The OECD’s new report “Learning for Jobs” explores how vocational education programs can improve country competitiveness and reduce unemployment.
“Vocational education and training has been neglected” says the latest OECD report, Learning for Jobs. Students, parents, and policymakers often think of “Voc Ed” as inferior to a classic “academic” secondary education, which is geared towards preparing students for college or university. But most of us know that not everyone follows this path. Once people join the workforce, much of what we learn about our jobs comes from experience, not from the art history class. Why, then, is vocational education and training, too often ignored and underfunded?
Increasingly, countries are recognizing that good vocational education and training can be a major contribution to economic growth by giving people the skills needed in the labor market. In the US, several organizations such as ConnectEd in California and New York’s Multiple Pathways to Graduation Program are seeking to implement more programs in high schools that connect learning in the classroom with the economic needs of the community. Workplace training opportunities are very important.
Finding the optimal point where labor supply meets demand is no easy task. In a tough economy, the mismatch between can be even greater. The OECD’s Learning for Jobs not only takes a look at the economic outcomes of vocational training, but it also examines the importance of career guidance, professional development, and workplace learning.
As the need for technically skilled workers increases in a globalized world, vocational education might become the newest popular policy on the block.
A reputation well deserved.