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Quality Career and Job Focused Programs Could be Critical in Global Competitiveness

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a high-profile, international research and policy group, recently released a report stating that “good vocational training is an important part of a strong economy.”

The report, Learning for Jobs, offers a set of policy recommendations to help countries implement strategies that are responsive to the labor market and would boost economic growth. OECD’s endorsement of quality career and job training could heighten conversations being had over the United State’s minimal investment in CTE when compared to competing countries such as China and India.

“Potentially, VET plays a key role in determining competitiveness,” the report said.

OECD refers to the career-focused educational system as Vocational Education and Training (VET), but acknowledges the different terms used across nations, including the United State’s term of CTE. Many traits that characterize OECD’s concept of “good” VET are similar to that of the U.S.: industry partnerships, occupational mobility, programs based on labor market.

Among the report’s recommendations:
•Offer a mix of vocational education reflecting student preferences and employers’ needs.
Also, provide transferable skills to support occupational mobility. Beyond secondary level, share costs among government, employers and students based on benefits obtained.
•In vocational institutions, promote partnerships with industry, encourage part-time work, and promote flexible pathways of recruitment. In the workplace, provide appropriate pedagogical preparation to those responsible for trainees and apprentices. Nationally, adopt a standardized assessment framework.
•Offer sufficient incentives for both employers and students to participate in workplace training. Ensure that training is of good quality, with effective quality assurance and contractual frameworks for apprentices.

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