The Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education seeks innovative ideas to expand work-based learning opportunities. That is why they launched the Career Z Challenge, a $2.5 million multi-phase federal prize competition.
Category Archives: Students
Presidential Scholars Program Recognizes Outstanding CTE Students and Teachers
In 2015, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program began recognizing outstanding students in the field of Career and Technical Education. The move was designed to highlight innovation within CTE programs and the educators who empower these students.
“The opportunities I received through CTE allowed me to realize my full potential and helped me to familiarize myself with various industries so I could make an informed decision about my future. CTE is an educator-driven, empowering opportunity that allows students to learn in an engaging environment, setting them up for success in any field they choose to pursue,” said Tristan Lee, 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education.
Recipients are also asked to identify a distinguished teacher that influenced them in the classroom and beyond. For Tristan, that teacher was Benjamin Femmel who has taught English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) for 25 years. He recently transitioned to teaching at the high school level and shared his thoughts on the importance of CTE.
We asked. “How has CTE impacted you?”
During my years teaching KSAT (Krueger School of Applied Technology), where I had Tristan Lee (the Presidential Scholar that nominated me) in 8th grade, I was able to see first-hand how the application of knowledge invigorated the learning process and retention. This is true for every subject, not just their CTE classes.
We wanted to know “What is the most meaningful interaction/memory you have had with CTE?”
A major focus of school last year (21-22) was SEL (social emotional learning). I designed multiple Minecraft projects and competitions that simulated engineering dilemmas/challenges. My students love the unconventional approach and I feel they learned the material to a greater dimensional depth than they would have without the technological extensions.
What advice would you provide to teachers starting their careers?
My advice would be to always keep thinking and searching for new ideas and new ways to do things. Collaborate with veterans (experienced teachers). Collaborate with people beyond your discipline. The best collaboration doesn’t begin within a formal setting, it usually begins with a conversation.
Working with teachers from other pathways and disciplines has helped motivated students to get involved in these programs. CTE also helps students find pathways and careers that are right for them. Behind every successful CTE program are the educators that inspire and empower their students.
These dedicated adults spend their time planning, sponsoring, and supporting students in their classrooms. During this CTE Month, we would like to thank all those educators who have encouraged students to broaden their horizons within a CTE pathway.
CTE Grantees Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month provides a platform to showcase the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP), Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program (NHCTEP) and the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions Program (TCPCTIP) and their important role in building knowledge and skills in different fields for different communities. The theme for 2023 CTE Month is reflected well in the work of our Native American and Native Hawaiian CTE (Perkins V) grantees, Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!
These two student profiles provide perspective on how diverse CTE experiences can be in the learning journey.
Robi Lono: A NHCTEP participant with Windward Community College through ALU LIKE reports on the value of her Information Technology internship. During each week of this internship, she covered different jobs offered, job descriptions, tools, day to day tasks, career progressions, certifications and much more. Robi conducted numerous hands-on activities that provided valuable insights on the different aspects of cybersecurity. Activities included help desk operations, postmortem incident attack, quantum ransomware attack, creating a network diagram, working with window servers and cloud engineering, project management, human management. Robi took Azure Fundamentals training offered by Microsoft. Robi stated, “I really enjoyed … hands-on experience in which we had to complete a NMAP module on tryhackme.com as well as find a publicly disclosed vulnerability.” Robi concluded, “(a)fter completing the ‘Ao Kahi x CBTS Technology Internship with Hawaiian Telcom, I have gained an abundance of knowledge and techniques which could potentially benefit me in my future career.”
Justin Forbes: A Cook Inlet Tribal Council NACTEP graduate reports improved quality of life and expanded employment opportunities for his career through his CTE training. Justin said his favorite part was the hands-on learning. Justin completed the Heavy Duty Diesel Mechanic program in 8 weeks. Following graduation, he was hired at Red Dog Mine as an Entry-Level Mechanic. In the future, he would like to commercial fish, with the ultimate goal is to return to his village of Togiak to be the village’s Mechanic so he can support his community by creating a road that assists hunters. Justin is thankful he had this opportunity to receive support and concluded, “I now have a reliable foundation for my family, I see a future of learning, working, growing, and earning vacations. I am more focused on being a light in this world by being a better role model for my brothers, cousins, and community.”
Robi and Justin are just two examples of how CTE works for students’ career success. CTE educates the whole child and:
- provides not just classroom instruction by teachers with industry experience, but hands-on or experiential learning,
- adult mentoring opportunities through work-based learning (e.g., apprenticeships, internships, etc.),
- leadership opportunities through Career and Technical Education Student Organizations,
- application of core skills to a career (e.g., technical writing, presentation skills, construction math, culinary science, economic application to a small business, etc.),
- earn industry certifications and/or credits toward an Associate or Baccalaureate degree, plus
- create partnerships and networks to provide career entry-level opportunities and to advance careers.
