ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
The 2014 Minnesota Legislature adopted language requiring Minnesota school districts to assist all students no later than grade nine to develop a Personal Learning Plan leading to a “smooth and successful transition to postsecondary education or employment.” Recognizing that many teaching professionals are not well equipped to provide learners with guidance about the opportunities available across the career spectrum, the Advancing Career Development project provided a way to introduce a cadre of teaching/counseling professionals to career knowledge through guided work-site experiences so that they could help other education professionals and students to understand the breadth of career opportunities available. The project recognized Minnesota’s Perkins consortia, a unique-in-the-nation structure of secondary schools and 2-year postsecondary institutions, as an appropriate vehicle to give leadership to this effort. Minnesota’s Perkins consortia, in collaboration with state leadership, have developed excellent tools to help guide career development of secondary learners, including the Minnesota Clusters & Pathways Framework (the career wheel) that organizes careers into a structure of six career fields, sixteen career clusters and seventy-nine career pathways; the spectrum of work-based learning opportunities that diagrams the variety of worksite learning experiences ranging from field trips to youth apprenticeships; and other planning tools to assist in the implementation of the Personal Learning Plan legislation.
The Advancing Career Development project provided work-site experiences for groups of career and technical education (CTE) teachers and counselors from each of three Perkins consortia to improve the education professionals’ understanding of opportunities for future careers so that they may provide better guidance to students in their preparation of Personal Learning Plans. Participating teachers/counselors took part in professional development around implementation of the personal learning plan legislation, the career development spectrum, the six career fields, and an array of postsecondary/certificate options, followed by site visits of regional business/industries representing the six career fields.
Teachers/counselors were selected by the leadership of three participating Perkins consortia. Participating teachers were teachers of career and technical education for, while these individuals hold knowledge of careers within their own fields of expertise and also generally understand all aspects of the industry for which they are preparing students, they sometimes lack the broader understanding of careers across the six career fields. The training provided helped them to be able to transfer their knowledge of all aspects of industry to multiple industry sectors. Participating counselors have a solid background in the career development process, but may lack information about the world of work outside of education. Teachers/counselors participated in an introductory session pertaining to the personal learning plan requirement, career development spectrum and career fields held at a union training facility; at least five visits to business/industry settings (one for each career field: agriculture, food, and natural resources; arts, communications and information systems; engineering, manufacturing and technology; health science; human services; business, management and administration), and a follow-up session to guide development of a local implementation plan. A full day was required for the initial session, while other sessions were generally for a half-day with participants completing additional assignments on their own time.
A website was developed to contain necessary materials for the project as well as be a repository for assignments completed by participants. The website held background information on the project as well as the sponsoring organizations – the Citizens League of Minnesota and the Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation; held career development materials and information on the state’s career fields; gave links to career videos and other useful documents; gave information about the guiding state statute and other pertinent legislation; held information on experiential learning and the spectrum of work-based learning opportunities; and held all instructional materials used within the project for participant review. Business/industry partners were also surveyed to gauge their satisfaction with the activity.
Daniel Smith, CTE Consultant, Retired from the Minnesota Department of Education
Posted by Educators in Action at 11:00 AM | Permalink
I am passionate about giving students an opportunity to learn about a career before they pursue it. Students need opportunities to see, feel, hear and touch a career. Opportunities such as field trips, job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships are instrumental to career investigation and exploration. I would like to share my journey and the reason that I have become so zealous.
The summer before my freshman school year, I broke my arm at camp. I was taken to the hospital and had my arm x-rayed and casted. That became the first step in pursing my career choice of radiologic technology. My parents asked me two important questions: 1) What is the salary? And 2) Are there jobs available? I felt quite confident that I would be able to find a job and make an adequate salary in this career field.
I was so excited when I was accepted into the X-Ray program at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. Many of my friends inquired, “Why aren’t you pursing nursing?” I informed them that “I did not want a job that required giving shots or enemas.” Unfortunately, without researching this chosen career, I found out that the two main exams of an X-ray tech were IVPs (shots) and barium enemas. I was now going to do the two things that I did not want to do as a nurse. Boy, it would have been so helpful to spend time observing at a hospital to learn more about my chosen field of study.
After completing a year in the radiologic technology program, I accepted defeat and withdrew from my studies. Now what? I decided to review the career interest inventory that I took in high school. This inventory basically told me that I had no interest in health careers. My focus should be on business, management, education and training. I refocused my energy to focus on business management and to eventually become a business teacher.
I truly love my profession. I have owned my own business, been a teacher, a counselor, a school-to-work coordinator, career counselor and now an education specialist for CTE and College and Career Readiness. I want students to have every opportunity to pursue their passions and gain the real world experiences that will help them find a career that they love. Learning what you don’t like is as powerful as discovering what you do.
