CTE programs benefit students, communities
Published on Tuesday, February 07, 2012
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Technical College System are using February’s observance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in Wisconsin to highlight the wide range of opportunities available to youth in the state who wish to explore their career options, and the benefit of those programs to Wisconsin industry and communities.
During CTE Month, State Superintendent Tony Evers plans to visit some outstanding career and technical programs in PK-12 schools and technical colleges. The two agencies are also providing an extensive list of outreach and publicity materials to help schools and others convey the career and technical education message to students, their parents, businesses, and the public. During CTE Month, the state superintendent, along with Ernst & Young and Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, will name the state’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
“Students need a wide range of rigorous, authentic career development experiences throughout their PK-12 education,” Evers said. “These will help them learn skills as well as chart their future course, which is an essential part of graduating ready for further education or the workforce.”
Career and technical education provides multiple pathways for students to become college and career ready, even while still in high school. Partnerships between and among PK-12 schools, local businesses, and technical colleges are often an important component of CTE. These partnerships have been used to provide innovative instruction on state of the art equipment, put students’ creativity to work for local industry, create pools of local talent in communities, and make learning more relevant and engaging to students. Additionally, many educators in recent years have reinvented CTE, formerly known as vocational education, into a field that rigorously explores real-world applications of academic concepts.
“Western Technical College has forged strong local partnerships with business and industry, as well as beneficial collaborations with area public school districts to build strong career pathways,” added Lee Rasch, Western president. “For these partnerships to be successful, we need to make sure we connect high school students with the wide range of career options available to them through career and technical education.”
State Superintendent Evers has strengthened support to increase and enhance opportunities for career and technical education in high school. The agency has offered schools simplified methods for verifying whether students may receive science, math, or English language arts credits for the increasing number of CTE courses involving rigorous learning in those areas. Evers and the department are also encouraging schools to adopt the sort of programs which allow students to take courses from postsecondary institutions while in high school, often receiving technical college and high school credits simultaneously.
More than 90,000 Wisconsin high school students are currently taking career and technical education courses in fields like manufacturing, agriculture, business, family and consumer science, health occupations, marketing, technology and engineering. In western Wisconsin alone there are 4,330 high school junior and seniors in CTE courses.
The Wisconsin CTE Month webpage, www.dpi.wi.gov/cte/ctemonth.html, will be continually updated to include public address announcements, videos, success stories, and more. More information about Career and Technical Education Month is also available at that location.