reVisioning Career Technical Education
5Why Career Technical Education?
“College-ready” has become of one of latest educational buzz words in the media. This term comes primarily from the No Child Left Behind legislation that states that our current education system needs to prepare students to be college and career ready.
Lackluster employment data has driven the college ready discussion. According to a Harvard study, Pathway to Prosperity, employers increasingly find it difficult to find ample number of qualified and skilled workers to fill technical positions. The study further pointed out that the nation’s current system overemphasizes a single pathway to success: graduating from a 4-year college after completing a college-prep course of study in high school.
Within the discussion, many ask, “Does this mean every student should go to college?” The answer is “No, but . . .”
Although it is true not every student needs a four –year degree, researchers have found virtually all need some sort of postsecondary training in order to prosper. The training may be acquired by attaining an associate degree (2 -3 year programs), completing an industry- based certificate or an apprenticeship, as well as enrolling in numerous other training opportunities.
In order for students to know which path they should take, they must begin by discovering the type of skills and careers that interest them. This exploration phase can be found in high school Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. In the past, these courses were described as vocational classes.
However, modern day Career Technical Education is not your mother’s or father’s high school vocational classes. Instead CTE provides students a variety of courses that interweave rigorous academic skills, 21st Century Skills (e.g., collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, etc.) with the specific technical skills needed in the work place. Additionally, CTE no longer forces students to select either a vocational pathway or college preparatory course of study.
reVision Grant Project
In September, a group of AHS CTE teachers, school counselors, and administrators began to rethink Auburn High School’s CTE classes as part of a grant project entitled, reVision. The reVision team audited the school’s current CTE courses and examined Nebraska and national employment data. Auburn administrators also met with and asked local industry and community leaders for their perspective regarding employment needs for southeast Nebraska.
Using this information, the reVision team began retooling their courses. In some cases, courses were dropped, others were added, and several were totally revamped so students could complete a series of three courses (called pathways) in Family Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology, Business, or Informational/Computer Technology. Examples of new or revamped courses include topics related to culinary skills, textiles, drafting architectural drawings, and web design.
The reVision Team also identified agriculture as a major gap in the school’s offerings. Discussions began and the Board of Education approved the new program in January. Based on student preregistration, school administrators anticipate students will take courses in introductory agriculture, animal science, plant science, welding and agribusiness.
The AHS reVision team is proud of its CTE planning and looks forward to providing students with multiple ways to become college and career ready.
Contact: Nancy Fuller
1713 J Street
Auburn, NE 68305
April 3, 2014
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