← Utah CTE Blog Home

Archive for March, 2013

Meet Braden Eichmeier: Future Engineer

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

BRADEN EICHMEIER, senior at Bonneville High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Braden is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Braden placed second at the Autoliv senior research project on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Braden is a member of the swim team at Bonneville High School.

Study Habits: Braden received a composite score of 31 on the ACT. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA he participates on the schools swim team. His past experience in many Advanced Placement courses in chemistry, calculus and English literature have given Braden an insight into hard work and meeting deadlines.

“Achieving Bonneville High’s nomination as their Mathematics Sterling Scholar Award winner for the academic year 2012-2013 is proof of his diligence and dedication to completing a very difficult pathway, and one that can assist his studies in engineering in the future,” says Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator over the Project Lead the Way Program.

Soft Skills: “Braden is personable, a great team leader, self-assured (not arrogant but confident) and just a great asset to have in class,” says his PLTW instructors.

Future: Braden has the technical understanding for a career in a wide-range of engineering fields. He has investigated digital electronics, engineering design, computer driven manufacturing systems, and drafting software in Inventor programs. He has accepted a scholarship to Utah State University.

Testimonial: “Reflecting back on my personal changes that came as a result of schooling, I used to try to hasten the result, finding the quickest way to solve issues. I found that with my involvement in PLTW, and even other AP courses that I have taken, the method I take now has distinctly changed in regards to problems, research, and concepts taught in classes that I experience. I am much more detailed. I look for situations of cause and effect, and I would admit that I am much more detailed about my work. My thought processes have changed. With academics playing such a big role in my life, and now with swimming,  I find that it is a balancing act and I must prioritize my time and studies. I am very goal oriented and I am excited about the opportunities and options I have living in Utah. Things are good for me!”


Today is a day that I LOVE my job!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By Monica Giffing
Agricultural Education teacher and FFA Advisor,
Springville High School

There are many reasons that I love my job, but today especially! It is so amazing to see students learn and grow and truly use what we teach them and what FFA and the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) teaches them. 

Today, one of our lambs at the school lab got a very deep cut on its head, what a joy it was to watch Ashly Endicott (the Utah FFA Vet Science Proficiency Winner) use the skills she learned at the Rocky Mountain Vet Clinic as her SAE to assist this lamb. The other students, Christina, Aubrey, and Wesley, were great help when most kids would run the other way!

I am humbled that I get to work in such a profession that it brings me to tears when I see what some might see as a little thing (or a gross thing) I see as an amazing opportunity. I am truly doing what I love and loving what I do!

FBLA State Leadership Conference

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By Luke Searle
FBLA State President and student at Wasatch High School

Utah’s FBLA State Leadership Conference and Competition was held March 5-7, 2013 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah. Over 1,600 members from throughout the state met to compete in over 70 events! It was an exciting competition for all those involved.

At the conference, students competed for a chance to advance to Nationals, which is being held in Anaheim, California at the end of June. New state officers were also elected for the 2013-2014 year. I was lucky enough to be elected as Utah’s State FBLA President, and I look forward to working with my state officer team to make it a great year.

It was a tough competition, but in the end, the top five schools that had the most students place in events were:
1st Place: Wasatch High School
2nd Place: Hillcrest High School
3rd Place: Taylorsville High School
4th Place: Box Elder High School
5th Place: Davis High School

Congratulations to those schools!

We hope to see you all in the fall when Utah hosts the FBLA National Fall Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2013 Utah DECA State Conference

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

By Carley Herrick
Utah DECA State President

This March Utah DECA hosted its annual State Career Development Conference at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah. Over 1,100 students and advisors attended this two day event, displaying their skills in the areas of entrepreneurship, finance, management, and hospitality as they competed in both role play and written plan events. During the first day students competed in preliminary role-play events where they had a chance to think on their feet as they had ten minutes to solve a problem and present their solutions to a judge. Students also took a coordinating exam that tested their knowledge in their chosen event.

