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How to learn technical skills, no matter your age

Whether you’re a high school student, a recent graduate, or you’ve been in the workforce for years, you may be thinking about improving your technical expertise to start or advance your career. After all, the jobs are available — you just need to be qualified.

America is dealing with an unprecedented shortage of skilled labor. The Department of Labor reports that while there are 7.6 million unfilled jobs, only 6.5 million people were looking for work. This is the same situation in Arizona.

When pursuing those jobs, young people may be competing with people who have more experience, and experienced people may be competing with the technological knowledge of younger generations. That’s why, no matter your age, you can round out your resume with a technical education that will help you get ahead.

What is technical education?

Technical education isn’t just about computer literacy, rather it’s about learning innovation and creativity. Such skills are necessary when it comes to writing computer code, figuring out ventilation systems, or doing precision manufacturing.

And learning them is more than just going back to school. It involves getting an education that directly applies to your career.

“Today, more than ever, it’s vital that students understand the application of academics to real-world careers,” West-MEC Superintendent Greg Donovan says. “The United States is, and will be, in need of a highly trained and skilled workforce for the 21st century.”

Available programs

If you know what skills you want to pursue, it can be as simple as signing up for a program at a technical school like Western Maricopa Education Center.

“West-MEC focuses solely on innovative career and technical education programs that prepare students with the advanced skills necessary to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education,” according to West-Mec.edu. “Every student who completes a program has the opportunity to test for licensure or certification. With these industry-recognized credentials, students are prepared to fully participate in the economy.”

There are a variety of programs to consider in your career path. Many of them apply to the specific industry, but also teach valuable skills necessary for whatever career path students choose following completion.

For example, an aviation maintenance technology program could teach you how to maintain and repair aircraft mechanical systems, while an IT security program could teach you what goes into securing computer networks and managing risk.

Perhaps you’d be more interested in an aesthetician program that teaches you about skincare and goes in-depth on the variety of services in the industry. Or maybe you’d like to complete a culinary principles program that teaches you skills for food preparation and culinary techniques.

No matter where your interest lies, a technical education will help you now and in the future, as the workforce continues to evolve.

Next steps

Once you’ve found a program that sparks your interest, it’s time to enroll in one that will move your career forward.

Fortunately, West-MEC has a track record of helping Arizonans train for successful careers. With programs for high schoolers and adults, you can join the more than 37,000 other students from around the state to move toward your future.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to develop new and thriving educational centers where students are empowered to participate fully in the economy,” Donovan says.For more details about programs, enrollment dates, and how to apply, visit West-Mec.edu.

About West MEC

West-MEC is a career technical education public school district that focuses solely on innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education.
West-MEC campuses are located at 13201 W. Grand Ave. in Surprise, 6997 N. Glen Harbor Blvd. in Glendale, 500 N. Verrado Way in Buckeye, and 1617 W Williams Dr. in Phoenix. West-MEC CTE programs provide students opportunities to earn college credit and industry credentials. West-MEC also offers adult education programs. Visit www.west-mec.edu for more information about West-MEC’s career-driven education opportunities or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.