Gov. Rick Snyder launches second phase of Going PRO campaign to change outdated perceptions of professional trades

State departments working to transform image, promote value of Career Technical Education

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – The professional trades are a pathway to high-quality careers for Michiganders and continued economic strength for Michigan. The State of Michigan launched a new campaign today to correct outdated perceptions of Career Technical Education and the opportunities it presents.

The second phase of the state's Going PRO campaign is designed to change the discussion about the professional trades, enhance career tech programs and better connect the business and education communities so Michigan students can embrace opportunities for rewarding careers.

“We need to think differently about career tech education, enhancing the value these programs can bring to students and the community as a whole,” Snyder said. “We must reach more students, parents and counselors because too many people are not getting the message about the high-paying, high-demand, and meaningful careers available in the professional trades.”

The next chapter of the Going PRO campaign was kicked off by Gov. Rick Snyder and Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, at the Governor’s Education and Talent Summit today in Lansing.

In the coming weeks, students, parents and educators will see the next generation of a campaign aimed at making them more aware of the choices available to further their education in ways outside of a four-year college degree.

The need for a professional trades push is great in Michigan because skilled talent is an important factor when job providers look to grow and locate.

According to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives:

  • Professional trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in the Michigan economy by 2024, accounting for 16 percent of all job growth during that period.
  • Professional trades are projected to grow 50 percent faster than the statewide average during that time.
  • The median wage for professional trades occupations is 45 percent higher than the Michigan statewide median wage for all occupations

The Going PRO campaign, started last year with billboards and signs at events across the state, is part of an effort to transform career tech education across the state, addressing challenges raised by educators, businesses and other stakeholders in a recent series of roundtable discussions hosted by Curtis and State Superintendent Brian Whiston.

“We’re not downplaying going to college, but we’re ‘up-playing’ the other paths that people can take to get good-paying jobs in growing fields,” Curtis said. “All education is about making our kids career ready. But we have to make sure our CTE programs are as strong as they can be. We heard loud and clear about challenges – from all sides. Now we’re going to help make the difference that needs to happen for the future of Michigan and our kids.”

Curtis debuted a new Going PRO video, kicking off a campaign of real people doing real jobs. The campaign rollout will continue throughout May.

The state also will soon unveil a new www.Going-PRO.com website and Pathfinder, a tool that will help youth and their parents explore career options and how to take advantage of them in the coming months.

“This is just the beginning,” Curtis said. “We must change the conversation about professional trades. This is vitally important for our children, our communities and our state as a whole.”

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