Renewing the Case for Career and Technical Education

There are articles every day in the trade magazines describing the new digital programs that will revolutionize manufacturing. They are all about bringing digital technology to the shop floor to increase productivity. According to the experts, everybody should be on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon today, or they will be left in the dust.

The articles also say that adopting these advanced technologies will require high-skilled workers who can use the new technologies in their work on the shop floor. But in the rush to adopt the new digital technologies, nobody seems to want to address the big question—where will these highly skilled workers come from and where are the advanced training programs that will teach them the new skills during a skills gap?

I began following the skills gap in 1990 when I read the report America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages? The report made the case that manufacturing

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