Career Technical Education
April 18, 2019
Bringing career readiness
All across America, high schools and public community colleges are following the Career Technical Education (CTE) program which has different pathways consisting of classes to help prepare students for their future careers.
“Having CTE is very beneficial to students seeing as if they have at least some idea of what field they want to go into, they can test the waters by going down a pathway. It also gives students the knowledge to be prepared for college when they graduate,” counselor Sara Powell said.
CTE is a program integrated into high schools and community colleges across the United States. CTE helps shape and perfect skills students have for certain career choices by setting up a framework of pathways students can take. These pathways are illustrated with specific classes to help succeed in that field of work.
“I have taken introduction to business, management internship and marketing. I plan on taking VEI and accounting. All of these classes are preparing me for my future career in business and I am glad that East has all these classes available so I can be set for my future,” freshman Samuel Samenko said.
There are 16 career clusters which are the overarching categories of careers. Within those categories are 79 pathways for each individual job. The clusters include: agriculture, architecture, performing arts, business, education, finance, public administration, health science, hospitality, human services, information technology, law security, manufacturing, marketing, engineering and transportation.
“We will offer the Introduction to Skills and Technical Sciences class this summer for the first time,” Powell said. “The hope will be more students will be able to take this prerequisite during the summer allowing them to take more advanced classes during the school year.”
CTE is taught across America under the same structure. Prequisites guide students and give them the knowledge they will need to continue in other courses. In 2008 the central core was created and was updated in 2012 to give the students a more defined pathway that will help further them in their path of success. Schools with CTE programs work with many experts in each field to set the standards.
“We introduced several new career paths last year and continue to look for new opportunities to bring these classes to East or offer them to students off campus,” Powell said.
At East, we currently have the clusters that follows the Nebraska Career Educational Model. Those clusters include natural resources, information systems, technical sciences, health sciences, human services and marketing and managing. This model is on display in every classroom and shows off all the core academics that can branch off into different specific careers. East will also be getting a new building to assist in having enough space to teach CTE courses.
“East and West have had CTE course offerings for many years. The courses can range from an introduction level through advanced levels. The classes are offered as electives and students can take any of the courses they have an interest in,” district Coordinator of College and Career Education and Program Services Brad Stueve said.
Second semester, students receive the registration guide that explains each class and the amount of credits needed to graduate. There is also a section in the guide that gives an explanation to the different clusters that the school offers. Students can reach out to counselors to receive more information on how they can set themselves up for success in high school.
“These classes have helped me a lot to understand the importance of business and how to be successful in a business setting,” Semanko said. “I think it’s not only beneficial to me in business, but to all students because it gives a chance to learn more about their future careers.”
East offers many career-based courses
East offers many courses that bring the opportunity for students to get ready for what they want their future career to be.
“It helps students know career paths and which classes and activities they should take and be involved in to lead to their career choice,” counselor Colleen Pribyl said
The CTE courses are the elective classes that file into a career pathway. At East, there are the journalism classes, for example, Video Journalism and Journalistic Writing. Those both fill into the yearbook and newspaper production classes which prepare students for a career in journalism or media production. According to some students, the pathways are not clearly explained during course sign ups.
“I can’t say we are great at advertising these. I wish we did more, but we have so much information to cover and so little time that, unfortunately, some of it gets skipped,”Pribyl said.
Because this is not advertised as well as it could be, many students do not actually get the exposure to these opportunities. This affects the students who do not have the courage to get out and talk to someone about college and careers.
“I think that there is a better way to get the information out to students on the courses that we offer and what doors they may open for students. I think that we have to sell our courses to our students and get them interested in the courses we offer,” Pribyl said.
The courses that East offers range from health sciences to computer programing. The school in general houses a variety of different classes and clubs. Some of these courses are organizations, as in Health Occupation Students of America, Future Business Leaders of America, or DECA. Others classes are, journalism, skilled and technical sciences, forensics, and culinary arts.
“Each career field is composed of career clusters. The clusters are more specific segments of the labor market. Each cluster is a grouping of careers that focus on similar subjects or similar skills. A basic understanding and exploration of each of the clusters will provide students with a solid foundation for career decision-making to conceptualize the entire world of work,” according to Nebraska Career Education.
The future for the CTE courses will move onward and continue to expand and develop. There are plans set in place to renovate an old building and turn it into a CTE course only building that will be used by both East and West.
“As a district we are always working to implement new things. We are looking at creating more full pathways and adding more internships and job shadowing experiences for our students. We are also looking at adding more certifications for our students to complete as well,” assistant principal Nathaniel Bacon said.
District shares plans for new CTE building
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Bellevue Public Schools (BPS) have been working on securing a building to house several CTE capstone courses and implement them into the high schools’ curriculum.
“We want to develop programs that are relevant and beneficial to a multitude of students in a variety of career fields. We would be looking to develop a new structure for and to expand our current internship, mentorship, and on the job-related programs,” Assistant Superintendent Robert Moore said.
The building where the courses would be held would house classrooms and programs for students of both East and West high schools. Programs that could have capstone courses there include, but are not limited to journalism, business, marketing, skills and technical siciences, health sciences, information technology, and culinary arts
“We are working to identify capstone type coursework to enhance our current career programming. Nothing specific has been determined at this time. But whatever is developed would be shared programs between the two high schools,” Moore said.
The building for the classes will possibily be in the old Computer Cable Connection building near the Welcome Center. One of the classes that is in the plan to be extended is the current culinary and hospitality program.
“I love being a part of the culinary classes and I’m excited that there could be an expansion. I really think that this could be an exciting addition for future students,” junior and culinary student Elizabeth Noble said.
The purpose of including the courses into the BPS curriculum is to provide “next level” education for students interested in specific areas. Moore said that the hope for these courses is that it will provide preparation courses for career fields that students have interest in.
“We are currently facilitating interest within our community to expand opportunities for students to access these experiences that are related to career fields of interest. These programs will be designed to provide our students with real-life and relevant learning experiences in collaboration with local businesses, non-profits, and industry professionals,” Moore said.
Because the building has not been purchased and the plan for the new career classes has not been approved, nothing is definite at this point. Many changes could still be made as there is not a set timeline at this moment.
“Even the idea that these classes could be extended to be more in-depth is exciting to me. I know that students go into these classes for their future career, so I think that this could be great for those students especially,” Noble said.
While there is not a formal or official timeline for this program and building, there is still hope that the plan will workout. The plan and design of the program are still in the works, which leaves a lot of room for change later.
“We are really in the early stages of designing a career center concept,” Moore said.
The center would be focused heavily on career readiness, so administrators are looking at getting institutions of higher education involved. Having the new center as a resource would provide a more flexible schedule to students in either extracurriculars or co-curriculars.
“We are looking for opportunities to partner with local higher education agencies to provide dual enrollment credit for career classes that are taught at the center. We would try to schedule programs at the center to provide flexibility for those students involved in extra and co-curricular activities,” Moore said.
Ideally, the courses would end up continuing to benefit many future students. To some, the courses themselves could be a selling point to join BPS.
“I know that if these courses ended up being offered then that would definitely persuade me to looking into switching into BPS, if I didn’t already go here,” Noble said.