Posted by: Carol | March 30, 2011

Welcome to the CTE Central Blog

Welcome to the inaugural post of the all-new CTE Central blog!  This blog was created for the purpose of sharing with you, all the amazing things happening in California and the world beyond, in the field of career technical education (CTE).  We’ll be writing several times a week, with the hope that you’ll be able to find items of interest, inspiration, and even, from time to time, controversy.  We hope you’ll chime in and give us your two cents through your feedback in the comments section and also submit your own projects or initiatives as content for the blog.

Most of you know first-hand why CTE is so valuable.  However, for those of you who are new to CTE and the topics we’ll be covering, let me give you a brief overview.  Career technical education covers everything from career exploration in younger students (elementary to middle to high school); to training teachers and school counselors in existing and emerging career opportunities for their students; to facilitating the articulation of coursework pathways between high schools, colleges, and universities; to drawing in the active participation of employers and industry members in the design of programs; to actually providing the training and education that students will need to succeed in their careers of choice.

We view each child, each student, and each adult in transition between jobs and careers, as full of possibility and promise. We want to help facilitate the fulfillment of that promise by supporting the thousands of amazing programs being implemented in and through schools throughout the state of California, and beyond, with recognition, exposure, and linkages to resources.

Take for example, the Central Coast Career Technical Education Community Collaborative, which we visited in April of 2009. This Community Collaborative (funded by the CTE Pathways Initiative) is a partnership between Cuesta and Allan Hancock Community Colleges, focusing on Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation.  One of the Community Collaborative’s featured activities is the Explore Your Own Central Coast Backyard Series, which takes community college and high school faculty to hospitality, tourism, and recreation businesses to speak with employers and industry professionals, witness first-hand the types of jobs available in these businesses, and learn about the skills required to execute these jobs well.

When we tagged along on one of these Backyard tours, we got to visit the Madonna Inn, Dairy Creek Golf Course, a bed and breakfast called The Casitas of Arroyo Grande, Talley Vineyard, and San Luis Obispo Sports Therapy.

Teachers on tour at the Madonna Inn.

It was incredibly interesting to learn more about the types of jobs and skills it takes to run these businesses, but it was the connections being made between educators and industry professionals that excited us the most.  Teachers discussed ways in which their lesson planning and curricula could help meet the job requirements of employers; foundations were laid for possible internships between high school and community college students and the participating businesses; and contact information traded hands between all parties, for future collaboration and referrals for students.

We’ve seen again and again that these are the types of opportunities that energize educators to take the extra steps to make their instruction more meaningful with real-world context. This in turn motivates students to engage more actively in their educations, leading to the development of an invigorated workforce for local businesses.

Learning about the art of making wine at Talley Vineyard.

Our young people need to see the relevance of their educations, need options for their futures, and need the support to get there.  We, at WestEd, working side by side with practitioners, educators, and industry professionals, are here to help provide these things.   Thanks for reading. We look forward to our continuing dialogue with you here, at the CTE Central Blog.

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