It is a first-of-its-kind regional designation for CTE programs and a number of activities have been planned, including a May 22 visit by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to an event hosted by FWCS Career Academy at Anthis. All of the events throughout the region will involve signing ceremonies in which high school students who have completed a CTE course of study and landed a job symbolically sign on with their employers. Some of the students will have earned industry-recognized credentials or college credits.
Edmond O’Neal, president of Northeast Indiana Works, said designating the month and holding the events is patterned after signing days that typically recognize the college choices of athletes.
“Historically, educational or athletic recognition has been reserved for high school students who are about to enter college or those who are about to graduate from college,” O’Neal said. “And yet, many of our high school students are choosing to pursue education and training that allows them to go directly into the workforce.
“Typically, CTE students who do that are taking on jobs that are critical to both their own economic stability and the economic stability of region employers. Their accomplishments are equally significant to the accomplishments of students who choose a college path.”
John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, linked the focus on CTE training and awareness to the prosperity and growth of the region overall.
“For northeast Indiana to succeed in today’s global economy, we must encourage students to pursue a variety of different career paths, including two- and four-year college degrees and CTE programs,” Sampson said. “Regional employers are eager to access skilled workers now, and CTE programs can provide the talent companies need to sustain and grow operations.”
Among the CTE Awareness Month events:
- The Marion Regional Career Center will host a signing day May 14 for CTE studetnts entering the workforce. The time of the event at the center, 750 W. 26th St., is yet to be determined.
- Garrett High School, 801 E. Houston St., will host a signing day at 3:30 p.m. May 15.
- Heartland Career Center in Wabash is planning multiple signings in May at employer locations.
- The Impact Institute, 580 Fairview Blvd., Kendallville, will host signing day activities at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. May 21.
- The FWCS Career Academy at Anthis will host a signing day beginning at 1:30 p.m. May 22 at the Fort Wayne Community Schools Family and Community Engagement Center, 230 E. Douglas Ave. Crouch and Mayor Tom Henry are scheduled to be on hand for the event.
- The Adams Wells Manufacturing Alliance will host a signing day beginning at 6 p.m. May 30 at the Riverside Community Center, 231 E. Monroe St., Decatur.
Career and Technical Education, formerly referred to as vocational education, is a term applied to institutions of learning that provide instruction and training in a wide range of career tracks, including skilled trades, healthcare, agriculture and culinary arts.
“It is vital we are making more students aware that they have various avenues to discover when thinking about their future,” said Crouch. “It is wonderful that northeast Indiana is recognizing the importance of Career and Technical Education and is shining a spotlight on the students who are pursuing their goals.”