Why does Governor Gary Herbert view industry engagement with career and technical education pathways as such a high priority?

Based on an analysis of CTE participation in Utah and a comparison with national figures, the trends in CTE participation, graduation, certificates earned, completer status, job placement, and work-based learning participation is positive trending. The graduation rates for CTE concentrators is at 96.6% overall compared to 85% statewide. With even greater gains in underserved and minority populations. Percent increases in minority and at-risk populations are listed below, with the actual graduation rates for CTE concentrators and non-concentrators by disaggregated group.

22% – African Americans (95/73%)

22% – Native Americans (92/70%)

21% – Latinos (95/74%)

13% – Pacific Islanders (97/84%)

19% – Economically Disadvantaged (94/75%)

25% – English Learners (90/65%)

Concentrator numbers have grown by over 10 percent per year in Utah over each of the last four years. The number of CTE Skill Certificates and industry recognized certificates earned totals 124,703. With 158,677 students enrolled in CTE courses, that’s a 79% certification rate per enrolled CTE course. With 27 percent of students completing a CTE pathway, and 2,930 students completing a work-based learning internship there is a good base of participation, but clearly opportunities remain to expand the industry engagement piece of CTE participation to more students. http://www.schools.utah.gov/CTE/main/DOCS/Flyers/AtAGlance.aspx

CTE participation answers the question that every student has, “When will I ever use this?!” When they can connect what they are learning to job and career opportunities, students engage. Utah does a great job with career and technical education, and with continued support from local employers, will continue to produce more home grown talent to meet current and relevant skills gap needs.

In addition to the great work that the CTE department of the Utah State Board of Education does to involve industry, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has targeted this as a key economic initiative through Talent Ready Utah http://talentreadyutah.com/. There are many simple ways companies can get involved, many that require no investment of money, and very little outlay of time or other resources. More often than not, an investment of your skills and expertise is much more meaningful than a check anyway! Most employers simply don’t know the role they can play in becoming part of the solution. Raise your hand, get involved.

Brock Smith is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Precision Exams and is the administrator of the Career Skills Assessment Pathway to Industry initiative. Brock has led and consulted teams in the training and education space for over twenty years and holds degrees in marketing, an MBA, and a Masters in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design from Utah State University. To learn more on how you and your company can get involved in the Pathway to Industry project email Brock at bsmith@precisionexams.com, or call 801-850-9180.


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