The main reason for the shortages is that "salaries are too low to compete with salaries in technical fields," Stateline's Sophie Quinton reports. "Too few young people are specializing in career and technical education in college. And it’s hard to attract teachers to isolated schools in rural areas." A study of 37 state directors by Advance CTE found that attempts to attract teachers with financial incentives have not been successful. (Stateline graphic: Reasons state directors say they can't fill CTE jobs)
Lawmakers in many states are trying to solve the problem, Quinton writes. "The Virginia Legislature and the boards of education in New York and South Dakota have adjusted CTE licensing requirements in recent years to make it easier for people to start teaching. Last year, North Carolina and Virginia created licenses that allow technical workers to teach part time. People from industry in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Ohio already have a similar option." Tennessee "allows people who have worked in industry to count their years of work experience as years of teaching experience."
Problems still persist in states like Minnesota, where a report from a state task force "found that across five in-demand specialties, a third of all CTE teachers had been hired on short-term special permission licenses," Quinton writes. "In some of those specialties the share was higher: nearly 40 percent for manufacturing, 50 percent for construction and 54 percent for medicine."