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Archive for December, 2012

February is CTE Month

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Get ready, get set, and mark your calendar now; February is CTE Month! Students, educators, and administrators across the state will join the 14 million secondary and postsecondary CTE students nationwide in celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) during the month of February.

This year’s theme is Career and Technical Education: Pathways to College and Career Success. Schools can pick a day, a week, or the entire month to spotlight CTE programs. Resources are available on UtahCTE.org to assist you in your CTE Month celebrations. Promote CTE by participating in statewide activities throughout the month.

CTE Month Activities:
> CTE Moment
> Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Events/Activities
> Job Shadow Day
> Entrepreneurship Week
> Social Media Advocacy Day

Details about CTE Month activities will be announced on Facebook and Twitter. Visit UtahCTE.org to join our communities today!

Consider making the following activities part of your celebration:
> Decorate your school with banners and posters.
> Post electronic announcements to your school website, marquee, and bulletin boards.
> Have an open house for parents and the community.
> Make a video profiling successful alumni and where they work.
> If your school has a Facebook page make a post about the CTE Month events at your school.
> If your school has a Twitter page tweet about the CTE Month events at your school.

Check out this list of 28 Things to Do During CTE Month.

CTE Month is a great opportunity to promote your programs and advocate for CTE. Tell us how your school, classroom, or CTSO is going to celebrate CTE Month. Email your stories to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.

Have fun!

Are you interested in engineering?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Would you describe yourself as inquisitive, systematic, and observant? Are you good at using math, applying physics to solve problems, and figuring out how things work? Do you like to conduct experiments, learn about technology, and find answers to technical questions? If you answered yes, then a career in engineering may interest you.

There are many types of engineers, including agricultural, biomedical, environmental, petroleum, and structural. Engineers are problem solvers and solve the world’s most challenging problems. Did you know that:

  • An agricultural engineer developed the nutrient-rich foods you eat?
  • A biomedical engineer designed the hip replacement used in a person you may know?
  • An environmental engineer developed the recycling methods used to prevent damage to the earth?
  • A petroleum engineer developed the gasoline to power your car?
  • A structural engineer designed your high school to be earthquake proof?

Nationally, engineering is the second largest of all professions. In Utah, it is one of the fastest-growing industries, having a projected growth rate of 1.9 percent through the year 2020, creating 16,670 jobs. Engineers make an average annual income of $75,000 and the unemployment rate for engineers is 4 percent lower than the national rate.

Students who participate in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Technology and Engineering Education Pathway obtain the academic knowledge, technical skills, hands-on training and experience needed to be successful in a career in engineering.

“The CTE classes I have taken in high school have helped me find the path I want to take. . .My engineering teacher taught me a lot about what I need to know, he has taught me how to program microchips, build robots, and how to [operate] computer programs,” says Leighton Fautin, a graduate of Wasatch High School and future engineer.

Talk to your school counselor about participating in and successfully completing one of the Technology and Engineering Education Pathways—Pre Engineering Pathway or Project Lead the Way Pathway.

Technology and Engineering Education: Hands-on, Minds on Education

FFA: We are the future. We are the seeds.

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The 85th Annual FFA Convention & Expo recently took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. FFA student members from Utah joined FFA chapters across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to “GROW”—the theme for the convention. FFA student members grew from hearing from a variety of motivational speakers who encouraged them to work hard, not give up, prepare for the future, make a difference in their community, and to be a positive example and serve others.

Utah FFA State Officers

During the convention FFA student members competed in a variety of competitive events. Events are educational activities in which FFA members practice the lessons taught in Agricultural Education classes. Utah students competed with confidence, dignity, and pride. UtahCTE.org congratulates each FFA student member who competed in each event.

2012 National FFA Agriscience Fair – 1st place winners
Animal Systems Division 1
Kaitlin Hallam, Spanish Fork High School

Environ Services/Natural Resource Systems Division 3
Kalynn Webb and Savannah Allison, Lehi High School

The complete list of National Convention Agriscience Fair participants can be viewed HERE.

2012 Agricultural Proficiency Award – 1st place winner
Small Animal Production and Care – Entrepreneurship/Placement
Katelyn Scott, American Fork FFA Chapter

The complete list of Agricultural Proficiency finalists and participants can be viewed HERE.

