Due to rapid changes in technology and a swelling need for constructive programs that prepare students for vocations, an all-embracing demand for career and technical education teachers is widening. These consummate instructors help workers learn the mandatory skills to qualify for high-paying occupations. Experts say the life-changing classes they head represent a master-key that opens many doors of opportunity in Los Angeles.

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

“It has become increasingly clear that our local workforce suffers from a skills gap in many priority and emerging high-technology occupations,” said Frank Dawson, the acting associate dean of career technical education (CTE) at Santa Monica College. “President Obama’s recent TechHire initiative has heightened awareness of this issue and the need for experienced secondary and post-secondary CTE educators.”

What defines a dynamic CTE teacher?

“Effective career education teachers are able to map and connect academic instruction to careers, occupations and the proper necessary credentials. They also infuse instruction with an entrepreneurial mindset, knowing that an increasing number of jobs in this sector will require workers to be independent contractors.”

What differentiates these educators?

“CTE instructors must be able to teach practical skills that address current industry standards and practices, while also developing in students creative problem-solving skills.”

How does one fortify a sound career in this field?

“A good way to prepare for a sustainable vocation as a CTE instructor is to have prior work experience in the industry. Technology sectors and skill requirements are constantly evolving, and both historical and current knowledge of these developments is important.”

How will CTE programs change in the coming years?

“By 2022, I don’t believe there will be a significant difference between what we now consider academic or career technical instruction. All education will better be aligned to prepare students with both critical thinking and practical applied learning skills that are more interdisciplinary and functional. We will simply call it education.”

What is your message to aspiring CTE instructors?

“The opportunity to share your occupational expertise and true life experiences with students on a daily basis can be tremendously rewarding for you and amazingly beneficial for them. Just do it.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.