Education Matters: Career and technical education
Programs in career and technical education provide students from middle school through post secondary school an opportunity to learn technical, academic, and career skills. Programs in CTE are crucial, while they help students, these programs also help communities in social and economic development. Here to teach us more are guests with local and state perspectives.
Welcome to education matters presented by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. I'm your host. Maryanne Wolf Programs and Career and Technical Education, or C T. E, provides students from middle school through post secondary, an opportunity to learn technical, academic and career skills. Programs and CTE are crucial while they help students. Thes programs also help communities and social and economic development here to teach us more. Our guests with local and state perspectives were so pleased today to be joined by Trey Michel, the director of career and technical education at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Welcome, Trey, thank you very much. It's great to be on on behalf of our state staff and all of our teachers and students. We appreciate this opportunity Well, we'd love for you to start just by telling us a little bit about career and technical education in North Carolina and how it can prepare our students for life long success. Absolutely. What we want all of our students to be successful citizens and workers and leaders in a global economy. Superintendent Johnson, Deputy Superintendent Steagall and our State Board of Education have urged us to do our best to make sure all Children are career ready and provide a system from the fifth to the 12th grade, where we can help each child focus on career awareness, career exploration and career experiences that really lead them to a meaningful career or post secondary opportunity. Ah, few data points I'd like to share whenever I'm given the chance. We have over 900,000 students taking CTE courses in grades six through 12 each year. Of that, roughly 55,000 concentrate in a career pathway annually. And these air students with a strong focus on a cohesive 2 to 3 core sequence and this focus of this focused approach, of course, better prepare students for careers and, if needed, post secondary options in line to those careers. We offer pathways and course sequences and agriculture, business, finance, computer science, culinary arts, early childhood education, health sciences, construction trades, law and public safety, automotive, woodworking, welding and I could go on. We offer over 350 courses in our statewide CT course inventory, not to mention the local courses and pathways. A district may offer to meet a specific local business need. And, as I think about a student's life, long success and how CT contributes to that success. There are a couple of central components that help us help Children in that regard. First, we offer two courses exploring career decisions at the middle school level and career management the high school level. Both of these courses help Children focus on making great career decisions for their career plans in our student organizations. FF a deca skills us a. Sec L. A host of F B, L and T S A all provide lifelong career ready skills such as teamwork, public speaking, communication, ethics and problem solving. It's amazing to hear how encompassing this is, and you know, I have had a chance to know some students who have really benefited from some of the CTE programs you mentioned. And I wonder if you would share a little bit about some of the great examples you see here in North Carolina? Absolutely. I'm proud to do so to set the stage. I think it's important Thio. So let everyone know that our new federal law requires us to report the number of industry recognized credentials are students earn. Last year that number was over 240,000 significant number on significant impact. Many of these credentials are transferrable and stackable, which means that they have value well beyond the high school experience. Couple that with the My Future in C goal that two million North Carolinians will have a high quality credential, well, postsecondary degree by 2030. And we can clearly see the impact our local districts and their programs will make on these goals. A couple of examples, uh, related to credentials. Gaston County schools has been a leader in the credentialing area for some time. In fact, they were number one in two of our major metrics for credential attainment this past year. They have really strong programs and construction trades, biomedical technology, health sciences, computer engineering and others. And another great example I'd like to share about our programs would be Pender County schools. They recently hosted the NC Crunch Festival at Topsoil High, which highlighted the National Farm to School Month. It emphasized how the agricultural, business, marketing, health and food nutrition industries coordinate to get food from the farm to our tables. On. Of course, you'll hear from Steve Dutton, one of our fantastic local leaders, from its in county schools. I can't say enough good things about the work they're doing for students. In order for our CTE programs to be successful, we we have to consider equity, and I understand that. Perkins. Five federal legislation help center are CTE programs and equity, And I wonder if you would just talk a little bit more about how our programs were working on this? Absolutely. We believe we believe strongly and equity of access to high quality. I don't emphasize high quality CTE programs for each and every child in our public schools. Perkins five even allows us to dedicate funds to focus on equity and supporting our special populations. We even have a dedicated staff member in our division who is focused on supporting local leaders and schools through the process of reviewing their counseling practices regarding student placement and CTE and non CTE courses effectively how our Children making decisions about the courses that they take. Are there any barriers impeding a child from