Letters to the Editor

Certificates and apprenticeships important

An article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 19 on non-celebrity apprentices that may have gone unnoticed. The six-year graduation rate for four-year colleges is 60 percent while the three-year graduation rate for community colleges is 22 percent. The student loan debt is now a whopping $1.3 trillion, which will burden workers and taxpayers for decades.

The problem is that few colleges and high schools teach vocational skills. The Labor Department Jolts survey of national job openings found more than 6 million in April – the most since Jolts began tracking in 2000. The vacancies include 203,000 in construction, 359,000 in manufacturing and 1.1 million in healthcare. Last year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers survey estimated the starting salary of education majors at $34,891 and humanities at $46,065.

Every day in Virginia, students earn viable workforce certifications that position them to be gainfully employed or better prepared to continue their education with more knowledge of the world of work. The Virginia Career Education Foundation is organized and operates to promote, aid, encourage and connect school administrators, teachers, students, and parents, in cooperation with government and employers, to advanced Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs approved by the Virginia Board of Education or other mechanisms approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This summer, parents need to get more involved in their schools to help promote the CTE programs needed to have your child be successful in the changing workforce requirements. Nevertheless, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Science (STEAM) is for every K-12 student.
Dr. Robert Mayfield

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