Happy CTE Month®! Each February, the Association of Career &Technical Education (ACTE) reminds us to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. In today’s post, Kuder’s School-to-Work intern, Hannah Sand, shares her firsthand experience with CTE, and how it’s preparing her for a career. 

I feel I’m like many high school students when I say my answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has changed a lot. From wanting to be a racecar driver to the CEO of a company, growing up in a school district that exposes students to many opportunities can get overwhelming and confusing. I’m good at science, but could I work in that career field the rest of my life? This career path looks like fun, but is it reasonable for the life I want when I’m older? Questions like these clouded my brain for a while, until I discovered marketing could align best with my interests and skills. Interning at Kuder has helped me solidify what I want to be — and has made me excited to pursue my future.

During my junior year of high school, I was presented with the opportunity to enroll in the School-to-Work program at Waukee High School. This program allows seniors the chance to build professional skills by completing a one term career development course, followed by participating in a six-month internship at a local company. During the program, I’ve learned how to format an exceptional resume, confidently tackle an interview, and present myself with professionalism in the workplace.

I get to work in a real job environment.

After being at Kuder for three months, I’ve already designed an e-card for clients, reviewed social media analytics, put together a slide presentation for a companywide meeting, and played a big role in producing videos for the company’s YouTube page. I think it is amazing I get to work in a real workplace and I’m assigned important tasks.

I knew I was interested in marketing, but I didn’t know for sure that’s what I wanted to major in at college. Knowing this, I applied to the School-to-Work program. I completed an essay, interview, and included a teacher recommendation to be considered along with my GPA and attendance records. Being among 70 students accepted into the School-to-Work program, I interviewed for a marketing internship at Kuder. I had heard of the company and heard of the amazing opportunities interns have had here in the past.

My assessment results helped me confirm my career plans.

Another opportunity I’ve had at Kuder is to use Kuder Navigator® to help reveal my career interests and skills confidence. Navigator provided me with potential career fields that matched my interests and skills, along with a list of my top work values.

My Kuder assessment results were high in Marketing Management and Marketing Communications. After seeing these results, I feel confident knowing my internship and my intended career are exactly what I should be pursuing! With the help of Navigator, and the hands-on experience at my internship, I’m excited to finish out my senior year and take on college.

For all those seniors that still have no clue what they want to major in, or are like me and want some confirmation, I recommend you take a look at Navigator for yourself. You can explore occupations and majors, update your resume, and utilize so many more resources that will help make high school a little less stressful.

I really appreciate my school counselors.

It can be hard (especially in a school of 1,600+ students) to get time to talk with the school counselor. Thankfully, I’ve been able to talk one-on-one with two counselors in my high school. Since it is National School Counseling Week, I thought I would mention what a great resource my counselors have been to me.

Trips to the counselor don’t have to be about problems you’re having; for instance, my counselors have helped me ease into the transition between high school and college and ensure I’m prepared academically. When I visited their offices, it was usually to discuss class selections.

If you’re college-bound, it’s important to be taking the right courses in high school that meet graduation requirements and are college prerequisites. My counselors have given me advice for classes to take, helped me change my schedule, and even contacted my intended university to check on transferring high school credit.

It’s good to check in with your counselor throughout high school because chances are you might need their help with a recommendation come senior year. I’m so thankful to have easily accessible counselors that are truly there to help students succeed!