KDSC_3195By Buck Coatney, Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Knox County School District Promoting and raising money for career and technical education (CTE) programs is no easy task, which is why the Knox County School District in Tennessee decided to do things a little differently. We established the CTE Foundation in 2010 as a way to partner with local businesses to coordinate and fund the district’s workforce training efforts, while showcasing the value of such training to the community. One of the reasons I was hired was to promote what was going on with CTE and let the community know what’s available. We created the foundation for this purpose and to offer scholarships as well as promotional events. Throughout the school year, the CTE Foundation hosts a number of promotional and fundraising events, including a golf tournament in the fall and a car show in the spring. However, the biggest event is the talent competition CTE Goes Live, which takes after American Idol. Held each May at Market Square in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, CTE Goes Live features one contestant from each high school in the district who performs a song live on stage in front of a large audience. The winner is chosen through text voting, and the grand prize is a recording session in a professional studio in Nashville, Tennessee. CTE Promo Poster 2015webIf you’re wondering what such an event has to do with CTE, you’re not alone. When we were planning the event, even the mayor asked, “What does CTE have to do with a singing competition?” The goal of the event is to give CTE students hands-on experience in planning, promoting and running a big public event. To organize and run the event, students are assigned specific tasks based on their field of study. For example, the marketing classes help promote the show, the digital design classes create posters and fliers and the cosmetology students do performers’ hair and makeup. Students in the craft-training classes design, build and disassemble stage sets and lighting. All of this work enables students to apply what they learn in class to a real-world situation. We try to make the event as real-life as possible, so students see how the skills they are learning translate to their future careers. Additionally, each of the high schools set up a tent at the event displaying what CTE programs each one offers. Because CTE Goes Live is hugely popular, attracting 8,000 to 10,000 attendees, the show is the ideal vehicle to demonstrate just how exciting and rewarding Knox Schools’ CTE program is. By having students work on a major event like this, we show that there is a lot more to these career fields than most people are aware of. It really opens the door for more students and parents to see the great things happening in our CTE programs. NCCER_CornerstoneFall2014-COVERFor the rest of the story, be sure to read Knox County Schools’ Sponsor Spotlight article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of NCCER’s Cornerstone magazine.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.