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How best to graduate career-ready citizens

While SOLs recognize academic memorization, students who concentrate on Career Technical Education programs have a graduation rate of more than 90 percent. More than 70 percent of CTE concentrators pursued post-secondary education. About 80 percent of students who take CTE courses along with their core courses are prepared for both college and a career, compared to just 63 percent of students who take only core courses.

Pathways to Prosperity reports argue the current education system was too narrowly focused on preparing all young people to pursue a four-year college degree, while other post-secondary routes suit significant numbers of students far better.

Eighty percent of manufacturing executives reported they are willing to pay more than market rates. Still, six out of 10 positions remain unfilled due to the lack of the right occupational skills. While some of these jobs require a college education, most are "middle skill" jobs requiring a high school diploma, a foundation of math and science, along with some additional training and possibly completion of a certification program.

The Future of Jobs reveals that by 2020, more than one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed. Most of these new skills relate to fast-paced digital progress; technology is transforming the way we work — teachers and workers’ skills will need to keep pace with these changes.

The community needs to engage students, parents, teachers and businesses in addressing the growing need to obtain and demonstrate the right occupational skills to graduate as career-ready citizens.

Glenn Marshall

Association for Manufacturing Excellence

Williamsburg

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