The second day of the conference kicked off with the Preliminary Awards Session where the top twenty were announced in each role-play category. Throughout the rest of the day students competed in final role-play competitions and also had the opportunity to compete in written event competitions. These written events are composed of 11 to 35 page business plans that must be completed one week prior to the Conference. Judges then reviewed the plans and listened to students’ presentations. Students who did not compete during the second day had the opportunity to visit the conference exhibits where they met with college representatives, state officer candidates, and local businesses.

The conference finished with the Grand Awards Session where the top ten finalists and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were announced and received awards on stage. On April 23-28, 2013, these finalists will join 16,000 other students in Anaheim California to compete in the DECA International Career Development Conference. During the Grand Awards, the 2013-2014 Utah DECA State Officer Team and President were announced and several DECA chapter advisors were recognized for their dedicated service and contributions to marketing education and Utah DECA .

The 2013 Utah DECA State Conference was a great success thanks to lots of hard work and preparation from students, advisors, volunteers, and educational directors. Thank you for your continued support and best of luck to our national qualifiers!


Meet Ethan Leeds: Future Nuclear Engineer

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

ETHAN I. LEEDS, senior at Weber High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Ethan is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Ethan completed the senior research project for Autoliv on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Ethan is an avid runner who views his efforts in this lifetime sport as a challenge to understanding the limits on his own personal growth.

Study Habits: Ethan is an outstanding student who attacks his studies in much the same manner as he attacks running. He has proven it with his 3.99 GPA and with an outstanding score of 35 on the math comprehension part of the ACT. These academic achievements have given Ethan the confidence to strive for a career in engineering.

Soft Skills: Ethan is self-driven, polite, confident, and a very detailed worker. He likes and looks forward to a challenge. His classmates and teachers all describe Ethan as “a joy to work.”

Future: Ethan has submitted his candidacy for the NAVAL ROTC scholarship program. Selections will be made in April 2013.

Testimonial: “My involvement in PLTW has really clarified my educational pursuits. Coming into the program, like most kids, I had no plan for a career or a pathway of study to guide me. Being involved allowed me first to become aware of options, and secondly to identify classes and subjects that I should be familiar with in order to pursue those subjects I enjoy. Obviously, my dream is now at hand, with the NAVAL ROTC Contract of Commitment signed, and my placement within the nuclear engineering field of study I have found the field of engineering that I most likely will complete. Working with class mentors associated with Autoliv, teachers, and businesses has allowed me to develop a conversation about the education and training involved that I must master in order to reach my goals. I have the brightest future possible due to my schooling and PLTW!”

Tribute to a CTE Teacher: Mr. Flores, you will be missed

Monday, March 11th, 2013

By Hailee Anderson,
Student, West Jordan Middle School

Mr. Flores (also known as Mr. Flowers) was a well-loved teacher. He was a Career and Technical Education teacher at West Jordan Middle School who recently died of cancer. The entire staff and every student – not just the ones in his classes – were very upset about it. We will miss him so much!

My favorite thing about Mr. Flores was his smile. His smile could brighten anyone’s day. He also had a great attitude about teaching. Most teachers just want you to learn stuff, but Mr. Flores would put a twist on every assignment to make it more fun and interesting. He loved his students and wanted them to succeed in their learning. He would encourage us to do our best in everything, and did it with a smile, patience and kindness. I never heard him raise his voice to any student.

I learned a lot from Mr. Flores. We created PowerPoint presentations, we learned the parts of a computer, and we learned how to properly type on the keyboard. Mr. Flores made sure that every student did their best and learned new skills. We had a lot of fun with the assignments. For example, we created PowerPoint presentations on various types of fruit. When it was our turn to present, we brought samples of the fruit for everyone. He always thought of ways to have fun but still get things done. 

Probably the most important things I learned from Mr. Flores were patience, kindness, and a love for learning.

West Jordan Middle School students wanted to create something to show their appreciation for Mr. Flores so they wore purple, red and pink and the entire student body formed a huge heart on a field outside the school. LifeTouch took this photograph from high up on a crane to give to his family. You can view the Fox13 story on Mr. Flores here.

