When I was in high school, in the early 1990s, we had an open-day with universities and business schools. Representatives from these schools came to promote their college-degree programs. Back then, we were conditioned to believe that anyone who was smart and wanted to be successful in life should take the college path. Career readiness programs were associated with hard, underpaid jobs. They were a path for the students in difficult situations or those who couldn’t “cut it” in college, and they were considered a path to failure.
Students, parents, and the community’s viewpoints toward career and technical education (CTE) didn’t improve for several decades. Now that we recognize the value of these programs, are we doing enough to positively reinforce those students who desire to follow a CTE career path?
A push for STEM in CTE
Some schools and educators are working to change the perception of CTE programs with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM is being used to engage students and change attitudes and behaviors about the value of CTE. By championing STEM though CTE pathways, schools can show students and parents how hands-on learning and problem solving can be incorporated into training for all types of jobs.
More and more schools have decided to put a new emphasis on STEM by bringing it to the elementary level. By opening the doors to CTE paths at an even earlier age, students have the opportunity to learn a wider breadth of options before choosing to dig deeper later on in their schooling. Students begin developing opinions at younger ages, and can learn from social cues and educational reinforcement the career path options that are available to them. When we offer hands-on access to CTE career paths frequently and at an early age, we broaden our students’ horizons. Hands-on STEM classes embody CTE classes and pathways.
Through the development of hands-on learning, technical and problem-solving skills and team building, parents and students alike start to see the benefits of a CTE pathway. Career and technical education offer sustainable, well-paying career opportunities for students and can set them on a rewarding path that they may have never thought of taking, but will be glad they did.
CTE is a catalyst for STEM education. We all know there are tons of unfilled STEM jobs and the gap for students in these STEM fields is widening. This is an exciting time for CTE teachers. With the right approach, they can truly make a difference!
Schedule a 15 minutes call with one of our STEM Specialists to discuss how our solutions can empower your CTE program.