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Earth Day today, CTE tomorrow

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on April 23, 2008

Yesterday was an Earth Day celebration, but the other 364 days of the year are when the work really gets done.  It's when we invest in the workforce and technologies needed to innovate, manufacture, research, install and maintain the products that will keep the forthcoming Earth Days .... well, green.

Accentuating this point at a press conference in the State Capitol yesterday was the Get REAL coalition, Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi, Senator Tom Torlakson, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Martin Garrick.   The overall plea was for the State to stop bleeding career technical education courses out of our high schools.   Almost 90,000 "green jobs" will be created in California by 2020, CTE enrollment has decreased from 74 percent to 30 percent over the last twenty years, and, all the while, 40 percent of our students are dropping out of high schools before they even get exposed to the contextualized training that could lead to high paying careers in the emerging green sectors and others.

One prime example of what's to come:  For every one megawatt of photovoltaics installed, 20 manufacturing jobs and 13 maintenance jobs are created for one year.  For the 20 percent of our high school students who go on to get four-year degrees before they are 25, this might not matter.  For the 80 percent that don't, it  could represent one of the many promising futures if we just gave them the fundamental training and inspiration they need.

As the State navigates difficult budget times, contemplates revenue enhancements and priorities, seeks to establish itself as the greenest in the Union, and covets new investments, it is crucial that existing and any new resources for schools be considered for career technical education.

Earth Day reminds us of our environmental priorities and accomplishments.   We will have a hard time accomplishing anything if our education system tells students and future workforce that CTE exposure is unavailable, unrequired, unfunded, unvalued and unmeasured.



View press conference video
View press release
View chart showing California's CTE decline



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