Patchworking the Tech Skills Gap Begins

If you work hard at it, you can grind even an iron rod down to a needle.


1965: Skills USA

Founded as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965 (the same year that the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed), Skills USA, the name adopted in 1998, is “a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled, and service occupations.”1 The organization annually serves more than 300,000 students in local chapters across the country and welcomes volunteers and mentors from the IT industry.

With much of American education in the past 50 years focused on getting a college education, public interest in career and technical education (CTE) often gets brushed aside, with only one-third of parents saying they would “encourage their kids to work in a trade.”2

That’s a serious mistake.

According to a September 2012 report on CTE from Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, by 2020 two out of three U.S. jobs will require some post–secondary school education and training (see Table 13.1).3

Table 13.1 Degrees Required for Jobs

Another way to interpret the Georgetown University data is this: by 2020, 66 percent of all jobs in America will not require a bachelor’s, or higher, degree; ...

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