Vocational and technical training paves the way for future success – Scot Scoop News
In 2018, 95% of national high school students who focused on vocational and technical education (CTE) courses graduated, according to Advanced CTE.
This is almost 10% more than the current one national graduation rate 85.3%.
Yet many people do not know what CTE is. According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), CTE consists of courses and programs that focus on the skills and knowledge required for specific jobs or areas of work. CTE courses are beneficial for students and have been proven to prepare students for successful careers in crucial 21st century work fields.
Kristine Govani, one of the CTE teachers at Carlmont High School, teaches CTE Intro to Programming Mobile Apps, CTE Advanced Computer Science Structure & Interpretation, and CTE Introduction to Business. She has taught only technology-based classes throughout her 16-year teaching career and believes that learning professional and technical skills is crucial in everyday life.
“The great thing about the courses I teach is that these concepts are real-world skills that everyone is going to use immediately. There really isn’t a profession to understand how computers work and be being able to write even simple programs would not be useful,” Govani said.
Carlmont offers many CTE streams for students, such as Computer Science, Business, Biotechnology, and Digital Journalism. These courses allow students to discover a subject that fascinates them and to find an orientation in life, a struggle for many students who only take compulsory courses.
Among the students inspired by a CTE course they took is senior Emma Elliott, who plans to major in computer science. She chose this major after taking the Advanced Computer Science Structure & Interpretation course, which teaches the Python program, and then the AP Computer Science course, which teaches the Java program. Elliott details how taking these two courses influenced his major college decision, a process that can often be very stressful.
“I chose to major in computer science because I’m interested in machine learning and I like the structure of computer science in general. In particular, I like how everything fits together in a framework, and if you follow the framework, you can get the results you want.However, the main reason I chose to major in computer science is because of the two years of courses I took in this field Elliott said.
Besides the skills learned in the real world, there are many other benefits of taking this type of course. The interactive learning environment present in CTE courses also makes them more appealing to students.
“Students appreciate how the CTE courses are very hands-on and interactive. It’s fun and different from the rest of the day, and you’re not just sitting around taking notes. I heard some students tell me that it felt like a break in the day, but all the content in the class can still be applied to the real world and in the future,” Govani said.
The popularity of CTE classes among students can be reflected in the nearly 370,000 high school students in California currently enrolled in a CTE class, according to Advanced CTE.
Govani also noted how taking a CTE course in high school is beneficial for students once they reach college.
“Everything students learn in these classes will be put to use in some way once they get a job or go to college. Additionally, almost all colleges, regardless of your major, require Python or something similar, which gives an advantage to students who have taken the [Advanced Computer Science Structure & Interpretation] class in high school,” Govani said.
Additionally, Elliott detailed how much she earned by taking the two computer science courses and explained how taking a CTE course carefully prepares students for whatever their future holds.
“I learned a lot from these classes, especially how to problem solve and create a program with a specific goal in mind. I know these lessons will help me in my future career,” Elliott said.
The success and need for jobs in CTE-related fields prove the benefits of being part of vocational and technical education. In occupations based on CTE pathways, such as IT or business, the average salary is well above the average annual salary of an American adult.
In particular, according to US Department of Education, high school students who focused on CTE courses had higher average earnings than those who did not eight years after graduation. This suggests that taking CTE programs is correlated with higher income soon after graduation.
These benefits are associated with an increased need for these careers as the world becomes increasingly technological and moves away from the popular occupations of years gone by. Thus, working in technical professions such as finance and biotechnology is becoming increasingly advantageous for the general public and employees, who earn higher wages in these professions.
The growth of vocational and technical education has been aided by the US government, which has aided these programs through numerous funding acts.
The ETC history, first known as vocational education, spans more than a century and has its origins in the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, where it was originally introduced and funded by the federal government. Legislation to improve CTE continued into the next century; notably, the Carl D. Perkins Act of 1984, titled Perkins. The most recent bill funded by Congress was the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act signed on July 31, 2018, also known as Perkins V. It was the fifth bill to strengthen the improving CTE programs across the country, and through this act, Congress is providing nearly $1.3 billion annually to CTE programs.
Over time, the passage of various CTE laws has been accompanied by the growth of these programs in classrooms. Gay Buckland-Murray, assistant director of education at Carlmont High School, noted the expansion of CTE classes.
“Recently, we’ve opened up the Graphic Design and Illustration CTE route, as well as the Mobile Apps route, giving students more options to choose from,” Buckland-Murray said.
She also hopes to make more CTE courses available to students.
She said, “I wish we had more to offer. This is something we are always looking into, how we can expand our course offerings in the future.
Carlmont currently offers nine different CTE courses for students, from the Biotechnology 1-2 course to the recently introduced Intro to Programming Mobile Apps course. Taking a CTE course is not mandatory for Carlmont students, but they must take a third year of a world language in lieu of a CTE course.
Despite the many benefits of vocational and technical training, which have been on the rise for over a decade, the popularity and knowledge of these programs still have room to grow. In a discussion with two of Carlmont’s advisers, they noted that the CTE was not yet required by the State of California, and therefore by Carlmont as well. However, they believe a state requirement for CTE is on the horizon, and these programs will continue to expand with funding from Congress.
Buckland-Murray also mentioned the difficulty of expanding CTE course offerings, as those courses are not yet mandatory.
“The problem is that I can’t just open a single CTE class; it must have a way and lead to something else. To do that, I need a teacher who is qualified to teach the subject and also has a CTE credential,” Buckland-Murray said.
Overall, states have increasingly supported new vocational and technical education programs and continue to develop new ones, illustrating their importance to governments. There are many benefits to taking a CTE course in high school, including learning in a more interactive environment, getting a head start on topics learned in college and beyond, and most importantly, developing all kinds real-world skills needed in future professions.
“Overall, all CTE courses teach their own set of skills that prepare students for the real world after school, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone,” Govani said.