Study of Nebraska job and industry growth identifies areas closely aligned with Career Education

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The conclusions of a September 2010 study focused on growing jobs, industries and talent in Nebraska provide strong evidence for the increased importance and value of Career Education in the state.

The study, conducted by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and the Nebraska Department of Labor, outlines key strategies for growing jobs, industries and talent in the state.

Under the supervision of the school nurse, students in the Health Career Academy at Norfolk Public Schools get hands-on experience in patient care. Career academies allow students to focus on a specific career area by taking a handful of highly focused courses, sometimes including college credit courses while in high school. This innovative career technical education (CTE) strategy is a great way for students to better understand the real-world demands of a career area, helping them determine if it is a good fit for them.

Under the supervision of the school nurse, students in the Health Career Academy at Norfolk Public Schools get hands-on experience in patient care.

The primary growth areas for Nebraska’s economy identified in the study will require a workforce that integrates core academics with the specific skills and knowledge gained in Career Education courses in high school and college. “Agriculture will continue to be our number one industry. We also see great potential in transportation, warehousing, distribution and logistics thanks to our central location,” said Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy. ” Biosciences, biofuels and wind energy will be important growth areas—as will finance and software development.”

The Battelle study also pointed to the areas of hospitality and tourism, health services, engineering, food processing and manufacturing as key industry clusters for Nebraska job growth—again, career areas closely aligned with Career Education.

“There is a direct tie between education and economic vitality in Nebraska,” Sheehy said.

A student in the Diesel Technology program at Central Community College in Hastings diagnoses an engine using computer technology. Today's Career Technical Education (CTE) requires a combination of skill, knowledge and technology expertise. Additionally, most careers require education beyond high school, so Nebraska community colleges and Nebraska secondary schools are working closely together to provide cooperative programs, dual credit courses and other innovative programs to help students enjoy success in college and career.

A student in the Diesel Technology program at Central Community College in Hastings diagnoses an engine using computer technology.

Catherine Lang, Commissioner for the Nebraska Department of Labor, agrees. “Career and technical education will play a significant role in helping our young people understand the career opportunities in Nebraska and the wide array of skill sets needed for Nebraska businesses to succeed,” Lang said.

Lang says Nebraska students need to understand that “you don’t have to leave our state to find a successful, high-paying, high-demand, high-skilled job in Nebraska.”

Sheehy said he speaks frequently to young people across the state, from elementary to college students. “I tell them how small the world is and how a good education is important to be able to compete in a global environment,” Sheehy added. “By the time today’s elementary students enter the workforce, many of them will be entering jobs that haven’t even been identified or created at this point.”