Q. How will Career-Technical education contribute to the economic development of our area?
A. Basically by producing a better prepared workforce that attracts today's high tech businesses. Many companies join with Career-Technical high schools and community colleges to establish joint programs to train students and workers in skills needed by local businesses.
Q. Do current Career-Technical education courses reflect changes in skills needed by local industry and the needs of the workplace here?
A. Because Career-Technical education is so critical to the nation's workforce competitiveness, close ties to business and industry re maintained by school administrators and instructors. For example, to help keep pace with changing job requirements, technologies and labor market needs in many career areas, Career-Technical educators work closely with advisory councils of local employers from a variety of business fields. More than 260 representatives from business, industry, labor, government and community groups who serve on the CTC advisory boards each year.
Q. What evidence is there that graduates who have taken Career-Technical studies have advantages in the job market over other graduates?
A. Studies of placement rates, salary levels, the amount of time spent unemployed and advancement rates of graduates all show this. For example, a recent large scale study of 13,0000 Ohio Career-Technical graduates found that seven years after high school, the Career-Technical graduates earned significantly more than a comparable group of non-vocational graduates - and the earnings gap between the two groups appeared to widen with time.
Q. How has Career-Technical education contributed to the academic success of high school students?
A. National studies show that nearly two-thirds of all high school Career-Technical graduates enter some form of post-secondary program. Career-Technical education programs encourage high school graduates to continue their education. For example, within Career-Technical education, Tech Prep links course work in the last two years of high school with related education programs at Clark State Community College, Sinclair Community College, and other postsecondary technical schools. A 1991 New York study of 76,000 high school Career-Technical graduates found that 6 to 18 months after graduation, 91 percent of them were employed, in the military or enrolled at postsecondary institutions. A hands-on approach to teaching - which Career-Technical offers - has been shown to be more effective with many students because they learn more when what they are learning relates to their future careers. When Career-Technical and academic instruction is combined in intellectually rigorous courses centered on groups of similar career-related skills and interests, the resulting course of study is an academically challenging alternative to the standard college prep regimen.
Q. How many students in our area are involved with Career-Technical education at the high school level and at postsecondary levels?
A. Nationally, about 97 percent of all high school students take at least one Career-Technical course. Nearly 9,400 post-secondary institutions - technical institutes, skill centers, community colleges and other public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities - offer Career-Technical programs. And millions of adults are enrolled in these programs.
Q. Why do students like the CTC?
A. Glad you asked! Here is a partial list:
The environment. There is a college-like campus at CTC.
More hands-on learning experiences are offered, making learning fun.
Teachers respect students and treat them as adults.
You earn credits towards college or technical school. When you graduate you are ready for a job or higher education.
Your grades can be better because you are enjoying what you study...and getting hands-on experience.
Teachers are nice. They want you to learn and succeed.
You have more freedom to learn on your own, at your own pace.
You still can participate in your associate school's activities like sports, band, pep rallies, dances, etc.
Time flies because you are learning about what interests you.
Q. I want my child to go to college. Won't attending Springfield-Clark CTC put her/him on the wrong track?
A. First, Career-Technical studies do not discourage going to college. In fact, Career-Technical programs at the CTC can help students focus their career aspirations so that they'll be better students in post-high school institutions. And some students are able to pay their way through college with part-time jobs for which their Career-Technical studies prepared them.
All students should have options - to finish high school and go to college or go to work first and then college. School-to-Work is all about eliminating different tracks for different students and providing relevant academic and Career-Technical instruction and career guidance for all students. In fact, Tech Prep programs commit students to continue their education beyond high school by linking high school and college courses. This is similar to the way advanced placement programs allow students to do some college level work while still in high school.
Q. Why would a student ever benefit by not getting a college degree?
A. Look at what the national statistics tell us: Less than half of all students who enroll in college earn a four-year degree. Job market analysts say that only 20 percent of America's jobs require a bachelor's degree or higher education. But 65 percent of good jobs that can provide wonderful careers require something less than four years of college. Only 15 percent of America's jobs are available to people without skill training. Many careers can be launched with a two-year college associate's degree - for example, medical and health services (nurses, medical technicians, dental hygienists), as well as manufacturing and service technician fields (computer systems technicians, graphic arts designers, aircraft mechanics, engineering technicians).
Q. Which students benefit most from Career-Technical education? Boys? Girls? Minorities?
A. These programs serve all students. For instance, girls benefit by taking courses that help them get into non-traditional career fields, such as auto technician and computer-assisted manufacturing. And studies have shown the Career-Technical programs make a positive difference for dropout-prone and other educationally disadvantaged students.
Q. Are students with disabilities able to participate in these programs?
A. Yes, Career-Technical programs are accessible to all students. The law requires equality of access. A recent study of 8,000 students with disabilities showed that those in Career-Technical programs were more likely than those who were not to have better attendance, stay in school, attend post secondary Career-Technical programs and have a job after two years.
Q. Can I graduate from high school if I attend CTC?
A. The CTC enables you to obtain at least 7 credits a year. If you are low on credits, the CTC Staff will work with you - through summer school, night school or virtual courses - to obtain the necessary graduation credits.
Q. Isn't the CTC a school for kids who don't do well in a traditional high school?
A. No. Many CTC students found they were not being challenged at other schools. At the CTC you'll learn the core academics you would learn at your own high school plus hands-on, career-focused training in your chosen career path. Don't be surprised if your grades go up...it's a positive result of studying what you enjoy.
Q. Isn't it "uncool" to attend the CTC?
A. No way! Talk with our students. They are involved in sports, band and other extracurricular activities at their associate schools. They have new friends at the CTC with whom they share similar interests, just like at their associate high school. They will also tell you that what is really "uncool" is having a high school diploma without a career focus.