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Archive for June, 2012

Choosing a Career Pathway is an Important Decision

Friday, June 29th, 2012

By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education

We are hearing a lot these days about “career pathways” and the importance of making a “wise choice” when making a decision about which career pathway to follow. Students are being asked to make this choice early in their educational experience. Choosing a career pathway is an important decision and one needs to understand the process of making career choices, but should also realize that choosing a career is not a onetime event. Career management is a life-long skill that develops for most people over many years.

There are many resources available to help in the career pathway choice. UtahFutures.org is a good place to begin. Talking to parents, counselors, and professional contacts will help. The first step is to understand yourself, what you like to do, what your interests are, and what skills and abilities you would like to develop. Taking interest surveys and participating in career development activities can help to better understand what motivates and drives you. Since we will spend countless hours at work, getting satisfaction from performing those duties is important.

There are many career choices available to you. If you are interested in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) area, 16 “career clusters” have been identified. A career cluster is a group of jobs and industries that are related by skills or products. Each of the 16 clusters represents a distinct grouping of occupations, and each cluster is then broken down into individual pathways. The 16 clusters are:

1. Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources   9. Hospitality & Tourism
2. Architecture & Construction 10. Human Services
3. Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications 11. Information Technology
4. Business Management & Administration 12. Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
5. Education and Training 13. Manufacturing
6. Finance 14. Marketing
7. Government & Public Administration 15. Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
8. Health Science 16. Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

In Utah there are 62 CTE career pathways within eight program areas. Each CTE pathway connects to one of the national 16 career clusters.

Knowing what the many career choices are is also an important step in choosing a career pathway. Actively explore a variety of career options as you consider the direction that you want to pursue. If you understand yourself and understand the options that are available to you, the chances of making a great choice are much higher.

In the world that we live in today, education is the key to a successful life. Developing career skills that are in demand by business and industry will mean the chance for a good job leading to a successful career. Individuals that earn certificates and degrees that are in demand will earn more during their lifetime and will have a higher chance of stable employment.

Spend the time now necessary to make a “wise” career choice and you will be rewarded later in life.

Career Highlight – Healthcare Support Occupations

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Nationally, Healthcare support occupations are expected to be the fastest growing occupational group through 2020. Home health aides account for the largest portion of jobs in this group, with 31 percent of the total by 2020.

The table below reflects a sampling of occupations that are projected to grow as fast as, or faster than average over 2010-2020. You can check this information, look at additional occupations, and find schools that offer related programs via UtahFutures.


U S Employment 2010



Annual Median Wage



Dental Assistant      297,200       91,600       31% $33,470/$28,330


Home Health Aide   1,017,700     706,300       69% $20,560/$19,770

< High School

Massage Therapist     153,700       30,900       20% $34,900/$30,960


Medical Assistant     527,600     162,900       31% $28,860/$27,250

HS Diploma

Medical Transcriptionist       95,100         5,600         6% $32,900/$28,920


Nursing Aide, Orderly, Attendant   1,505,300     302,000       20% $24,010/$22,320


Occupational Therapy Assistant/Aide       36,000       14,800       41% $47,490/$37,050


Physical Therapist Assistant/Aide     114,400       51,100       45% $37,710/$30,785


Sources: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (national), Utah Department of Workforce Services (state)

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Are you . . .

               learning a new skill at a summer camp?
               exploring the historical sites around you?
               discovering a new hobby?
               spending time with family and making new friends?

Summer is a great time to keep learning. There is so much to learn, explore, and discover. Check out these 10 Awesome Outdoor Summer Learning Ideas.

Even though summer storms often roll in unexpectedly there is no need to have your plans washed out. Check out these 10 Fun Indoor Summer Projects that will make the day fun and exciting.

Tell UtahCTE.org about what you are doing this summer. Send your stories and photos to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov. We will share what you have learned, explored, and discovered with our CTE community.

Colt Petersen: Future Welder and Business Owner

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Colt Petersen
Occupational Goal: Welder and Business Owner

Colt Petersen recently graduated from Delta High School where he completed the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Welding Pathway. He plans to continue his education and training at Bridgerland Applied Technology College (BATC) to obtain a welding certificate.

“As a young child I liked to help my father and grandfather repair things about the farms. One important piece of equipment that was used was a welder. By watching the two very different techniques used by these two men, I quickly realized that just because you have a welder doesn’t mean you can actually weld. I decided to follow my father’s lead and learn the proper techniques of welding in order to do the job right. . .[ in high school] I enrolled in a welding class. It was during this class that the desire to build things with metal was ignited and reinforced daily. I then added more classes that followed my future path,” said Colt.

Through participation in the CTE Welding Pathway, Colt took classes such as welding, advanced welding, auto tech, drafting, and machining. “All of these classes tied together to give me experience and a sound educational base to get those key components to one day run my own shop,” said Colt.

Kirk Willoughby, Precision Machining and Welding Instructor at Delta Technical Center, said “[Colt] has been an able student, willing to learn, and a positive influence in class. As with any other student, he has made normal mistakes, but has not been discouraged in falling short. He, in fact, recognizes these [mistakes] as opportunities to learn.”