participating in, of course or a pathway aligns to their career goals. We've also worked incredibly hard to provide multiple professional development opportunities to educate all of our CTE stakeholders and others about equitable practices that foster equal access for each student in our public schools. I wonder if you have some thoughts on how District's can support more students to take advantage of the opportunities before those parents and students invest time and money in a community college or university program that might not align to their ultimate career goals. One key way that we foster this is through work based learning. Students can actually get course credit for completing an internship, cooperative education or apprenticeships, just to name a few. We also offer a number of inherently honors courses in CTE. Ultimately, every child will leave our public schools and pursue a career. We hope that they'll start engaging in career relevant courses early so they can more efficiently and economically attain their career goals. Do you have any advice for parents and students who might be interested? I don't know that one could start too early. My daughter has had a passion for equine science for the past five or so years since she was seven or eight. My son wants to walk my my and my wife's path. You. He wants to be a school administrator and has had that passion for several years, and he's only 10. I believe that the key is for Children to gain awareness as early and as often as possible. Fortunately, the General Assembly has asked us for several years to focus on a special initiative on career awareness, with fifth graders, nearly all of our district's host business tours, guest speakers, job shadows and other types of career fairs and events. Last year, over 50005th graders participated in these career awareness events. Really spectacular opportunity for them. And I think I would also encourage every parent, really every North Carolina citizen, to visit a newly overhauled website, NC Careers or G, which offers students and parents. Thea pertain ITI to determine career interest to explore all the occupations available to them, plan a career path, understand the education and training side to obtain that career path and then, when they're ready, search for jobs in that career was a great site that all of the education partners in North Carolina collaborated on, along with the Department of Commerce. Cfn C N C. Works DHHS in the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. In our final moment together, I wonder if you would just talk a little bit about how u c. C T e evolving in our state and also this connection to post secondary attainment. Well, I think there's several big key items. First and foremost, we made great strides with the recent implementation of our new CT federal law, and now we need to capitalize on those efforts. Our state and local work to align pathways and programs toe workforce needs credentials of value in postsecondary opportunities is key to helping students pursue industry relevant coursework. Next, I believe work based learning opportunities are critical. The students becoming career ready. Support from business and industry partners will become even more important over the next 3 to 5 years, so students are able to gain on the job training and experiences in the world of work. And lastly, we have a great need firm or career development coordinators in our middle schools To help Children and parents understand and navigate high number of quality career paths and options available, these professionals are critical to our students effectively and efficiently, making strong career decisions that will lead to a lifelong of success for themselves, create new jobs or fill critical jobs for businesses and, ultimately, economic prosperity for our nation. Well, thank you so much, Trey. As you know, I mentioned to you I've heard a lot of wonderful things about you and how you support these efforts across our state, and it is clear with the work that's happening and also where we're hoping to go. So thank you so much for spending time with us today, and we look forward to our next conversation. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having a song way Really appreciate the opportunity. After our break, we will have the career and technical education administer and a former student from Anson County schools. Education matters is brought to you each week in part by town bank serving, others enriching lives. We're so pleased to be joined today by Steve Dutton, an administrator and career and technical education in Anson County schools and Carry Manner. A marketing and public relations specialist and former CTE student in Anson County schools. Steve I wonder if you could start by telling us a little bit about the career and technical education programs that students can participate in across Anson County. Yes, we've got. We're traditional high school and we've got of the 16 national, uh, pathways. We operate 13 of them at at our school, and they range in in agriculture and construction and architectural, audio, video technology, communications, business, health, science through, uh, project lead the way and which is very heavily in the stem side biotech. And, uh, we have hospitality and tourism marketing, human services, focusing primarily on food nutrition. We have information technology that we're introducing and expanding. And then we have stem initiative through our project lead the way, uh, engineering and automotive Kerry, we're so happy to have you Here is someone who has gone through a C T E program and I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about your experience and any insights you have on on how well your C t experience prepared you for your career. So my experience was amazing. It really, truly was. It set me up for real life experiences, which I had when I took the role as a logger at NASCAR Productions. Um, so it I was trained by the best. My former teacher, Rusty Baldwin, was actually a producer with NASCAR, and he really set me up for that, and I was passionate about it