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A path to high-paying jobs needs to be rediscovered in California

By in Press Enterprise on October 29, 2017

By Marc Steinorth

General Contractors of America found that 70 percent of construction firms are having difficulty hiring quality workers to fill positions as electricians, bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers. The shortage of skilled workers presents a serious problem, but there is a silver lining.

These large numbers of job openings offer a good opportunity to reduce poverty and decrease the unemployment rate.

The real problem is a lack of proper education. Employers are unhappy with new graduates who need additional training before they can get to work. The state government needs to dedicate funding for programs that teach concrete skills.

Career Technical Education offers young people the academic and technical knowledge that opens up a pathway to good-paying jobs in the 21st century economy.

CTE is a critical tool that closes the labor skills gap and prepares students for an ever-changing workforce. It offers comprehensive courses that combine academic knowledge and hands-on occupational skills training for blue-collar careers. It’s a cost-effective program that equips students with the right skills to land a job immediately after graduation.

California doesn’t dedicate enough resources toward career technical programs. The state spends roughly $74 billion on education, and of that, CTE only receives 0.4 percent. Earlier this year, there was a proposal to cut nearly $16 million from K-12 vocational programs. In response, I led a group of bipartisan legislators urging the governor to restore CTE funding. Through efforts from the group of legislators and personal advocacy, the governor agreed to fund technical learning. We can fix this problem by giving it a larger and permanent source of funding.

Other states have shown that hands-on, professional training not only benefits students, but taxpayers as well. States across the Midwest have developed and expanded career readiness courses for all ages. Indiana has proposed a CTE diploma for high school students. Michigan allows students to […]    

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