Angela Robbins Taylor
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is what we might have formerly called vocational education. It prepares students on the verge of entering a career field to gain skills and become more actively prepared for what is to come after graduation.
The best CTE programs include construction simply because construction is one of the primary ways students can start a career path with an abundance of positions, more than livable wages, and the ability to advance.
Let’s take a closer look at including construction in your school district’s CTE program.
How Construction Fits into the Best CTE Programs
When discussing what makes a good CTE construction training program, we have to think about three key items.
1. Safety Training
Safety training must be the priority right at the beginning of all Career and Technical Education construction programs. Without a quality safety emphasis, students come out of high school unprepared to identify the potential dangers on a job site.
At a minimum, students should understand how to identify hazards and the mitigations that can be placed into effect to prevent job site injuries.
While construction across the United States does not have standardized requirements for entry-level employees in construction, the best CTE programs should provide OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 as certifications students can achieve prior to graduation.
Offering the OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour training will provide students with opportunities to achieve certifications before graduation. In addition, this effort will create larger pools of opportunity for them to be hired and immediately placed into positions that are attached to apprenticeships or other on-the-job training programs.
2. Skill Development
Skill development is the single highest determiner of the success of high-quality CTE programs in construction. Therefore, it is crucial for CTE directors and academic curriculum providers to continuously improve and manage programs to include relevant skill development that includes application and competency assessment.
If you are looking for the highest quality commercial construction training programs, three things should be part of your curriculum search:
Input from an advisory board made up of current commercial construction businesses.
The value of an advisory board is twofold. First, the teachers have access to current employees to bring into the classroom, and administrators have the ability to consistently check to ensure that programs are targeted at the skills most in demand currently. Additionally, an excellent advisory member is also a potential employer for graduating students.
78% of contractors continue to say skilled workers are in short supply. But only 23% report career training as a key business strategy. This discrepancy means funding and cultivating an advisory board is challenging, but it remains critical to developing a post-graduation workforce pipeline.
Access to the latest pieces of technology, like BIM and other automated planning tools, shows students that technology is gaining momentum in the field.
As digital natives move through high school and into the workforce, having technology that assists their job is essential to their success. They know the power of technology and expect that their jobs will include it to provide efficiency and productivity.
Graduating seniors may enter any of multiple trades even though your program focuses on electrical or plumbing. Therefore, it is critical that the program you offer provides a strong foundation in general construction skills.
General construction skills like construction math, plan reading, the basics of hand and power tool safety, and more training can expose students to various trades available on their career path upon graduating.
3. Employability Skills
Employability skills are often identified as the most missing skill among the incoming workforce. When the industry uses employability skills, they are referring to:
A construction program can help students develop these crucial “soft skills” before entering the workforce, making them more readily employable in the industry.
Give Your CTE Program a Boost with Construction
In the end, a successful CTE program will include safety, skill, and employability training in curriculums. But the best CTE programs will consist of construction because it is an industry that will never disappear. It will provide students who are not headed to college with a defined career path and will help students find satisfying work that is essential to our economy and critical to the infrastructure of life.
Construction Career Collaborative (C3) is full of contractors and trade partners who want to help invest in the technical training of the future. We support active integration between your CTE program and our partnering companies. If your school district needs access to advisory boards, curriculums, or hiring events, we can help.
We invite you to join our educational advisory board. Make your construction CTE program stand out above the rest.
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Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)