Friends of CTE Blog Series Provides Platform for CTE Advocates

Silver Spring, MD, July 19, 2012 – Debates continue over whether a skills gap is contributing to today’s lagging economy; however, Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders can readily attest to the waiting list of students trying to enroll in CTE programs and the group of employers at the other end eager to hire graduates with technical skills, said Andy Van Kleunen, Executive Director of the National Skills Coalition.

In a new Friends of CTE blog, Van Kleunen recognized the worthy debate over the skills gap’s influence on the economy, but asserted that the skills gap indeed exists, adding that more support for CTE programs can help fill some of the 3.5 million vacant jobs in the nation.

“For the CTE community, it’s not a question of whether recovering industries like manufacturing or healthcare are ready to hire; it’s a question of whether our CTE programs have enough capacity to meet that demand,” Van Kleunen said. “We know there is a skills gap and we know that CTE programs can help fill it.”

CTE programs would help meet the high demand for qualified welders, nurses, ACE-certified auto mechanics or radiologic technologists, Van Kleunen said. For example, the labor market for welders is strained, he said, adding that “employers are snatching welders up as quickly as they can find them.”

The Friends of CTE Blog is a monthly guest blog piece hosted by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). The blog provides advocates – from business and industry, the research community and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for CTE. Guest bloggers provide their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.


The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education (NASDCTEc) was established in 1920 to represent the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary, and adult career technical education (CTE) across the nation. NASDCTEc, through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, aims to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish in a global, dynamic economy. Visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook