Hand in Hand: Industry & CTE Collaboration

In recent years, we have seen education institutions and industries push for more career-focused learning in primary and secondary education. Rural and urban districts alike are looking for ways to make their students more employable in the modern workforce.

With a focus on career skills, Career and Technical Education (CTE) educators find that integrating industry insight into their classrooms proves beneficial for their students. When students are exposed to opportunities within local industry, they make a connection between what they are learning in class and the real-world application of their acquired knowledge and skills. By partnering with local industry, CTE programs also ensure curriculum stays up to date in order to meet current workforce needs while increasing student opportunities for career networking and mentoring.

Collaborating with Higher Education

By making connections with local higher education institutions, CTE programs are able to offer dual credit at the high school and university levels. In Kentucky, for instance, Murray State University has developed a dual credit program to help attendees of Racer Academy obtain up to 27 hours of college-level agricultural credit, easing the transition between high school and college.

In higher level college courses, the hands-on style of learning is the norm, but for recent high school graduates not enrolled in CTE courses, the transition can be hard to adapt to. “Too many students leaving high school are afraid of what comes next at the university level,” said David Black, coordinator of the Racer Academy at Murray State University. “CTE programs are meant to gauge the interest of current and prospective students and give them confidence after high school, whether they end up in a university environment or in a career.”

This collaboration with Murray State has diminished some of that intimidation while teaching relevant industry skills to students at a young age. Both students and the university benefit from this partnership. Students acquire essential skills and earn college credit, and potential university enrollees are better equipped with the skills necessary to succeed at the college and career levels.

Industry Experience

Another way schools are staying modern is by reaching out to local companies for job shadowing and internship opportunities for their students. Observing company operations, or getting a chance to apply the skills they learn in the classroom is an experience that students largely benefit from. Students come away with a better understanding of industry processes, job requirements and whether or not a career path is a good fit for them. They also have a chance to build their résumés and make essential networking connections for future job opportunities.

Some schools take industry collaborations all the way to the boardroom and form councils or advisory boards of professionals to make their students curriculum highly relevant to the local industries. For Lubbock County ISD there are 16 advisory committees based on the 16 Career Clusters with a total of 165 committee members who work to counsel the school district on what they see fit in the workforce.

”Our committees are a vital part of our programs.” says Jill Berset the Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at Lubbock ISD, “They assist with the development of curriculum to meet the needs of regional employers, help determine resources and equipment for programs, assist with recruitment of students, share current trends in business and industry, determine appropriate industry certifications, provide student tours of business and industry and classroom presentations, and serve on employer panels for counselors and teachers.” This form of CTE learning is preparing the next generation with diverse and relevant skills by the time they graduate high school.

Industry Certifications

The foundation of the iCEV platform was built on the idea that industry expertise is necessary to fully prepare students for the real world. We continue that tradition by acting as a testing platform for industry certifications

Schools making those essential CTE collaborations are getting their students certified and seeing students that are excited to have résumé builders. Parents are ecstatic their children are receiving a valuable education, and communities are eager to hire these career-ready graduates.

Working with industry professionals, participating in internships, or earning one of the certifications hosted on our platform is bridging the gap between education and industry. To put it simply, CTE works by creating college and career-ready students.