The Fox Cities Chamber’s Talent Collaborative is proud to support work-based learning, which is a continuum of activities both in and out of the classroom that provide opportunities for students to connect what they learn in the classroom to the careers available in the workplace. In that spirit, we are proud to celebrate Career and Technical Education month. Throughout the next few weeks we will be highlighing area school districts that increase career opportunities for studetns through CTE programing.
We spoke with Jessie Powel, Kimberly High School Businesss & Marketing Educator/DECA Advisor and Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator. Here’s what she had to say about the importance of Career and Technical Education.
Q: CTE programs incorporate rigorous academic and technical standards. How are you equipping students with the skills necessary for successful transition to post-secondary education or work and promote life-long learning in a global society?
A: The Kimberly High School Business and Marketing Department works very hard to ensure that our students leave us college and career ready. We provide our students with opportunities to acquire these skills in an authentic environment whenever possible so that they are truly able to make their own meaning and demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared to successfully transition. Our students participate in simulations, industry tours, job shadows, participate in work based learning programs, and access curriculum in hands on experiences for example, their participation in our School Based Enterprise, The Sting. Their particularization in our CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) DECA (An Association of Marketing Students) is an amazing tool for them to demonstrate the skills in a competitive environment. Many of our students come back to visit and share with us just how these experiences have helped them to successfully transition and they are always thankful for their involvement and the opportunities these experiences have afforded them. We often receive feedback from employers and they tell us that because these students took advantage of these opportunities they have developed the academic and technical skills that are transferable in their future.
Q: How does your specific CTE program support skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurship and leadership both in and outside your classroom?
A: We pride ourselves on the 21st Century Skills that they develop through their participation in the Business and Marketing program at Kimberly High School. Employers often tell us that they are willing to train employees on the technical skills they need to be successful but they expect them to come prepared with interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, work ethic, communication, and critical thinking skills. They want them to be innovative and proactive and come ready to take ownership for their actions. Our program infuses all of these skills in and out of the classroom in the opportunities that we provide our students. Students leave with a very clear understanding of what skills they will need to be a success in their future and they have had many opportunities to practice and refine them. Our students leave us able to demonstrate the leadership and soft skills that will open the door to future success.
Q: How does your specific CTE Program enhance business/education partnerships with opportunities to reinforce skills they learn in the classroom in a work-setting, and teach the necessary employability skills and work behaviors to be effective in the workplace?
A: The Kimberly High School Business & Marketing program provides students with a variety of Work-based Learning Experiences that many students take advantage of. Students enrolled in Workplace Co-op have the opportunity to earn their Employability Skills Certification through WI-DPI as well as their Work Keys Career Readiness Certificate. Students are able to provide their employers with evidence that they are career ready because of these experiences. We work closely with area employers to provide them with classroom experiences that incorporate industry experiences, for example Capital Credit Union is an active participant in all of our Personal Finance Courses. They come into the classroom and work with students to help them make practical use of money management strategies to help them transition successfully. Almost 30 students participate in our Workplace Co-op program, they work alongside of their cooperating employers who mentor them to prepare them for their futures. Our students also have the opportunity to participate in the DWD Sponsored Youth Apprenticeship Program which prepares them to transition to their career pathway while they are still a high school student. They are able to work in Marketing, Finance, Insurance, and IT positions. In addition, our students have the opportunity to participate in a regional Innovation Academy where they attend class every other Tuesday night throughout the year on-site with the Employers that are instructing them. Skyline Technologies has been a great partner in this and is helping us to develop future leaders in the area of IT. Students have the opportunity to participate in Job Shadows as a result and at the conclusion of the program, potentialy in related Youth Apprenticeship positions. Our students leave us with an understanding of what it means to truly be college and career ready!
Through YourFuture Fox Cities, the web-based platform developed by the Chamber’s Talent Collaborative and Omni Resources, businesses like yours can get on the cutting edge of shaping the future workforce. This tool allows your business to collaborate on work-based learning opportunities in your organization with educators and students. For more information go to: yourfuturefoxcities.com or contact Patty Milka: 920.734.7101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.