By Jessica Redden
Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares high school students for their future careers by integrating academic knowledge and technical job skills. Introducing students to careers early sets them up for success in their professional futures! SEI’s Energize Schools program works with teachers and schools to offer Career Technical Education opportunities. Here are some ways that any school can bring CTE to their students:
1. Implement a lesson or unit aligned with CTE standards
There are 15 CTE sectors that intersect with all education disciplines. No matter what you teach there are opportunities to bring career aligned activities into your classroom. Utilize the Energize Schools Curriculum Library to start planning your CTE, NGSS, and Common Core aligned lessons and units.
2. Adopt a CTE Pathway
CTE pathways allow students to deeply explore career opportunities and develop relevant career skills, preparing them for the workforce. Before adopting a pathway, research your local labor market trends; it is best to adopt pathways relevant to your community job needs. One nationally growing field is the energy, environment, and utilities sector. In 2018, and 2019, clean energy jobs outnumbered fossil fuel jobs nearly 3 to 1 across the US and 5 to 1 in California respectively according to the E2 CA Clean Jobs Report. Utilize SEI’s energy, environment, and utilities sector courses Innovations in Green Technology and Energy and Environmental Design to jumpstart an energy and power technology pathway at your school!
Students in Antioch High Schools IGT class solder solar USB chargers
3) Integrate Careers Exploration
Career exploration is an essential component to career technical education. Exposure to careers can pique students' interest in professional pathways, spark their passions, and renew drive to learn new skills. The Green Careers Webinar Series is an effective, virtual tool to bring high school students together with professionals from a diverse set of roles in the rapidly expanding sustainability sector. Webinars introduce career pathway journeys from a diverse group of professionals, so students can see themselves joining in the green economy.
4) Attend Professional Development Trainings
Professional development training can help you feel confident advocating for or implementing CTE content in your school or classroom. SEI’s annual teacher trainings offer a space to collaborate with other educators, learn the latest techniques in CTE education, and experience hands-on career relevant projects. Professional development opportunities can be most effective when completed with teacher teams or departments, so consider sharing opportunities with your colleagues.
5) Build Relationships with Local Industry
There are many options to engage industry partners in your school or classroom. Attending a public meeting or signing up for on-site tours are good first steps in relationship development. From there you or your students can invite guest speakers into your classroom or ask them to attend student presentations to give professional feedback. If you need support, collaborate with your county office of education, district, or school careers counsellor. SEI is also here to build bridges between your classrooms and industry partners, utilize our vast network to build long lasting connections in your community.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field