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Archive for December, 2013

Save the Date: February is CTE Month

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

During the month of February, students, educators, and administrators across the state will join secondary and postsecondary students nationwide in celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE). Schools can pick a day, a week, or the entire month to spotlight CTE programs.

The 2014 CTE Month theme is:
Career and Technical Education:
Pathways to Lifelong Career Success

Career and Technical Education prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. These careers may require varying levels of education—including industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates, and two- and four-year degrees. Career and Technical Education is crucial to providing the strong workforce training needed to fill the good-paying jobs.

CTE Month is a great opportunity to promote your programs and advocate for Career and Technical Education.
> Check out the list of 28 Things to Do During CTE Month.
> Write a blog about an event in your school and submit it to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.
> Make a 90-second video about CTE and submit it to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.

Details about CTE Month 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.
> Using social media, post on Facebook and tweet the CTE Month events at your school.
> Take and submit a photo of a CTE Moment in your school – #CTEMoment14.

In high school I started taking a variety of CTE courses. Each one
of these courses has taught me so much and has prepared me
for the courses I will be taking in college.
Marissa Muhlestein, graduate of Granger High School

Utah’s Occupational Projections Promise Steady Growth

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Good news from the Utah Department of Workforce Services; their occupational projections indicate that the Utah economy will continue to grow steadily through the year 2020. (Utah Insights, Winter 2013) There are 61,040 annual job openings forecasted statewide. The following is a list of occupations in Utah projected to have the most openings. (Numbers reflect total job openings due to replacement of current workers, or “turnover” plus new openings created when new positions are created = TOTAL OPENINGS.)

The Department of Workforce Services also provides this list of the ten “fastest-growing” occupations. Here, the number of openings is expressed as a percentage of the total number of jobs for that occupation. Thus, occupations that are “fastest-growing” may not always mean plentiful openings. In fact, compared to the average base employment of 24,590 for occupations with the most annual openings, the average base employment for occupations with largest percentage change is just 1,260.

 

Check out the complete issue of Utah Insights, Winter 2013 for additional information – including details about Utah’s two fastest-growing occupational groups (Healthcare Support and Construction/Extraction), highest and lowest paying occupational groups, and median annual wages by entry level education. For detailed information on the occupations listed, or other occupations that interest you, browse UtahFutures.

Monthly Math Challenge

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

TSA members, put your math skills to the test with a monthly math challenge. The challenges began in November 2013 and continue through March 2014. Brain-teasing math problems will be posted at http://teams.tsaweb.org/math-challenge. If you can figure out the math problems you will be eligible to be entered into a monthly drawing.

Who: Middle/junior high and high school TSA members

What: TEAMS Monthly Math Challenge

When: November 2013 through March 2014

Why: To prepare for the 2014 TEAMS competition1.

How: Submit your answer to the Monthly Math Challenge following the instructions at http://teams.tsaweb.org/math-challenge. Coaches will be notified by return email if their student’s answers are correct and those names will automatically be entered in the drawing for that month.

Prize: Only students on teams with an active registration for the 2014 TEAMS competition will be placed in the drawing. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card.

TEAMS: Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science

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

 

1 The 2014 TEAMS competition is based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge. The 2014 theme is: “Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities” to restore and improve urban infrastructure. At the competition, students will address engineering challenges in areas such as transportation, green space, and fresh water supply.

Thousands of Utah Students Participated in the Hour of Code Event

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Nationwide, over 17 million people participated in an Hour of Code, December 9-15, 2014, with students writing over 563 million lines of code. In Utah, approximately 57,500 elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students participated in the event.

“Southwest Applied Technology College had over 70 students and faculty participate in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code went so well, some chose to go above and beyond and learn more about programming from codecademy.com and khanacademy.org. I personally think this was a great experience. I can’t wait to see what kind of technology and programs we are going to have [in the future], since many students have now chosen programming as a profession,” said Scott Nelson, Information Technology Teaching Assistant at Southwest Applied Technology College.

Congratulations to Jackson Elementary School, in Salt Lake City, Utah, who was awarded a classroom set of laptop computers, by Computer Science Education Week, for their Hour of Code plan.

National Computer Science Facts:
> Computer science is a top paying college degree.

> Less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. And the numbers have dropped since the last decade.

> Exposure to computer science leads to some of the best-paying jobs in the world. However, 75 percent of the population is underrepresented.

> Computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average.

> While, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women.

> 9 out of 10 schools don’t offer computer programming classes.

> In 36 of 50 states, computer science doesn’t count towards high school graduation math or science requirement.

Source: csedweek.org/promote

Utah Computer Science Facts:
> Utah is one of 14 states that require students to take computer science in order to graduate.

> Approximately one-third of Utah high schools teach computer programming or computer science.

> Approximately 20 Utah schools are teaching a new ninth-grade elective called “Exploring Computer Science.”

“My classes participated in the Hour of Code. I feel like this was a great experience for all of my students to better understand problem solving, but more importantly to get excited about programming. After watching the short intro videos, students were surprised by how many notable people and “cool” people were getting involved in coding. The most exciting thing for me was their enthusiasm for coding. I had a few students complete “Beyond an Hour of Code” (the 20 hour course) for which they received a prize of their choice. What’s even more exciting is that instead of students asking to play games at the end of class, I now have students asking if they can code. What a great opportunity this has been! I would do this again in a heartbeat!” said Kimberly Mendenhall, Computer Technology teacher at Fort Herriman Middle School, Jordan School District.

