Each February, Career and Technical Education (CTE) is highlighted through CTE month. Created by the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE), this month celebrates the accomplishments of CTE programs and the importance of CTE for youth and adults. Career and technical education prepares students of all ages for the workforce across a wide range of industries and companies. It provides youth and adults with academic and technical skills needed when entering the workforce. To help celebrate, we’ve put together six ways to engage your students in CTE month.
Sharing a short video about CTE is a great way to catch students’ attention while helping them learn. This two-minute video discusses the benefits of CTE alongside job paths real students are interested in taking. It is short, yet effective, making it perfect to play at any time. This is a great resource to kick off the month and the subsequent activities. Watch here.
Utilizing overhead announcements is an effective way to reach the whole school at the same time, ensuring every student is educated on the importance of CTE. Using this time to highlight or have various CTE teachers announce a project their students are completing is a great way to gain interest in CTE programs. Additionally, including the benefits of CTE may encourage students to take a CTE-based class, helping students find future success in the workforce.
Hosting an assembly with local business leaders for all students to attend is an effective way to spread CTE awareness and inspire engagement. Inviting community members also helps to ensure that all generations recognize the importance of continuous CTE education and programming. This is a wonderful opportunity to foster relationships with community leaders while providing a meaningful experience for students.
During an assembly, you can coordinate a statement about what CTE month celebrates and invite three to four business members to share about their company and create activities for students to volunteer in. An example of this may be asking that all students be engaged by following along with time for Q&A. Encouraging students to come up and engage in an activity makes it an interactive and memorable experience, further building rapport between business leaders and students.
Hosting a job shadow week is highly effective regarding CTE as students can shadow a guest related to their career cluster. This creates a relationship between businesses and students, giving students increased professional skills and businesses potential employees. Alternatively, guests can send in “day in the life videos” showcasing what future career options may entail. Students benefit from seeing careers in action, so whether it be in person or online, all students will walk away with knowledge about a career or industry.
During an advisory period or core class such as English, instruct students to form into groups and create a poster on an assigned CTE career. Ask students to highlight the pros of the career, the education it takes to obtain it, and common jobs available within that career path.
Once students have completed their poster, consider handing them throughout the school hallways. Hanging posters is an effective way to catch all students’ attention, even if they aren’t in those core classes participating. Hanging CTE posters in hallways, classrooms or bathrooms is a sure way to catch students’ eyes and get them excited about CTE-based classes and future opportunities in the workforce.
Combining creativity with new learning is an effective way to pique students’ interest in CTE month. Tasking students to decorate a classroom door based on career and technical education gives new opportunities for learning about potential career paths and the benefits of CTE. Students can detail what they’ve learned about CTE, draw various career paths, or create something entirely new relating to CTE. Once the doors have been decorated, turning it into a competition and voting on doors can capture students’ attention once more. This activity is a great way to get the whole classroom involved as everyone has something to contribute when discussing CTE.
Implementing any or all the previously listed CTE activities allows students a valuable way to prepare when entering the workforce and find a career they’re passionate about. Educating students and youth on the importance of CTE drastically improves their academic and technical skills for future careers. Making a change in students’ lives starts here.
Lily Fleming is a current high school student who is actively exploring her career interests in marketing and communications via her district’s School-to-Work program. This opportunity has led Lily to becoming a highly-valued marketing intern at Kuder, Inc., where she is able to expand her skillset and uncover new areas of the marketing industry that have piqued her curiosity.