In this interview, Luann Dunsford, Chief Executive Officer for the association discusses with Jeffrey Mosher, how the Michigan Works! Association and others mark February by focusing on Career and Technical Education.
Click below to hear Luann and Jeffrey's interview in this podcast!
In this interview shared above Luann reviews answers to questions such as:
I understand February is Career and Technical Education Month. What is Career and Technical Education?
· February is Career and Technical Education Month which is an annual public awareness campaign to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.
· Career and technical education is the practice of teaching specific tech-based and career-oriented skills to students.
· The bulk of career and technical education consists of hands-on experience, practice and application tests which provides CTE students with useful experience before they start their careers.
· Career and technology-based education helps individuals be more than just average students.
· This type of education provides key skills needed to succeed in life: technical, academic, and employability skills.
· Additionally, career and technical education helps students see how what they are learning applies to the needs of employers.
· Students whose learning experiences include integrated academic and CTE curricula are well prepared for postsecondary education and equipped to compete in today’s tough labor market.
Why is Career and Technical Education important?
· At the high school level, CTE provides students with opportunities to explore a career theme of interest while learning a set of technical and employability skills that integrate into or complement their academic studies.
· High school CTE is meant to connect with and lead to postsecondary programs of study or additional training after high school, which may include more specialized technical instruction.
· These pathways culminate in postsecondary degrees or certificates, apprenticeships, or employment.
· A critical workforce challenge in the United States is the skills gap, particularly among jobs that require a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree.
This discussion of CTE leading to a pathway to postsecondary degrees or certificates brings up another news story I recently saw about the Governor introducing the Michigan Reconnect program. It seems like Reconnect would be a good next step for CTE students, correct?
· Yes, Reconnect is a great next step for CTE students!
· Reconnect is an ideal solution for anyone who initially did not attend post-secondary or community college for a variety of reasons.
· Michigan Reconnect is the largest effort in the state’s history, at $30 million, to ensure that more than 4.1 million Michiganders, who are 25 years of age or older and do not already have a college degree, will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate.
· While more than 8 in 10 parents of a Michigan high school student expect their child to earn a college degree, 70 percent said that high costs are a barrier, according to a survey commissioned by the Michigan Association of State Universities.
· Reconnect is designed to break down that barrier.
· Reconnect scholarships are accepted by all Michigan community colleges and are even available to eligible adults who are already enrolled in their local community college.
· The program pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid have been applied.
· For those who choose to attend an out-of-district community college, Reconnect will pay the in-district portion of tuition.
In addition to the toll the pandemic has taken on Michigan’s economy, we are also facing a widening talent gap and an aging workforce. Does Reconnect help with that?
· Yes, it definitely does.
· Michigan employers’ ability to find highly skilled and capable employees is more difficult than ever and is cited as a top concern in the most recent Michigan Future Business Index Report.
· Of course, you already know that because this is the report that Michigan Business Network has been conducting since 2006.
· The opportunity that Reconnect provides is an effective way to help address the state’s widening talent gap and aging workforce.
· Even if Michigan were able to keep every high school and college graduate, it wouldn’t be enough to fill our state’s talent gap,.
· The goal of Reconnect is to meet Michigan’s workforce needs by encouraging and assisting residents to afford and achieve a college credential or advanced certificate.
· With Reconnect, our state now has a tool to reach out to adults wanting to pursue postsecondary education if they choose to do so.
I presume Michigan Works! is a supporter of Michigan Reconnect and will be helping your clients learn more about it?
· Michigan Works! is definitely a supporter of Michigan Reconnect and we are promoting it to our clients.
· Many of our clients fit the qualifications to apply for Reconnect and this presents a great opportunity for them to pursue a postsecondary education they otherwise might not have been able to afford.
· To be eligible for Reconnect, you must:
o Be at least 25 years old when you apply.
o Have lived in Michigan for a year of more.
o Have a high school diploma.
o Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s).
· The state is taking applications for Reconnect now and you can get more information, or apply, at Michigan.gov/reconnect.
How can our listeners learn more about the Michigan Works! Association and the Michigan Works! network?
· You can visit our website at michiganworks.org to learn more about the Association.
· On the Association website you will also find a map that will link you to the websites of each of our Michigan Works! organizations.