News Release

Published on Friday, February 04, 2011

With some of the fastest-growing occupations requiring an associate’s degree or technical diploma, technical colleges are poised to help Wisconsin on the road to economic recovery.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin Technical College System are using February’s Career and Technical Education Month to emphasize the importance of CTE to the state’s economic growth. The theme, “CTE: Learning Today, Earning Tomorrow,” highlights the critical need for CTE programs to provide high school and post secondary students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be competitive in today’s global economy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of the fastest growing occupations will require an associate’s degree or a postsecondary vocational certificate. Many of those career programs are available locally at Western Technical College.
Healthcare occupations are expected to make up seven of the 20 fastest-growing occupations. Careers such as nursing, home health care, medical assistant, and occupational therapy assistant, all of which are offered at Western, are expected to grow by 2018.

Other occupations with the largest employment growth, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include accountants, administrative assistants, receptionists and child care workers. Western offers technical diplomas and associate’s degrees in those fields.
Research also indicates that 80 percent of current and emerging occupations require two-year technical degrees, while just 20 percent require bachelor’s degrees. Wisconsin students can begin career and technical education in high school and continue into postsecondary education, seamlessly and efficiently.

“Career and technical education prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers that may require varying levels of education—from high school to postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year college degrees,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “By partnering with the business community, CTE programs are investing in students’ lives with the latest technology and skills that will prepare them to become successful employees as well as future leaders.”

“Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges have forged strong local partnerships with business and industry, as well as beneficial collaborations with area public school districts,” added Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “Successful implementation of the resulting career pathways will ensure that educational opportunities align with industry needs and students see a clear path to future career success.”

Western Technical College serves the educational and career needs of more than 19,000 residents of western Wisconsin each year. In addition to the main campus in La Crosse, Western has regional locations in Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, Tomah, and Viroqua.

For information about programs and services at Western, call 608.785.9200 or visit the website at