Career and Technical Education Aligning Education with Employer Demand
his is an exciting time for education in Pittsburgh, and Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (3RWIB) is proud to be a part of the new trade education program offered by The Pittsburgh Promise and Pittsburgh Public Schools. This program offers a tremendous opportunity for young people to obtain the skills and know-how necessary to fill a multitude of jobs available in the region that will ensure our continued economic vitality. High school students should pursue training in ways that prepare them for work. Strengthening career exploration activities for young people, aligning education with employer demand, and changing the image of career and technology education have been strategic goals for 3RWIB for several years. By connecting employers and training providers, while educating youth about the opportunities available in the region, we will build the pipeline of qualified workers prepared to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.
In the Pittsburgh region, numerous jobs in high-demand occupations will require more than a high school diploma, but less than a college degree. Moreover, as the region’s workforce grows older, many opportunities will emerge for skilled workers. Take, for example, the region’s manufacturing sector. Of the 75,000 manufacturing jobs in the Pittsburgh region, about 50,000 of those jobs are held by workers over the age of 45; 22,000 are older than 55. These workers will retire in the coming decades, taking with them a lifetime of skill and knowledge. At the same time, only about 5,000 people graduate from various manufacturing academic programs in the region — falling short of what’s needed to fulfill employer demand. Plentiful, wellpaying opportunities that do not require a four-year degree also exist in health care, energy and information technology. Overlooked and vital to stress is that there is no lack of opportunity for young
people to enter these key sectors; they might be unaware of the breadth of career opportunities available. While only about 5 percent of Allegheny County’s youth are enrolled in career and technical education, 3RWIB sees this education as a key component to fulfilling the needs of the region’s employers now and in the future. Infusing the public system with innovation, system building and promoting out-of-the-box collaboration will prepare a qualified pipeline of workers in Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Public Schools and The Pittsburgh Promise’s commitment to helping our youth chart a course to meaningful careers is a winning combination for our children, our employers, and our region.
Stefani Pashman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board.
The Pittsburgh Promise
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