The CTE program has been providing career exploration activities (career fairs, career mentoring, career development and professional development) for over 12 years. The program promotes early career awareness and academic achievement for all students. Sixteen career clusters and over 200 occupations will be represented by CTE students, professionals in their fields (i.e. Nursing, Computer Design, Public Security) presenting hands-on activities and information relating to education, occupational outlook and salary ranges in each career area. Students will take part in activities pertinent to the career and linked to the NYS standards. Each cluster will provide information on academic laddering and local post-secondary options. Career mentoring, using a one-on-one or small group format will also be provided at each site. These four sessions focus on literacy and numeracy within the career area. New York State standards including CDOS and SCANS skills will be the focus of integrated academics and career planning. Career development and "real-life" activities are the most effective way of learning skills for the classroom and the workplace.
Research findings indicate that relating the use of concepts taught in classes with application outside the classroom, and the emphasis on basic skills and integration of academics and career and technical areas is a vital component in closing the student achievement gap. Through a coordinated effort, students will participate in grade-level, age appropriate career development activities focusing on the use of the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS), Learning Standards, and SCANS. These standards are designed to enable students the answer to the following questions: Who am I? , Where am I going?, How do I get there (CDOS Learning Standard #1) , What am I learning?, Why am I learning it?, How can I use it? (CDOS Learning Standard #2) and What do I need to know? What skills are important to me? (CDOS) Learning Standard #3a). Using the CDOS Learning Standards as a basis for career development will ensure that the students are focused on future goals and motivated in classroom learning.
The outcomes we expect for the participants are:
There is a critical shortage of skilled technical workers in the United States and little is being done to address the problem, especially in the area of career exploration for middle and high school students. Career awareness, exploration and planning will take place since career development is often overlooked at the elementary and middle school level. The average counselor in Buffalo Public schools has a counselor to student ratio of 400:1, whereas the national standard recommended ratio is 250:1. Furthermore, since each counselor’s time is so consumed with addressing social service issues and class scheduling, there is virtually no time spent on college readiness. (School District Data - 2006 and American School Counselor Association - 2004).
Because of the high student-to-counselor ratio in the Buffalo's public schools, counselors are not able to fill the void of post-secondary education guidance. As a result of this gap in service, students receive almost no help in planning and preparing for college. Students and their parents receive no information about careers, financial aid, or course planning as it relates to college. By the end of the career development program, students will have a good understanding of the connection of education to future goals and will be empowered to be actively engaged and make decisions for their future decisions.
According to the New York State Department of Education Career Planning Initiative Final Evaluation Report in December of 2002: Middle and high school students who received more career planning experiences were more likely to discuss important issues with their parents/guardians than were middle and high school students with less or no career planning experiences. Students with a career plan were more confident in their decision-making skills and in their ability to follow through on their decisions than students with little or no career planning experience. Career Plan students were more serious in their thinking about their future plans than students with little or no career planning experience.
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