Aligning Career and Technical Education Programs with Workforce Demands and Needs
Wednesday, July 5, 2017on
As the summer months go by, the focus shifts to the upcoming 2017-2018 school year to ensure that Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offered within the Rogers School District align with workforce demands as well as projected growth and replenishment of current workforce needs within each industry sector. One area of focus is Federal legislation and reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 currently making its way through channels of the review and legislative process in Washington D.C. Continuous Improvement of CTE Programs | Helpful Legislation On May 4, 2017, Legislative Bill, H.R. 2353, also known as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Bill was authored by business and industry leaders, K-12 educators, adult education, policymakers, and post-secondary education representatives. The inclusion of business and industry leaders played a key role in establishing the important tenants of CTE programs, which include rigorous curriculum for both academic and technical skills attainment, articulation with post-secondary programs, opportunities to obtain industry certification, and a successful transition to the career field. The Bill includes provisions that will assist districts in the establishing a process for continuous improvement of CTE programs based on a biennial comprehensive needs assessment that will be completed and reviewed by district career and technical educators and administrators. Business and industry leaders, advisory council members and post-secondary representatives will serve as valuable resources to educators as action plans are developed to address identified areas for improvement within career and technical program areas and to ensure students are prepared for a successful transition to college and/or a career upon graduation from high school. Increasing Learning Opportunities for Students One of the goals of the upcoming 2017-2018 school year is to increase the opportunities for students to learn more about career opportunities and workforce demands within the local community and Northwest Arkansas region. The opportunities will offer several ways for students to learn more about the different types of 21st Century workplace environments. As both middle and high school students explore various career fields and begin preparing for the transition to the career field or college campus following high school graduation, it is important to introduce students to the jobs that exist today and anticipated jobs of the future workplace. Research indicates that participating in CTE courses and career and work-related experiences have a significant impact on a student’s career choice. Experiences help students formulate a plan for acquiring the knowledge and skills that are required for them to reach their career goals. Students may often recognize many of the local companies, however, they may not always have knowledge of what the company produces, the type of jobs that each offers or their contributions to the local, national, and global economies. Companies interested in partnering with the district to offer career and work-related experiences for students in 6-12th grade may contact Dawn Stewart at (479) 636-3910 to schedule an event.