WASHINGTON, -  The Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America, produced a survey to identify the characteristics of experiences that impact student career choices. The purpose of the survey is to inspire dialogue between parents, educators, counselors and students, with the goal of better aligning programs and services with students’ needs and preparing them for careers ahead.

The study provides insight into students’ perceptions of the value of Career and Technical Education (CTE) preparation and influences on career choices. The findings serve to inform industry-driven strategies to attract the next generation workforce.

The study found that an overwhelming number of students (64%) identified personal experiences as having the greatest influence over their career decisions and that students engaged in career and technical student organizations (CTSO) and activities are almost 50% more likely to pursue a technical career. Still, less than 10% of students experienced internships, mentorships or cooperative education programs. These responses demonstrate the need for greater involvement by local companies in the career and technical education programs of the area high schools.

The study also finds that CTE education allows students to forge their own path, whether that is continued education or entering the workforce. Educators also note that after graduating high school, industry certificates are the most valuable educational credential.

The study has four recommendations:

  1. Offer students greater opportunities to experience manufacturing and develop a familiarity with the industry.
  2. Encourage more schools to participate in CTSO programs such as SkillsUSA.
  3. Engage manufacturing companies in high school career and technical education programs.
  4. Integrate industry credentials into the career and technical education programs.

To see the full report, click here.

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