Jeralyn Jargo is Minnesota’s newest State CTE Director and has big plans for CTE in the state. Jargo has held a wide array of jobs in the education sector including teaching high school science, setting up programs of study in respiratory therapy, serving as an academic dean for a two-year college, and most recently, was the vice president of advancement and innovation at Century College.
Throughout Jargo’s career, one thing that has always held true is that collaboration across sectors and industries is critical to creating the best possible outcomes for students. One project Jargo facilitated in her most recent position was a Shark Tank-like grant initiative where students participated in a series of workshops and mentorships before delivering an idea or product to a multi-disciplinary panel of judges comprised of community leaders; business partners; and faculty in science, engineering and marketing. Winners were awarded $5,000 scholarships. This innovative approach at awarding scholarships allowed students to work across disciplines and sectors, an experience they are sure to repeat in their careers.
As the State CTE Director, Jargo is working to build an environment where collaboration like this and innovation are key components in the way her department functions, and how programs of study are delivered to students. “The majority of us aren’t going to go to Harvard or play for the Cubs, so how do we help the masses of folks who learn by touching and smelling and participating, who are going to have a job that requires critical thinking and transferrable skills, concepts that all come from a foundation of CTE?”
One way Jargo will tackle this challenge is by building meaningful and authentic partnerships with business, industry and policymakers in the state. “There is a huge window of opportunity to focus on the understanding of CTE,” said Jargo. “It’s a very good time to promote CTE. The business community is more and more engaged and they are powerful advocates for the system.”
In addition, Jargo wants to improve the support students receive as they move in, out and back into education. A successful program would be one where students are supported through these transitions, or as Jargo put it, “If you fly over the Twin Cities and look at the on and off ramps…That’s what CTE would look like. Traffic would be flowing at a steady rate.”
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate