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CTE Guides Students Through Transformative Career Development

students sitting at desks

February 29, 2024 -- In a Career-Technical Education (CTE) course, an educator's role extends far beyond the confines of traditional classroom instruction. Instructors of CTE courses help students acquire essential employability skills beyond academics every day.

Courses such as Woodward Park Middle School's Career Connections in CTE provide an extensive curriculum to introduce students to specialized career paths. Students can learn about trades, skills, college pathways, and more.

"In my role as a teacher in Career Connections, I guide students through a transformative journey of acquiring crucial employability skills," said Kevin Burrows, CTE Teacher at Woodward Park Middle School. "Together, we explore the significance of effective communication, empathy, critical thinking, and creativity in the professional realm."

Burrows and other District CTE instructors discuss activities encouraging students to express their ideas clearly, collaborate seamlessly, and understand diverse perspectives. Burrows finds it rewarding to witness their growth in interpersonal skills as they develop the tools needed for successful communication in both the classroom and the workplace.

"I enjoy learning about soft and hard skills [in Career Connections]," said Destiny Gomez, an eighth-grade Woodward Park Middle School student. "I like learning about all the skills I will need in the future."

In addition to learning these valuable skills in the classroom, Burrows accompanies students on field trips, providing them with firsthand experiences in various professional settings. This exposure allows students to connect theoretical knowledge to real-world applications, which promotes a deeper understanding of their future career paths.

"I would like to go into welding," said Legacy Fields, an eighth-grade Woodward Park Middle School student. “It [Career Connections] has helped me understand the hard skills I need to be able to do welding."

Financial literacy is a fundamental aspect of CTE in learning about career paths. By empowering students to manage their finances wisely, we can allow students to be better prepared for college expenses and manage money once securing a job. With the practical aspects of financial decision-making, students are well-prepared for the financial responsibilities that come with adulthood.

CCS educators like Burrows or guest speakers with different careers and established skills can teach financial literacy lessons within CTE Programs. These guest speakers display various industries to CTE classes through field trips or in-class activities. These different education methods add a valuable hands-on approach to the learning experience. 

Professionals invited into CTE classrooms offer insights into their career paths, insights, and challenges, inspiring students to envision their future paths and make informed career decisions. Watching students cultivate new skills and the knowledge to make informed decisions about their lives is something that CTE teachers like Burrows can appreciate. 

"As a teacher, it is fulfilling to nurture critical thinking and problem-solving skills in students," Burrows said. "I guide them through analytical and creative thinking processes, preparing them to tackle real-world challenges with confidence."

Teaching CTE goes beyond imparting knowledge; it is about shaping well-rounded individuals ready for the complexities of the professional world. Teachers like Burrows exemplify dedication to fostering a commitment to continuous learning and personal development. Initiatives such as Career Connections highlight the capability of CTE to develop graduates who excel academically and hold the requisite skills to succeed in the modern, competitive job market.

Power of One

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