The Association for Career & Technical Association (ACTE) recognizes February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month and states that “CTE Month is a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.”
In Victoria ISD, the CTE Department works with business, industry, and higher education to combine academics, workplace knowledge, and the essential skills necessary to prepare the future workforce to succeed in an ever-changing global economy. We are very proud to offer opportunities for students to prepare for their “&” after high school through CTE.
The District Strategic Plan, created by community and leaders, states that every graduating student will leave VISD with their “&” at graduation. For some students, the “&” may be a college or trade school acceptance letter. For others, it may be entering the military or workforce after graduation. VISD is proud to offer a variety of CTE programs to prepare students for success after graduation.
CTE includes courses and programs that combine academic and technical skills with real-world, hands-on experiences. Students in CTE programs engage in demanding classroom instruction and then practice concepts and skills in a lab or shop setting. For example, students in Automotive Technology learn key terms and tools for servicing vehicles in the classroom before moving to the shop to perform services such as an oil change or brake pad replacement. Another example would be how students in a forensic science class learn vocabulary and procedures related to the search and examination of physical evidence in criminal cases. Students used learned concepts to collect and analyze evidence such as fingerprints, hair, fibers, paint, glass, and bodily fluids.
All CTE courses include standards for job-related skills and professional standards such as problem-solving, critical thinking, computer applications, effective relationships, and workplace skills. As part of the curriculum, students research career opportunities while building resumes and portfolios. Probably the most unique thing about CTE courses is that the labs and shops are equipped with up-to-date technology and equipment used in the actual job setting. The experiences students have in CTE really prepare them for their chosen career field.
Every CTE Program of Study is aligned to high-wage and in-demand occupations based on regional and state-wide labor market data. These programs of study prepare students for entry into the workforce or college and technical schools after graduation.
Currently, VISD offers 18 Programs of Study within 11 different Career Clusters. Students have the option to enroll in courses in the following Career Clusters:
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Architecture and Construction
Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications
Business, Marketing and Finance
Education and Training
Law and Public Safety
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
CTE courses and programs allow students to explore and choose career paths beginning in middle school. Not all high school students will be college bound after graduation and students have the opportunity to learn the industry-based certifications to be successful in their chosen career field. In fact, many students who complete a CTE program of study and earn an industry-based certification obtain jobs to help support themselves while in college. Currently, students have the opportunity to earn 12 industry-based certifications and VISD is always looking to expand opportunities. Students also have an opportunity in each program of study to earn industry-based certifications that allow a smooth transition into the workforce.
The industry-based certifications offered in VISD are:
Adobe Certified Professional in Graphic Design and Illustration Using Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design Using Adobe Photoshop
ASE Entry Level Automobile Maintenance and Light Repair (MR)
ASE Entry-Level Automobile Electronic/Electrical Systems (EE)
AWS D1.1 Structural Steel
AWS D9.1 Sheet Metal Welding
Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)
Certified Veterinary Assistant, Level 1
Educational Aide I
Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Intuit QuickBooks Certified User
Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Excel Expert (Excel and Excel 2019)
Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Word Expert (Word and Word 2019)
NCCER Carpentry Level I
NCCER Carpentry Level II
NCCER Electrical Level I
NCCER Electrical Level II
NCCER Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Level I
NCCER Plumbing Level I
NCCER Plumbing Level II
Non-Commissioned Security Officer Level II
Texas State Florist’s Association Knowledge Based Floral Certification
In the 2021-22 school year, 2,533 of the 3,513 VISD high school students, or 72% were enrolled in a CTE course. In addition, 1,051 high school students took an industry-based certification test, with 76% of students earning industry credentials. Current CTE students are approaching the industry-based certification season and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in May.
CTE plays an important part in preparing students for a chosen career path through exposure to challenging instruction and hands-on, real-world experiences. In February, VISD will celebrate CTE teachers and students in recognition of National CTE Month. However, in VISD, we celebrate CTE year-round.
Dena Justice is the CTE Director for VISD.