CTE Offers Academic and Professional Opportunities to Students

Expanding current opportunities for students to get a head start on growing careers will be a major focus for Guilford County Schools’ (GCS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) program this coming school year as more students enroll in the courses.

Guilford County’s Board of Education received an update on GCS’ CTE program during its meeting Thursday night. This past school year, a record number of students enrolled in at least one CTE course including 13,132 high school students and 11,249 middle school students.

CTE courses cover a wide range of career paths and industries including aviation, agriculture, business, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, information technology, transportation and logistics, construction, engineering, family and consumer sciences, healthcare and more.

“Thanks to our dedicated teachers and incredible partnerships with local businesses, our students are getting hands-on experience and earning professional certifications before they graduate,” says Bob Gantt, director of CTE. “One of our goals this year is to reach out to more of those businesses and provide additional opportunities for our students.”

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction reports GCS students earned 5,410 credentials during the 2014-15 school year, up nearly 16 percent from the year before. Credentials include certified nursing assistants, pharmacy technician certifications, business certifications, NCCER craft certifications (including carpentry, electrical, HVAC and masonry), Microsoft, Cisco, WorkKeys Career Readiness and more.

“These certifications allow our students to stand out as they move toward colleges or careers,” says Gantt. “For those looking for skilled employment, they will be ahead of the game with credentials and on-the-job experience. For students going to college they will have a leg up on their peers having already done some of the work they’re learning about.”

Gantt says a key component to preparing students for success after graduation is to prepare them for the careers of the future.

“We have advisory boards of local business leaders who tell us what jobs they’re looking to fill and how we can prepare our students to fill them,” say Gantt. “That’s one reason we are opening the new Health Information Technology Academy at Northeast High this fall. Novant Health said there was a need in the industry and worked with us and local community colleges to help them fil that need.”

Business partners, including GTCC, Triad Workforce Solutions Collaborative and the Department of Commerce, also worked with GCS to start a new apprenticeship program this summer. The Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP) program includes paid job training and a free two-year associate degree in Manufacturing Technology from GTCC.

“It’s opportunities like the apprenticeship program that we hope to extend to more students as we work throughout this school year,” says Gantt.

Gantt says more opportunities will encourage even more students to take advantage of all CTE courses have to offer, and may help close some of the inequities seen in representation and proficiency results.

“We plan to work closely with our counselors to encourage more students to take advantage of these opportunities for success,” says Gantt.