Vocational education and training (VET) programs prepare individuals for current and emerging occupations, including engineering, agriculture, consumer services, business/office administration, marketing and distribution, manufacturing, healthcare, and trade industries (NCES n.d.; NCES 2015; AEA 2022).
Vocational training typically does not require a 2- or 4-year degree and can be earned in secondary school or postsecondary classroom-apprenticeship programs.
Missouri. MO ranks 23rd in total number of vocational degrees/certifications awarded in the U.S. (NCES 2015).
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers nationally-recognized job credentials for some vocational programs, which focus on technical and foundational skills such as reading and using work-related text, problem-solving, and critical thinking (ACT 2011).
For more information on secondary school VET programs, see our Science Note on Career & Technical Education in Missouri.
54 of 114 Missouri counties have not returned to pre-2008 financial crisis levels of employment or population.
More than 50% of Missouri job seekers cited barriers to job training, including a lack of:
95% of industry professionals who collaborate with community colleges (CC) in MO cite lack of state funding as the main job training obstacle.
35% of MO employers report no working rela-tionship with career and technical education centers, who provide sites for technical training to all education levels (Russell & White 2020).
MO Job Centers provide a non-exhaustive list of training opportunities for technical careers in the public or private sector, including beverage serving, childcare providers, fire and emergency safety, law enforcement, food safety, drinking water and solid waste operations, public health, and veterans’ education services; MO.gov n.d).
30 states do not distinguish between VET programs and community college funding. 7 provide specific postsecondary funds based on:
In 2021, VET programs were offered in 444 MO high schools (180,000 students), 13 technical /community colleges and 7 colleges/universities (58,000 students; DESE n.d.).