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Career and technical education courses create a blueprint for the future

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Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 2:57 pm | Updated: 10:41 am, Mon Aug 6, 2012.

Want to give your children a competitive advantage in college and the workplace?

Encourage them to enroll in at least one career and technical education class!

Career and technical education courses are not your father’s vocational education classes. In today’s CTE courses, students apply their academic skills in context-based, industry-relevant project-based learning experiences that develop their ability to think critically, solve problems and to work with others — all skills essential to college and career success.

The most powerful testimonies for the value of CTE courses in preparing students for college and career come from former Lodi Unified School District students:

Lodi High School alumnus Nicholas Iturraran graduated from University of California, Berkeley this year and is currently a lead mechanical engineer at a high-tech start-up company.

“The (CTE) classes that I took in high school gave me a glimpse at what engineering is actually like,” he said. “The drafting classes helped me understand real-world engineering on a level that no theoretical class will ever be able to match.”

Bear Creek High School graduate Joseph Perry graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in chemical engineering. He credits Bear Creek’s Engineering Technology Academy, BETA, with giving him a competitive advantage.

“BETA gave me the unique privilege to think out side of the box, experiment with ideas and concepts only briefly talked about in the classroom,” he said. “It allowed me to have hands-on interaction with tools and gave me the opportunity to work in a group setting that is similar to how we are structured today in the work force.”

Lodi High School alumna Cindy Gnos graduated California Polytechnic University and is currently the vice president of the Raney Planning & Management, Inc.

“My CTE courses in mechanical drawing provided an invaluable tool in pursuing my degree in city planning. I had an advantage over many other students who did not know how to read or prepare plans,” she said.

Finally, Lodi High School graduate Dr. Michael Cima, currently professor of materials science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered this observation and advice: “Skills learned in shop classes are the tools that I use for design. These skills are the cornerstone of the improvisation required to make new products. My advice to every high school student bound for a University is to take as many shop classes as you can. Those experiences will be drawn on for the rest of your life even if you never pick up another tool.”

Want to learn more? Contact Bill Atterberry, Deborah Chiene or Tiffany Wood at 209-331-7617.

For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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