Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for challenging careers and further education at the high school level and beyond, resulting in attainment of credentials like certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. While CTE spans a range of learner levels, a recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce focuses on the subbaccalaureate level, stating that middle-class jobs are abundant for those with subbaccalaureate CTE degrees.
The report reveals that there are currently 29 million “middle jobs,” or jobs requiring a two-year degree or less, in the United States that pay middle-class wages between $35,000 and $75,000 annually. Such jobs include certified nursing assistants, occupational therapists, licensed practical nurses, paralegals, refrigeration technicians, and more. Five options for training – available through CTE schools and programs across the country – are featured as high-quality, cost-effective ways to prepare individuals for middle jobs:
- Associate degrees
- Postsecondary certificates
- Employer-based training
- Industry-based certifications
The authors also suggest two ways to advance the nation’s CTE infrastructure. First, a “Learning & Earning Exchange” should be established to connect data from CTE to the labor market. This information system would make clear to students the labor market demand for specific education and training, help educators improve their practice, and help employers find qualified candidates for job openings. Second, the authors support further federal investment in programs of study, and suggest investing in specific programs of study that include employer-based training.
In international comparisons, the U.S. ranks second in baccalaureate attainment; 31 percent of U.S. workers over 25 years old hold a bachelor’s degree or more. However, the subbaccalaureate rate falls at just 10 percent, ranking the U.S. 16th among industrialized nations. Greater federal investments in CTE will help more individuals pursue CTE at the subbaccalaureate level to attain middle-class jobs, and will give decision makers more information linking CTE and labor market outcomes.
Click here to view the report.
Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager