NEWS: Woodworking industry rallies to support CTE

Woodworking teachers faced a challenge that might sound familiar to many career and technical education (CTE) teachers: how to make it work while distance learning. The answer: with strong support from industry. The Society of Wood Manufacturing (SWM) and its members donated materials, supplies and funding to benefit CTE students in California. SWM reallocated budget and resources to help as many teachers and students as possible. They identified three specific areas for support:

  1. Procuring wood materials for students
  2. Securing tools and supplies for students
  3. Assisting teachers to prepare materials and toolkits

Woodworking industry answered the call to support CTE in California.

SWM, a chapter of the Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers (AWFS), requested donations of materials and supplies from AWFS member companies. Industry responded quickly and generously. In total, SWM collected and distributed about $60,000 in donated wood materials and supplies from the woodworking industry. In addition, SWM awarded 19 $500 grants to California woodworking teachers to use towards distance learning supplies.

AWFS member company Royal Plywood of Cerritos, California, contributed more than $50,000 in materials. Donations arrived on two flatbed trucks; they included laminated panels and multiple species of hardwood. They also shipped materials from Roseburg Forest Products in Oregon. “We are thrilled that we could help out the local high school students by donating some of the materials we have in stock,” said Dave Golling, vice president of business development at Royal Plywood. We think this is a great program and will make a real difference for the woodworking teachers and students.”

SWM offered hands-on support for career and technical educators.

Saúl Martín, president of SWM and vice president of manufacturing at Architectural Woodworking Company (AWC), volunteered to cut and distribute wood materials for the teachers. He worked with several different instructors to help develop and send home woodworking kits for students. He then cut more than 20,000 pieces of poplar for students to use. Martín opened AWC to the teachers on three separate Saturdays to let them load as much free wood as they could take.

“SWM wanted to do something that would impact as many woodworking students as possible,” said Martín. “The teachers really needed some help from industry to boost their woodworking programs.”

About AWFS

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS), founded in 1911, is a nonprofit organization that wholly owns and produces the biennial AWFS Fair. The largest trade association serving the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, AWFS has more than 400 members, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, software, tooling, lumber, components, wood products and supplies for the woodworking industry including cabinet, furniture, millwork and custom woodworking products.


Virtual VISION offers ongoing professional development with post-event access

ACTE’s CareerTech Virtual VISION 2020 featured live keynote presentations and hundreds of sessions, covering CTE innovations, timely topics and specific CTE subject-matter areas.

Gain full post-event access to Virtual VISION.

Conference materials and sessions are now available for 24/7 on-demand viewing at your convenience at regular attendee rates. Enjoy premier professional development via full access to all Virtual VISION sessions! Register for full access.

Achieve 100 Award recognizes institutional commitment to CTE

Showcase your institution’s dedication and commitment to career and technical education!

Achieve 100 Award deadline approaches

Schools and institutions that have achieved 100% ACTE membership across their CTE staff and faculty will receive this distinguished award. All faculty members must be active ACTE members as of Dec. 30.

Fill out the online application by Feb. 1 to participate and recognize your educators!

A dream realized: In celebration of Techniques turning 25

A dream began in 1999 when I took a job at Clinton Technical School in Clinton, Missouri. I became a career and technical education (CTE) teacher in the same building where I was once a CTE student.

As a student, I studied business law and accounting, becoming a state competitor in FBLA as a senior in 1993. Just six years later, in 1999, I took a marketing education position down the hallway. Later, I worked as a teacher and administrator at the Career and Technology Center in Fort Osage, Missouri. And, since 2011, I have served as director of Northland Career Center in Platte City, Missouri.

In each of these amazing places, CTE provided me with a purpose in my career. It has been my calling, to watch students learn and grow while finding their pathways into the real world.

Over these past 22 years, I have maintained a passion for learning and innovation. And my most trusted sources for CTE-specific professional development have been the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Techniques magazine. I have had the privilege of being a Missouri ACTE member, an ACTE member, and a subscriber of my favorite professional magazine, Techniques, for all 22 years of my career.

Techniques is valuable.   

I commend ACTE for its work with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and Advance CTE. By attending ACTE national conferences and reading Techniques, I learned about SREB’s Technology Centers that Work (TCTW) initiative and Advance CTE’s career clusters. Techniques and ACTE provide members like me with meaningful and relevant articles that ignite effective instruction and school improvement.

