IN Phoenixville Area Summer 2017 - Page 6

CTE: CAREER READINESS CTE: CAREER READINESS Career readiness: It’s more than just landing that first job There has been an ongoing conversation within career and technical education (CTE) about the need to help students become career ready upon graduation. But what is career readiness? Prior to 2012, there wasn’t much agreement within the career and technical educational field about what it means to be career ready. This changed in 2012 when the Career Readiness Partner Council (CRPC) brought together 30 national education and workforce organizations to create an agreed upon definition. According to the CRPC, “To be career ready in our ever-changing global economy requires adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning along with a mastery of key knowledge skills, and dispositions that vary from one career to another and change over time as a person progresses along a developmental continuum.” In other words, career readiness in CTE is an ongoing process which doesn’t end when a student secures their first job. Rather, career readiness is a set of skills that allows students to be successful during the longevity of their career. The Technical College High School (TCHS) Pickering Campus, located in Chester County, offers a model of what career readiness should look like in the twenty-first century. Soft Skills Are Key to Career Readiness One of the most important aspects of career readiness is the development of soft skills. Hard skills, which include technical knowledge, change constantly within CTE. It is inevitable that students within CTE careers will have to engage in continuing education to keep their technical knowledge relevant. Soft skills, such as how to communicate effectively in the workplace or act in a professional manner at work, remain fairly constant through an individual’s career. If a worker lacks technical skills, they can always be taught them. If a worker lacks soft skills, an employer may find it harder to retain that employee. At TCHS Pickering, the staff works with students to really emphasize, practice and hone the soft skills that our industry partners report as being the most desirable when seeking a new employee. CTE Is About Equipping Students with the Skills to Be Lifelong Learners Historically, what has set CTE apart from traditional pathways of education is the focus on formal job training. However, simply focusing on landing a student a job right out of a CTE program is no longer enough to set a student up for success in their life after high school. Students must have the skills necessary to be lifelong learners. This means the ability to seek out, sort through and act upon new information which is relevant to their career. The skills learned in CTE, both technical and soft, serve to help students adapt to the ever changing global economy. In short, CTE must equip students for the long haul of a career rather than the short-term success of a first job. TCHS Pickering connects students to industry partners and alumni in order to develop a strong network that will serve them over the entirety of their career. In addition, TCHS Pickering has partnered with college institutions to help give students a head start on their college career. Whether students pursue college or work after CTE, TCHS Pickering gives them the confidence that they can succeed because they already did so at TCHS Pickering. A Model of Success The TCHS Pickering model serves as a case study for what can happen when education and industry come together to give students the tools they need to be successful! 4 1.800.558.0940, ext. 202 TO ADVERTISE V旇fR&V