Career Development Event (CDE) Team and Individual Awards
The complete list of CDE team and individual awards can be viewed HERE.

At the convention, FFA members from across the country, along with local volunteers, packaged more than one million meals for the Indianapolis community and families around the world in the FFA Rally to Fight Hunger. Helping package meals is just one way to fight hunger. Having the conversation on how to fight hunger is another. “Go back to your communities and learn what’s going on. Find out who is addressing hunger. Reach out to your community food bank, anyone that might be talking about it,” said Cindy Hubert, Gleaners Food Bank President and CEO.

There are over 540,000 FFA members in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

For more information about FFA, visit ffa.org. FFA can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and on the official National FFA Organization blog.

 We grow and we do it together. We are the future. We are the seeds.

FBLA Fall Leadership Conference

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

By Brittany Smart, FBLA state officer and student at Alta High School

This year, the Utah FBLA Fall Leadership Conference was held at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Officers and active members from chapters across Utah were able to attend. We were able to ignite innovation throughout the conference. Listening to our great motivational keynote speaker, Mr. John Paul Murphy, and being able to recognize outstanding chapters, board members, and advisers in our opening session was a great way to start the conference.

The dance was also a huge success. Not only was it a blast, but we were also able to participate in a March for Dimes fundraiser as a state. Our president, Andy Ho, was locked in a jail cell outside the dance, and for every dollar donated he had to stay in the cell for two minutes. We were able to keep Andy in the cell for the entire dance! We thank everyone who participated and donated to the great cause.

Outstanding workshops were also a big part of the conference. PBL and FBLA state officers as well as presenters from businesses, universities, and other great organizations were able to teach, inspire, and motivate us to become better. It truly was an amazing conference, and we are grateful to all those who helped or participated in any way.

We hope to see you all again next year at our 2013 Fall Leadership Conference and look forward to our next state conference in March.

If you are not a member of a FBLA and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the FBLA advisor in your school.

Occupations in Business

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Did you know that Business is the most popular field of study in college? Bachelor’s degrees in Business are awarded to almost twice as many graduates as those awarded to students in the second most popular field, Social Sciences/History! A business background is an advantage when preparing for promising careers across a variety of industries. Coursework can include business strategy, statistics, accounting, finance, and operations management. A business education is valued by employers, too, judging by the 16 percent higher salaries paid to entry level workers with business degrees vs. the average salaries of workers with degrees in other majors.

The business occupations listed below are examples of opportunities available to workers with some preparation beyond high school, but less than a bachelor’s degree. Workers in these occupations are often promoted within their organizations as they learn new skills through work experience (wk. exp.) or on the job training (OJT). Employers may even invest in additional formal education for successful workers in these occupations to allow them to complete a Bachelor’s or other degrees/certifications that will enable workers to keep moving up the ladder.


2010 Statewide Employment

Annual Growth-Numeric


Annual Growth-Percent


Utah Median

Hourly Wage



Administrative Services Manager      13,900            70



High School
+ Wk. Exp.
Bookkeeping/Account Clerk      15,010           540



High School
Customer Service Rep      33,350        2,100



High School
Funeral Service Manager          250            10



Lodging Manager          450            20



High School
Office Clerk      26,370        1,150



High School
Property/Real Estate Manager        2,510           100



High School

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services


The “Career” in College and Career Ready

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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

Have you heard that you need to be “College and Career Ready”? What exactly does that mean? You have most likely been told the importance of going to college and completing a degree. Have you thought about the “career” part of College and Career Ready?

Being career ready means that you also focus on: (1) specific employability skills—such as being to work on time, working as a team, etc., (2) entry-level job skills—computer skills, completing tasks, etc., (3) specific skills in an industry—such as health care, Information Technology certificate, etc.

All of these career ready skills are important to develop along with academic skills. A career-ready person effectively navigates pathways that connect both education and employment to achieve a successful and financially-secure career.

It is important to think about a career and know that it is more than just a job. Being career ready is something you work on your entire career. It requires you to be adaptable and committed to lifelong learning. Being career ready also means that a study has a mastery of key academic, technical and workplace knowledge, and skills. Skills may change and need to be adapted from one job to another as a person progresses along a career path.