To gain experience in the welding industry Colt obtained an apprenticeship at a local welding business. “I currently work as an apprentice at Z Machine and Welding where I use the skills that I have learned and continue to learn in real life situations,” said Colt. Brent Larsen, the owner of Z Machine and Welding has been impressed with Colt and his ability to learn the trade. “Colt is an excellent welder. I have been training him in the machine tool trades. He is learning to operate the lathe, vertical milling machine, and various grinders. He is a quick learner; he keeps his mind on task and asks relevant questions. He strives for understanding, not just rote memory. Working with a young man like Colt gives me hope for the future,” said Larsen.

After graduating from BATC, with a welding certificate, Colt plans to enroll in a machining program. “I believe that this training will provide the perfect starting blocks to then go into the industrial field. . . where I will refine the skills I learned while procuring capital to reach my end goal of having my own custom welding and fabrication shop,” said Colt.

More than 50 percent of products in the U.S. require welding. From farm equipment, to cars, to bridges, to computers, to cell phones, to medical devices, the skill, knowledge, and precision of a trained welder is crucial. Nationwide employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is expected to grow 15 percent through the year 2020. (Sources: American Welding Society and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

UtahCTE.org congratulates Colt on his accomplishments and wishes him all the best as he continues to prepare for his chosen career.

Brandee Bash: Future Early Childhood Education Teacher

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Brandee Bash recently graduated from Timpanogos High School where she concentrated in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Child Development Pathway. She plans to continue her education and training at Utah Valley University to obtain an associate degree in Early Childhood Education.

“All of the CTE classes I have taken have prepared me for my chosen career because they have taught me more and more about different ways I can teach, and different ways to be creative. I always thought I had a creative mind but I never really knew it until after taking these classes,” said Brandee.

To gain experience in the area of child development Brandee obtained training at the Timpanogos Wee Wolves Child Care Center. In order to work in the center Brandee obtained a Food Handlers Permit, CPR certification, and completed several Early Childhood Education courses. Each week she worked at the center four hours a day. Her day would begin with serving the children breakfast and continue with an activity or playing a game.

Sandy Hopkins, Early Childhood Education Teacher and Director at Timpanogos Wee Wolves Child Care Center said, “[Brandee] is very dependable and does a great job assisting and preparing lesson plans and learning centers for children, ages three to five in our child care lab. . .She is one of the children’s favorite teachers. I trust Brandee completely when the children are in her care.”

After graduating from Utah Valley University, Brandee would like to go back to the Timpanogos Wee Wolves Child Care Center as a preschool teacher.

As the population of children ages three to five increases, the demand for preschool programs will also increase. This increase will continue to create a demand for preschool teachers. By the year 2020 employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow by 25 percent. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

UtahCTE.org congratulates Brandee on her accomplishments and wishes her all the best as she continues to prepare for her chosen career.

Congratulations on Your Accomplishments!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education

As the 2011-2012 school year comes to a close, we want congratulate you on your accomplishments – especially the skills you’ve developed as a result of participating in CTE courses and activities. Whether you’ll be back to high school in the fall to acquire additional credits along your CTE Pathway, or are now heading to college and career, we wish you continued success!

While you’re ramping up your activity level for the summer, Utah CTE educators will be participating in the 58th Annual CTE Summer Conference this month. Thousands of educators take advantage of the opportunity to hear about the latest trends and techniques in all areas of career and technical education – and many of you will be the beneficiaries as they bring what they learn back to classrooms next fall. School counselors, too, will have an opportunity to learn about the latest national initiatives related to counseling students and promoting their success. This year’s theme is, “Believe It and Achieve It: Helping Students Become Career and College Ready.” The Utah State Board of Education supports the goal assuring that graduates of our high schools are prepared to pursue 1, 2, 4 or more years of training/education beyond high school and to succeed in the job market of the future. You can watch for related information and resources – identified with new branding you see here.


There’s even a version of the brand that you’ll see as you reference information to develop your personal plan for education and work beyond high school. More information on the College and Career Ready initiative is to come, so be sure to watch for summer editions of this newsletter, and check the Utah State Office of Education website for further announcements.

Alexis Nelson: Future Veterinarian Technician

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Alexis Nelson
Occupational Goal: Veterinarian Technician

“I have had a lifelong interest in veterinarian science, as I have a compassion for animals and their health. . . I focused on the Animal Science CTE Pathway while in high school. I took all the Animal Science classes at Davis High and then took the Vet Internship program [during] my senior year. I heard about the internship program when I met with my [school] counselor my junior year, wondering what I could do to gain experience. When I found out that I could get hands-on experience at a veterinarian hospital I was thrilled. I started my internship at Bayview Animal Hospital during my first semester of my senior year. Having volunteered during the summer I wanted to spend more time at the hospital. Being around animals and knowing my love for them I knew this was the place for me. . .In this internship I have been able to [obtain] tons of hands-on experience, and work in the business office to gain experience that not many people get to have. . .I plan on completing my associate degree and getting my license as a veterinarian technician.” –Alexis Nelson, Davis High School

“[Alexis] was selected out of 250 students to participate in the Davis High Internship Program, getting the highly competitive Vet Tech Internship slot,” said Doris Peterson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Davis High School. “Alexis’ strengths are her personality and commitment. She has the unique ability to make everyone feel special. She is a good listener and a hard worker. . She has a positive outlook on life as well as a keen desire to learn new things,” said Peterson.

UtahCTE.org congratulates Alexis on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award she received to Salt Lake Community College. Alexis was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Alexis Nelson
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology