February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, a time to recognize how much these programs do to prepare students for high-skill, in-demand careers with good salaries.

CTE combines classroom learning, certification programs and work-based experience for a variety of fields: agriculture, food and natural resources; arts, communications and information systems; applied sciences, technology and engineering; and manufacturing, construction and health sciences.

Iowa recently modernized its Career and Technical Education programs to ensure high-quality training opportunities that allow students to move quickly from school to work. Career pathways help them gain the academic, technical and practical skills they need for true career readiness. They get meaningful experience, which helps them choose the line of work that’s right for them.

By 2025, 68 percent of Iowa jobs will require education or training beyond high school. Iowa will need an additional 127,700 workers with a two- or four-year college degree or postsecondary credential. Currently, only 58 percent of Iowans ages 25 to 64 meet that standard.

Regional work-based learning intermediary networks — partnerships between high schools and community colleges — play a big role in expanding career learning opportunities for Iowa students. The funding the Legislature puts toward this effort is a great investment.

They connect business and education to build relationships between employers and local youth, and coordinate internships, job shadowing experiences and other workplace learning options for students.

To learn more about CTE opportunities for student and businesses in our area, visit EICC’s Quad Cities Career Connections.

Iowa Sen. Rita Hart is a member of the Iowa Senate, whose district covers Clinton County.

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