While economic, technological and other trends are driving demand for work-integrated learning, the number of students entering career technical education continues to decrease. Happily, the opposite is true for SHP clients; in fact, we have successfully completed nearly $400 million in workforce development projects at high schools, colleges and stand-alone career centers. We believe in the power and promise of career and technical education (CTE).

With its focus on academic and technical skills tailored for specific fields, work-integrated learning is not only ideal for many traditional students but also for many adults seeking to reskill and upskill. That’s why work-integrated learning is no longer a second-class citizen in the realm of education. These days, it’s not the least bit unusual for a CTE graduate to out-earn those with traditional college degrees.

At SHP, we expect the demand for work-integrated learning to do nothing but climb. This is a good thing in terms of helping more people enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) noted this in a report last May:

“Meanwhile, a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in skilled trades. These jobs do not require a college degree but do require some training after high school. Approximately 30 million American jobs pay an average of $55,000 a year but do not require a bachelor’s degree.”

But, as the AEI also notes, supply is not keeping up with demand:

“Yet while a number of career and technical education programs train students for these high-skill, high-demand, high-wage jobs, there are not enough of these courses and programs to reach every high school student.”

We’re eager to do our part to make work-integrated learning even more prevalent and available. When working with clients to envision CTE programs and the facilities necessary to realize them, we believe that there are two critical components.

Work with Local Employers

The relationship between local businesses and CTE providers is crucial because students are more likely to participate in work-integrated learning when relevant jobs are available in their area. Sounds easy enough, but the logistics and planning of it all can get fairly complicated at times.

To make this process easier on our clients, we often facilitate strategy and planning sessions between our clients and their local business leaders. This helps everyone ensure your facilities are tailored to your community’s current—and projected—employment needs.

Create Future-Proof Facilities

At SHP, we like to pride ourselves on our project preparation. We study trends, debate predictions with other thought leaders, and conduct our own research to create the best result possible for our clients and their various stakeholders. We don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but we do have an informed and vetted point of view about where CTE is headed.

When we create a facility with the primary purpose of work-integrated learning, we understand that only one thing is certain: it will be significantly different in 20 years. This is why creating a future-conscious building is vital to the longevity and survival of CTE providers, programs and the students who benefit from them.

If you couldn’t already tell, work-integrated learning is a true passion of ours. To learn more about our experience and how we can help you, contact us today.