2018 Apr 4: RISD Career and Technical Education: Get to Work!

The importance of being “career ready” is a major factor of  Rockdale ISD’s Career and Technical Education program. The RHS CTE staff and high school administrators understand how important this factor is to our program, and work extremely hard to provide the support needed for its success. CTE Director Britina Pesak has the spotlight this week, and highlight this very important program at RHS.  

Ask any employer what entry-level employees are lacking these days and the overwhelming response is: soft skills! To be fair, the words employers actually use are, “customer service skills,” “time-management,” “professionalism,” “problem-solving,” and “the ability to take feedback” among others. This all boils down to a collection of skills known as employability or soft skills. These are the skills that allow a person to be successful in any line of work and include communication, listening, a positive attitude, and general people skills. And these are what our human resources representatives tell us they are in desperate need of in industry.

How can we help our youth develop these skills prior to being thrust into the workforce? Once upon a time it was the norm for students to have part-time jobs in high school. Without doubt many readers can relate to developing some of those soft skills mentioned above at a part time job in high school at a fast-food restaurant or on the farm. For the majority of students these days, that is not the case. Why are fewer students engaging in work these days? And is that detrimental to their long term career goals?

Certainly students have many more opportunities and commitments in school than perhaps they once did. But at the cost of transitioning from school to work one day, perhaps we need to include gradual exposure to the world of work during adolescence as a part of their education.

Beginning in 8th grade, students investigate their own likes and dislikes in careers and develop a four year plan for high school that is congruent with their interests. In many cases students can include job shadowing, job internships, and/or job placement as forms of work placement in their four year plan enhance their understanding of the career path, gain valuable employability and technical skills, and develop lasting professional networks.

The benefits of work during high school years includes learning the value of the dollar, developing the knowledge and skills required for obtaining and maintaining a job, and especially if the job is related to the career interest of the student, transferring academic knowledge to working knowledge.

Work experience is important for all youth, and there are so many opportunities available that allow students to gain those important soft skills. Not only can students become better employees, but they might just find their passion as well.

Please contact me, Britina Pesak, Director of CTE (Career and Technical Education) at bpesak@rockdaleisd.net or 512-430-6027 if you would like to find out more about any of our CTE programs!