This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Washington, DC area.
“Yeah, like I’m ever gonna use any of this stuff in real life!”
By Mercedes Doyle
Think about how many high school students have said something similar to this. I know I did once or twice during my teenage years. Sometimes it’s a very true statement. However, for students enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE), it’s a rare expression.
More than ever before, CTE is a powerful driver in college and career readiness. For the high school graduates moving on to higher education (approximately 66%), CTE empowers them with valuable “real life” perspectives, and equips them with unique problem-solving skills that don’t always come from core textbooks. For fresh graduates going directly into the job market, having a CTE head start in a chosen Career Cluster can mean the difference between employment and frustration.
For college- and career-bound high schoolers, CTE is ideal for both career exploration and position-specific preparation. Students can dabble within multiple Career Clusters to zero in on industries that resonate with their interests and proficiencies. Or, if they’re passionate about a particular career pathway, they can focus their concentration within one cluster and potentially earn certifications that can pay dividends in the workplace.
However, CTE can only work it’s magic if it’s well implemented, properly staffed and comprehensively executed. Herein lies some definite challenges: The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has identified 16 Career Clusters (http://www.careertech.org/career-clusters/glance/careerclusters.html). Within each cluster there exists a number of focused subjects.
Ask yourself: what Career Clusters appeal to my region’s distinct industries, economy and cultural landscape? If you teach in heart of New York City, then maybe Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources isn’t a preferred Career Cluster for your students. But if you live in rural New York Mills, MN, then courses in agriculture can truly benefit your students.
Need help answering CTE questions?
If you feel overwhelmed by the many considerations involved with CTE implementation, Odysseyware can help. No other online curriculum provider offers more CTE courses or Career Clusters than Odysseyware – including recent introductions in Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Career Cluster, plus Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Career Cluster coming soon! We’ve invested the time, effort and expertise in developing the online content and technology you need. So ask us for recommendations, and lean on us for professional development by calling 877-795-8904.
CTE is here to stay. It’s growing roots and growing fast, because it prepares our nation’s young adults to be viable and competitive in the ever-changing workplace. As an online component to blended CTE instruction, Odysseyware allows individualized, self-paced learning – which provides valuable life lessons in independence. It also empowers educators to make a big impact on students’ lives, and enjoy the tangible rewards that come with blended learning. In a nutshell, Odysseyware CTE inspires students to say the words every educator wants to hear: “yes, I’ll use this stuff in real life.”
(Mercedes Doyle is an Education Specialist at Odysseyware)
Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager