Locally, there is a growing need for more workers in the skilled trades. According to ESRI Business Analyst Online, 21% of the US workforce is comprised of skilled workers whereas only 13.5% of workers in the Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area make up the skilled trade sector.
But while these well-paying jobs are highly available, not enough high school graduates choose to pursue the training required. Part of the reason is the perception that career success comes only with a four-year college degree. Another is that many families don’t know what resources are available to help them find a place in the skilled workforce. WFSU is looking to connect more families to these resources through American Graduate: Getting to Work, a national public media initiative funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“Our role is to be a storyteller – to tell the stories of those who work in various trades and to breakdown the misperceptions of this work. It is also to highlight where the jobs are in our community that don’t require a four-year degree to enter. We are also educating our general audiences about Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the need to have more youth as well as adults understand the need for a trained and skilled workforce,” Director of Content & Community Partnerships Kim Kelling said.
In a community survey taken in October 2018, WFSU Public Media collected raw data as evidence for success with American Graduate work within our community:
- 95.5% believe that workforce development is crucial for our region’s economy.
- 94.1% believe that it is important for technical and community colleges to provide credentialing (certificates etc.) for entrance into workforce within two years or less.
- 95.4% believe that it is important for high schools to provide career and technical programs.
- 98.7% believe that it is important for businesses to provide internships and apprenticeships to help prepare young adults for careers.
Our goal through the WFSU’s American Graduate initiative is to link students with the career and technical training opportunities available in this area. By partnering with Lively Tech College, Tallahassee Community College’s Center for Workforce Development, Leon County Schools, the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality, and CareerSource Capital Region, WFSU can shine a light on where the jobs needs are and the training available. We feature our partners in media content across our platforms to help disseminate relevant information about CTE. The goal is to shatter misconceptions regarding career and technical education and grow opportunity for students to find a powerful path to the middle class through middle skill jobs.
Not only does WFSU help its partners communicate with local students but we also create educational videos and stream via Facebook Live to bring stories of local successes to the forefront with the goal of raising awareness of job prospects in skilled trade industries.
“We developed a networking lunch program to bring community professionals into the school to talk with students about various career pathways and to help students understand the value of a high school diploma,” Kelling said.
WFSU Producer Rob Diaz De Villegas recently crafted videos featuring skilled workers who assembled the new Proof Brewing Co. location.
“So we’re talking about beer in a brewery, we’re not trying to market toward students, but their parents who enjoy these products and think it’s cool that this is being built and make them realize that it would never get built if we didn’t have all those skilled tradespeople needed to get it done,” he said.
About American Graduate
American Graduate is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help young people succeed in school, career and life. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 125 public television and radio stations have joined forces with over 1,700 partners to elevate the stories of youth and the supportive adults that help them succeed. Through American Graduate, public media, with its unique position as a trusted resource and important partner in local communities, provides a critical platform to shine a light on pathways to graduation and successful student outcomes. National and local reporting, on air and online is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with education and future successes. Public forums, town halls and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators and more.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit http://www.cpb.org, follow on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.