2017 Oct 11: Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) Essential to Future

Rockdale ISD's Career and Technical Education Department is dedicated to preparing our students for their future. Ms. Britina Pesak, RISD's CTE Director, has exciting opportunities that can help to insure student preparation and success, and she would like to share some of them with you this week.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is helping our nation address key challenges such as workforce development, student achievement, economic vitality and global competitiveness. Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) are key components to strong CTE programs. They (CTSOs) integrate into CTE programs and courses and extend teaching and learning through innovative programs, business and community partnerships and leadership experiences at the school, state and national levels.

CTE programs are supported at the federal level by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act, which provides approximately $1.2 billion dollars in state grants annually to serve more than 14 million students nationwide. CTSOs align with the 16 career clusters and 79 Career Pathways recognized by CTE.

Here in Rockdale, through the work of the longest-standing and community-supported FFA program, thousands of students have benefitted from this agricultural based CTSO. So many Tigers have experienced personal growth during their high school years, graduated with premiere leadership skills, and have gone on to attain great career success due to their active involvement in the local FFA chapter. The blue corduroy jackets are unmistakable wherever they are seen and are a symbol of class and pride.

In recent years, the community has seen the need to prepare students for careers in the growing healthcare industry, and the school district has responded by offering courses in the Health Science cluster. Thanks in large part to a JET Grant by the Texas Workforce Commission, the school has a simulation lab for the health science students to practice skills to become a Certified Medical Assistant. In order to hone these skills and gain leadership qualities, the Future Health Professionals organization known as HOSA is the CTSO for these students.

Students taking coherent sequences of courses in the remaining career clusters offered at Rockdale can demonstrate their leaderships and technical skills in the SkillsUSA CTSO. In this inaugural year of SkillsUSA at Rockdale, we hope to build support for the program where the vision is for all students to learn personal skills, workplace skills, and technical skills.

Nationwide, students who participate in CTSOs demonstrate higher levels of academic engagement and motivation, civic engagement, career efficacy and employ-ability skills than other students. Here at Rockdale, we are very proud of the work of our students in CTSOs and the CTE faculty and staff that work with all students to ensure a positive, lifelong experience.