The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has the potential to open up life-changing job opportunities to more people and drive critical improvements to our physical infrastructure that will help grow our economy and improve our quality of life.

We do not have a national strategy for quickly and equitably preparing our workforce to take advantage of these new jobs that will build our future. For workers who have historically been excluded from good jobs that pay enough to support their families, namely people of color and women, access to quality education and training for good jobs is a matter of economic security and mobility. For employers, who are struggling to fill 10 million open jobs (paywall), access to a larger pool of skilled workers allows businesses to stay competitive in a growing economy (and weather supply chain fluctuations). The missing link is the huge disconnect between what higher education teaches and what employers need.

I believe we need to refocus on connecting motivated workers and growing companies to equity-driven career and technical education (CTE) options. As the president of an organization that works to improve postsecondary outcomes for students through a variety of approaches, including CTE, I've seen firsthand how these programs can be beneficial.

CTE is not a new concept, but it should receive renewed focus as we rebuild. Often housed at community colleges, CTE programs train and prepare students for careers in manufacturing, green jobs, information technology and healthcare, among other critical sectors that will fuel our future. But full-time enrollment at community colleges is down almost 10% this year, much higher than at other undergraduate institutions, signaling that fewer prospective students may be pursuing CTE credentials.

Read the full article about a renewed focus on CTE by Peter Taylor at Forbes.