A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

ABC Career and Technical Education Month - Houston Chapter

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Russell Hamley, President ABC Greater Houston, calls for support of educational opportunities for the skilled trades workforce of the future.

Americans are ready to rebuild our neglected infrastructure – schools, highways, bridges, dams, and public transit. But we also can’t neglect the big challenge ahead of us: filling a shortage of 500,000 skilled construction workers – a number that could double if the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill from Washington becomes a reality.

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and it comes at the perfect time to celebrate the students, teachers and industry partners who are growing the career readiness of America’s construction workforce.

Here in Houston, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Houston, along with its educational affiliate Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), has a robust high school CTE program for students who are interested in a career in the crafts. Currently 23 area ISDs are partnered with ABC/CMEF to utilize the NCCER Curriculum modules at 55 area high schools. Students who attend these schools get a head start on their NCCER accredited craft training, which typically doesn’t begin until college.

Now, after decades of having policymakers, administrators and educators too often subscribe to the “college-for-all” mentality, the policymakers at all levels of government are helping bridge the skills gap and build the trades workforce of the future. There is still a need to expand this CTE program so that all students have access to this vibrant career field.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, the federal government spends over $80 billion to assist students pursuing higher education. At the same time, the federal government only spends $1.1 billion to support CTE programs that lead to high-wage careers in industries like construction. CTE availability needs more funding and program support.

CTE works, and we need to invest in providing more young Americans with educational opportunities that align with the careers that build and rebuild our communities.

Visit the ABC/CMEF Schools Program webpage for more information.