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The Rise of CTE Programs

Real-world scenarios are the heart of a Career Technical Education (CTE) school. Programs abound in areas as diverse as agriculture, culinary arts, health, business management, TV broadcasting, and hospitality. Well-known corporations often partner with CTE programs, such as Toyota, Verizon, Chevron, and John Deere. Given the tight labor market, small, local companies are also often interested in supporting students in CTE programs. A construction company I worked with during a recent school building project tapped me for names of students who might be interested in a career in construction.

As students traverse through the knowledge and skills of a CTE program, it is essential to present what students know and are able to do. How can students display their accomplishments, and how do teachers track their students' progress? Schools are responsible for utilizing a platform that is both straightforward in implementation and simple and enjoyable to view. Richer Picture provides a digital badge and portfolio system that can demonstrate the school's Vision of a Graduate and documents, through badges, a student's progress through their CTE program. The platform leverages the power of digital media, including video, photos, and documents. Students can begin developing and displaying a resume, upload artifacts, highlight certificates, honors, and courses completed, and teachers can evaluate their students' work and provide constructive feedback. Prospective post-secondary schools and employers may view this portfolio and utilize the digital information in a potential interview with the student. Meanwhile, teachers can track their students and hold themselves accountable for their progress. Several states, such as Rhode Island, require a system to track student competency, and programs such as Richer Picture check off that box.

Career Technical Education (CTE) is being renewed in American high schools as a viable option for all students and an essential choice for kids who need a different alternative than a four-year college. CTE programs prepare students for post-secondary training with a swifter and less expensive track to a career. High schools recognize that four-year college is but one option for their graduating seniors, such as Hopkinton High School in New Hampshire, which espouses 'High-School Plus.' All students will need strong educational opportunities post-high school, but there are several ways to obtain this training.

The pandemic we have all experienced has few silver linings. Still, it has forced reflection on the best way to navigate career choices for many families of adolescents and young adults. CTE programs offer a viable pathway to post-secondary education amid a changing economy. Richer Picture offers a professional framework to document and archive a CTE student's progress and learning.

Click here to listen to our podcast episode on CTE!