According to a recent study by Meticulous researchthe vocational training market is expected to grow nearly 10% to reach $896.01 billion by 2029, as students increasingly turn to accelerated technical training programs, instead of traditional two-year courses and four years, to find a job in an increasingly digitized labor market. .
Noting these trends, Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes said the continued growth of technical training programs has a lot to do with the workforce changes that have resulted from the pandemic, as more more and more employers are looking for candidates with specialized technical skills that can be acquired. through shorter certificate programs.
“The cost of higher education is prohibitive for many students, and many find that by enrolling in a certificate or other short-term accreditation programs they can save money and still have the skills they need for employment in high-paying, high-demand sectors. jobs,” she said in an email to Government technology. “With the growth of work-based learning programs, students are exposed to career opportunities earlier in their academic careers, helping them to project themselves into different career fields and understand what is needed to obtain jobs in these careers.”
Anthes said Colorado and other states are beginning to encourage career development initiatives, such as the Individual Academic and Career Plan (ICAP), dual-enrollment programs, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and workplace learning, earlier and deeper.
“These early exposure activities gave students a head start that often leads to graduation and short-term job training,” she said, adding that it is increasingly common for students to enter vocational and technical training programs in high school to gain job skills earlier. .
“CTE is a vital resource for K-12 students, especially when CTE programming is aligned with the high-growth, living-wage jobs in demand in local communities. These programs provide students with hands-on, real-world learning experiences through work-based learning that ideally culminate in industry-recognized degrees,” she said. “Through vocational and technical student organizations and industry advisory boards, CTE programs can keep abreast of the latest trends in workforce development and can provide students with authentic sponsored projects by industry to develop the skills they need to succeed in the job market.”
With the growing demand for job training in mind, Anthes said Colorado’s recent move from HB 21-1330 instructs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to “reimagine the role of post-secondary institutions in a post-pandemic world to build economic resilience and strengthen the state’s workforce.”
“We realize that for Colorado to meet its future labor demands, we need to put more residents on the path to earning a post-secondary degree or credential. The Colorado Department of Higher Education and the [Colorado Commission on Higher Education] have set an ambitious goal that by 2025, 66% of Coloradians will graduate with a post-secondary degree or credential, to meet this need,” she said. “A key strategy to meet Colorado’s workforce needs is to ensure that Colorado high school graduates enroll and succeed in career-oriented post-secondary education.”
According to its state CTE director, Jennell Ives, Oregon has also placed greater emphasis on workforce development in light of growing demand. She said many students are now turning to programming that offers stackable credentials to learn skills while working toward traditional degrees.
“I think there has been a convergence of a lot of different factors that have made short-term certificates, which have always been really valuable, even more interesting and useful for students, young people and adults who are retraining and enter [new] careers,” she said. “We also know that post-secondary enrollment, at least directly from high school, has been declining nationally, and we’ve certainly seen that decline in Oregon.”
“I think a lot of students are wondering about post-secondary education, how does it help them, how long will it take to help them, and are thinking about how they can get into the job market faster,” said she continued. “Short-term certificates are a fast and shortest route to earning that first dollar for a student, and an affordable route to earning a living wage.”
Among recent developments, she said, Oregon recently launched its Ready for the future initiative, a $200 million investment to advance technical skills training opportunities for historically underserved communities and those hardest hit by the pandemic.
“I think it’s a journey we’ve been on for a while,” she said, noting the growth of training programs in computers, construction and other technical disciplines.