Giving Compass' Take:

Research is showing that a combination of technical and general education courses will help create a well-rounded student that has a variety of skills.

The idea is that a student can gain both technical skills and critical thinking/communication skills from taking classes in both types of higher education courses. How will this blended learning set up students for success?

Read about the importance of career and technical education schools.

It’s a powerful advantage for young people: Career and technical education (CTE) prepares graduates with skills to enter the workforce directly after high school. Data show that about 2.79 million students participated in secondary-level CTE nationwide in 2016-17, and more than 61,000 of them were in Massachusetts.

But it’s not time to dismiss a college degree.

Students still believe higher education can be a great complement to CTE. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that 74 percent of CTE students still expect their primary activity after high school to be postsecondary education.

College is a solution for young people who need to advance quickly on the job and for companies that need skilled, educated workers with the potential to rise far beyond entry-level positions.

While technical knowledge is important, there are other 21st century job skills that are developed in college, which makes higher education a worthwhile investment. Many technical colleges find that programs combining technical training with general education, especially in the form of associate degrees, provide a great blend to help graduates not only land their first jobs but also to advance quickly.

College builds communication skills, and in the 21st century, almost all jobs, even technical ones, have a customer-service component.Technicians need to be able to listen and read to develop an understanding of customers’ needs. They should explain their work clearly and persuasively to those with both higher and lower levels of expertise.

English, humanities, and social science classes build these skills, as do projects and presentations in technical courses, where professors and peers provide feedback.

Colleges can provide student support and career services to supplement the lessons of the classroom and laboratory, particularly in areas like job searching, resume preparation, interviewing and salary negotiation.

Read the full article about college and technical education by Anthony Benoit at The Hechinger Report