Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Shawn Anderson is a Coordinator of Student Engagement and Student Life at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Rachel Dodson is an Associate Professor of Business Management and Administration at Lord Fairfax Community College. David Howell is Faculty at Tidewater Community College. Joshua McDowell is an Assistant Professor at Danville Community College. Jesse Miller is a Program Head and Associate Professor at Reynolds Community College. Dana Newcomer is an Apprenticeship Program Coordinator for the Community College Workforce Alliance at Reynolds & John Tyler Community Colleges. Regina Sanders is a CARE Counselor at Northern Virginia Community College. Maryanne Serignese is an Advancement Services Coordinator at the Virginia Community College System Office. Brooke Shehan is a FastForward Career Coach at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.


12.5 million secondary and postsecondary students are currently enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in the United States (“Career,” 2019). CTE programs provide students with the academic skills, technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners (“Career,” 2019). Students are prepared for the workplace as a result of a competency-based learning approach and through partnerships with local employers who provide hands-on experience and work-based learning opportunities (“Career,” 2019). By 2020, 65 percent of American jobs will require some postsecondary education or training, with half of these positions requiring an associate degree, certificate or credential (“Community,” 2017, p.3). The Department of Labor reported 6.2 million unfilled jobs in 2017; community colleges are an essential element in addressing this challenge (“Community,” 2017, p.3). Career and Technical Education represents a crucial path from education to employment (“Community,” 2017, p.3). The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) works to create opportunities for students to complete CTE pathways and has made great strides in working to promote the value of CTE education for all students. A number of challenges, opportunities, best practices, and recommendations are associated with promoting the value of CTE programs.



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