Recruiting students to Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and programs never stops. In order for schools and districts to continue to help provide multiple pathways from school to college and career, they continually adjust their programs to meet the changing needs of local business communities and projected employment outlooks.
While students and their families understand graduation requirements for core subjects like math and reading, they often report the top benefits to CTE participation as preparation for the real world and making connections with peers, instructors, and employers with similar interests. Our apologies to the teachers of Algebra I, but we’ve yet to hear a parent describe the benefits of an algebra course as developing a connection with employers and careers.
So, if students and their parents know the benefits of CTE courses in middle and high school, how do we get more of them to take action and choose CTE courses as an integral part of their educational journey?
Give students the whole picture. Too often, we focus our CTE requirement on the course or the broad overarching name of the pathway rather than real life careers. For example, a welding program leads students to explore careers as welders, jewelers, tool & die makers, plumbers, and sheet metal workers.
Showcase CTE students participating in hands-on CTE instruction. A static image of a dress form used in Fashion Design lacks the visual grab that a photo or video of students working together to drape colorful fabric over a mannequin. When students see their peers doing fun CTE projects, their interest increases exponentially.
Involve CTE students as storytellers. Students listen to other students far more than they listen to adults. Why not leverage them as a part of your recruiting arsenal. Empower them to take pictures of their creations, record short videos about why they love their CTE courses, or the ways they (the students) see CTE as preparing them for positive futures.
Use CTE courses as real-life experiences. Imagine the positive word-of-mouth PR your programs in AV, communications, and digital arts get when students create the majority of your digital signage content–from concept to production to publication.
Broadcast live feeds from inside CTE classrooms. Showing CTE in action goes way beyond just telling students about their CTE options. Plus, live feeds, broadcast throughout all of your middle schools, helps students start to spark their CTE interest even before they enter the high school hallways.
Make acceptance into higher level CTE courses a milestone you celebrate. Let’s face it, we’re used to celebrating things like sports championships and academic achievements. Every student deserves a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Make it a newsworthy honor to complete or be accepted into specific CTE programs.
Ready to take CTE visual communication beyond digital signage?
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