going into it, and I worked, graduated from Pfeiffer and every step of the way I focused on my pathway that I left here from the high school. I continued it. And Adobe programs that I used, um, through the CTE program really helped me also, it just it set me up. It was awesome. I was always one step ahead. Even through college, I was one step ahead of my professors, and they were really blown away by that. What they're learning now is actually in the real world. It's exciting. And it they have so many opportunities, so many different pathways and so many things they could do after they graduate. So I'm just excited to be here and be an asset to add to that. I know there is a huge impact on students who go through programs in your district, and I wonder if you could both talk a little bit about that and what it means to your students. Families and community toe have programs like this, Carrie. So, um, it's not only for the students knowledge, I feel it's it's for the community. I mean What best way to practice on having clients is using community members? I think it's great. Um, I know when I was here, I would have people from the community reach out to us. And can you make me a logo? Sure. What do you want? I'll be more than happy and it gives that real life experience. Um, and especially what I'm doing right now. I've came back home and I've came back to my community, and I'm marketing the CTE programs through all the social media outlets and different stuff like that. And it's really shown our community like, Hey, the high school has it going on, you know, like there's all these programs that students have and it's just awesome opportunity. I love it. Steve, would you share a little bit too? Yeah. This SETI programs are by design, are meant to prepare students with technical, academic and employability skills to help them be contributed members once they hit the workforce or move on to college to get continuing learning and educational opportunities. And the curriculums are aligned to current business standards and industry standards, depending on which field you're looking at. S 01 of the things that we do when we're selecting our programs is we review our regional economic indicators and we look at work very closely with government and and our economic development commissions and our business advisory council within CTE. And we look at what are the indicators in in those industries that they're going to be growing, expanding and have a high need for. And then we tried to align our CTE program offerings to that so that were also in the process of developing, uh, higher capacity workforce development pipeline. And that kind of lends itself puts a partnership between business and industry and education. And we're all in a common focus of trying to build employability skills and in our workforce that will help serve the whole community. And, uh, eso We put a lot of effort in that we review those economic indicators very, very closely, and we talk with business and industry constantly to see what's going on in in in their world and what kind of needs they need, uh, out of the workforce to help them be, remain competitive. So we plan regionally, and we do that in alignment with the North Carolina State Economic regions that we have. And, uh, the other thing is, uh, um, we dio try toe have all of our students career college ready, and some of the fields of students will choose. They need continuing college courses, whether it's to the technical college, which we have a fantastic partnership with our community college system or the university system. And, uh, and so that that's a network that's up to the state of North Carolina. Our end goal is trying to make sure that every student, regardless of what they are, is Korean College ready. And, uh, they become, uh, contributed and productive citizens. Kerry. I wonder if you have any advice or could share a little bit about what advice you I can give to students who are considering enrolling in CTE pathways and the impact it could have on them. My advice to them would be take full advantage, full advantage of everything that you're offered, um, and start networking now and save every piece of work that you create because it's you're starting to build experience. Now. These four years count these four years matter, and you can use this work as experience to get a drop through college or anything like that. And I've been on the, um, industries out of it with NASCAR and stuff like that, and I've had to show different work to get a job there. But I've also started my own business recently as to well working here. So I've had all this work that I could showcase the people and they're like, Wow, and I was like, I started this in high school and they're like, Oh, that's awesome. So looking ahead, I'd love to hear more about how you see CTE programs evolving. And what kind of support do you need from communities to make that happen? Steve. Well, I I think one of the big transitions from the old Perkins for that we've had the last 16 years to Perkins five this year, uh, is allowing our students to experience more pathways. Um, and so that's gonna be very, very strong. Um uh, and the the other thing is that allows for cross pathway, uh, curriculum connections and cross curricular with our core teachers so they get the benefit of connected learning that hasn't been as, uh, front and present in the Perkins for, uh, the other thing is that our our certifications under Perkins five are getting, ah, stronger alignment to true business and industry standards. That's a must eso that we have that total support and collaboration. Um, and the other thing is business and industry input, uh, into our our technical and employability skills needs. We have the opportunity with, uh, with with building that bridge between business and industry and education to really custom designed the workforce of tomorrow that fits into our our regional employer's needs. And, uh, we need to take stronger advantage of that. And we're doing well. It's just that this is new with us and we need to continue that. The other is aligned, uh, support