Encouraging career and technical education

March 11, 2020 1:00 AM

As Career and Technical Education month wraps up, the Office of Public Instruction and Montana businesses encourage schools and communities to continue expanding access to CTE. The OPI’s Montana Ready initiative is using Career and Technical Education (CTE) to bring together schools, businesses, and industries to impart tangible career skills in students. This leads to opportunities for student success after high school, powers Montana’s economy into the future, and grows opportunities for Montana communities.

As state education and business leaders, we know that the future prosperity of Montana depends on providing our youth with relevant, real-world education. That is why during CTE Month, and beyond, we want to encourage local businesses to visit classrooms, teachers and students to explore new learning opportunities in their communities.

All over our state, we are seeing positive examples of CTE, including work-based learning, computer science, agriculture education, business education, health sciences, industrial technology and manufacturing, to name a few. The OPI supports these programs through our Career and Technical Education Division specialists. Schools can even get credit through Montana’s School Accountability System by having students complete CTE concentrators courses. Many local businesses are supporting these efforts by donating resources to these classes.

We will continue advocating for the expansion of these K-12, post-secondary, and business and industry partnerships on behalf of Montana’s students. Our state’s education system should prepare all students for success after high school whether they pursue a university education, a two-year degree, an apprenticeship, the military or on-the-job certification.

There are many opportunities and programs that need the support of business and community leaders, such as the High School Business Challenge, focused on engaging with youth entrepreneurs. Additionally, teachers, parents, and students can visit OPI’s recently revamped CTE webpage for additional resources.

Elsie Arntzen is Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and

Todd O’Hair is the Executive Director of the Montana Chamber Foundation.