The current state of vocational education in the Commonwealth

Barry Bluestone and Catherine Tumber released the Dukakis Center report “The Critical Importance of Vocational Education in the Commonwealth” on Friday, Jan. 22, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Presenting the study’s findings to some 230 attendees, Bluestone shared the podium with (among others) Governor Charlie Baker and Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School student Tatyana Foskey, who told the crowd of her plans to become a wastewater treatment plant manager.
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The report was commissioned by the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education, a new multi-partnership organization that formally launched at the event and presented a list of state policy recommendations. Researchers at the Dukakis Center conducted a series of surveys to assess how Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) administrators, students, graduates, employers, and parents, and the public at large view the current state of vocational education in the Commonwealth and how it could be strengthened.

 

Key Findings

 

  • The employers surveyed overwhelmingly prefer to hire graduates from CVTE schools or vocational programs in comprehensive high schools for both entry-level (75 percent) and higher-level (61 percent) positions.
  • A clear majority of current students are planning to continue their schooling beyond high school. Nearly half expect to go full-time to a four-year college after high school graduation with another nine percent expecting to attend a four-year college or university on a part-time basis.
  • A large majority of administrators (82 percent) maintain that their high schools face obstacles to expansion. By far, the biggest obstacles lie in funding, especially for buildings (85 percent), equipment (64 percent), and personnel (60 percent). Relatedly, they report that the Commonwealth’s requirement that all towns served by a given regional VTE high school must approve funding requests further complicates expansion planning.
  • By a wide margin (96 percent), parents had a favorable opinion of the vocational school or program their kids were enrolled in, with 68 percent reporting a “very favorable” opinion.
  • Of those who are parents of children age 15 or younger, more than two-thirds report that they would consider sending them to CVTE schools or programs.

 

Read the full report here.

 

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