Techniques Magazine Techniques February 2011 : Page 16

ADuLT EDuCATION AND RETRAINING RetRaining BY ALISHA HySLOP CTE’s Role in WoRkeR U nemployment in the United States has skyrocketed as a result of the recession, the loss of jobs to globalization, and increased use of technology to pro -duce goods that were previously produced by individuals. The recent numbers are dismal, and individuals who lose their jobs are having a much harder time finding new work than in the past. In addition, there are many workers who are forced to work only part time or who are employed in positions paying low wages with no opportunity for advancement, resulting in lost hours of work, decreases in wages and reduced weekly earnings. With record high unemployment rates, it may seem logical to assume that there are no jobs available. On the contrary, there are still many employment oppor -tunities in the job market for workers with the right skills. The current unemploy -ment trend stems from a widespread mis -match between displaced workers’ skills and the current needs of employers. While some industries are downsizing, many Techniques Februar y 2011 others are actually expanding. In fact, the number of job openings nationally in-creased by 25 percent between July 2009 and September 2010. 1 These employment opportunities, however, usually require knowledge and skills that unemployed workers have not developed because they were not needed in their previous posi -tions. There is also a mismatch between the skills of many individuals in low-wage jobs and the skills required for these new employment opportunities, making it difficult for underemployed workers to advance. The unemployed and those looking to advance from low-wage positions—even those who previously completed some form of postsecondary training—need the opportunity to gain skills and credentials that may be necessary to make them mar -ketable to employers who currently have jobs available. In addition, regardless of the state of the economy in the future, jobs will continue to change and workers must respond to these changes by acquiring new skills to replace the outdated ones. Career and Technical education Provides Solutions The economic downturn and growing skills mismatch dramatically highlight the importance of programs that retrain workers for the demands of the current workplace. New, targeted training pro -grams have been developed throughout the nation, and have become increasingly popular with those in need of updated skills. The career and technical educa -tion (CTE) system has played a large role in the development of these programs, and CTE educators are leading efforts to ensure that new and newly redesigned programs are relevant and accessible to those most in need of additional educa -tion and training. CTE programs offer a wide variety of workers the opportunity to update their current skills, develop new skills and knowledge, and obtain the necessary certificate or degree for desired employ-ment. Institutions target the adult learner through short-term and accelerated programs that decrease the time required www.acteonline.org 16 PHOTO by ISTOCk.COM

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