For more information on NACTEP, NHCTP or TCPCTIP, contact Patti Beltram, Ed.D., firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Elementary School Invokes Code to Fight Bullying
“Red, Green, Black, and Blue.
My Tribe is my Crew.
We are O-C-C-O-Q-U-A-N!
My school is the perfect 10…at The ‘O’!”
These are words from one of the cheers we recite when we welcome new students to our school. At Occoquan Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia, we have a House System that fosters our sense of community. This is a common practice where the school is divided into subunits called “houses” and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment. We compete to see who has the most spirit, but we also strive to uphold a code of behavior we call The 30 Essentials.
Colleges Have a Responsibility to Protect Students’ Best Financial Interests
Students look to their college as a trusted source of information as they determine how to pay for tuition, housing, books, and other basic needs. In today’s environment, students are facing additional financial challenges coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising interest rates, and inflation. Each year, millions of students look to their college when receiving federal financial aid and may receive information about financial banking products, debit cards, and deposit accounts.
Student Loan Debt Relief Do’s and Don’ts
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS INVOLVING STUDENT LOAN DEBT RELIEF
YOU ARE YOUR BEST PROTECTION AGAINST SCAMMERS
DON’T pay anyone who contacts you with promises of debt relief or loan forgiveness. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO OBTAIN DEBT RELIEF. The application will be free and easy to use when it opens in October.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
By: Heather Ward, Special Assistant, Office of Postsecondary Education
If you need suicide or mental health-related crisis support, or are worried about someone else, please call or text 988 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
As U.S. Department of Education officials have traveled the country visiting institutions of higher education and talking with students, a constant theme is mental health and the growing crisis facing our nation. In conversations, the Department has heard from students about losing peers to suicide and the effect these tragedies have had on them personally.
A Population of Heartbreak
By: Cori Walls, International Baccalaureate film & Digital Video Production teacher for Palm Beach County School District in Delray Beach, FL
Why is it that so many films have a backstory of a child losing a parent? Or that many superheroes are vindicating the death of their parents? This is where art is the reality for far too many children across our country. The challenge lies in how to offer support to these grieving children.
The Power of Dual Enrollment: The Equitable Expansion of College Access and Success
By: Luke Rhine, Deputy Assistant Secretary the Office of Career, Technical & Adult Education
Dual enrollment works. The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to the use and expansion of high-quality dual enrollment programs to improve student access to rigorous coursework and equitable postsecondary opportunities. Recently, the Department of Education hosted a webinar featuring a panel of dual enrollment experts who reviewed the current state of policy, practice and research as well as the future of dual enrollment. The session also included a summary of the latest research and evidence for dual enrollment, from the recent College in High School Alliance publication, Research Priorities for Advancing Equitable Dual Enrollment Policy and Practice. Here is what experts from the field said:
BACK TO SCHOOL 2022: Giving Every School the Tools They Need to Prevent COVID-19 Spread and Stay Safely Open All Year Long
“Back-to-school season is a time of possibility and promise for students, parents and families, and educators alike. To all the school leaders working to ensure your campuses can remain safely open for in-person learning throughout this new academic year, all of us in the Biden-Harris administration appreciate your dedication in making in-person learning happen. To all the teachers preparing your classrooms and helping to connect students and families with resources to promote their health and wellness, thank you. In this administration, you will always have strong champions. To all the students heading back to in-person learning at school or college, excited about the year ahead, we believe your potential is without limits. We will continue to invest in your academic growth and support your wellbeing in schools that are healthy, safe, and inclusive places to thrive. To all the parents and caregivers, we know you want the very best for your children, and we will continue to provide supports to help schools mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe, in-person instruction all year long. I’m confident that with the support of the American Rescue Plan and other federal resources, we can keep all our children, all across the country, safe, healthy, and learning on the road to success. Together, we will make this school year one of our best yet.”
~Secretary Miguel Cardona
The Importance of Academic Advising in Higher Education
By: Kaitlin Thach, Intern, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communication and Outreach
“The main function of an academic advisor is to bring holistic support to students as they navigate their higher education to post grad journey.”
Universities and higher education institutions nationwide provide academic advising for both undergraduate and graduate students. This principal academic resource can go underutilized as students often consider advising as a resource only when they are frantic with worry when they realize that they have little time to sign up for classes.
The Benefits and Challenges of Summer Internships
By: Kaitlin Thach, ED Summer Intern
For many students in higher education, internships are an entryway into the workforce, offering them an opportunity to work in their field of choice and gain first-hand insight into a potential career field without long-term commitment. While time in higher education is an important period for students to grow, meet new people and experience life from a different perspective, it is ultimately about preparing for a future career path. Although internships can improve a graduate’s qualifications when searching for employment, there are existing inequities that prevent students from obtaining an internship in the first place.