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Career & Technical Education Enters a New (Remote) Era

Over the years, career and technical education (CTE) hasn’t gotten its due respect. This is, of course, my opinion, but I feel confident saying that at best it is misunderstood, and at worst, it is grossly underestimated as a promising learning pathway for high school students. Career and technical education plays an important role in the conversation about both the future of work and the future of learning—here's why.  

CTE directly prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers in a variety of professional fields like health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, marketing and many more; as a methodology, CTE encompasses everything from in-class learning to certification programs to work-based learning opportunities in the field.

 

A New Era for CTE 

CTE is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts. Perhaps the most exciting part is that the often hands-on, tactile learning-by-doing approach it incorporates can now open doors to remote careers across the globe—if only students are aware of them, that is. Ideally, virtual job opportunities should be taught across all K-12 education paths, from CTE to the Common Core, and on through postsecondary education across liberal arts colleges, community colleges, research institutions and business schools.

The inclusion of remote work education also aligns with required curriculum standards, such as the Common Core Technical Core Standards, the U.S.’s benchmark for what students should be able to know and do following a program of study. Here are a few examples:

 

CTE Standards that Align with Remote Work

2. Apply appropriate academic and technical skills. Career-ready individuals readily access and use the knowledge and skills acquired through experience and education to be more productive. They make connections between abstract concepts with real-world applications, and they make correct insights about when it is appropriate to apply the use of an academic skill in a workplace situation.

 5. Consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of decisions. Career-ready individuals understand the interrelated nature of their actions and regularly make decisions that positively impact and/or mitigate negative impact on other people, organizations and the environment. They are aware of and utilize new technologies, understandings, procedures, materials and regulations affecting the nature of their work as it relates to the impact on the social condition, the environment and profitability of the organization.

10. Plan education and career path aligned to personal goals. Career-ready individuals take personal ownership of their own educational and career goals, and they regularly act on a plan to attain these goals. They understand their own career interests, preferences, goals and requirements. They have perspective regarding the pathways available to them and the time, effort, experience and other requirements to pursue each, including a path of entrepreneurship. They recognize the value of each step in the educational and experiential process, and they recognize that nearly all career paths require ongoing education and experience. They seek counselors, mentors and other experts to assist in the planning and execution of career and personal goals.

11. Use technology to enhance productivity. Career-ready individuals find and maximize the productive value of existing and new technology to accomplish workplace tasks and solve workplace problems. They are flexible and adaptive in acquiring and using new technology. They are proficient with ubiquitous technology applications. They understand the inherent risks—personal and organizational—of technology applications, and they take actions to prevent or mitigate these risks.

12. Work productively in teams while using cultural/global competence. Career-ready individuals positively contribute to every team, whether formal or informal. They apply an awareness of cultural differences to avoid barriers to productive and positive interaction. They find ways to increase the engagement and contribution of all team members. They plan and facilitate effective team meetings.

 

Remote Work Educational Resources 

To help teachers incorporate remote-friendly instruction into CTE curricula, Workplaceless will soon release K-12 lesson plans that prepare students for virtual roles and align with CCTC, Common Core, and ISTE standards. Experiencing relevant content adapted from our real-world certification for remote workers could change a graduate’s career trajectory. But it all starts with teachers building students’ awareness of available distributed jobs and those that are emerging, as well as the skill sets that would be highly useful to cultivate while still in high school.

 

Remote Job Opportunities 

As for virtual roles in each CTE category, a plethora of options currently exist—and more will either be created or transitioned to the virtual environment in the years to come.

 

Author’s note: If the following remote CTE opportunities come as a surprise to you, I hope you’ll consider sharing this post with your networks to help get the word out. Today’s students deserve to know how much latitude they have in shaping their professional destinies!

 

CTE Career Clusters and Corresponding Remote Careers

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster® (AG)

agricultural salespeople, GPS technicians, environmental interpreters, agricultural apps software developers, communications specialists, journalists

Architecture & Construction Career Cluster® (AC)

civil drafters, interior designers, environmental designers, operations managers, CAD technicians

Arts, A/V Technology & Communications Career Cluster® (AR)

video graphics and special effects designers, website designers, fashion illustrators, editors, reporters, music composers, telecom systems analysts

Finance Career Cluster® (FN)

accountants, bookkeepers, estate planners, insurance salespeople, investment advisors

Government & Public Administration Career Cluster® (GV)

intelligence analysts, consular office staff, benefits interviewers, tax auditors

Health Science Career Cluster® (HL)

clinical research associates, outreach specialists, survey methodologists, QA analysts, proposal managers, reimbursement directors, nutritionists

Human Services Career Cluster® (HU)

program officers, services design architects, support specialists, insurance case design analysts

Information Technology Career Cluster® (IT)

systems administrators, technical support engineers, security analysts, software developers, IT recruiters

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Career Cluster® (LW)

paralegals, dispatchers, information systems security specialists, counselors

Manufacturing Career Cluster® (MN)

supply chain logistics planners, directors of operations, wireless engineers, compliance engineers, materials management consultants, QA inspectors

Marketing Career Cluster® (MK)

digital marketers, brand managers, graphic designers, account directors, digital editors, social media managers, SEO specialists, videographers, production assistants

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Career Cluster® (ST)

product developers, STEM instructors, data scientists, statisticians, machine learning professionals, artificial intelligence researchers, automation engineers

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster® (TD)

implementation consultants, commercial logistics directors, installation reviewers, product manufacturing managers

Kristi DePaul contributed to this post.

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