More than 400 Career Technical Education students helped mark the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the SmithHughes Act at the SkillsUSA Region 1 competition in Silicon Valley.
“In California and through the entire country, more and more businesses are turning to CTE programs to partner with and find well-trained students,” said Alyssa Lynch, superintendent of Metropolitan Education District in San Jose. “By looking to CTE programs, these businesses know they can hire qualified students with real experience.”
Students from throughout the Bay Area participated in competitions including automotive refinishing and service technology, carpentry, culinary and baking, photography and information technology. Job demonstration contests were held in several categories, including digital cinema production, drafting, HVAC, and welding.
February was national CTE month, which in the early days of the program was known as vocational education. Upon the launch of the Local Control Funding Formula, CTE budgets that had shrunk or were frozen due to the recession began receiving the funding needed to strengthen the statewide programs. In 2014, California Career Pathway Grants were introduced and 40 grants were awarded in the state to groups of school districts, ROP centers and community colleges that had joined together to become consortiums.
In 2015, CCPT grants were awarded to another 40 consortiums.
In 2016, CTE Incentive Grants were introduced for 3 years, awarding $400 million that first year and $300 million in 2017 awards. In 2018, plans are in place to award another $200 million.
All of the infused dollars were designed to improve existing programs and start new programs that would train students for high wage-high skill jobs.
“Students take away confidence, leadership skills and skills in an area that prepares them for entry-level jobs,” Lynch said. “They have a number of competencies that they can meet, similar to knowing how to install windows, repair a computer, or create a mobile app.”
Prior to the 2017 Congressional break, the Senate passed a resolution for CTE. The Senate recognized the important role CTE plays in “preparing a well-educated and skilled workforce in the United States,” but it also “encourages educators, counselors, and administrators to promote [CTE] as an option for students.”
Illustrating the increased attention to CTE, 31 senators co-sponsored the resolution. During a span of 10 years, Career Tech Student Organizations have exploded in California. CTSO help students develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills and leadership skills. CTE students are well-suited to help fill the current skill gap persisting in California.
Silicon Valley Career Technical Education students earned 58 medals at the 2017 SkillsUSA Regional Leadership and Skills Competition. Students who placed first and second in their respective skills category qualified to compete at the SkillsUSA California 50th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego April 20-23.
This article was originally published in EdCal: the state's only weekly education-oriented newspaper. Mailed directly to members, it keeps school leaders up-to-date on the latest news on education, legislation, policy and best practices, as well as current administrative job openings.
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