By SHANNON WATKINS
Pulaski County High School’s Technical Education Center celebrated Career and Technical Education Month in February. This year’s theme was “Invest in Your Future.” Students and faculty joined others across the nation to celebrate national Career and Technical Education.
CTE Month is observed across the country as an opportunity to demonstrate how technical education helps students learn soft skills along with technical skills, and readies them for college and high-wage, high-demand career fields.
Several co-curricular programs held activities throughout the month. All related school programs set up displays in the technical education center showcasing their programs. SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit organization serving students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, participated in “Wear Your Red Shirt or Blazer Day.” FFA held a pie social in recognition of all teachers. Other participating programs were FBLA, DECA, HOSA, FCCLA, and TSA.
Students and special guests wound up the month with a special proclamation, signed by Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Brewster and Assistant Superintendent Greg Brown. The proclamation specially and officially recognized the CTE celebration.
“The activities planned during February have illustrated the importance and relevance CTE courses offer our students,” said Mr. Ross Matney, PCHS Technical Center Assistant Principal. “By partnering with the business community, CTE programs are investing in students’ lives with the latest technology and skills that will prepare them to become successful employees as well as future leaders.”
CTE is a major part of the solution to many national economic and workforce problems, such as high school dropout rates, a weakened economy, global competitiveness and massive layoffs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of the fastest growing occupations will require an associate’s degree or a postsecondary vocational certificate.
Recent research published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that 4.7 million new workers will be needed by post-secondary certificates and credentials, such as those which can be obtained at Pulaski County High School by 2018, but we will fall short of meeting that demand. At a time when job opportunity is so critical, CTE programs in every community are ensuring students are adequately equipped with the skills to successfully enter the workforce.
“CTE programs help prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow,” said cosmetology teacher Julie Anderson. “Without the guidance of my teacher, I probably wouldn’t be a technical teacher.”