As Techniques turns 25 in 2021, I celebrate the impact this publication has had on my career and on the careers of many of my colleagues. In each of my roles in CTE, I have turned to Techniques for a variety of reasons.Consistently, I knew I could find inspiration and innovation in facilitating CTE instruction and leadership. 

Techniques is versatile.

The versatility of Techniques for CTE educators is unmatched. Innovative instruction, CTE funding, marketing, work-based learning, experiential learning, career pathway development, and leadership. These are only some of the many concepts that educators can read about in print or on the digital site. 

Techniques offers additional benefits in my life, outside the classroom. Additionally, Techniques has helped expand my knowledge of career pathways available for my children, who possess very different skill sets and interests.

In my own educational advancement, I have resourced many Techniques articles in written work. In fact, in a paper I wrote during the final stages of my Education Specialist degree, I cited 19 articles from various issues of Techniques, including from my favorite issue of all time — Changing the Image of CTE (2011).I also have recommended issues for other CTE educators pursuing their own research. Techniques is NCC’s go-to publication when seeking stories of CTE success from across the country.

Techniques turns 25.

Along with all of my personal and professional appreciations for Techniques, it is important to note the broader impact: Techniques turning 25 aligns with a rebirth of CTE. Techniques has helped guide the shift to a whole new world of CTE in 2021. CTE is now having its moment in the spotlight, and Techniques has been a catalyst in changing its image. 

Amid these exciting times for CTE, this anniversary year for Techniques happens to occur during a unique time in our society. This past fall, Northland Career Center celebrated 40 years. And we celebrated as best as we could during a pandemic, showcasing the past, present and future of our organization.

Best wishes to Techniques as they celebrate an anniversary during these unusual times. The past offers history and tradition. The present offers insight and direction, and the future offers an important connection to tomorrow for CTE educators. Cheers to the next 25 years, Techniques!

Brian Noller is director of Northland Career Center. Prior to this role, he served as a marketing teacher and DECA adviser at Clinton Public Schools & Fort Osage School District, also as assistant director and summer school director at Fort Osage Career & Technology Center. Noller has dedicated a commitment to CTE. He is married to Anita Noller and together they have two children, Camden (11) and Delayna (8). Email or reach out on Twitter.

Driving the next generation in trucking

The United States is facing a crisis in its supply chain. At a time when Americans are relying on quick and efficient delivery more than ever, our nation’s already struggling transportation system experiences even greater strain. More than 70% of freight in the U.S. travels by truck (Costello, 2019). And this problem threatens to slow our supply chain to a crawl. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the industry will need to hire 1 million new drivers over the next 10 years.

Explore careers in trucking.

Careers in trucking present a unique opportunity for young people to enter the skilled workforce. According to Bruce Evans, executive vice president of talent analytics at Emsi, which provides labor market data to professional who specialize in workforce development, truck driver is the most posted job in the U.S.

Those who wish to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must be 18 years old and must also pass an exam. Most people do this by attending a CDL course (lasting four to six weeks) at their local technical community college or a driving school.

The newly formed Next Generation in Trucking Association establishes high school programs to meet this huge need.

Only six high schools in the U.S. offer CDL driver programs. One of those can be found at Patterson High School in Patterson, California. The program, which was created in 2016 by teacher and former truck driver Dave Dein, has grown steadily over the last four years. Dein helped create Next Gen Trucking, which provides turn-key curriculum and partnerships for free and discounted resources. Next Gen also helps foster key partnerships for advisory boards and apprenticeship programs. Dein sees a true change is happening in his students.

Meet Javier

Javier was a student at Patterson High School. He had parents who loved him and a little brother that looked up to him, but he wasn’t succeeding in the traditional school programs offered to him. During his senior year, Javier learned of the CDL program. He enrolled, and he thrived.

Javier exemplifies the importance of career and technical education in high school.

And his brother? He just passed the CDL test!


The Patterson High School program was specifically designed to meet the needs of the digital generation.

Abundant use of technology and interactive, relatable lessons solidify student engagement. PHS incorporates the use of two state-of-the-art driving simulators built by Advanced Training Systems. Here, students learn not only the basics in operating a commercial motor vehicle in a safe environment, but receiving training on how to react in emergency situations, something that cannot be replicated using a real truck.

Additionally, PHS switched from a standard textbook to leverage digital, personalized environment to teach required federal standards. Since partnering with transportation curriculum provider Instructional Technologies, Dein has seen an increase in student retention levels.

