consider partnering with local businesses and industry leaders to provide students with internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities to gain real-world experience and develop the skills needed for trade jobs early.  This would allow them to decide which path, college or trades, is really best for them.  Focusing on career readiness by providing students with courses and resources that help them develop skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication, which are important for success in trade jobs would also help those who did decide to pursue the college path. It certainly won’t hurt. Students may even consider this a backup plan in case they attended college but aren’t able to complete it for one reason or another.  Not to mention that any certification can make a student stand out to potential employers, improve their job prospects, and appear good on a résumé. Finally, trade schools are typically less expensive than traditional four-year colleges and universities when compared to the cost of college. 


Teaching with measuring tapes is good for mastering fractions in regular math classrooms as well as in the career tech classroom. 

By considering more options for high school students both during their high school years and post-graduation, schools can play a significant role in preparing students with the skills and knowledge for the high-demand trade jobs of the future. It makes sense to teach these hands-on skills whether students choose college or not because there is no downside to learning a trade.  For this reason, I have created material for career tech education.  You can visit my TeachersPayTeachers site and gets a ton of resources.  You can also check out the unique high school I work at built around the idea of preparing students for jobs in the trades while revitalizing a community -

Back to blog