Increase Career and Technical Education Funding to Decrease Student Debt

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 26, 2019) – This fall, the National Center for Education Statistics reports more than 19.9 million students will attend colleges/universities. With 2019 student loan debt being the highest on record according to Forbes, more students will continue this cycle of debt to pursue what they think is their dream career. Despite the trillions of student loan debt accrued nationally, plus the time students invest in pursuing higher education, college graduates do not always enter the workforce with the skills they need to be successful.

Dressed in red blazers and advocating on Capitol Hill September 30—October 2, middle and high school Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members break the college- and career-readiness stigma. FCCLA, a career and technical student organization (CTSO), provides opportunities to strengthen leadership skills, explore Career Pathways, and receive hands-on experience through participation in Competitive Events. FCCLA members enter college prepared with real world skills and leave ready to turn their degrees into dream careers.

While thousands of college graduates admit they ‘don’t know what to do with their degree’ and ‘feel they are unprepared for careers,’ employers are also in the midst of a skills gap, finding that recent graduates don’t have the skills they need in employees. Career and Technical Education (CTE) is the solution to the misalignment between student’s education and high-demand, living-wage careers. However, to meet these demands, increased funding for Career and Technical Education is more important than ever.

CTE provides today’s students with the knowledge and experience to determine a career of their choosing and the education pathway to get there. With the shortage of skilled workers and the student debt crisis, organizations like FCCLA can be the solution many employers, students, and parents are seeking. To meet these needs, increased funding for CTE will ultimately help meet today’s labor demands.

Engaging youth in FCCLA or other CTSOs, is an essential part of high quality CTE as they enhance classroom learning, expand occupational competencies, and develop postsecondary workforce readiness through teaching essential leadership and personal skills that increase the ability for students to become leaders within homes, communities, and careers across America.

85% of FCCLA members plan to pursue post-secondary education, these students, as well as all CTSO students, are less likely to change majors, which results in less college debt due to the time spent in the classroom, a 2016-2017 report from My College Options concludes. Ultimately, investment and support in funding CTE provides students with the skill set and industry knowledge needed to prepare the next generation to be tomorrow’s leading workforce in a career they are passionate about and prepared for without the burden of unnecessary debt.

Members develop skills for life through: character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.