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Career Clusters® Institute Blog Series: CTE is Global

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the Career Clusters ® Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Fort Worth, TX in June. Today’s guest blogger is Heather Singmaster, the Senior Program Associate of the Asia Society.

CTE is Global

The local is global. You hear it all the time. But what about the global dimensions of CTE? Some are obvious, like agriculture: someone recently said to me, if you don’t know the global dimensions of agriculture, you will never succeed in the field. In Mathis, TX, the high school CTE coordinator is installing cameras on the garden area and in the animal pens to share practices with students in other parts of the country and world to expose his students to international agriculture.  Print

In hospitality and tourism, if your students speak Chinese, they are practically guaranteed a job: the number of Chinese tourists visiting the United States is expected to double from the record-setting number of 1.1 million in 2011 and companies are scrambling to cater to them. [LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/business/global/american-brands-seek-favor-with-wealthy-chinese-tourists.html?_r=3&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1367589978-qVrs/H/mutYbNDlh2nRR0w]

Then there are the less obvious clusters. Manufacturing? Well, talk to Schaefer Ventilation, a small Minnesota based firm. They are seeing success exporting to the Middle East and adding local jobs in the process. And another Minnesota company, Datacard, which prints ID cards, needs employees who speak a second language or know how to work with customers and salespeople in markets like China and Brazil. [LINK: http://www.startribune.com/business/147376655.html?refer=y]

Architecture? Law? Engineering? Students studying all of these areas at Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering high school in Washington, DC are getting ahead of the curve by studying Chinese and traveling to China during the summer months. Lyric Carter, a pre-law student said of her trip to China, “This event was a life transforming experience; not only was I able to enhance my Chinese language skills, I was also able to learn first hand about a country for which my country has and will have an important relationship…I’ve been more open and willing to try new things and participate in activities that take me out of my ‘comfort zone.’ Most important, this trip has taught me more about myself as a person.” [Access link: http://www.dc-cgel.org/sites/default/files/u15/Carter-State-Board-Testimony-12-15-10.pdf]

And global doesn’t just mean working with people in other countries. What about the growing diversity here in the United States? Healthcare workers deal with this on a daily basis.  There is job growth in marketing to Hispanics/Latinos—the largest minority group in the U.S. and the fastest growing population according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Says Gonzalo Perez, owner of research firm Motivo Insights, understanding this growing market will require workers to “be comfortable with the complexity of today’s young Latinos. They have this contextual identity, and they’re not all the same….”

I could go on, but you get the picture – no matter what clusters are offered in your programs, teachers and students need a global focus – it is a key to the economic reality of an interconnected, global world. 

Heather’s breakout session is titled: Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce – Resources and Strategies; presentation date is Wednesday June 12. Her co-presenter is Jennifer Manise, the Executive Director of the Longview Foundation.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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