By Vanessa Edwards
Our district’s mission is to: Engage our community; Inspire our students; and Prepare our graduates.
We can meet all those by providing our students equitable access to explore pathways into both college and career. Our students are unique, and there is not a one-size-fits-all program. The goal is to help them find an interest, strengthen their skills, and to introduce them to the many opportunities available.
For example, we are a big area for aerospace, and this extends beyond Boeing and manufacturing. Integrated within this field are engineers, designers and the supply chain (including accounting and marketing). For our students to get into this field, they need to be critical thinkers, have math and writing skills, and an introduction to computer science. All those foundations can be achieved within our schools, and this is only one career pathway thriving in our area.
Our Career and Technical Education program has been hard at work in finding opportunities for our students. We have partnered with other school districts, the Snohomish Labor Council, and community members to open the Regional Apprenticeship Program opportunity to not only our students but those in neighboring districts. This partnership will provide students with dual credit in high school and college and a pre-apprenticeship certificate. Details and final plans are still under development, but this exciting opportunity will open doors to the aerospace, manufacturing and construction industries.
Another exciting opportunity is to grow our own educators through the Diversifying Pathway Program. This partnership between the Everett School District, Everett Community College, University of Washington Bothell, and our district has the goal to open up teaching opportunities for underrepresented groups by providing a seamless transition into higher education programs in the education or health sciences fields. Career-connected learning is not new, but a renewed focus that if our students are to succeed after graduation then we should open as many doors as possible. However, to truly be career ready, there are 21st century (or soft) skills that industry looks for in employees. Three main skills are time management, effective communication and confidence.
Those can be learned in the classroom, through clubs, career technical student organizations and volunteer work. I encourage students to join a club, volunteer or intern in businesses that may be of interest to them. There has to be a connection as to “why” we are educating our students. Our Glencoe math books in middle school are a good example. They provide careers and connections that use the content they are about to learn.
It’s a global market out there, and we want our students to be equipped to compete and to know opportunities available to them. To learn more about CTE programs, please contact director Donneta Oremus at 360-965-0027, email@example.com, or visit www.msd25.org/career-and-technical-education—3
Vanessa Edwards is vice president of the school board in the Marysville District, which runs a monthly column in this newspaper.