7 tips for schools to strengthen career and technical education programs

This audio is auto-generated. Please tell us in case you have feedback.

There is rising settlement amongst educators {that a} four-year faculty diploma needn’t be the aim for all college students, and within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, high-schoolers’ curiosity in career and technical education has grown.

A survey released in May by ECMC Group, a nonprofit company centered on greater education monetary help, confirmed 22% of teenagers mentioned they had been extra doubtless to attend a career and technical education faculty, up 10 share factors from May 2020. Nearly half mentioned they imagine they’ll obtain success with education attained in three years or much less.

A basic facet of efficient highschool CTE programs is robust partnerships with native schools, commerce schools and companies. In conversations with Okay-12 Dive, consultants advised seven steps faculty leaders can take to obtain that.

Focus on the labor market

It’s crucial to align CTE programs with the wants of the labor market, mentioned Stephen DeWitt, deputy govt director of the Association for Career and Technical Education. “You need to guarantee that no matter you’re educating is main college students to careers and alternatives accessible in your neighborhood and your area,” DeWitt mentioned. 

That, in flip, can construct relationships with area people schools and commerce schools centered on serving the labor market, in addition to enterprise companions who’re looking out for future workers. It’s additionally a requirement to get funding underneath the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the primary supply of federal cash for highschool and post-secondary CTE programs, DeWitt mentioned.

Start small

It’s finest to begin small and work on constructing an ongoing relationship with companions, DeWitt mentioned. “Pick up the cellphone and name them, and have a gathering and begin a dialogue.” 

Building a robust CTE program might be slow-going at first, however the returns are exponentially bigger over time, as a result of success tales entice new companions to come on board, mentioned Tracey Scharmann, career related studying coordinator for CTE at Vancouver Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington. “That’s one of the simplest ways to develop your program: slowly, with intention, creating methods that may be sustainable with out you.”

Align targets

School districts and post-secondary establishments ought to work carefully to guarantee they’re serving college students successfully, DeWitt mentioned. 

“You have to sit down and roll up your sleeves, and have a look at your programs to see the place you might be duplicating content material,” DeWitt mentioned. “You can work on twin enrollment, which is terrific for lots of college students as a result of they get faculty credit score, and generally even an affiliate’s diploma with their highschool diploma.” 

Parents ought to learn about dual-credit alternatives, as a result of monetary financial savings might be particularly essential to them, Scharmann mentioned. To enhance college students’ consciousness of all choices, Vancouver Public Schools invitations native commerce schools and apprenticeship programs to take part in its “faculty and career” occasions and collaborates with union programs and a commerce coaching facility that hosts scholar excursions and open homes for educators. 

“The extra they (educators) know concerning the postsecondary choices, the extra our college students will know, and the higher ready they are going to be,” Scharmann mentioned.

Create worth and make it simple

It’s essential for native enterprise companions to get worth out of providing CTE scholar internships, Scharmann mentioned. 

“Find out what the work websites want and why they’d need college students, and make it as simple as potential for them to try this,” she mentioned. For instance, companies might need “back-burner” initiatives that college students can work on. 

Businesses additionally respect clear pointers relating to the construction of internships and issues like scholar office security, Scharmann mentioned. Rather than making an attempt to join college students with internships one after the other, VPS invitations employers and college students to a dinner adopted by one-on-one interviews. Students choose the businesses they’re fascinated with, and employers resolve who’s an excellent match. 

“This has been tremendously profitable,” Scharmann mentioned. 


Get artistic

When companies are reluctant to have college students on-site, they are often enticed to come to the schools. VPS partnered with seven native building corporations on a CTE venture the place college students constructed a janitor shed from basis to roof, Scharmann mentioned. The supplies had been funded by an area grant. 

“That was actually profitable,” Scharmann mentioned. 

Another hurdle might be transportation, so VPS offers college students with Uber rides if they’re over 18 and present playing cards for gasoline, funded by one other grant. Additionally, the native public transit company has a coach who can work individually with college students in want of assist getting comfy with bus routes, she mentioned.

Piggyback on neighborhood occasions

Local occasions that includes commerce professionals are an amazing avenue to make connections, Scharmann mentioned. For instance, VPS affords a area journey to the annual Dozer Day occasion — additionally held in different states — so college students can undergo mock interviews with native associate corporations. On prime of that, college students can take part in hands-on actions that contain heavy building tools, public security automobiles, recycling vans and extra. 

Besides being nice apply, the mock interviews have led to CTE internships and even, in a single case, a full-time job, Scharmann mentioned.

Offer academics externships

Schools may also use externships to assist CTE academics hold their abilities up to date whereas enhancing enterprise partnerships, Scharmann mentioned. VPS affords 40-hour trainer externships at associate worksites through the summer season, paying their wage with federal Perkins grant cash, Scharmann mentioned. 

“The work websites like it,” she mentioned. “They get 40 free hours of somebody working for them.”

And in flip, career programs get educators who know the most recent abilities and wants of their fields.



Related Posts