Bill Symonds and Todd Sanders

GPCC CEO Todd Sanders and Global Pathways Director Bill Symonds

In an coauthored op-ed published by the Phoenix Business Journal on Friday, March 4, titled “Career and technical education is essential for a brighter future for Arizona“ CEO Todd Sanders and Global Pathways Institute Director Bill Symonds share their insight on the success of CTE programs and how a stronger CTE system will help make Arizona an even more attractive place to work, play and raise a family. Below are a few excerpts. To read the article online in its entirety, click here.

A strong education system’s core function is to prepare students for success in their post-graduation lives. That system provides the foundation for a well-trained workforce, which is essential if businesses are going to thrive. In turn, healthy businesses produce a growing economy that benefits everyone.

We all can agree on the goal of economic growth. The real debate is over the most effective steps educators and policy makers can take toward raising our state’s growth rate.

The real answer to that question is to offer students multiple pathways to success. The idea that there is just one road — attending and graduating from a four-year college — has not and will not equip most of Arizona’s students to achieve economic independence.

One of the most promising of these multiple pathways is career and technical education, or CTE, which provides students instruction for a variety of well-paying careers Arizona employers are hiring for now.

The highly skilled workforce produced by the best CTE programs makes Arizona more attractive to companies considering relocating or expanding here. That’s a reality that already has been recognized by elected officials in other states with which we compete for jobs.

A stronger CTE system will help make Arizona an even more attractive place to work, play and raise a family. Because CTE equips students with knowledge about careers they can explore and the career skills they need to succeed, it provides a solid pathway to achieving the American dream.

Posted by Carolina Lopez