Friday, August 10, 2012

GoToCollegeNevada: CTE Pathways to Success

In interactions with employers about what they are seeking in their ICT Workforce, there is almost never an encounter in which employability or “soft” skills is not prominent, though those skills are often characterized and called different things.

It is absolutely not enough to have strong ICT technical knowledge and skills to be successful at work.  More than ever before, employers are letting us know that their employees (many of whom are our students) are absolutely required to know how to interact appropriately with customers, suppliers, and other employees; be effective and add value as members of diverse teams; display appropriate behaviors, such as attitude, dress attire, hygiene, punctuality, and communication skills; know how to seek out needed information and solve problems; and the must have appropriate expectations for their roles and future career paths. 

The State of Nevada Department of Education has adopted Employability Skills for Career Readiness Standards to communicate expectations for “soft,” workplace, or personal effectiveness skills clearly to educators. 

MPICT collaborators, College of Southern Nevada and Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), are participating in efforts to roll these new standards and their importance, along with career pathway or programs of study opportunities in CTE education, to educators and communities in Nevada through workshops and other community events.  An example is the College of Southern Nevada’s GoToCollegeNevada project, entitled: “CTE Pathways to Success.”

In this project, they are bringing 40 to 50 faculty members (science and math, applied science, hospitality, business and finance, health science, English, public services), student ambassadors, and paired business and industry subject matter experts (SMEs) out to 12 high schools and promoting their programs, job titles, pay, etc. in this half-day event.     

The Nevada Public Education Foundation, established in 1991 as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, has collaborated with CSN in pairing SMEs up with CSN faculty and their respective programs.  The Nevada System of Higher Education oversees the project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education as part of its nation-wide College Access Challenge Grant program.   Event photos are being circulated throughout the College of Southern Nevada’s campus-wide monitors.  Events are averaging 1,200 to 1,300 students per visit, and the venue is typically the high school’s gymnasium.  Bottled water and snacks are provided at each event.

Faculty members are paid a $200 stipend plus a gas allowance for travel to and from the given high school.  Events are so successful, faculty members are more than eager to participate.  Thus far, the program has promoted CTE programs, ICT included, to over 21,600 Clark County high school students.  There is also a “Parent’s Night Out” component to the project (research suggests that parents also have a significant influence on students going to college).  Student Affairs offices are engaged in this part of the project. 

MPICT would like to commend and encourage this fantastic effort!

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