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ACTE Announces Minnesota College and Career Readiness Specialist as National Award Finalist


September 13, 2016

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka
jnagurka@acteonline.org, 703-683-9312   

Shelli Sowles



ACTE Announces Minnesota College and Career Readiness Specialist as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announces Shelli Sowles, college and career readiness specialist for Northeast Metro ISD 916 – Career Technical Center in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, as the 2016 Region III Career Guidance Award winner. This award recognizes guidance counselors and career development professionals who have made significant contributions to advocate, educate and communicate the value of CTE as a viable career option to a variety of audiences in their communities. The Career Guidance Award is sponsored by the US Army.

As the career and college readiness specialist at the Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916 Career and Technical Center (916 Career & Tech), Shelli Sowles developed the center’s first career and college readiness series (CCRS). The series was so successful that students from outside the center started attending and it has since become a mandatory offering for 916 Career & Tech students. Sowles was instrumental in facilitating the expansion of a statewide data-driven college articulation repository website which has dramatically increased communication and visibility for career exploration and college credit opportunities. It is now used in over half the state Perkins consortia with participation from over 300 high schools and 31 two-year Minnesota colleges. Furthermore, Sowles directly contributed to the expansion of concurrent enrollment/transcripted college credit option for students, helping high school students earn over 3,200 college credits last year, saving families nearly $50,000 in college tuition. 

In addition to these initiatives, Sowles’ contributions to student leadership programs have made a significant impact on 916 Career & Tech students’ opportunities and success. The SkillsUSA chapter Showles launched at CTC has grown in the last five years from one 12-student program to eight programs of over 350 student members. In 2010, Sowles developed a student ambassador program to develop the leadership skills of the center’s most promising students. The program has grown to recruit 100 students a year, and has been cited by the North Central Accreditation AdvancED Committee as a vital part of student success at 916 Career & Tech.  “I have seen [Shelli] work with and lead students in such a way they see their potential, abilities and future careers,” says Carrie Hageman, Century College Career Services Director. “She is a team member…one that I have relied on and valued tremendously.”

Sowles is one of five finalists for the 2017 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, November 30, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Awards Banquet is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Certiport, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.


About ACTE 
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities. 


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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.



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