Every February thousands of people celebrate Career Technical Education Month and in Elk Grove Unified educators, parents and students came together at the EXPLORE: Map Your Future exposition-style open house. Students and teachers from at least 68 of the District’s academy high school and pathway programs introduced their programs and projects available in each high school representing 15 industry sectors. At the fourth annual event, students in grades 4th – 9th attended EXPLORE: Map Your Future and learned about many different career options they could explore in high school.
Recently, CEO of Telos Educational Services, Kevin Fleming, noted in an article about higher education and success that because, “new and emerging occupations in every industry now require a combination of academic knowledge and technical ability, [we need to] ensure that we’re also guiding students towards careers and not just to the university.” In Elk Grove Unified, career-connected learning does just that, steers students toward careers and college by investing in students’ educational experiences to provide real-world experiences and internship opportunities.
The aim for academies and pathways is to engage future leaders. Students thrive when learning is relevant, exciting and when school becomes a place where they feel at home. The annual EXPLORE: Map Your Future event introduces the programs that exist at Elk Grove high schools that offer real-world, hands-on experiences that make career-connected learning relevant, meaningful and fun! Current academy and pathway students show-and-tell potential new recruits and their families about their experiences.
Students learn how to develop robots using computer chips, motherboards and programming. Other students develop electricity solutions to help provide power to African villages. They also get hands-on opportunities to learn from industry professionals in the classroom and at worksites. Most importantly, students become engaged while in high school. Of the District’s academy and pathway students, data show that 94% complete a Career Technical Education academy/pathway program resulting in improved graduation rates and enhanced school climate. What started as vocational education for students needing jobs, Elk Grove Unified’s schools integrate career technical education to provide greater relevance and options for all students in addition to having access to AP and Honors courses. Elk Grove Unified truly embraced the core concepts of Voc-Ed and today career-connected learning provides a much more robust job training platform that also supports students academically to succeed in college, career and life. During the February 21, 2017, EGUSD Board Meeting, the Department of College and Career Options recognized all of the 68 Career Technical Education programs in the District. The 45-minute presentation highlighted the dedication of staff and how these programs keep students engaged. And, as Superintendent Christopher R. Hoffman often says, “A connected student is a successful student.”
Come and EXPLORE the 68 academy and pathway programs available in Elk Grove Unified by visiting: www.EGUSDExplore.com.