Christine HolecekRegion IV, VP (elect)Education Service Center Region 12Education Specialist, CTE and College & Career Readiness
My name is Courtney Benjamin and I teach Automotive Technology to high school seniors at Broome-Tioga BOCES in Binghamton, NY. Some people reading my name and job title in text assume that I am a man; I get a lot of “Dear Mr. Benjamin” emails! I am indeed a woman and I have embraced a gender non-traditional technical field since I was a CTE student myself in high school in the very same program that I now teach.
Since high school I have earned a BS Degree in Automotive Technology and an MS Degree in Education and have also worked at various levels of the automotive industry ranging from service technician to manufacturer’s rep. My interest in CTE/STEM and education does not stop there: I am currently a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Theory and Practice at the State University of New York at Binghamton. My dissertation is probing postsecondary schooling and labor market outcomes for students that were CTE concentrators in high school using a nationally representative data set. I am also looking at outcomes for students that were involved in work-based learning programs.
Much to the credit of the technical knowledge that I have amassed through my experiences as a CTE student and teacher, I have managed to teach myself to script a complex statistical programming language called ‘R’ to quantitatively analyze this complex survey data about CTE student outcomes. In my opinion, one of the most effective ways to involve more gender non-traditional students in CTE and STEM is to showcase successful gender non-traditional teachers and industry professionals as well as provide related mentorship opportunities for students in middle school and elementary school.
We also need to focus on changing societal perceptions of traditional gender roles as the family exerts the greatest influence over the career path of students. Another aspect of teaching CTE and STEM that I feel is critically important to student outcomes is work-based learning. My Automotive Technology program is located at Gault Toyota, a local car dealership. There is no way to match real-world learning and experiences students get through work-based learning, especially the affective skills. We need to get more aspects of CTE programs located in actual work settings.
Automotive Technology II Teacher
Located at Gault Toyota
Doctoral Candidate-Educational Theory & Practice
State University of New York at Binghamton
Posted by Educators in Action at 12:02 PM | Permalink
There are many aspects of my job that I truly enjoy. One is that I get to help adult students that are trying hard to better their positions in life. I frequently receive calls from potential students asking for assistance. The vast majority of them have either been recently laid off from their lifelong positions or have experienced a life-changing event; some are misplaced homemakers or are underemployed and seeking advice to improve their positions in life and better care for their families.
These folks are intrinsically motivated to learn a new skill or add to their knowledge base by improving their ability to qualify for a better or new career. Providing career advice becomes a critical and big part of my job. Fortunately, Tulsa Tech has several resources available to assist adults and full-time students in determining their path to success.
I often begin by referring students to our career center for support, where they are able to do career interest testing. This helps then determine where their skills and aptitudes are, and from there, they can discover the careers that utilize their talents and interests. Together, we can then discuss training and certification programs that are available and build an ideal career path. Together, we can find a program that best meets their needs, whether it’s a full time program or a short-term evening program or an online training that can lead to a certification or licensure.
Tulsa Tech recently unveiled a renovated service called www.HireTulsaTechgrads.com, which provides a direct connection from students to companies that are hiring and, vice-versa, for employers to find skilled labor from our program completers and graduates. This enhances our region’s workforce by connecting students and employers, assuring a well-trained workforce that boosts our overall economic position.
Additionally, we hold frequent job fairs on our campuses, again to directly link business and industry to our students. We may not provide “job placements” but we do one heck of a job providing the linkages necessary for our students to succeed in work, education and in life!
Karen Gutenkauf2016 OK ACTE PACE Fellow
Posted by Educators in Action at 11:00 AM in College and Career Readiness | Permalink
It’s been said that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, never won a championship until Phil Jackson came along. Muhammad Ali was a raw fighter when Angelo Dundee entered the picture and made him into a world champion and arguably, the greatest fighter of all time. What both of these two mega-stars had that many of us struggle to find is a great MENTOR. Mentors are absolutely crucial to your success or failure in your chosen career.
I love the game of golf and although I am nothing more than a duffer, it is a wonderful metaphor for life. You see, in golf you can get immediate and, many times brutal, feedback. As soon as the ball leaves your club, you know if you hit it good, or if it was horrible. What if we had that same feedback in life? Actually, we do, if you know where to look. It is called a good mentor. Mentors are ones who can see in us what we cannot see in ourselves. We are not the best judge of our abilities. We tend to have blind spots. Having a great mentor allows us to evaluate our skills and to see our blind spots in hopes of offering us a plan for improvement.
