Recognizing career/tech

Published 9:20 pm Friday, February 6, 2009

Students and faculty in Chilton County’s public schools have at least 33 reasons to celebrate Career/Technical Education Month each February. That’s how many career/tech programs there are in the school system.

The month-long celebration raises awareness of career/tech’s role in the future success of students and its importance to their academic achievement.

“Currently, one out of every two high school students in Alabama participates in a career and technical education program,” Career/Tech Supervisor Carol Easterling said. “These students have an opportunity to explore their career options in more than 300 courses, earn advanced diplomas, and receive college credit. Career/technical education’s primary mission is to prepare high school students for college and future career opportunities.”

The school system is observing this important month with several activities, starting with the official proclamation signing declaring February Alabama Career/Technical Education Month, which was held yesterday.

As a recruiting tool, LeCroy Career/Tech Center is hosting tours for students of the county’s six public high schools.

Each instructor of a career/tech program will select a top student who will be recognized at the Career/Tech Extravaganza in March.

Also, billboards located around the county will salute career/tech education.

Meanwhile, youth organizations around the county such as FFA and FCCLA will be doing various activities.

“These youth organizations are an integral part of our curriculum,” Easterling said. “That’s unusual in education. In fact, teachers are required to have meetings and memberships that are part of the curriculum.”

In October 2003, the Alabama Department of Education announced that its Business and Industry Certification (BIC) process, used to certify career and technical education programs for industry compliance, had been awarded certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

“The Alabama Department of Education is the only state-level education agency in the U.S. to receive this certification,” Easterling said.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, research shows that many of the country’s fastest-growing occupations require the technical, communication, time management, and leadership skills taught in America’s career and technical education programs.

Research also shows that among high school graduates entering the workforce, those with a technical education background earn more than those without this advantage.