Talking Points

Global CTE Toolkit

Global competence—possessing the knowledge, skills, and disposition to understand and act creatively on issues of global significance—is essential to students' success in the world today and into the future. This section provides statistics and key messages you can use to make the case to educators, administrators, parents, the business community, and others that students in K-12 education programs, including career and technical education (CTE or vocational education) programs, should be exposed to global education in order to be career ready.

As you are making the case, be sure to bring potential stakeholders into the classroom to see global projects in action—as they say, seeing is believing! And review your school and district mission and vision statements—they often include global citizenship or global education as core values. Use this to ground and frame your argument.

Economic Statistics

Rapid economic, technological, and social changes connect people across the globe as never before. Companies around the world are seeking more globally competent employees who are capable of understanding and acting on issues of global significance.

  • Ninety-five percent of consumers live outside of the U.S.
  • One in five American jobs is tied to international trade.
  • Jobs tied to international trade have grown by more than 100 percent in the last 20 years.
  • The American higher education system attracts more than 800,000 foreign students, the highest in our history, making education the fifth most lucrative global service our nation offers.

To find additional economic statistics as well as those specific to your state and county, please visit Mapping the Nation.

Demographic Statistics

According to U.S. Census data and the report, Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060, the population of the United States will change dramatically during the careers of your students.

  • Beginning in 2030, net international migration is expected to overtake natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) as the driver of population growth in the United States due to our aging population.
  • The non-Hispanic white population is projected to shrink over coming decades—from 199 million in 2020 to 179 million people in 2060.
  • The population of people who are "Two or More Races" is projected to be the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group over the next several decades, followed by Asians and Hispanics.
  • The nation's foreign-born population is projected to rise from 44 million people today to 69 million people in 2060.
  • Beginning in 2045, non-Hispanic whites are no longer projected to make up the majority of the U.S. population.
  • Currently, the United States has 40 million people who are foreign born, more than any other time in our history.
  • According to the "American Community Survey," by U.S. Census, the percentage of the nation's population age 5 and older speaking a language other than English at home was 21.6 percent in 2016.

What does that mean for our individual classrooms? Diversity in classrooms across the country will continue to grow—from rural to urban settings. Beginning in the fall of 2014, our classrooms became majority minority—that is, white students are no longer the majority in our schools. Students will be learning and working in teams with students from other cultures and will require global competence to be successful in doing so. This expanding diversity also provides amazing opportunities to support students in developing respect for the multitudes of cultures and people they'll interact with during their education and in the diverse workplace.

To find additional demographic statistics as well as those specific to your state and county, please visit Mapping the Nation.

Key Messages

In order to succeed in an increasingly global workplace, students need the skills to contribute, collaborate, and thrive in a diverse, global marketplace. Integrating a global approach into all K–12 education will provide students with:

Global career competence

  • Success in future jobs will depend on global competence because careers will play out on the global stage, and employers, customers, and colleagues could be from anywhere in the world regardless of whether they work for a global company or at a local company. With global career competence, students will approach problems from multiple perspectives.

Global career-ready skills

  • In today's global marketplace, a career-ready person exhibits proficiency in critical thinking, rational optimism, innovation, empathy, and awareness of how culture influences individual behavior and world events. Employers are hungry for workers who possess these skills.
  • The job market is changing rapidly. As more routine jobs can be outsourced or done by computer, advantages will go to workers who can analyze and solve problems, recognize patterns and similarities, and communicate and interact with other people in global work teams.

Cultural awareness

  • Career success requires the ability to communicate, connect, and collaborate with people from diverse cultures, including fellow employees, vendors, and customers.
  • Students familiar with other cultural perspectives are often more tolerant of others—more willing to get along and resolve issues with others—whether it be their peers in a culturally diverse school or their peers living in another country.

Global influence and impact

  • The world will need the skills that CTE students possess. In the future, these skills will impact how we address environmental concerns, economic shifts, global poverty, population growth, and human rights.
  • Today's young people live in a world vastly different from the one in which their parents and teachers grew up.
  • More than ever before, our national security is intertwined with our understanding of other cultures and languages.

Talking Points When Talking to Youth

Young people have a natural curiosity about the rest of the world. Faraway people and places they have never before heard of may be exotic and fascinating, but remember to help connect what young people are learning about the rest of the world to their own interests, concerns, and lives.

  • Young people around the world live, eat, play, and view the world in a variety of different ways (just like you). It can be interesting to learn about our many differences, but there are also many similarities between our ways of life.
  • Global learning begins in our own neighborhoods, by getting to know the people and cultures around us, learning to communicate with people close by and far away, and seeing the world as others see it.
  • We all live on one planet, and these days everyone is connected to one another. We all need to contribute to the positive development of not only our local community, but the global community as well.

The Benefits of Project-Based Learning

Why engage in project-based learning (PBL) experiences? Often, you need to communicate with administration, parents, and the community about the benefits of PBL in order to design an effective experience for your students. Consider these talking points:

  • With PBL, students learn deeply, think critically, and strive for excellence as they work through complex problems, questions, and issues with multiple answers.
  • Students work on projects that are meaningful and relevant to their culture, their lives, and their future.
  • Students' work is publicly displayed, discussed, and critiqued, which is an authentic way to assess student achievement and learning, especially when the product is shared with a global audience.
  • Students work in teams (i.e., a collaborative environment) to solve complex problems, which is a career-ready skill.
  • Students use a project management process that enables them to proceed effectively from project initiation to completion. This helps students to manage time, tasks, and resources efficiently in order to achieve success. Project management is another career-ready skill.
  • Students reflect on their work and their learning throughout and at the end of the project, helping to retain content and skills longer, develop a greater sense of control over their own education, and build confidence in themselves.

Additional Resources

For speaking to parents: What is 21st Century Learning and Citizenship All About?, Partnership for 21st Century Learning.

Global CTE Toolkit

This is part of the Center for Global Education's Global CTE Toolkit, which provides professional development, tools, and resources to help CTE educators integrate global competence into their curriculum. Learn more »

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