What Sets CTE Apart?


05 Dec What Sets CTE Apart?

In Marion County, the third annual Career Symposium for students in Career and Technical Education was held on October 5, where professionals from around the area shared their journey on how they entered the careers they have today. Panelists discussed barriers they faced while entering the workforce and offered advice on how they reached their goals.

Golda Elliot, Pathways Career Coach for Marion County Schools, participated in a Q & A session to help describe the Symposium and its benefits:

“I believe the presentations have a stronger impact for our students when they realize the presenters were sitting in the same seats they now occupy when they began making their way down the road to the successful career they now enjoy. The presenters are asked to tell their individual stories as to how they decided upon the career they chose, the pitfalls they faced along the way, and how they might have avoided some of those pitfalls.  Feedback from our industry partners indicates there is a real need to address the soft skills needed for getting and keeping a job; therefore, we recommend that the presenters address these as appropriate.”

What inspired you to coordinate the Symposium?

“In initial discussions with students, teachers and administrators, it became apparent that the students were limited in their perspectives on careers. We live in a rural area, so their exposure is limited.  My inspiration for coordinating the symposium came after an interview with a freshman about his plans for the future. His response was short-sighted, due to his limited exposure to careers apart from what he has seen on television. I asked him basic questions about his plan to achieve his goal, and the conversation ended there. This made me realize the urgent need to expose students to career options that align with their individual skills.”

To learn more about how students’ skills are assessed, read the article below entitled “How Does CTE Prepare Students

How is the Career Symposium beneficial to participants?

After the first symposium, many of the upperclassmen expressed disappointment that they did not have this activity when they were freshmen.  Positive feedback from students has always been the ultimate “ah-ha” moment for us.  Students are grateful and say the symposium taught them to persevere through hard times and that there is always an alternative route to success.  The presenters, particularly alumni from the school, comment on their evaluations that they wish they had this (symposium) when they were in school.

Thinking about hosting a Career Symposium at your school district? Contact Golda Elliot.

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