Career and Technical Education and You

MechanicLast June, ERCA hosted a Twitter town hall on career and technical education and the important role CTE plays in helping today’s students chart their career futures. Working with SkillsUSA and The Manufacturing Institute, we discussed the CTE challenges facing today’s students, leading career interests, and how to better learn about career aspirations.

This online discussion followed on the heels of the creation of a new research consortium created by ERCA, SkillsUSA, and The Manufacturing Institute to ensure a strong national discussion on career and technical education and the career pathways that result from CTE.

The work of this consortium is intended to bring some real-world, real-life perspective to the ongoing discussions of being “career ready.” Today, we will explore students’ aspirations toward a range of careers that are made possible by CTE and some of the influences on those aspirations. And together, we will work with parents and educators to ensure we get the feedback necessary to better understand trends and opportunities in CTE careers across the country.

“Today’s manufacturing needs a skilled workforce and by working with all partners, this industry can continue to flourish,” Manufacturing Institute President Jennifer McNelly said earlier this year. “We are excited to partner with SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America to better understand perceptions of CTE pathways so we are better able to promote the fantastic careers that exist in manufacturing.”

As we begin this important discussion, there were two pieces of information that were particularly popular during our Twitter chat. The first is ERCA’s most recent annual survey of students and careers, which can be found here.

The second is this guide, designed to help parents and educators help students better understand their career options.

What other pieces of information would be useful to you in this discussion? Send your thoughts to us at