The manufacturing industry already was facing a skilled labor shortage, and the onset of the COVID-19 crisis has presented an additional challenge for educational institutions, temporarily closing schools across the nation and interrupting face-to-face learning.
To help meet the challenge of building the industry’s future workforce, the newly formed CTE Coalition, led by Lincoln Electric, Tooling U-SME, NC3, camInstructor, Haas Automation and SkillsUSA, have mobilized to create the Keep CTE Moving website, a central portal where instructors and students can go to access resources, including hundreds of online classes, videos and instructional materials in areas such as machining, welding, mechatronics, industry 4.0 and programming.
All online materials are produced and supplied by coalition partners, and most of it is available at no charge for the next 30 days, organizers said. The goal is to help career and technical education faculty and students continue their teaching and learning in a new virtual environment as quickly as possible.
“A lot of CTE courses are in areas like welding, CNC, automotive, manufacturing and construction, and are very hands-on,” said Jason Scales, business manager for education at Lincoln Electric. “Many instructors simply don’t have online training content. This non-competitive group of industry-leading companies each maintain a robust set of e-learning modules and other resources. Together, we agreed to share our resources in an unprecedented manner.
“With this opportunity, tens of thousands of CTE students can keep learning, even while they may not be allowed to gather in a physical classroom or lab.”
Understanding the urgency for education to respond to the crisis, coalition partners also are providing recorded sessions with CTE instructors highlighting best practices in how to effectively utilize eLearning and online resources to educate students and quickly transition to a virtual learning environment.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, CTE instructors are urged to periodically visit the Keep CTE Moving website at ctecoalition.com for additional remote learning resources and guidance that likely will evolve over time. The coalition says it is committed to continually monitoring the situation and coming together to respond to the nation’s educators and students.
“The coalition hopes that by offering these centralized online resources, we can quickly help thousands of students continue their studies in these unprecedented times when many schools are temporarily closed,” said Chelle Travis, executive director at SkillsUSA.