Career Development is uniquely positioned to become the greatest resource for career and technical education (CTE) programming. When we think of the opportunities and resources available to career development teachers, facilitators, and coaches, we have to think strategically about what opportunities await students in our local and regional economies. I feel that the next big thing for career development will be relationships between both students and industry.
Now more than ever we have the ability to get elementary and middle level learners to the table concerning future career goals, but also student success goals. In Arkansas the conversation about student success planning and the need for employability past high school is at the forefront. A transition in thinking is taking place and career development programming should be our leaders. They have been charged over the years with introducing and familiarizing students with opportunities and planning to take advantage of those opportunities.
I most recently was able to participate in a state department meeting that brought together leaders from the Arkansas Departments of Career Education, Higher Education, Workforce Services, and the Arkansas Department of Education. At this meeting when reviewing new components of Perkins V, a member of the Department of Education leadership team brought up the fact that Student Success Plans could be doubled as part of our Career Action Planning, typically facilitated by the Career Development staff members on campuses. It was a satisfying moment to see the lightbulb illuminate all across the room. What CTE practitioners have been requesting for years has suddenly become a goal. It is a great day to see the educational services and programming work together for student success.
So what does student success look, feel, sound like? That’s a great question and one that many people are coming to the table to answer. We can see that the days of college bound is the only showcase of success are over. We have jobs in need of highly skilled and motivated employees that have the employability and conceptualization skills necessary to evolve over time and make positive contributions to the workforce they soon join. All levels of education must embrace the fact that student success looks different for every learner and it will take work to facilitate that success for each learner, but I believe that each learner is worth the investment.
We are at a great paradigm shift in how we strategically plan and implement CTE programming at all levels for student success and local and regional workforce needs. The relationships that will be built through this are invaluable to the future of career development and CTE success.