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State of the State Addresses: Governors Address Skills Gap through CTE

As many governors struggle to minimize the impact of the skills gap in their states, Career Technical Education (CTE) has repeatedly been touted as part of the solution to this disconnect. Governors in each state have recently delivered state of the state addresses to outline their priorities for 2013, and CTE often appears as a strategy within these plans.

Texas – Governor Rick Perry

“Texas employers need additional, qualified workers. Of course, not all of these jobs require a college degree. Many require a technical certification, and those jobs are among those most in demand in our state.”

Governor Rick Perry is focused on bridging the gap between education and industry. He recommends giving high school students more flexibility in their course selection without sacrificing rigor. He also promotes an existing model that brings together industry and technical/community colleges to help students earn technical certifications at an affordable cost. This would allow individuals to earn certification in high-demand industries using competency-based learning, allowing students to earn credits for skills they have already mastered.

Watch Governor Perry’s full address.

New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo

“A generic job training program just doesn’t cut it anymore. We need a job linkage program.”

Governor Cuomo recognizes the need to better align education and training to in-demand jobs in New York. “We must change and reimagine the way [the State University of New York] and [the City University of New York] community college systems work,” he said.

There are 210,000 unfilled jobs in New York, Governor Cuomo said, because companies cannot find workers with the right skills. CTE programs help fill the gaps between the skills that students are learning versus the demands of employers. Partnerships between secondary education, postsecondary education, and business and industry will be critical to making the changes that Governor Cuomo hopes to see.

Watch Governor Cuomo’s full address.

Vermont – Governor Peter Shumlin

“Our current funding system does not encourage [CTE] centers to match the needs of regional employers. These [CTE] Innovation Zones will focus on areas of education and professional opportunity that fit the needs of their region.”

Governor Peter Shumlin’s address strongly supports tenets of CTE – from opportunities for dual enrollment to early college initiatives to personal learning plans for every student. Of particular note is Governor Shumlin’s proposal to increase the use of Vermont’s 17 CTE centers. Shumlin suggests using these CTE centers as the foundation for “Vermont Innovation Zones” that would better connect CTE with labor market needs across the state.

Read Governor Peter Shumlin’s full address.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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