with all stakeholders. We need a total commitment to purpose. And that's not just our staff and and our business industry members, but parents as well and in the entire community, they need to know what it is that we do and how it benefits their child in our community. And that's where carries a real strong soup for us. Steve. I'm sure, Cove, it is forcing your CTE programs to function a little differently right now, as we all are, Um, I wonder if you could tell us about how you're doing this differently through this remote or hybrid learning time. Well, we did we we've approached. This is a systemic issue within the district. And, uh, we have to find alternative ways to get that hands on, learning by building. And And we've we've done some creative things. Uh, with that such as one that we're working on right now are construction teacher. Part of this curriculum is kids have to build a wall, uh, and and without being here in the shop in those materials. So we're looking at alternative measures where the the, uh, key performance indicators that in the curriculum that they need to learn, like how to measure how toe layout. We're using other models. And, uh, that kid's gonna build measures, show everything. It's forced out of necessity. But if the kids still learned the value of of the standard that they have to master and and it meets business and industry standards as well, So, um, those air some slight adjustments that we've had to make and and so far we're very pleased with the progress we've made in that Well, thank you. Thank you. so much. It's wonderful to hear from the work of your county. No hear from you leading this work and also carry is a former student who's come back and is doing so much as well. You're both inspirational for District's across the stadium for students and families. And so thank you so much for all that you're doing. It's wonderful toe have you here with us and after the break. The final word Career and Technical Education, or C T, is designed to empower all students to become successful citizens, workers and leaders in a global economy. Whether students plan to further their education and colleges, technical schools through industry certifications on the job training or pursue careers in the military, CTE conserve is an important step in a pathway toward a successful career. Here in North Carolina, more than 900,000 students participate in career and technical education programs across the state each year. Thes students have been able to develop skills both inside and outside the classroom, setting in a variety of different program areas, including agriculture, business, computer, science, health, science, engineering and more. By enabling students to experience career settings as early as middle school career and technical education is an important tool to help students identify what their passions are early in life, so that they can take advantage of time one of our most precious commodities, and pursue a career path that is right for them. In a recent article published by Ed NC, we learned about Brandy Bragg, who spent a year of studies and $10,000 getting a medical assistant degree on Lee, to learn after working in that job that it wasn't the right fit for her. What she missed in her studies is workplace based training, and she could have been saved the time and money if she had taken part in a career and technical education program that offered her a chance to experience her work environment much sooner. Today she is working to make sure that other students don't repeat her mistake shepherding a regional partnership connecting students toe high demand careers, intangible and meaningful ways. In today's dynamic economy, families often don't know how to guide their Children through learning what kind of career opportunities are available and how students can gain exposure to them and the Northeast North Carolina Career Pathways program steps into the gap toe offer those insights and opportunities. As early as sixth grade, students can begin to identify what kind of high demand jobs exist and how they may begin on a path toward achieving success in those careers. And not only do we need more programs like Northeast North Carolina career pathways, we also need equitable access to these types of local programs in order for our career and technical education efforts to be successful. Recent federal legislation provides states and local school district's with a critical framework to center equity within career and technical education by assuring that local needs assessments takes place and critical resource is air directed to the right areas. As a result, states could better align with the local business needs of urban and rural areas. And there's also been an increased emphasis on recruiting teachers and professionals of color to participate in CTE programs with the goal of closing equity gaps. North Carolina, through the work of my Future and See, has set a statewide attainment goal that by 2032 million North Carolinians will have a high quality credential or postsecondary degree in our CTE programs play an important role in making this a reality. Today we're faced the challenges toe workplace based learning as we work to mitigate the impact of Cove in 19. But as we, as we have all had to adapt, so to have our CTE programs moving meetings online and finding new ways for students to connect with employers. A bright side of this extraordinary, difficult time is that his employers have had to pivot in terms of how they do business. CTE can facilitate students opportunities to pivot alongside them and learn new technologies that they will undoubtedly need to be successful in the future. The future of work and citizenship is filled with opportunity for our Children in North Carolina, and it's incumbent upon us to ensure that their equitably exposed to meaningful career and technical education opportunities early in their academic lives so that they can put their passions into action. Thank you for taking the time to think and learn about education with us. That's all for today, and we'll see you next week