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Career and Technical Education Month

Celebrate Career and Technical Education Month

February is National Career and Technical Education Month (CTE). CTE promotes and supports locally-based high school programs that provide 21st century, academic and technical skills for all students.

CTE gives students the skills needed for postsecondary and workplace success. Modern education places a heavy emphasis on math, English and history. Although they are important, many feel those subjects should be presented with more real-world examples. That is where CTE comes in.

Filling the labor shortage gap

There is no debating the severity of the skilled labor shortage in the residential construction industry.

Labor and subcontractor shortages remain widespread and continue to impact the industry in several ways. Simultaneously, the student debt load from a traditional fouryear path, pushed by educators, parents and society, has risen sharply.

With vocational training removed from classrooms and a lack of trade education, it is time to present residential construction jobs as viable alternatives. Exposing students of all ages to the opportunities of a career in the skilled trades can help us tackle the shortage head-on.

CTE programs are combating the labor shortage by integrating technical career skill proficiencies with academic content that prepares students for the workplace, further education and training. It also helps professionals in the education industry be aware of the best practices in recruiting people into the trades.

Seeing the shift

Since the start of the pandemic, students have not had a stable learning environment. They were forced to learn online and once school started back in-person, rising cases threatened to send them back home again. All of this has more students questioning the path of a four-year university.

According to a survey done by YPulse - the leading authority on Gen Z and Millennial opinions - 63% of Gen Z agrees that “COVID has made me reassess career goals.” With so many seriously considering taking alternative paths, the time is right for CTE.

BIAW partnerships bridge gap for students

BIAW is proud to partner with the Home Builders Institute (HBI). HBI is a national leader for career training in the building industry. Their curriculum provides students the skills and experience they need for successful careers through pre-apprenticeship training, job placement services, mentoring, certification programs, textbooks and curricula.

With an 80% job placement rate for graduates, HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country, serving youth, veterans, displaced workers and other underserved populations.

HBI training programs do more than provide job skills; they also build character and self-esteem, providing students with the skills they need to succeed on the job and in life.

In just over a year, with the help of local association staff and members, BIAW Education and Workforce Development Director Al Audette helped 14 local schools and districts partner with HBI curriculum.

This partnership is just one of the many that expose students to a career in residential construction.

Beyond the classroom

BIAW prioritizes workforce development across all departments. One of the bills our government affairs department supports is HB 1162, introduced with the bi-partisan support of Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) and Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver). This bill provides a performance-based pathway for graduation that expands students’ graduation pathway options by giving families more choices, flexibility and options. Giving students access to more performance-based options provides a connection to learning authentic real-world skills.

As employers, we see an immediate and long-term need to connect students to the skills required in the workforce at a younger age. Creating more options for students to engage in the industry and perform skills to show competency can help them on their way to graduation. This is especially important for those who haven’t found a pathway that works for them yet. We see opportunity for CTE-related skills in schools that they may not be offering existing CTE pathways. Education and workforce development is a top priority for BIAW this year and we hope to see this bill progress.

How you can help

Member involvement is key to helping students statewide. It sounds simple, but reaching out to local trades programs to volunteer, attending job fairs or just signing into bills to show industry support makes all the difference. Please stay tuned for more opportunities to engage in your communities and at the state level to make the trades more accessible to students across the state.

If you have questions about workforce development or how you can help fill the labor gap, contact Education and Workforce Development Director Al Audette at (360) 352-7800 x105 or ala@biaw.com.