A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The Future of the Construction Industry is in Career and Technical Education

Each year, NCCER and Build Your Future (BYF) are proud to celebrate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in February.  CTE Month celebrates the extraordinary achievements and contributions of CTE programs across America, which prepare students for careers in today's economy.

The Construction Labor Market Analyzer forecasts that more than 2 million new craft professionals will be needed in the construction industry by 2018.  The skilled trades continue to be the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S., resulting in plenty of career opportunities for CTE graduates.

CTE offers programs such as welding, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and carpentry to prepare students for high-paying, in-demand construction careers at both the high school level and in postsecondary programs.  More than 2,000 of these programs use NCCER’s curricula, which lead to industry-recognized, portable credentials that validate students’ skills.  In addition, construction is one of the few industries that provides students with the opportunity to earn money while establishing a career through “earn as you learn” programs.  CTE offers numerous programs that allow graduates to go straight into careers without the burden of paying off high student loans.

While our society has promoted a four-year degree from a university as the only path to a successful career, we find numerous college graduates underemployed because their degree did not help them attain the skills they need to be hired in our ever-demanding workforce.  CTE presents students with options that lead to successful careers while offering students opportunities to connect their learning to real-world settings.  There is a perception that CTE is valued less than other academic programs; however, CTE programs provide rigor and relevance in a world demanding a workforce requiring both knowledge and skill.  For example, individuals with a CTE-related associate degree or credential will earn an average of $4,000 to $19,000 more each year than a person with a humanities associate degree.

The goal of CTE is for students to be successful in their careers.  In support of making CTE a priority in our nation’s schools, NCCER and BYF created the Construction Career Pathways initiative to provide successful career paths for America's youth through construction industry and education partnerships.  To drive this collaboration, NCCER offers numerous resources, including best practice profiles, guidance documents and a connection map.  Learn more about NCCER's support for CTE at nccer.org/CTEmonth.

Image courtesy of NCCER partner Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).