School counselors are a key link between high school students and ATE programs. The more counselors know about the ATE options available in their area, the better they will be able to advise students interested in careers in math and science.
Good, Stable Jobs, and Lots of Them
Perhaps the biggest selling point of ATE programs is that they open the door to good-paying, stable jobs in growing industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that, between 2004 and 2014, U.S. companies will hire 2.5 million new workers in jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math. And in 2005, jobs in those fields paid 70 percent better than the national average.
"These are the jobs that are experiencing the greatest growth rate in the country today," says Elaine Craft, director of the South Carolina ATE Resource Center and an ATETV advisor. "These are the jobs that have been defined as those that will keep our country competitive."
ATETV visited ATE programs in agriculture, biotechnology and process technology, and everywhere the professors said they can't graduate students fast enough. "Ninety to 95 percent of our students get jobs coming out of this." says Jerry Duncan, head of the process technology program at the College of the Mainland and an ATETV advisor. "Some companies actually like to come in and raid our students and get them before they get their degrees."
But perhaps even more important in this economy is job security, and the jobs for which ATE programs prepare students aren't going anywhere. "These jobs can't be off-shored. They are, in this economy, about as secure as you can be," says Craft.
"You can't outsource electricity; you can't outsource wastewater." says high school and college instructor and ATETV advisor Lane Warner. "These jobs will always be here."
A Bridge to a Bachelor's Degree
So ATE programs have a great track record to placing students in jobs. But what should school counselors say to students and parents who worry that a two-year degree will limit their prospects in the future?
In fact, graduating from an ATE program can help pave the way for a four-year degree - and help pay for it, too. According to Gordon Snyder, executive director and principal investigator at the National Information and Communications Technology Center at Springfield Technical Community College and an ATETV advisor, many employers will help pay for the remaining two years of a bachelor's degree.
"They come out with a two-year degree from the community college," Snyder says. "They get a nice job. They get paid well. They have an opportunity for continuing ed that the company will pick up. The potential is almost unlimited if a student wants to go that track."
Connecting Your Students with ATE Programs
You can use ATETV's video and social networking features to inform, instruct and inspire your students about Advanced Technological Education. Use ATETV.org's "Watch Video" page to find video segments shot at ATE programs near your school or in industries that interest your students.
Click on "Find ATE Centers" along the top of any page on ATETV.org to search for ATE centers by location and industry. (A link on that page will take you to a similar list of community colleges.) Reach out to these programs to attend your school's next college or career fair. You might even talk to your school's administration about letting students take classes in ATE programs near them.
Do you have an ATE success story you'd like to share? Submit a post to ATETV's blog by emailing email@example.com. Please note, however, that all blog submissions are subject to the editorial review and approval of ATETV.