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7 Components of a Good CTE Program

America’s career and technical education (CTE) infrastructure is the perfect entry point for the next generation of classroom learning. To be at their most effective, CTE programs should meet the following criteria:

1. The curriculum is connected to viable industries and highly marketable, future-facing skills.

Tech is a natural option. Five middle school students in Santa Rosa County, Florida have recently achieved a cybersecurity industry certification through ACCELETRAIN’s program. And 25 more students are about to take the test. These students are gaining valuable, marketable skills at a very young age. Their future is bright.

2. Real-world business and industry are heavily involved

Industry experts should serve as trainers, so learning is up-to-the-minute and practical. Programs should also incorporate hands-on learning, extracurricular activities, internships, and so forth.

3. The program leverages the benefits of distributed learning

The best programs start with the familiar and engaging teacher and student classroom environment and apply technology as appropriate. This speeds competency and accelerates workforce readiness.

4. The online component is teacher-led, not student-led. Instruction takes place in real-time

Students tend to do better when a live person shows up at a predictable time each day on the screen. Traditional online offerings put the onus on students, which doesn’t always work well.

5. It employs a good mix of teachers and industry experts

When done properly, a CTE program helps solve the problem of teacher shortages in certain areas and improves access to teacher professional development. “For example, subject matter experts might spend the first year training the teachers so they can take over the instruction later,” says Ramos.

6. Schools that get it right are rewarded

Where there are certifications available, incentivize schools to help ensure a good pass rate. (When students pass the certification test, the school gets the money they spend back and the teacher gets a bonus.)

7. It allows students to walk into a well-paying job after high school

Students should graduate with very specific skills and a certificate that’s highly valued in the workplace.

Randy Ramos is CEO of Global Business Solutions, Inc. (GBSI), a Pensacola-based information technology and cybersecurity company serving DOD, government, and commercial companies. Randy’s advocacy for industry engagement in education to graduate qualified cybersecurity professionals is evident in GBSI’s technology innovations and his community engagement. Transforming how industry, government, and academia collaborate in workforce development to achieve cradle-to-career success is fundamental to the company’s strategic initiative. Randy has helped secure over $25M in cybersecurity education grant funding. Randy is an avid speaker on cybersecurity, learning technologies, and accelerating competencies in the competitive global economy.

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