During my career, I have sought mentors many times. I was always taught the value of mentorship from an early age. I have learned that whatever your responsibilities, you can learn from those with more experience. When I was a young police officer, I sponged as much knowledge from the more veteran officers as I could. I saw how they were able to handle people with their communication skills. I saw how they comforted the weak and the young and bought groceries or gas for those who were less fortunate…and never wanted to be recognized. As I started to grow into my own as a leader, I surrounded myself with people who were always smarter than me. I figured, if I hung around people who were smarter or better leaders, I would see how they handle things and dealt with the stresses of everyday life. I read one time a quote that said, “Mentors are not there to make us happy. They are there to guide us to the best of their knowledge.”
Before looking for a leadership mentor, you need to understand how to use them to grow. You need to have figured out your leadership needs. Once you know your goals, you can make the most of the time with your mentor. However, we must also be open to changing our goals as we uncover more opportunities for growth. To end with another golf analogy, golf looks really easy, after all it is just hitting a round ball, which is sitting perfectly still, with a big stick. Life is exactly the same way. We tend to make things much more difficult than they really are. After all, everyone else is doing it and it looks so simple. But, to be truly successful like the pros, we need someone to teach and coach us along the way.
Rich FlotronRegion III Leadership Fellow
Posted by Educators in Action at 11:00 AM in Professional Development | Permalink
Just one in seven engineers are female, only 27% of all computer science jobs are held by women, and women have seen no employment growth in STEM jobs since 2000. ~ Forbes Magazine, 2014
Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM) like most things worth having, is hard work. As an educator, it can be hard to get students to consider or pursue courses where their gender is significantly outnumbered. Here are a few ways to succeed in making those courses appeal to those nontraditional students:
We have an intentional and purposeful commitment towards attracting and retaining girls in STEM. STEM is a destination reach for girls/women to innovate, predict and solve the problems that shape our world today, tomorrow and beyond. The global workforce is waiting on them, which is a CTE MATTER!
Eboni Camille Chillis, Ph.D. Coordinator of Career, Technical & Agricultural Education Clayton County Public Schools
Posted by Educators in Action at 06:00 AM in STEM | Permalink
Technology (STEM) are all around us. If you are reading this blog…that’s STEM, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the food we eat, the life we what is all contingent upon a set of thinking. STEM is the ability to develop a set of thinking, reasoning, inferences, and predictions that is embraced with creativity at work and in our every day lives. And of course, there is the mental tenacity necessary to navigate through mathematics and science; which is a prerequisite for sustaining the competitiveness of our ever-changing technology world. What factor yields the most influence in inhibiting or bringing more women into nontraditional fields like STEM? My humble opinion is that there is a conscious/unconscious bias that has developed in educational, business and industry practices minimizing the opportunity for girls to see themselves ready and able to use their mental rigor and intellectual thinking required for STEM courses and careers.
Fact: Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves. Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board. ~ Office of Science and Technology Policy
Solution: If STEM is all around us, then girls and women are too!
We have an intentional and purposeful commitment towards attracting and retaining girls in STEM. Economic projections indicate that by 2018, there could be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs. STEM is a destination reach for girls/women to innovate, predict and solve the problems that shape our world today, tomorrow and beyond. The global workforce is waiting on them, which is a CTE MATTER!
Eboni Camille Chillis, Ph.D. Coordinator of Career, Technical & Agricultural Education Clayton County Public Schools
Posted by Educators in Action at 11:00 AM in STEM | Permalink
Life choices aside, the following story shows how some students’ ingenuity knows no bounds.
Maria became pregnant at the beginning of her freshman year. She had recently joined the academy and was eager to begin her exposure to Architecture, but the dream of one day becoming a professional started to slip away. I have seen many students in similar situations and dropping out is the usual outcome. This is where Maria’s story differs.
In December, Maria went to her counselor and discussed the possibilities of her high school future; later that same day she found out that she would have twins. With the news of children and her bleak academic forecast, she started thinking of a way to succeed.
She first asked to enroll in virtual school during after school hours in order to take some of next year’s courses over the summer and stay on time to graduate. She then proceeded to seek guidance from others who had similar experiences, and what they offered was a world of support in the form of a local mother’s group which gave her diapers, baby clothes, bottles, formula and much more. The emotional support and materials eased the forthcoming financial stress.
Fast forward a few months and she has the twins, is living with another single mother from the local group, is taking classes online, and is getting ready for the upcoming semester. This is when I meet Maria. On the first day of school, she is the first one in class and asks me what my class will do for her career. Not what are we going to do in the class but what will my class do in preparing her to become an architect. The conversation went on until I had convinced her that she would gain valuable career related skills, have opportunities to build relationships with business partners, and earn an industry certification.
