Our View: CTE gets state budget boost that can help fill those jobs

March 3, 2019

If there weren’t enough intrinsic rewards for those pursuing career and technical education, the state of Arizona wants to sweeten the pot. More money and a bonus for each participating school are in the works.

The proposed offerings are a key piece of the puzzle in assuring that Arizona’s economy remains strong by developing in-state talent to fill in-demand jobs. Those jobs, by the way, currently outnumber the number of the qualified applicants.

The coming year’s budget proposes $10 for additional CTE programs and a $1,000 dividend to schools for each student who obtains a certification for an in-demand industry.

And what are those industries? They span categories, but include a huge variety of technical fields and construction trades. The need for CTE programs is large enough that Gov. Doug Ducey proclaimed March as career and technical education month as he announced the budget proposals, a new aviation technology center in Pima County and an expanded health care career center in the Phoenix area.

CTE programs provide a relatively quick leap into well-paying jobs for those daunted by the long time commitment of college or the prospect of big student loan debt. CTE is more than the shop and home ec classes of yesteryear, preparing students for numerous technology careers. At the high school level, a choice for CTE hardly precludes a path towards college. The same academic prep work is required in CTE as in mainstream school programs.

CTE classwork can be especially helpful for students because it offers practical, usually hands-on, applications of principles that can be confusingly abstract in an academic classroom.

Arizona is moving toward allowing out-of-state residents to transfer their occupational licenses to the state. This signifies both that Arizona has more jobs than qualified workers right now and that Arizona is serious about filling them and propelling the economy forward.

CTE offers a leg up to state students looking to fill those jobs. Students not clearly set on a purely academic course after high school should seriously consider a CTE path. The public at large should support those programs as well, especially if they think they may need their plumbing fixed or their cars repaired or their xrays taken or…you name it…anytime in the future.

— Today’s News-Herald