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We’ve seen widespread changes in the U.S. employment landscape for some time now, and one of the most pressing trends I’ve observed is that a growing number of occupations require more education, experience and job training than ever before. For some in the American workforce, this means obtaining a degree from a traditional college. However, this avenue isn’t suited for every person or even every industry. Fortunately, the same level of preparation can be achieved through high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs, an option I believe every current worker, future member of the workforce and parent should strongly consider.

Traditional College Is Not For Everyone

You, your child, friends and family members may decide not to pursue a college degree. The reality is that traditional college is not for everyone, and it’s not always needed to land a good career. So why might you consider a certified technical education instead of taking the traditional route?
Addressing the needs of 21st century occupations, CTE courses provide the skills and training required for high-growth industries, like healthcare, renewable energy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. There are also CTE programs available for agriculture, sales and management, marketing, transportation, law and public safety and many other high-demand industries.

Changing Times For Production Occupations

Manufacturing and other similar industries are much different today than they were just two decades ago, yet I’ve spoken with many individuals who still believe work in these industries means dirty, hazardous, assembly-line-type work. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, manufacturing supports over 17 million U.S. jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. At the same time, there’s a serious shortage of skilled workers ready to fill these jobs. Considered a high-tech industry, manufacturing employs workers who possess strong critical thinking and computer skills and advanced technical abilities, as machine automation and robotics continue to replace manual labor.
All evidence considered, the need for skilled workers isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Luckily, career technical education offers a viable alternative to traditional college and can help you compete in various advanced industries, like manufacturing, to achieve an exciting career with competitive compensation and benefits.