Now, nearly two months into school, she is a part of the ACE mentoring club, has an A in my class, is taking two classes online because she only attends half a day during school hours and is always the first person to class with a smile on her face. I do not know if the other students know her story or not, but whenever I ask the students to be problem solvers and never give up, it never fails that her ingenuity and drive is the first thing that comes to my mind.
The hardest problem to solve for some of our students is how to get to school enough to succeed with all that is going on in their lives, and I am truly impressed by their solutions.
By Adam Guidry, Lead Teacher, Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning, Glencliff High School, Nashville, TN
Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona recently expanded its Project Lead the Way (PTLW) Certified Biomedical Sciences Program. This innovative program provides students with opportunities to experience real-world medical challenges before they graduate from high school. Working with the same tools used by professionals in hospitals and labs, students engage in compelling hands-on activities and collaborate to find solutions to various problems. Because of the coursework, students graduate with in-demand knowledge and skills they will use long after high school and can apply what they have learned to any career path they pursue. Kim Rodgers, the class instructor, stated “This is our fifth year of the program and it is continuing to grow. We now have 150 students enrolled, which incorporates all grade levels. I would like to see more students complete the full four year program and have the opportunity to develop more community partnerships. Hopefully, this will aide in the offering of internships for students so they can better prepare for college and more competitive professions.”
In the introductory course of the PLTW Biomedical Sciences program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine as a way to determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person. While investigating and processing the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic anatomy, medicine, and research processes while simultaneously allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems.
Rodgers works with personnel from the Glendale Police Department, specifically the school resource officer (SRO) Sargent Scott Waite and Detective Mark Coyle. Both Sargent Waite and Detective Coyle spoke to her students about the procedures involved when assessing a crime scene. Following these presentations, students gained hands-on experience by rotating through stations where they analyzed various pieces of evidence from the crime scene. Students collected blood and hair samples, ran fingerprint comparisons, analyzed DNA, and ran field tests to determine if drugs were involved in the crime.
Senior student, Aaron Combs, is in his fourth year of the program. Combs stated, “Each year has a different focus and because of this I am now very interested in the field. The biomedical program allows someone to experience the field even if they are not initially interested, but once in the program they will gain something out of it. Mountain Ridge High School is the only school in the Deer Valley Unified School District that offers this program.”
By allowing students the opportunity to use project-based learning, collaborate with peers, integrate technology, and apply coursework to real-world situations, Mountain Ridge High School students are better prepared to excel in a competitive global arena after they graduate. The school is located at 22800 N. 67th Avenue in Glendale. To find out more about this extraordinary school, visit the website at http://www.dvusd.org/Domain/41
By Debbie Moore CTE, Career and Technical Education Marketing Educator/Teacher on Assignment Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale, AZ
“Make. Just make. This is the key. The world is a better place as a participatory sport. Being creative, the act of creating and making, is actually fundamental to what it means to be human.”
~ Maker-Movement Manifesto
This quote is one that always seems to resonate with my CTE beliefs. It is in CTE that students are presented an opportunity to actively engage with their teachers, peers and community to ‘make’ business and industry practices, procedures, processes, and conceptual understandings clearer for present and future sustainability. This sustainability impacts the global economy, so just ‘make’.
A recent graduate from CTE shared a story about his experience and his ability to create (make) things he never imagined or believed he could. The student started CTE in 10th grade; he had no true ambitions or interest in the CTE pathway in which he was enrolled. Then one day, he was required to pitch his business plan and in that moment his life changed forever. His imagination and creativity allowed him to create a gaming app for autistic students to calm their anxiety of test taking. See, he wanted his brother to enjoy and find passion in learning as well. He said, “Why ‘make’ learning or even test-taking such a uncomfortable experience? I am okay with hard work but why did school always feel like if I didn’t do it the prescribed way, I failed or wouldn’t ‘make’ it?” As I listened, I didn’t have the answer but what I did have was inspiration and hope.
This is just one student in CTE but as they share their stories with us, collectively we have thousands who were able to take the skills and concepts learned, make business plans or inventions, and turn them into ‘their’ reality. He was able to visualize what he could do and become. This student now has a “choice-filled life” where he is able to ‘make’ critical decisions about his business and future, but more importantly how he will impact the world.
We have an intentional and purposeful commitment in CTE. Allow CTE students to dream, build, create (make) and explore being innovators, problem-solvers and entrepreneurs. The global workforce is waiting on them, which is a CTE MATTER!
Eboni Camille Chillis, PhDCoordinator of Career, Technical & Agricultural EducationClayton County Public Schools
Posted by Educators in Action at 06:00 AM | Permalink
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