By: Lori Peacock, Career/Technical Education & Counseling Coordinator, Green Bay Area Public School District
The United States is competing in a global economy that demands innovation from our nation’s workforce. This means students must graduate from high school ready to take a significant and important role in a world that values extremely high levels of knowledge and skills. At the core of America’s education system is the mission to make certain all students graduate from high school ready to succeed, focusing on college and career readiness.
A number of collaborative efforts are currently under development to create a culture of college, career and community readiness within the Green Bay schools, business, manufacturing, and community-based organization. Collaboration among key stakeholders throughout Green Bay and Brown County support the integration of common core standards, career and technical education, co-curricular involvement, and citizenship. The integration of these key areas is providing rigorous academics, relevancy of academics to students’ future goals, student and family engagement in schools, and citizenship through volunteerism, personal/social development, and 21st century skills.
On February 15, 2012, the Green Bay Area Public School District hosted its first Career and Technical Education (CTE) Summit. Approximately 140 individuals attended the CTE Summit representing business, manufacturing, government, PK-12 and post-secondary education, community-based organizations, parents and students. The purpose of the CTE Summit was to provide a forum to discuss strategies for preparing our students for the 21st Century. This diverse group of community stakeholders examined the academic and career needs of our students, the future work force and the needs of employers, and the growth and development of the Green Bay area community. The discussions focused on what we need to do collectively and in partnership to develop a generation of highly skilled individuals, ready to meet the demands of the work force on local, state and national levels
The Career and Technical Education Summit identified the following as important strategies to integrating a successful career and technical education into the college, career and community ready framework:
- Support students’ career exploration and awareness to support identifying passion, interests, talents and goals related to career goals.
- Create relevancy between academics and college, career and community readiness.
- Students must possess 21st century skills that are transferable to the global economy.
- Common core academic standards and career and technical education must be integrated.
- Provide more career awareness and exploration opportunities for students sooner in their K-12 education, e.g., elementary and middle school.
- Fill the gap between transitioning from PK-12 to post high-school education; integrate career pathways into the curriculum.
- Increase the opportunities for all students (K-12) to explore careers in the community through immersion in the work world through job shadows, preview days, business & manufacturing tours, and work-based learning programs (Youth Apprenticeship, co-op, internships, etc.).
- Build culturally responsive CTE programs. Create more diversity among stakeholders/decision makers; value diversity among decision makers and the future work force.
- Increase parent education and awareness of careers and career pathways.
- Create a culture and a belief that every child can be college and career ready.
Based on the current trends in the Green Bay Area Public School District and the Green Bay community, the implementation of common core state standards, and the identification of what needs to be in place to support career and technical education, coupled with the discussion about education at the Brown County/Envisioning 2020 Summit, it is clear the community as a whole is “all in” in supporting college, career and community readiness.
Children and youth spend less than a quarter of their waking hours in school, therefore out-of-school time experiences including afterschool programs at the Boys & Girls Club offer career awareness-based programs essential to the mission of college, career, and community readiness. After school and community programs provide a vital link to our students’ ability to learn about and experience careers through work-based learning. An excellent example of the Green Bay Public School District and the Boys & Girls Club working collaboratively is the successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming initially funded by grants from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction and currently sustained via Boys & Girls Club resources.
Young people must graduate from high school with the ability to learn, apply, think and adapt to the world around them, possessing skills in critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation. As the Green Bay community continues to evolve to meet the demands of both the local, state and global economy, partnerships to develop future generations will provide the innovative ideas, strategies, structure and systems essential to sustaining a vibrant community.
For additional information about college, career and community readiness and career and technical education, click on one of the following links:
The American Association for Career and Technical Education, http://www.acteonline.org
NEW Manufacturing Alliance, www.newmfgalliance.org
Harvard University, Pathways to Prosperity study, www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events
College Board, Creating a College-Going Culture Guide, www.collegeboard.com
Lori Peacock, Career/Technical Education & Counseling Coordinator
Green Bay Area Public School District