Career and technical education gives high school students a head start on preparing for the workforce or for college.
Harrison County’s CTE courses continue to offer more opportunities for students.
“So we started with 23 at the time in 2013-2014 but now as of this we have 38 programs of study so its expanding and we are even adding more in the next couple of years,” said Heidi Griffith, director of secondary curriculum.
Griffith added that the 38 programs offer students courses in everything from natural resource management to coding, app, and game design. The board of education has to apply for the programming at the state level.
“We have to prove that those jobs with either be in West Virginia or even out globally, that those jobs are going to be there so that students aren’t wasting their time. We want them to be doing something that is eventually going to lead to a job,” explained Griffith.
CTE courses can be viewed as the courses to take if you aren’t college bound. Many of the programs like welding and mechanics allow students to enter the workforce right after high school, but now these CTE courses also allow students to also get ahead on the college pathway.
“These types of courses do not just lead to blue collar jobs which we need and are wonderful and there is a lot of money to be made in those types of jobs. However, for students who want to go on in accounting which is something you have to have a 4 year degree at least in to become a certified public accountant. You can take 4 courses in high school that will lead you and prepare you to do much better at the post secondary level than they would have before,” said Griffith.
Students are exposed to career pathways starting in elementary school and educators said parents need to start the career conversation early.
“Parents need to realize that the career climate in changing and that not everyone has to have a 4 year degree in order to be successful,” added Griffith.