CATEC Celebrates National Skilled Trades Day

National Skilled Trades Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in May to raise awareness about the importance of skilled trades industries in the United States. Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) tirelessly advocates for improved awareness and representation of the value the skilled trades bring to our community.

Created by City Machine Technologies, Inc. in Youngstown, Ohio, National Skilled Trades Day highlights the importance of eliminating the skilled trades gap we’re experiencing as skilled workers retire from industry and companies are unable to fill those positions. With the influx of messaging over the last few decades that four-year colleges were the only path to high wages, our country has not only experienced increased student loan debt, but job openings that go unfilled. Forbes estimates that more than 53% of skilled trades workers are nearing retirement age. Working to fill positions for highly skilled workers in the healthcare, construction, and service industries, this advocacy day supports efforts to bring awareness for the need of skilled workers.

Auto Service Tech Students

CATEC plays a vital role in helping businesses close the skills gap by building a competitive workforce for the 21st century. Our students participate in career and technical education coursework that leads to employment in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations. For the 2020-2021 school year, CATEC will offer 12 programs, including Cosmetology and Salon Assisting, Culinary Arts, Automotive Service Technician, Automotive Body Repair, and Fire Service. Additionally, CATEC offers programs that will experience growth as our population’s needs change. Research shows that healthcare occupations are projected to grow 18% by 2026, adding more than 2 million new jobs. CATEC offers courses in Certified Nurse Aide, Veterinary Science, and Emergency Medical Technician. CATEC currently offers Building Trades and Electricity courses, both industries projected to need an additional three million skilled workers as the nation’s infrastructure demands upgrades in the next decade, particularly in the designing, building and operating transportation, housing, utilities and telecommunications fields.

For the last two years, CATEC has participated in “school-to-work” signing events that recognize our graduates who are accepting employment as skilled tradespeople or apprenticeships with local employers. CATEC has celebrated 60 students entering skilled labor industries. In addition, SkillsUSA and Klein Tools National Signing Day recognized 9 Building Trades and Electricity students for accepting jobs or apprenticeships with local construction companies.

Adult Education and Apprenticeship Students

Additionally, CATEC offers Adult Education and Apprenticeship programming. This programming covers a wide range of technical education courses that help adults enhance current skills, gain new knowledge, and continue lifelong learning. CATEC’s Registered Apprenticeship is approved by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and serves more than 200 apprentices sponsored by 55 local employers.

CATEC prides itself on its built-in value, equity-based programs, and contribution to students' learning journeys.


CATEC provides built-in value. Students obtain work-based and project-based learning opportunities, workplace readiness training for a 21st century workforce, and industry-recognized certifications and credentials. 100% of our students receive work-based learning experiences, whether it was through field trips, guest speakers, internships, job shadows, Youth Registered Apprenticeships, or workplace readiness lessons.


CATEC is equitable. Our diverse learning community offers access to industry training, professionalism, and credentialing to all students, preparing them for living-wage and growth-driven careers in our community. Reflecting Charlottesville’s diverse population, CATEC allows all students opportunities for academic training in the industries of their choice.


CATEC is an important step in a student’s learning journey. A CATEC education links students’ previous learning experiences to their life goals by providing quality and affordable learning opportunities. CATEC offers programs that provide dual-enrollment opportunities for students through local community colleges. These credits allow students to seamlessly matriculate into college coursework when they choose.

Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) is a regional technical education center that helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Our centralized, unified career development program helps students develop strategic approaches to cultivating their careers. CATEC was founded in 1973 and serves students from both Albemarle County Schools and Charlottesville City Schools. 

By: Amanda Jay