If you didn’t know, February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. The goal of CTE month is to raise public awareness of the value of CTE programs for students, schools, communities and businesses. CTE encompasses 94% of high school students and 13 million postsecondary students in the United States. Throughout the month CTE programs and Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) across the country host a variety of events showcasing programs and student success to communities, policymakers and businesses.
CTE programs prepare students to be college and career ready by providing core academic skills. Studies show that students who are involved in CTE programs in high school are more engaged, perform better and graduate at a higher rate than their non-CTE peers.
To celebrate CTE month here in Texas, the Texas FFA Association teamed up with the eight other CTSO groups (BPA, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, TAFE and TSA) to host CTE week at the Texas State Capitol. State Officers from each of these organizations arrived in Austin, TX on Sunday, February 9, 2014 to prepare for the event. That evening the student leaders had the opportunity to dialogue with each other and leadership speaker, Sharrah Pharr, about the importance of being able to tell your story effectively. Students then had the opportunity to hear and learn from Representative Larry Gonzalez (R-52) about how to properly speak to legislators and their staff. Representative Gonzalez encouraged students to begin forming a relationship with their elected officials, and to exert influence in their communities by being engaged citizens.
On Monday, February 10, 2014 all of the student leaders made their way to the Capitol building to put their training and experience into action. Each organization had a display set up in the lower Capitol Rotunda highlighting the importance of each individual CTSO and CTE program. Texas FFA was represented by State Vice Presidents Heidi Ritter from the Area III Association, and Hannah Ford from the Area V Association. The students were then broken into groups as they traveled to each office in the Capitol to speak to Representatives, Senators and staffers about the importance of CTE. In addition to these conversations, those individuals were invited down to the Rotunda to view the displays and get additional information. The displays remained in the Capitol for the entirety of the week, allowing visitors and employees alike to see how CTE programs and CTSOs benefit Texas education.
It is our hope that each of the more than 1,000 local FFA chapters will work with other CTE program staff and CTSOs on their campuses to promote these valuable programs. Whether you are in an urban, suburban or rural community, take this opportunity to show your administrators, parents and local businesses the value that you add to the educational program and community. For more information about CTE month, we encourage you to look into the resources provided by the Association for Career & Technical Education: http://www.acteonline.org/ctemonth/#.UvpAkPldWSp. Happy CTE month!