Students, talk to your school counselor to sign up for a course in one of six Utah Information Technology Education Pathways. By participating in a computer science course you will learn to think creatively, develop problem solving skills, and how to write code.

Utah news stories highlighting the Hour of Code event:
Should Utah require computer coding before graduation?
Event aims to spark kids’ interest in computer science
Monte Vista Students Join Millions in Hour of Code

 

SkillsUSA Pin and T-shirt Design Competition

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The national association of SkillsUSA is calling for pin and T-shirt design entries for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which will be held June 23-27, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. This design competition is open to all registered SkillsUSA student members who are enrolled in a Career and Technical Education program at a high school or postsecondary institution with an active SkillsUSA chapter.

Who: SkillsUSA student members

What: 2014 National Conference Pin and T-shirt Design Competition

When: Now through February 1, 2014.

Why: The winning designs will become the official pin or T-shirt for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

How: One entry per SkillsUSA member. Entry rules are located in the SkillsUSA membership kit.

Mail entries to:
SkillsUSA National Headquarters
14001 SkillsUSA Way
Leesburg, VA 20176

Deadline: Entries must be received (not postmarked) no later than Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Questions? Contact Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org.

Prizes: A plaque for the teacher and student, plus a school grant to the advisor of the winning student will be announced at a later date.

View the 2013 winning designs.

 

Summer Business Leadership Academy

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

High school business students, plan now to apply for the Summer Business Leadership Academy at Mercy College in New York. This one week camp is an opportunity for serious business students to learn more about the world of business. Students will be exposed to real world executives and learn what it takes to become a leader. This is a highly selective one week course that is tuition and dorm free.

Who: High school students

What: Summer Business Leadership Academy

Where: Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York

When: The Leadership Academy is held during a five week period in June and July. On the application, students will choose one week when they would be available to attend.

Why: Learn about the world of business from top ranked professors and industry leaders and tour Fortune 500 businesses.

How: Click HERE to apply.

Deadline: Application due by Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

For more information visit: Mercy College School of Business

Watch: Highlights from the 2013 Summer Business Leadership Academy

 

Utah International Mountain Forum Essay Contest

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

In conjunction with the celebration of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, the Utah International Mountain Forum and Utah Valley University has announced the Fourth Annual Utah High School Essay Contest.

Essay topic: The Family Farm in Mountain Communities.

Goal of essay: To educate and engage the public on the issues of family farming, mountain life, and the ways to serve and lift up our fellow man.

Topics for submission may include, but are not limited to:

  • Arid farming practices
  • Exportable technology or innovations
  • Difficulties facing arid land or high mountain farms
  • Family management of farms in the 21st century
  • Family vs. industrial farming
  • Soil and water solutions
  • Economic challenges and solutions in the era of globalization
  • Indigenous or cultural farming practices

Submission guidelines: Check HERE

Award: All participants will be awarded a certificate of participation. However, the best student essays will receive a financial award, in addition to a certificate of participation, and a chance to publish his or her work.

Due date: Essay must be submitted by Thursday, February 6, 2014.

Submit essay to: samhill.conlaw@gmail.com

For more information, visit:
Utah International Mountain Forum
Utah Valley University

 

Mind the Skills Gap

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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

You may have heard the phrase, “mind the gap,” a warning to passengers on the London Underground to be cautious as they cross from the station platform into the train.  Equally deserving of careful attention is the skills gap. It seems that there is a constant stream of articles, studies, and statements by people on all sides of this global issue, alerting us to a dim future should we fail to mind the skills gap.  For example, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development reported that adults (ages 16-65) in the U. S. have poor literacy and numeracy skills, despite relatively high educational attainment (OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills). The assessment looked at the cognitive and workplace skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy. A related report focusing on the United States (Survey of Adult Skills, First Results: United States) indicates that there are few signs of improvement. The average basic skills of young adults are not very different from older persons – and basic skills are not only related to employment outcomes, but also to personal and social well-being!

The report reveals much to be concerned about, but an additional report based on the findings, Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, lays out policy recommendations to address those concerns. Recommendation 4, in particular, is worth highlighting here:

Link efforts to improve basic skills to employability, recognizing that good jobs open up further learning options, while basic skills can often be more readily acquired in practical contexts.

This is Career and Technical Education! Participating in Career and Technical Education increases the opportunities you have of succeeding in college, career and life. Utah students have the chance to jumpstart their careers by completing a CTE Pathway, which includes Work-Based Learning, being a member of a Student Leadership Organization, and achieving Skills Certificates. Completing a Pathway will help you mind the skills gap!

Top Utah Occupations in Skilled and Technical Sciences

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Pathways in the Skilled and Technical Sciences area reflect a broad variety of interests, but when it comes to those occupations that are rated 5-Star* by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Mechanical and Construction occupations really stand out as summarized in the table below.

For more information about these and other occupations – including related education and training options – you can browse UtahFutures. To see other “best” Utah occupations, check out the Utah Job Outlook Brochure. And to explore the full variety of Pathways in Skilled and Technical Sciences, as well as other CTE Areas, visit UtahCTE.org.