Students are trained in the proper way to perform industry-specific body movements, to prevent workplace injuries, using an online program called Worklete. Students interact through the use of real-world applications and practice movements throughout the week to create muscle memory.

The PHS program has grown from teaching the basics to providing a comprehensive overview of the trucking industry. Students explore technological and safety advances that are changing the landscape of the industry.

What’s next?

With comprehensive curriculum and a program in place, the next step for trucking is its own CTE pathway. The plan will be to begin working with students in their sophomore year, offering a basic Class C driving class with an emphasis on trucking. Juniors would learn the basic operation of a truck, involving how to shift a 10-speed transmission and proper identification of vehicle parts. As seniors, students not only elevate and perfect their skills, but would also take on a leadership role in assisting in the training of the underclassmen.

Truck driving falls under the warehousing and logistics career pathway in California. Elsewhere, relevant career pathways include heavy equipment, construction or diesel mechanics. These are all professions in which a CDL is an asset or required. Students with a CDL will be highly marketable and ready to begin an in-demand career in trucking.

CTE programs in trucking must continue to grow so that the items you depend on arrive on time. We face an obstacle with nationwide implications, and the trucking industry is ready to partner with career and technical education programs to fill a pipeline of qualified drivers. Learn more.

Lindsey Trent works for Ryder. She also serves on the board of the Kentucky Trucking Association, Fairdale High School Advisory Board and started the Next Generation in Trucking Association.  She resides in Kentucky with her husband and two kids and loves to golf, travel and read.

Dave Dein has served in public education for the last 22 years while simultaneously pursuing his passion for trucking.  He has accumulated more than 700,000 safe driving miles. Dein is also the founder of Faith Logistics, an outreach truck driving school that trained rehabilitated inmates. In his free time he enjoys long distance backpacking in search of his next adventure. Contact them.

EXCERPT: Instructional Coaching & Its Role in Career Development for CTE Teachers

What is an instructional coach?

Quality teacher professional development is essential to the outcome of student achievement. In their careers, teachers must be challenged with new ideas in order to foster a classroom culture of student engagement. The instructional coach is an embedded professional development practitioner who helps teachers attain these lofty educational outcomes (Blackman, 2010).

Instructional coaches share the responsibility of teacher leadership with administrators in the district. Typically, however, coaches are not teacher supervisors and serve a non-evaluative function (Hanover Research, 2015). Coaches employ their pedagogical expertise and the relationships built with teachers to influence change.

CTE and Instructional Coaching

Career and technical education teachers face unique challenges in the secondary educational setting, where many arrive from industry following a change in careeer. Though they may be experts in their subject matter, they often have minimal training in pedagogy (Foster, Hornberger, & Watkins, 2017). New CTE teachers benefit from mentorship and coaching.

New CTE teachers must learn how to instruct in both classroom and lab environments. Training in classroom safety protocols is a priority. They must learn how to implement classroom management and best practices for engaging students. New CTE teachers also will benefit from understanding, more generally, the field of education. They need to be informed about work expectations, academic achievement, special populations and school policy.

In a large school district, as CTE administrators are busy with the day-to-day business of running the department, important communications with teachers can be lost. Instructional coaches provide mentorship to teachers and they also listen to the teachers’ aspirations and concerns. As a result, through listening, the CTE instructional coach can counsel the teacher on their goals.

Monica Amyett is a CTE instructional coach with Fort Worth Independent School District. Email her.

ACTE members can read the full article, “Instructional Coaching & Its Role in Career Development for CTE Teachers,” in the May issue of Techniques. Not a member? Join! ACTE is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers.

Blackman, A. (2010). Coaching as a leadership development tool for teachers. Professional Development in Education (36)3, 421–441.
Foster, J., Hornberger, C., & Watkins, D. (2017). CTE administrative leadership: 10 things to know in your first year. Alexandria, VA: Association for Career and Technical Education.
Hanover Research. (2015). Best practices in instructional coaching. Arlington, VA: Hanover Research.

CTSOs Engage Students: Discover Ag Under Water

“Career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) enhance student learning through contextual instruction, leadership and personal development, applied learning and real-world application.”

So defines the mission and purpose of nine CTSOs by the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) (2018). Educators and invested stakeholders offer unique opportunities for students to develop the skills for success in careers of their choosing. CTSOs engage students in CTE via activities, programs and competitive events. Students gain experience in leadership roles at local, state and national levels as they network with their peers and potential future employers at events such as ACTE’s CareerTech VISION.

