- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Career and technical education programs are sprouting at Nebraska schools but there’s a looming shortage of qualified teachers to lead the classes.

State and local officials say college programs to train those teachers have shrunk over the years and that a large number of the veteran educators are nearing retirement as well, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1QEzyDG ) reported.

Just four of the more than dozen openings this year for career and technical education teachers across Nebraska have been filled, according to Eric Knoll, who was hired last fall to restart a skilled and technical education program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He said that when he arrived at the university, around six of Nebraska college’s had career and technical education teacher programs. That has since dwindled to one, which is at Wayne State College.

“There was lots of disappointment when these programs went away, because we knew we’d be in trouble,” Knoll said. “And now we’re in trouble.”

The lack of teachers isn’t limited to just Nebraska - more than half of the U.S. states are facing a shortage as well for the programs, said spokesman Sean Lynch for the Association of Career and Technical Education.

The fall opening of Lincoln’s Career Academy comes at a time when interest in career and technical education has increased due to a need for skilled workers in health, technology, agricultural and manufacturing fields. Almost 400 students have signed on to take classes in the program, said Dan Hohensee, the academy’s director.

Hohensee said most of the teachers for the program have been hired, but notes one of the biggest issues was making sure that the instructors had the certification needed to teach high school student.

Omaha Public Schools also plans to establish a career academy.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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