With Minnesota’s need to prepare more skilled and educated workers, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the Minnesota Department of Education have launched a campaign to encourage more students to explore and enroll in career technical programs.
A radio campaign, “Learning that works,” is underway to showcase technical education programs offered by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the state’s public high schools. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities alone have more than 3,000 career technical education programs that can be completed in two years or less.
These programs prepare students for current and emerging professions in such fields as information technology, health care, manufacturing, business and public safety. They focus on academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning, problem solving and general employability as well as technical skills and knowledge related to a specific industry.
In Minnesota, more than 260,000 secondary and postsecondary students were enrolled in career technical education courses in 2010. A total of 129,009 students took career technical education courses at the Minnesota State Colleges. Another 135,418 students took courses at public high schools.
A website, available at www.learningthatworks.org, offers information about preparing for college and career, useful facts about career technical occupations in Minnesota and stories about real students in career technical education programs.
“We want learners to explore what career technical programs can offer – real-world skills that can lead to satisfying careers – in an economy that demands a strong and skilled workforce,” said JoAnn Simser, Minnesota’s director for career technical education. By 2018, about 70 percent of Minnesota’s jobs will require some postsecondary education.
For many of these jobs, a two-year associate degree or less is sufficient.
“At the Minnesota Department of Education we work hard to see that all students are ready for college and that they pursue career preparation beyond high school that will lead to fulfilling careers,” said Dan Smith, education supervisor at the Center for Postsecondary Success. “Learningthatworks.org is a valuable tool to help students reach this goal.”
The joint campaign is an extension of a national initiative called “Career Technical Education: Learning that works for America.” Minnesota’s 31 state and community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 420,000 students in credit and noncredit courses across the state.