Career exploration, college options for high school students
By Morna Foy | System President of the Wisconsin Technical
(3/5/13): There was a time when a high school diploma was the ticket to many
family-sustaining careers, allowing access to more than 70 percent of all jobs
in 1973 according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the
Workforce. That is no longer the case, with the Center reporting that by 2020,
65 percent of jobs will require at least some education or skills training
beyond high school.
That dramatic shift makes robust Career and Technical
Education (CTE) partnerships all the more critical. These increasingly
innovative collaborations allow high school students to explore career
opportunities, experience the rigorous education needed to access them after
high school, and understand career progression potential.
CTE students often earn college credits and gain
personal enrichment at the same time. Just as importantly, some students
identify career fields in which they find they are not interested, saving
significant time and investment after high school.
Throughout February, as part of CTE month, I had the
chance to see first-hand impressive collaborations that Wisconsin’s technical
colleges have with high schools throughout the state. I’m proud to support these
partnerships. They consistently open doors to promising futures in agriculture,
business, manufacturing, health care, marketing, information technology and
Wisconsin’s technical colleges provide education – and
a graduate placement rate that consistently averages about 90 percent – in these
and many other fields, preparing individuals for high-skill, high-wage careers.
Unfortunately, many high school students – and those they rely upon for guidance
– are often unfamiliar with these opportunities.
All of us – parents, educators, and employers – share
responsibility for furthering career awareness and exploration. It can be as
simple as helping students identify areas of ability and interest, with the help
of online resources like the
Pathways website, or the
Questionnaire. You might also consider
creating or supporting job shadowing opportunities or career days.
Perhaps most importantly, you can find a way to get
involved with delivering, supporting, or taking advantage of the many CTE
options that currently exist for students, or that could exist with your vision
For more than 20 years, Wisconsin’s technical colleges
have been energetically engaged in middle and high school CTE programs, with
more than 90,000 students currently participating. But there is a need to
accomplish much more. We can do that, together, by promoting career awareness
and college credit options every month of the year.