REP. GLENN “GT” THOMPSON (R-PA.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
September 9, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has attacked the physical and financial health of communities across the country.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 6 million Americans have been infected by the coronavirus, but each and every one of us have felt the ripple effect as our economy came to a screeching halt. The economic impact has manifested itself through scenes of boarded up storefronts, millions of Americans out of work, and many families concerned about their wellbeing.
In part, we’ve learned the hard way just how much we rely upon a highly skilled and trained workforce. The pandemic has thrust many hardworking men and women who are often overlooked into the limelight, as we rely upon these professionals now more than ever.
Many of these individuals obtained their skills from career and technical education, or CTE. Just prior to the pandemic, there were nearly 7 million job openings across the country. Contrasting that figure with the potential of our nation’s learners — whether they are entering the workforce for the first time, learning a new skill, or reentering the workforce after some time away — and there is an obvious disconnect. This is often referred to as the “skills gap,” and CTE is a proven way to bridge this divide.