Tech Economy? Not catching on with the kids.

Technical proficiency is not a tempting magnet for public school students around here. That seems counterintuitive.

Carrick has more CTE offerings than any other district school. Its six offerings include finance technology, culinary arts, health careers, information technology, carpentry, and business of sports administration. Other programs at Allderdice, Perry, Brashear and Westinghouse include engineering technology, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), auto body, machine operations, automotive technology and cosmetology. (C-P, Rebecca Nuttall)

Mull that. Functions of the engineering, information and health science industries are gathered here, together in what had been called “Vo-Tech” or simply trades. Valuable specialities.

According to district data, the CTE program’s capacity is 700 students, but only 528 students are currently enrolled. Of the 35 sessions run district-wide, 29 are below maximum capacity, and eight of those are less than half full.

PPS Superintendent Linda Lane says the district is working to increase enrollment while also making the best use of its resources.

“If we have a CTE program that is severely undersubscribed and we can’t fill a classroom, we’re going to have to shift our resources to the programs kids want to take,” Lane says. (ibid)

Of course, there is also the Pittsburgh Sci-Tech in Oakland — servicing just 548 students among seven grade levels.

It seems like we cannot be playing to our strengths. Is it a matter of cajoling our civic nerds into early childhood mentoring? More resources? Better branding?

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