Daniel Wood, staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, recounts the story of how Toby Hughes, a honor student from Georgia with a 1350 SAT score, chose the vocational training option after high school.
Vocational training is making a comeback and enrollment in technical education programs grew by 57% from 9.6 million in 1999 to 15.1 million in 2004. (Source - US Department of Education)
No longer are the traditional offerings of wood shop, metal shop or machining, the only offerings. In fact, the offerings from career education and vocational training programs are very diverse and pretty much offer something for everyone. New career fields include hot careers and in-demand skills in healthcare, technology and education.
"We are redefining almost everything that has to do with the intersection of new technology and the global economy," says Mark Whitlock, CEO of Central Educational Center in Newnan, Ga., a charter school. "The economy is changing and therefore education has to continue to change."
The state of California is experiencing a boom as well following a 25-year decline in vocational programming. Governor Schwarzenegger supports targeted vocational education and has pushed for more public funding of programs.
As companies continue to feel shortages of skilled hourly labor they need to compete globally, vocational training programs are stepping up to meet the need.