Today, the LePage administration shared a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University which promotes career and technical education -- in both high school and in post-secondary programs -- as a significant path to good-paying jobs. The report found that 29 million well-paying middle class jobs go to workers without bachelor's degrees.
Certificate programs, community college, and training programs lead to these middle-class jobs. The 29 million jobs cited pay between $35,000 and $75,000, according to the report, with 40 percent paying over $50,000.
The report calls career and technical education "the missing middle ground in American education and workforce preparation."
"I hear from Maine businesses all the time that they have jobs for skilled workers, but they can't find the people to fill the jobs," said Governor Paul LePage. "We're an administration that is changing the culture in education so we better prepare them for the jobs of today. No child deserves to slip through the cracks because of a lack of options. We need to do more to ensure that career and technical education is seen as a valid, mainstream path; it's another choice for students, and must be a bigger part of Maine's academic future."
The LePage administration has worked to expand access to technical education for high school students, passing legislation recently to require adoption of calendars that are common between the career and technical education school and high school, to make bus schedules and class schedules work for students pursuing courses at the local career and technical education school, and to ensure that students completing CTE coursework have greater access to postsecondary opportunities.
"We know that these programs provide students with knowledge and training that is not only important to the students themselves, but is critical for Maine's economic future," said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. "We know that there are employers out there right now, prepared to hire, if only they could find the skilled workforce they need. We need to encourage students to pursue the route that works for them -- career and technical education, community college, post-secondary training, and four-year college, or any combination of these and other paths."
In addition, these kinds of training and education often lead students into higher degrees later. Twenty-eight percent of students who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 2008 started at a community college.
Among the report's findings: - Associate's degrees account for 800,000 awards each year; - There are more post-secondary certificates awarded each year than associate's and master's degrees combined; - Employers spend $454 billion on training; - The U.S. ranks second internationally in the percentage of workers with a bachelor's degree, but 16th in "sub-baccalaureate attainment."