Over the next three weeks on PAGES, a Techniques blog, you will hear from the CTSOs themselves. Learn more about the work of these nine organizations as they enhance student learning to increase global competitiveness.

Let’s begin in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

National FFA Organization

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today. And be sure to come back to PAGES each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through February, when we’ll feature a new CTSO.

National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations. (2018a). About. Retrieved from
National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations. (2018b). CTSOs. Retrieved from

Career Aspirations Out of this World: Rachael Mann Interviews Aaron Shepard

Aaron Shepard inspires others and models boldness; he is determined to break the status quo. Too often, we are encouraged to take the safe path and spend a lifetime wondering, “What if?” Aaron took that road, at first, but soon he realized there is never a better time to follow your dreams than now.

Tell me about your current role as a student and NASA intern.

I study electrical engineering at Clemson University. Right now, I’m working on my master’s degree in robotics and intelligent systems, designing flexible robots that can grab satellites in outer space. In summer 2018 I interned at NASA Langley in Hampton, Virginia. As part of a joint project with Uber, our team built virtual reality simulators for a flying taxi service that Uber plans to offer in the 2030s. I worked primarily as a project manager, but I also helped wire and program the simulator. In addition, our team got to see a lot of the facilities and equipment that helped humans reach the moon during the space race.

How old were you when you realized you were interested in space?

I’ve been into space for as long as I can remember. When I was little, my grandma and I would watch hours of “Star Trek” together. The first time I watched a shuttle launch was during fourth-grade science class. The moment I saw the rocket boosters roar to life I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut or, at the very least, work in the space industry.

It was during my freshman year of high school that NASA announced they were canceling the shuttle program. Like many people, I thought this meant the end of space exploration. I tried to “grow up” and find a “realistic” career. I went to college, graduated with a chemistry degree, worked in pharmaceuticals. I even got into medical school. No matter what I did, space was always on my mind. At 25 years old I decided to leave medicine for engineering and take one last shot at fulfilling my childhood dream.

How did you learn about the NASA internship?

In my first year at Clemson, I applied for a research fellowship from NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program; Space Grant provides funding assistance and scholarships for students pursuing STEM careers. Aaron Shepard is pursuing a graduate degree in engineering at Clemson University. He hopes to pursue a career as a civil servant with NASA.I got the fellowship and spent that summer working in a lab at school on my satellite capture robot. The next year, I applied for multiple internships at NASA and was contacted (and selected!) by the coordinator for the Aeronautics Academy at Langley.

What has been your most meaningful accomplishment to date?

Just to get my foot in the door at NASA is a big accomplishment for me. I knew that I was taking a huge risk when I changed careers. Making that decision wasn’t easy at all. There were plenty of times I didn’t feel 100 percent confident about my choice, but I still got up every day and did what I needed to do at school and work. I never gave up on my dreams, and now they are starting to become my reality.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Begin every day with a task completed. Whether it’s making my bed or finishing responses for a written interview, my days feel more productive when I start by accomplishing something small.

What advice do you have for students enrolled in career and technical education classes?

Don’t procrastinate! Success in education comes down to deadlines and learning time management. If you have a week to do an assignment, do small sections of it each day instead of everything the night before. Working this way is more efficient, and it helps you retain what you’ve learned.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

My dad wanted to be an aerospace engineer but he never pursued his dream because he didn’t think he was smart enough. He regretted not following his passion, and his story is what inspired me to follow mine.

What advice do you have for educators trying to inspire students to pursue STEM-related careers?

The media tends to typecast “STEM people” as smart and socially awkward white males, like Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s hard for individuals who don’t identify with those traits to see themselves in STEM careers. If teachers want to inspire more students to pursue science and engineering, I think it’s crucial that they share more stories in the classroom about the diverse people that make up the STEM fields.

Thank you for inspiring us, Aaron! To learn more about Aaron and his space journey, follow him on social media @spacecadetshep, email him or check out his TEDx Talk.

Seize the opportunity to take your own career out of this world!

ACTE and NASA HUNCH have teamed up to present the CTE Month 2019 and NASA HUNCH video challenge. This year’s theme, “Working Out of This World,” encourages students to produce short videos featuring careers, products or services that could be used in future space missions. The deadline to submit is Feb. 1.