Vocational, technical programs draw more student interest

Capital News Service
LANSING — The education pendulum that directed so many students toward college degrees is swinging the other way, education experts say, now pointing students more toward skilled trade training as well as college. The push for young students to attend college, which negatively affected those who weren’t interested in it, went too far during former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration, said Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). The MEA is the state’s largest union of teachers and other school employees. Vocational and technical programs eliminated due to lack of funding and interest by local administrators and school boards were important for students, Cook said. “The need is still there — it’s probably bigger now than it was before,” Cook said.

Vocational education programs help close skills gap

Capital News Service
LANSING – At the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, choosing a career education program is almost like choosing a college major, school officials say. “Students are learning how to do something,” said Patrick Lamb, principal of the district’s tech center. “They are taking their education and tying it to a skill of relevance.”
It’s an example of a statewide push to develop career and technical education programs to meet the need of skilled labor openings. “We hope to have more vocational classes for our students,” said Tim Buckingham, a mentor at Big Rapids Virtual School, an alternative education program for the district.  Buckingham provides guidance to students who are seeking alternative education options.