A broad coalition of national education, business, philanthropic and policy groups has come together to create a clear, unified and focused vision for what it means to be career ready. The coalition is called the Career Readiness Partner Council—careerreadynow.org. Their goal is to enhance reform efforts around college and career readiness to include a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be career ready.

The council recently released a statement entitled “Building Blocks for Change: What it Means to be Career Ready.” This statement makes clear that career readiness is a process of connecting “education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career.” The document establishes that career readiness must foster “adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning, along with a mastery of key knowledge, skills and dispositions that vary from one career to another and change over time.”

If you take advantage of Career and Technical Education courses, pathways, and leadership organizations you will be better prepared to meet your personal goals and the economic needs of Utah and the nation. Talk to your school counselor about participating in a CTE Pathway and about the courses you will need to take to put you on the path to a rewarding career. With the guidance of your school counselor, you and your parents can develop a PLAN to help you achieve your personal goals and to prepare for life after high school—college and “career.”

WANTED: Skilled Workers

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Manufacturing plants across the U.S. are finding it difficult to find qualified candidates who have the technical skills to fill approximately 600,000 positions. These positions range from machinists, to craft workers, to distributors, to technicians. It is estimated that over sixty percent of all manufacturers have a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers. According to the Department of Labor, there are 3 million job openings in the U.S. today, with approximately 500,000 unfilled positions in the manufacturing sector alone.

Despite the high unemployment rate across the U.S. manufacturers struggle to fill positions. “Over the past five years, most manufacturers have redesigned and streamlined their production lines while implementing more process automation. In short, just as the industry is changing, the skills of the workers are changing as well,” says Emily DeRocco, president, The Manufacturing Institute. This change has increased the need for workers who have critical thinking skills and who have the skills and ability to problem solve.

The continually high number of job openings indicates that there is a shortage of workers without the necessary education, skills, and training needed to meet the demands of the manufacturing workforce. Within the next ten years the need for manufactures to fill job openings will continue to increase as people retire. However, manufacturers will not only need to replace those positions but will also need to fill positions based upon industry growth.

According to a report by Harry Smith, NBC journalist and news contributor on the program Rock Center with Brian Williams, many manufacturing jobs are currently leaving China and coming back to the United States. With Chinese wages rising and with shipping costs doubling China is not the bargain is used to be. Therefore, numerous manufacturing jobs are projected to move back to the U.S. Hal Sirkin, a senior partner at a Boston Consulting Group, projects that the shift from manufacturing in China back to the U.S. will have a major impact on employment. He projects that by the year 2015 there will be an additional two to three million jobs in the U. S. workforce.

Many people in the manufacturing industry say that the education system is not producing workers with the basic skills they need. However, early involvement in Career and Technical Education (CTE) will give those students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing a competitive edge. Through participation in the building trades and the precision and production trades CTE Pathways, along with involvement in SkillsUSA, students will obtain the technical skills that will prepare them for a career in manufacturing.

Justin Lawson, a graduate of Viewmont High School says, “The CTE classes I have taken prepared me well for the road ahead. I know a lot more about my future and what I can do to improve it by [taking] those classes. It’s something I don’t regret at all, and I encourage all high school students to take some kind of CTE class, whether it is carpentry or clothing.

“The construction field is somewhere I feel like I belong. . .I can really flourish in carpentry. I love the satisfaction I get after I look at what I just built. It makes me feel accomplished.”

Kaydee Walters, a graduate from Tooele High School says, “[CTE] classes, my participation and leadership in SkillsUSA, and all the classes I will be taking in college will help me to enter and succeed in cabinetmaking and architectural woodwork.”

Students, talk to your school counselor to learn about participating in one of the building trades and/or precision and production trades CTE Pathways. The academic knowledge and technical skills you obtain through participation in one of these Pathways will prepare you for a successful career in the manufacturing industry.


WATCH the report on 60 Minutes that investigates the widening skills gap in manufacturing.

WATCH Harry Smith’s report about a furniture manufacturing factory in the small town of Lincolnton, North Carolina. Bruce Cochrane, the owner of Lincolnton Furniture, re-opened the factory after his family dismantled the business 20 years ago. His father, Theo “Red” Cochrane, always said, “It is not just about making fine furniture. It is about the good people that make the fine furniture!”