Davie’s career education program one of best
Published 10:47 am Thursday, October 5, 2017
By Jeanna White
A four-year college degree is not the only pathway to a rewarding, high-paying career; just ask Janet Barnes and Darla Goldfuss.
As facilitators of Davie High’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, it is their job to open the eyes of students to all of their career options.
Enrolling in CTE classes and courses of study is an excellent way to explore these other pathways.
“We are programmed to think that the more post secondary education a student gets is better, and that a four-year degree will ensure future employment, but that isn’t always the case,” said Barnes.
“There are technical programs that need students with strong math skills, like in the engineering fields. Students who get a two-year degree in computer-integrated manufacturing or electronics engineering have the opportunity for advancement and management positions.”
“And employers are fighting for them,” Goldfuss chimed in, “and are sometimes willing to pay for their education.”
“There are so many high flyers from community colleges who have incredibly successful careers, but there are a lot of students who think they have to get their four-year degree in mechanical engineering to get those jobs,” Goldfuss said. “There are so many other options. I wish we could broaden all students’ horizons.”
“Sometimes kids don’t know what they want to do,” Goldfuss said. “Our classes, and the DCCC Career and College Promise program, where you aren’t paying tuition, are a great place for students to find out if a field is really for them.”
Goldfuss gave an example. ”We had a young lady who went all the way through the certified nursing program, but when I saw her at Harris Teeter after graduation, she was going to Liberty for communications. She found out tuition-free that nursing was not what she wanted to do.”
“This is a perfect time in life for students to find out what they like, before their parents spend all of that money on tuition or the student shoulders the financial responsibility and comes out with a mound of debt and no direction,” Goldfuss said.
CTE classes provide students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers, and Davie High has many options for students to explore. The expanded CTE facilities at the new high school allow more students to participate in the most popular programs and will provide enhanced learning opportunities as well as the ability to increase the number of CTE concentrations offered.
The school offers CTE courses in agriculture, business, health science, family and consumer science, marketing, technology, and trade and industry. Davie’s program is consistently ranked in the top 10 across the state.
Several of these areas of study also offer certifications. The certifications, such as the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) certification available to students who complete concentrations in carpentry, masonry, and core and sustainable construction, demonstrate a student’s skill level and makes them highly desirable to prospective employers.
In addition, seniors, who qualify as a concentrator, which means they have taken four classes in a pathway, have the opportunity to get an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Credential. The credential certifies the essential skills for workplace success. Employers look for it from job candidates, whether they come directly from high school or through postsecondary paths, because it is a valid predictor of job performance.
Goldfuss expects to test around 150 students this year and said that Davie students do well on the test. Two years ago, Davie was number three in the state for WorkKeys results, and although fewer than 1% of people who take the nationwide test, usually adults, get a platinum level credential, a student from Davie has gotten one each of the past three years.
Internships are available for juniors and seniors in all CTE areas. Internships help students connect what they are learning to the real world, and they provide key skills needed for getting a job after graduation. They are also a way to explore career options and meet the people who work in them.
Davie High has interns at Fuller Welding, Gesipa, Harris Teeter, MAC Builders, Shore Fencing, and Southern Ties Boutique.
“Internships are where the rubber really meets the road,” Goldfuss said. “This is where the kids get out there and find out if what they thought would be so cool really is.”
“We are always looking for anyone who would give our students work-based learning experiences,” Barnes added. She is also grateful to the Mocksville Rotary Club for providing job shadowing opportunities for juniors.
The school sponsors a number of career and technical student organizations such as the National Technical Honor Society, DECA, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), SkillsUSA , Technology Student Association (TSA), FCCLA, Future Educators Association (FEA), FFA, and HOSA. These organizations provide students with additional opportunities to explore their chosen field through leadership development, networking, and competitions.
Barnes said CTE involvement not only enhances students’ career options, it increases their educational engagement.
“More than 90 percent of students who enroll in career and technical education graduate because they have found something they are interested in and invested in,” she said. “The regular graduation rate across the nation is around 80 percent, so that is a huge difference.”
Research studies agree.
A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute used data from Arkansas to explore whether students benefit from Career Technical Education (CTE) coursework – and, more specifically, from focused sequences of CTE courses aligned to certain industries. The study finds positive outcomes in graduation, postsecondary degree attainment, and salary for CTE concentrators.
Key findings include:
• Students with greater CTE exposure are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed, and earn higher wages.
• CTE students are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers. There was little evidence of “tracking.”
• The more CTE courses students take, the better their education and labor market outcomes. Among other positive outcomes, CTE concentrators are more likely to graduate high school by 21 percentage points when compared to otherwise similar students.
Barnes and Goldfuss agree that the benefits of a career and technical education can be endless and they both love their jobs. “It’s great to open students’ eyes a little bit and to help them to find the pathway that will lead them to their best and most successful future.”
For more information about Davie County High School’s Career and Technical Education program, email BarnesJ@davie.k12.nc.us or GoldfussD@davie.k12.nc.us or call the high school at 336.751.5905.