The world stands still in situations like COVID-19. For many years to come, it will be easy to remember the negatives; toilet paper shortages, minimal groceries, companies shutting down or going out of business. While some focus on those negative news stories, others can find comfort in the positive stories surrounding CTE. Since the beginning of this situation, the Career and Technical community has been seen as essential. Where exactly has school-based CTE impacted COVID-19? Let’s share some positive impacts from CTE:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
You have probably seen a friend or two on Facebook trying to sell masks they made for the pandemic. While their intercut stitching and clever fabric choices may be enjoyable to see, middle school student Sam Walker took a different approach.
Walker is a student at Brentwood Middle School in Tennessee. Seeing a need for “ear savers” that eliminate pressure on your ears when wearing masks, this 13 year-old began work with his 3-D printer. He spends over 17 hours each day printing masks. So far he has given masks to doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, and retirement home workers. Walker hopes to become a local example and inspire others to help in this time of need.
Many CTE teachers and students across the nation joined in through similar approaches, helping local medical workers get the PPE needed to protect themselves against COVID. From Family Consumer Science students to those in Engineering, what better way to enhance your CTE skill sets?
When people stop buying products like clothes, companies can shut down while they keep their products safely stored in a warehouse. When closed restaurants stop buying products like food, it throws a much larger kink in the American food supply chain. Farmers cannot press pause on production. If demand does not match their supply due to processing plants shutting down, it can mean huge losses for these 5th generation, family owned operations.
Agriculture and FFA students out of Columbia County, Wisconsin were one of many schools to tackle this challenge head on. These students helped to raise over $4000 needed to purchase food from local dairy processors. By doing so, these companies were able to stay open and continue serving local dairy farmers of Columbia County. Foods purchased were in turn distributed through school lunch programs, adding cheese curds to the menu.
Many other Agriculture and FFA programs have risen to this challenge, applying the fundamentals of business to help prevent complications of prolonged food distribution problems.
Share the Impact
As we reflect over COVID-19, there will be many positive stories to help outshine the negative ones. If you find ways CTE has helped in this difficult situation, I challenge you to SHARE THE IMPACT OF CTE! As we hope to strengthen the relevance of Career and Technical Education, it is crucial that society sees the huge impacts our students are making. Promote these stories through social media, with your local governments, or however you see fit.
McDonald, Hannah. “Brentwood 13-Year-Old Is Spending More than 17 Hours a Day 3D Printing Ear-Savers for Masks.” WTVF, 23 Apr. 2020,
Endres, Susan. “Columbia County FFA Chapters Work Together in Supporting Dairy Farmers Hurt from COVID-19 Closures.” Wiscnews.com, 29 Apr. 2020,