What is CTE?
Career Technical Education (CTE) is an education pathway that provides students with the academic, technical, and real world knowledge, skills and experience they need to be prepared for a variety of career options. CTE gives students training and skills in many different types of careers in high growth industries such as science and technology, healthcare, and business management. CTE programs are personalized, hands-on, and let students explore different career fields. CTE is part of the middle school and high school experience, and prepares students for the full range of post-secondary opportunities, including college and careers.
CTE Helps Students Prepare for the Real World
CTE programs give purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge. CTE students develop employability or professional skills, including skills such as decision-making, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, time management, persistence, self-advocacy, interpersonal communications, professionalism, safety, project management and more. These skills are applicable across all career areas and are essential building blocks to success in further education and work.
CTE Students Get More from the School Experience
CTE gives learning a boost. It combines regular academic courses with career-focused courses, skill-building, mentoring, and work opportunities to give students extra preparation for college and careers. Students receive hands-on training, mentoring, and internships from employers in their community. They learn how to develop a resume and interview for a job. CTE students do better in class because the hands-on experience makes academic subjects more engaging and more interesting. This experience helps students build confidence and leadership skills to meet their goals in and out of the classroom. Overall, CTE students have a significantly greater high school graduation rate than the national average.
CTE Allows Students to Explore More Possibilities
CTE exposes students to careers across the 16 Career Clusters, including careers students may not be familiar with or may not have ever considered, as well as the skills required for different careers. CTE programs ensure that all students understand the vast career possibilities available to them by allowing them to explore a range of career options based on what they love to do and do well. CTE gives students opportunities to figure out what they are passionate about and want to do after high school. Students gain concrete knowledge about the educational and workforce opportunities that are available to them, both immediately and into the future, and how these educational opportunities can lead to specific careers.
CTE Gives Students an Extra Advantage
CTE gives students a head start on both college and careers through specialized classes, mentoring, and work experiences in fields where jobs are in demand - like health care, engineering, and information technology. CTE programs provide information on the various postsecondary options that might be available in their community, region or state, or even across the country. CTE students are exposed to labor market statistics, information on the admissions requirements, costs, financial aid options, and projected benefits of these opportunities. When young people develop valuable skills, make connections, and build a network while they are in high school, they have an inside track on a successful career.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a blend of academic, career-specific, general workplace, and life skills leading to further education and employment. It is a critical element in meeting the needs of students in academic achievement, career exploration, career preparation, and leadership development.
Sylacauga High School has earned recognition for its superlative Career and Technical Education programs. In 2004, three career-technical computer labs were fully modernized. In Fall 2013, the new wing of the high school was opened. It housed all the core subject classes, along with six classrooms for the CTE department and a kitchen for the family and consumer sciences classes. By 2015, Sylacauga High School had expanded Career and Technical Education opportunities for students with the dedication of the new machining classroom in the CTE program. Over half of all Sylacauga students in grades 3-12 are involved in some form of CTE. Student involvement has increased every year in the health sciences curriculum thanks to a partnership with the city’s hospital, Coosa Valley Medical Center. It is the goal of health sciences that every senior graduate with a credential in a designated area. The business education department continues to expand with audio/visual technology, photojournalism, and certifications in Adobe and Microsoft. Both the FBLA and HOSA student programs have been the honored recipients of numerous state awards, with finalists placing in national competitions.
Currently, Career & Technical Education is getting renewed attention under a state and federal push to prepare students for jobs of the future. The focus, now, is to narrow the district's focus to high-wage jobs that students can get certified for during high school or can train for in technical schools after graduating. Business leaders are talking with school leaders about improving education pathways to equip graduates for work in high-demand jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree. Sylacauga City School's Career & Technical Education program is in the process of defining itself as a nationally recognized high-quality program according to The ACTE® Quality CTE Program of Study Framework, in addition to maintaining the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), Business/Industry Certification (BIC). Business/Industry Certification is an evaluation tool used by the ALSDE, Division of CTE/Workforce Development, to assist local CTE programs to improve by setting standards by which all programs can be measured.