Meet Michael Hancock: Former CTE Student and Future Hospital Administrator

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Michael Hancock attended Fremont High School where he participated in football, was a member of HOSA, and was involved in Career and Technical Education (CTE). Michael will graduate in May of 2014 from Weber State University with a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. He plans to continue working for MountainStar Healthcarewhere he aspires to become a hospital administrator. UtahCTE.org asked Michael how his participation in CTE and HOSA prepared him for college and career.

Question: Michael, what sparked your interest in pursuing a career in healthcare?
Answer: I have always had an interest in healthy living and the improvement of the human condition. Being able to help improve individual’s well-being and make them happier, more active people is the ultimate pay off.

Question: In high school was there a specific class that solidified your interest in pursuing a healthcare occupation?
Answer: The introduction to Exercise Science course, taught by Blair Powell, was the course that sparked my interest in working in the health sciences. Mr. Powell was very influential to my pursuit of my career path and helped me realize various health professions in the field.

Question: How did your involvement in HOSA enhance your high school experience?
Answer: Being involved in HOSA helped me better understand what I would like my career path to be. It helped me realize that there are opportunities in healthcare besides being a clinician or hands on caregiver.

Question: How did your involvement in a CTE Health Science Education Pathway give you a competitive edge or jump-start your postsecondary education?
Answer: It helped me avoid wasting time during my first couple years of college trying to figure out what I would declare as my major. While my peers were trying to figure this out, I had an understanding of the degree I wanted to purse.

Question: What made you interested in pursuing a career in hospital administration?
Answer: Influential mentors helped me see my strengths and realize that this was something that I should pursue.

Question: What advice would you give to students considering a career in healthcare?
Answer: If you think that to work in healthcare you have to be a doctor, nurse, or therapist, think again. There is a business aspect to healthcare and opportunities as a Personnel Manager, IT Specialist, or a Human Resource Director are available if you are willing to work hard to obtain those positions.

Question: What would you say to students thinking about joining HOSA?
Answer: Be involved and join! There is nothing to lose; worst case scenario is that you can come to understand you aren’t interested in a health profession. It is better to discover that in high school than in college when you have spent thousands of dollars on health profession courses.

Question: How did your participation in CTE prepare you for the occupation you are now pursuing in hospital administration?
My CTE participation indirectly made me aware of my interest in facilitating human well-being. Even though I am not a caregiver, I have the opportunity to manage caregivers and motivate them to provide the type of care they would want their closest loved ones to receive.

Skill Attainment Requires Careful Career Planning

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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

During the recent State of the Union Address, President Obama said that we must attract more jobs to our shores, that we needed to equip our citizens with additional skills so they can do those jobs, and we need to insure that hard work actually leads to a decent living. The President has identified some important goals with significant challenges attached. Moving the economy forward, particularly decreasing the unemployment rate has remained difficult for far too long.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides the answer to one of those challenges, making sure that there are skilled workers trained and ready to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. By the year 2020, Utah is working to achieve the goal that 66 percent of adults will hold a postsecondary degree or a certificate. As we move toward that goal, it is interesting that many of the highest occupations in demand are in the areas of Career and Technical Education. Nursing and health occupations lead the list, and then operations management, sales, manufacturing, accountants, and construction managers. To be successful in these areas you need specific “skills” and those skills are obtained through Career and Technical Education training.

Successful skill attainment in these CTE areas requires careful career planning early in the educational sequence. Utah has great secondary programs that provide skills and will start students on a career path leading to employment or additional training. Connecting secondary and postsecondary programs together provide an efficient way for students to gain the skills necessary for occupations that provide a livable wage.

Did you know?

  • CTE programs help students achieve graduation at a higher rate than other students. The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent compared to a national graduation rate of 74.9 percent.i
  • CTE is an answer for the current a future shortage in skilled workers. Experts project 47 million job openings in the decade ending 2018. About one-third of those jobs will require an associate degree or certificate, and nearly all will require real-world skills that can be mastered through CTE.ii
  • CTE helps students be successful in attaining postsecondary certificates and degrees. Seventy percent of students concentrating in CTE areas stayed in postsecondary education or transferred to a four-year degree program. That compared to an overall average state target of 58 percent.iii

February was national CTE month and across the country states and organizations highlighted CTE programs. As the nation continues to recover from the great recession, and jobs expand and the economy grows again, it is a great time for CTE to take its place in helping the nation reach the goals that have been set.

