February 17: February is CTE Month

Spotlight on Schools: February is CTE Month

February 17, 2017 – Hello Black River Falls Community, this is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls, here to share this week’s’ installment of our Spotlight on Schools! This week I’d like to talk about CTE Month, or Career Technical Education Month.

Have you heard of Mike Rowe? He is the star of the television show “Dirty Jobs.” Beyond his role with the program, he has become somewhat of a national spokesman for the importance of promoting the trades as career choices. He says that his mission is “to reinvigorate the skilled trades, and shine a light on millions of good jobs that no one seems excited about pursuing.”

When some people think of CTE, they think of some of those skilled trades that Mike Rowe has long been advocating for. This includes areas like welding, horticulture, auto mechanics, business, culinary arts, the list goes on and on. The careers included in the CTE areas are organized into 16 career clusters. These feature over 79 pathways to fulfilling lifelong employment. The CTE areas prepares students to be college and career ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills, and technical and job-specific skills. In Wisconsin, 97% of students that were concentrating in the CTE area of high school have graduated. This is well above the national graduation rate and the state average, proving that when students tap into an area of interest that they see relevance in, they are more apt to be successful!

New to Wisconsin there is a Technical Excellence Scholarship which is established to mirror the Academic Excellence Scholarship that is awarded to the Valedictorian each year. The Technical Excellence Scholarship is awarded to the graduating senior that has taken advantage of the most number of CTE courses and has been successful in these endeavors. The high school handbook has each of the courses that count toward this scholarship noted so that students can plot their course from early on in their high school years. The amount of the scholarship is $2,250 per year, this is an excellent start toward a Technical College tuition bill!

The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 645,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 253,000 jobs open in manufacturing. Health care occupations, many of which require an associate degree or less, make up 8 of the 20 fastest growing occupations. Middle-skill jobs are jobs that require education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor degree. These jobs are a significant part of the economy. Of the 46.8 million job openings created by 2018, 30 percent will require some college or two-year associate degree.

During CTE month, we are especially grateful for the community partners that we have who go out of their way to support our students in exploring some of these trades. Through job visiting sites, work release placement sites, guest speakers in classrooms, and just about anything else we ask for, these area businesses are helping to fill the workforce and to help students connect with careers that they may not have imagined, but they may find very fulfilling!

As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, I have another quote for you from American Education Week. This one is from Mary Byrns, one of our exceptional CTE teachers from the high school. She says this: “I am very happy that the Black River Falls School District is so progressive. We were one of the first school districts in the area to go to 1:1 (at the HS). Black River Falls High School students have many opportunities to take a variety of classes including an extensive selection of online classes. We are also one of very few districts that offer our own online/blended class to students providing flexible scheduling options and transcripted credit with Western Technical College.”

Thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls! Let’s Go Tigers!


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