Career education making a comeback in US high schools

ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) — Decades after “shop class” became known as a lesser alternative for children deemed unfit for college, vocational education is making a comeback in American high schools.

States such as California, Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee are looking to rebranded “career pathways” as a way to get more young people to pursue some post-secondary education and the stable, middle-income jobs employers say they can’t fill.

The pathways in fields such as engineering, health care and digital media combine hands-on technical training with industry-specific academics — for example, using design or manufacturing principles as a way to teach advanced math.

Congress has endorsed the revival of such applied learning, at least in concept. An education reform bill adopted last year includes career and technical education, or CTE, in the definition of a well-rounded K-12 education.