Do your career planning early and let a CTE pathway lead you to success in your educational pursuits. The future is bright for those who prepare and obtain the skills that will be in demand for the economy of tomorrow.

I U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, Report to Congress on State Performance, Program year 2007-2008. Washington, D.C.

ii Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce via Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity report, p. 29, http://cew.georgetown.edu/jobs2018/

iii U.S. Department of Education, http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/2010report/fy2010-apr.pdf

Sales Occupations

Monday, March 4th, 2013

A sales occupation can be a good career choice for people with varying interests, since just about every product needs someone to take it from producer to buyer. For example, if you love science, you might enjoy working as a sales representative for scientific or technical products. If you enjoy construction, you might excel as a building materials representative. Not all sales occupations are high paying, but the table below reflects a number of sales occupations in which workers earn higher than the national median ($16.27/hour).

In high school, you can learn more about sales by participating in a Marketing Pathway. Beyond high school, one of the best ways to get started in a sales occupation – especially those that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree – is to work for a company that provides training for new representatives or agents.  Beware of job offers that sound too good to be true, or one that has a complicated pay scale based solely on sales. You should check out prospective employers visiting their websites, or the website of the local Better Business Bureau. Read more about sales occupations in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

Countdown to Spring Break!

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Spring break is a break from school, right? Rest, relaxation, permission to be a sloth …? However (depending on a whole multitude of factors), if you completely adopt the ways of a sloth, you’ll discover a downside; having nothing to do and no schedule to keep actually saps your energy. If you want to enjoy every minute of your break, you’ll balance rest and relaxation with an ambitious to-do list! Here are five suggestions for what to include on that list:

1.      Course Planning
No matter what grade you’re in, it’s a great time to consider your class schedule for next year. Does your schedule accurately reflect your plan for the future? Are you on track for graduation, and taking advantage of every opportunity to be ready for the postsecondary options that interest you? Will you achieve Pathway Completer status as you graduate high school? This is also a great time to look at the Career and Technical Student Organizations and other extra-curricular options that support your college and career goals.

2.      Work-Based Learning (WBL)
Spring break is really an ideal time to arrange for a job shadow, information interview, or a simple visit to a workplace because it’s “business as usual” in the world of work. To set up a formal learning experience, talk to WBL staff at your school. Alternatively, you could set something up with family or friends. For example, you could volunteer at a local business just for a day, or even a part of a day. The best work-based learning experiences will result in your own discovery of interests and talents and how they can be applied in the real world.

3.      Visit a College Campus
College and university spring breaks are often different than K-12 schools, so it’s a great time to arrange for a campus tour – live or virtual. Most colleges will have information for future or prospective students on their websites. If you don’t see a link that gives you the options available for visiting the school, just find a phone number and call for information. While you’re on the website, click on all the other links for future students, too!

4.      Explore Summer Learning Opportunities
Spring is the season when school districts, colleges and community agencies all start sharing their plans to keep students busy over the summer. From summer camps, to short-term training, to skill-building and credit recovery, the opportunities are many. However, some of the most popular programs fill up quickly. All the more reason to check the websites of organizations in your area and sign up early!

5.      Apply for a Summer Job
It’s not too early to survey summer employment opportunities! Though not every employer is accepting applications, you can stop in and ask about the possibilities. Remember to look sharp, to speak clearly, and – if applications are being accepted on site – fill in every blank in your neatest writing. If the application process is online, follow through with every employer of interest to you. No matter whether the application is handwritten or online, think of it as the very first sample of work you’ll be submitting; you want it to impress! You can search for employers in your area using FirmFind. Or, you might want to be a “summer entrepreneur.” You can get started now by visiting with neighbors and distributing flyers that advertise whatever service you’re prepared to offer – child care, housecleaning, yard care, car washing, even “tech support!” Line up your clientele, and maybe even put in some weekend hours to build their confidence in your abilities and character.

Spring break is definitely the ideal time to jump-start your career planning and set goals for the summer and beyond. Tell Utah CTE what you did during spring break. Email your stories to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.