How Your Company Can Celebrate CTE Month With Your Community
February is a month of celebration, but Valentine’s Day and President’s Day aren’t the only holidays worth honoring. It’s also Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Here’s how companies can celebrate with educators, students, communities and professionals across numerous industries.
What is CTE Month?
Educators nationwide come together to celebrate CTE Month each February. It recognizes technical programs in schools all over the U.S. and celebrates their achievements. The occasion also promotes classes to get more students involved once they’re eligible in their school district.
The slogan for CTE Month is “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow.” February is a time for everyone to celebrate CTE and see what the future has in store. The outlook is bright, so it’s worth showcasing to the community what these fields can offer as more innovations come.
CTE awareness started a century ago when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Hughes Act, also known as the National Vocational Education Act, in 1917. The law allocated federal funding to states for training students in agricultural and industrial jobs.
The bulk of CTE funding comes from the Perkins Act. The federal government enacted the law in 1984, and Congress has reauthorized it four times since. The Perkins Act provides over $1 billion in funding for CTE programs in all 50 states.
Why Should the Community Get Involved
CTE programs have become more popular as awareness grows. Today, over 90% of high school students encounter CTE classes in their curricula. They are common in high schools, and some areas implement them as early as middle and elementary school.
During CTE Month, people across industries find ways to celebrate and keep the fields moving forward. These students and teachers depend on support from local officials and the community. Students in CTE programs are vital for the future in many industries, so it’s essential to raise awareness, display what’s happening in these classes, and showcase students and educators.
What are ways to Celebrate CTE Month?
Nationwide, students, educators and communities use CTE Month to celebrate achievements and look forward to the future. These four ways show how schools and cities can celebrate February and dedicate it to hardworking students, teachers and industry professionals.
Using Social Media
One of the best ways to celebrate is by using social media. Apps like Twitter, TikTok and Facebook are excellent ways to promote programs and spread awareness. Educators should use specific hashtags like #CTEMonth to increase engagement, gain followers and continue sharing with the community once February ends.
Starting a social media account would be wise if the program doesn’t have one. Research shows that social media has nearly 5 billion users worldwide, which will only grow as the years go by. All it takes is one tweet or video using best practices on posting for an account to reach thousands.
Looking to the Future
There are 16 tracks within CTE, and each has a bright outlook in 2023 and beyond. This month, educators should emphasize new developments in these fields and discuss how they’ll impact the industries moving forward.
For example, construction is rapidly changing as experts find better practices. Technological innovations are making projects more manageable and creating jobs within the industry. For example, architects are taking advantage of 3D modeling. This software uses sonic tracers and GPS systems to design buildings accurately, leading to increased productivity and faster completion time on each project.
Construction is an industry in high demand for jobs, so it would be wise to discuss how students can get involved. The industry has various positions for different skill sets, such as painting, masonry, carpentry, roofing and more.
Contacting Government Officials
February is an excellent time to contact government officials and discuss their support for career and technical education. Students, parents and educators can call or visit people at the local, state and federal levels to discuss its importance. These representatives enjoy discussing priorities with the community, so they’ll be happy to discuss how they can help moving forward.
People in communities that aren’t currently recognizing CTE Month should talk to governing bodies like the mayor’s office and city council to designate it. Making CTE Month official spotlights the programs in a community and makes educators feel appreciated.
Communication with officials is also crucial for Perkins Act renewal. The current iteration of the Perkins Act runs through 2024, so now is an excellent time to begin discussions with senators and representatives about reauthorization. This will ensure the next generation can enjoy CTE programs and future innovations.
Promoting CTE at Educational Institutions
One way to highlight the benefits of CTE is to take the show on the road. Companies in various industries should visit schools and increase awareness among students. Numerous student organizations in middle and high schools nationwide support CTE programs. Find one by looking through certified career and technical student (CTSO) organizations.
For example, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a CTSO, according to the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). The FFA supports CTE classes because of agriscience’s importance to clubs at school and students’ education.
CTE Month is an excellent time to visit career fairs at high schools, community colleges and technical schools. Many students may still need to decide about their career plans, so a career fair is an opportune time for them to connect with business leaders and discover more about industries in the community. It’s also an opportunity for companies to promote themselves.
Company representatives visiting the schools should engage students by providing hands-on activities and giving them a clear picture of what it’s like to work. They should discuss their history with CTE education and how they got involved with their business and the industry.
Celebrating CTE Month by Looking Forward
Technical education is always worth celebrating, but February is unique because of CTE Month. Each year, educators and industry professionals dedicate themselves to celebrating the achievements of CTE educators and students. Companies should use CTE Month 2023 to highlight innovations in all 16 tracks and help students develop an interest in these vital programs.