To secure a competitive edge upon graduation, high school and postsecondary students must be aware of and take advantage of the opportunities that are available. One option is to participate in one or more of the various Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) that exist, which complement what students are learning within their classrooms.
As an individual who has participated in and held leadership positions in three different CTSOs, I have seen first-hand the benefits of participating in these organizations. CTSOs allow students to acquire skills and apply them to practical situations they could face in the work world.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. This is an excellent example of how secondary and postsecondary students take what they learn in their classrooms and implement those skills in a competitive, real-world setting. The magnitude of this conference is one that leaves people wanting more. The students are given the opportunity to showcase their talents in 94 different vocational areas some of which include – welding, cosmetology, medical assisting, public speaking, automotive technology and crime scene investigation.
In addition to the competitions, many CTSOs, specifically SkillsUSA, allow students the opportunity to earn a certification within their field of study. This certification is evidence to potential employers that a student is proficient in his or her field.
CTE coupled with participation in CTSOs allow students to gain the academic and technical skills needed to tackle this increasingly competitive workforce.