Newly Proposed Initiative Could Affect Education and the Economy

The education system and labor market could be in for some big changes if a newly proposed initiative from President Obama’s administration is put into effect.  Today the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is visiting the Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.  He plans on holding a town hall meeting to discuss the new proposal, dubbed a ‘blueprint,’ that is intended to change the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for the better by adapting an act from 2006.  The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, though initially able to spur the federal government into action the first time around, was helpful in improving CTE students experiences but lacked in boosting the job market and economic growth.
The Obama administration is planning to invest $1 billion of the 2013 Fiscal Year federal budget to help support this proposal.  This effort is an attempt at helping the still ailing US economy by providing the proper training to students and the unemployed masses so that they are able to enter the workforce.  It is predicted over the next ten years or so that roughly two-thirds of new jobs in the US will require education beyond high school.  Statistics show that 60 percent of the new jobs introduced to the labor market were filled by people who at least had bachelor’s degrees, while 90 percent hired individuals who had at least some higher education.  The intended issues the plan hopes to improve upon are:
  • Boost business growth
  • Promote hiring and investment in new businesses
  • Encourage growth in the economy as well inspire innovation
  • Diminish skill shortages
  • Deliver first-rate job training
How does the plan hope to achieve these positive actions?  There are 4 areas this blueprint will focus on, in an effort to advance technical training:
  • Students will be trained and taught skills there is a need for in the current job market.  The plan is to focus on industries that are experiencing or are predicted to experience growth, so that workers are trained and ready to fill these positions as they come available.
  • Incentives for employers as well as higher education institutions and secondary schools.  The initiative hopes that by businesses partnering with schools, this will ensure the education provided remains top quality.
  • In order to guarantee that these programs do continue to provide the best training and education, students’ occupational skills and academic performances will be measured and reported.
  • Individual states will be encouraged to amend their current policies to coincide with the goals of the federal program. 
A news release was issued from the Department of Education about this endeavor, and in it Arne Duncan spoke of adapting to the needs of the current workforce.  “In the knowledge-based economy, lifelong learning is so critical, and that means that the traditional mission of career and technical education has to change. It can no longer be about earning a diploma and landing a job after high school. The goal of CTE should be that students earn an industry certification and postsecondary certificate or degree—and land a job that leads to a successful career.”
The proposition has already met with some Democratic support, and if all goes well in the introduction and implementation of this proposition then the US workforce and economy will hopefully be seeing positive changes very soon.

If you are ready to start your career education and training now, visit the Los Angeles ORT website.


LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.