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Snapshot from Hard @ Work

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Hard @ Work is a presentation on Women in the Utah Labor Force by Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist, at the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Lecia has been a DWS economist for more than 30 years, including six years as Chief Economist. This presentation, from August 2014, highlights findings of her latest study on women in the Utah labor force.

The two slides below are just a small sample of the fascinating picture Lecia reveals. View the entire presentation for more – e.g., female labor force participation by county and male-female college education gap.

After 1980, the participation rate of working women in Utah measure higher than the national rate.
SLIDE 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is key information – especially for Utah Female students – in developing college and career plans.
SLIDE 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My CTE Internship at Birch Creek Elementary

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Aubrey photo 2My name is Aubrey Snyder; I am 18 years old and a graduate from Sky View High School. My story starts with my twin brother, Tyrus, who has Down syndrome. Tyrus and I are as close as any siblings could get and are each other’s best friends. Tyrus has taught me many things in life, including compassion and patients towards those with or without disabilities. He has also taught me that a disability is merely a title that does not actually define a human being as a whole; in fact he calls me the “weirdo” more than anything. As a result of these qualities I have been successful in being a friend, peer tutor, and teacher to those with disabilities. In high school, I was given a wonderful opportunity to do a CTE Internship at Birch Creek Elementary in Special Education under the supervision of Becky Winn to further my knowledge in this field. I was lucky enough to receive a job through this internship as a Life Skills aide for summer school.

Aubrey photo 3 - editThis fall, I’m working as an aide at Birch Creek Elementary while attending Utah State University. One of the classes I’m taking is Finance 3000, an upper level class. Thanks to the concurrent enrollment finance class I took at Sky View High School this Finance 3000 class is easy.

The New UtahFutures Goes Live

Monday, September 8th, 2014

The new and improved UtahFutures.org is now live! Please remember that this launch of UtahFutures is a functioning pilot. So unfortunately, there may be a few bugs and glitches. Please let us know if you find something that needs to be fixed or that isn’t working properly. Because UtahFutures is a pilot you have an opportunity to influence the final product by providing feedback, including suggestions for improvement and requests for additional functions and features. Send feedback and system questions to utahfutures@schools.utah.gov.

Type “utahfutures.org” into your browser and you will connect to the new site. Take a minute, create an account and you can start saving your career assessments and your occupation and school searches, and start building your own timeline of important steps in planning for your future. The new Student Profile page is organized into three areas for developing effective Plans for College and Career Readiness.

  1. Exploration – The three stages of Exploration focus on grades 7 and 8, grades 9 and 10, and grades 11 and 12. Here students participate in assessments, activities, and research to help them expand their list of possibilities and make connections to real world work experience.
  2. Workspace – Students can select an occupation, connect it to a school, search for scholarships, and create a plan of study with typical high school courses, plus set challenge goals and find other useful planning tools and connections.
  3. My Plan – Student’s exploration and decision making come together to produce a printable Plan for College and career Readiness.

At every step UtahFutures is designed to challenge students to do more. More exploration, more goal setting, and more planning.

School counselors and other licensed educators can become school site administrators. To become an administrator, create a personal profile account and then send a request to the district school counseling leader or district CTE director to submit your name as a potential administrator by e-mail to utahfutures@schools.utah.gov. Charter school counselors can submit their request directly to the above email. Include a statement that you are a licensed school counselor.

If your district has not scheduled a training for school counselors, on features and functions of the new UtahFutures, please contact your district school counseling leadership and ask them to contact Dawn Stevenson dawn.stevenson@schools.utah.gov.

 

A Picture of Resilience: Jason Becker

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

By L. Kristine Dobson

The theme of this year’s CTE summer conference for Utah educators involved in Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance, Youth in Custody, Adult Education, Prevention, and Student Services was Promoting Resiliency: Student Success from Crayons to College and Career Ready.

Resilience is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) asthe process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” In their online guide, Road to Resilience, they offer ten tips to teens to build resilience (click link to see detail):

1. Get together.
2. Cut yourself some slack.
3. Create a hassle-free zone.
4. Stick to the program.
5. Take care of yourself.
6. Take control.
7. Express yourself.
8. Help somebody.
9. Put things in perspective.
10. Turn it off.

We may wonder why some people can experience difficult situations and traumatic events, and yet appear able to readily “bounce back.” This ability to bounce back, i.e., demonstrate resilience even under the most trying circumstances, is actually a set of skills that can be learned.

Since the conference, I have given much thought to the notion that resilience is learned. That idea conflicts with my intuitive sense that there are aspects of resilience that are innate. In my own family, I’m not alone when I observe the difference between one relative who was “born happy,” and another who appears totally unable to find the “silver lining,” only more dark clouds. My happy relative has bounced back from adversity numerous times; the other appears more and more dejected. I have a lot more thinking and research to do on the subject, but I am very interested in the concept of learning resilience, and – because I’m an educator, after all – much heartened at the thought of being able to teach the skills that enable people to be resilient. Sharing the biography of Jason Becker is where I would begin.

Born in 1969, Jason Becker is a virtuoso guitarist and composer. At age 20, just as his career was really taking off, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and given just three to five years to live. Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, is a documentary about Jason’s life, and a moving testament to resilience. I challenge you to watch the film. In addition to gaining a much better understanding all the skills of resilience referenced above, you will – without a doubt – learn other life lessons, and may be (I hope you’ll be) inspired to share those lessons with others.

Jason Becker 
Photo courtesy of http://jasonbeckerguitar.com/photo_galleries.html.

Set Goals with College and Career in Mind

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Setting goals to be ready for college and career is like planning for your day-to-day activities but with a bigger perspective. To get serious about planning for school success – both today and for your success in college and career – you need to have some goals in mind. Goals make planning meaningful. Remember, “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up somewhere else!” So, how do you know what goals to set? Do some serious thinking about what you want to accomplish in the future. Take some time to write down the steps (also known as ‘short term goals’) that will help you achieve your dreams. Once you have something in mind, planning will make more sense and hold more value. It will be easier to create a 4-year plan for high school and know what you need to do to be college and career ready.

What do you see yourself doing after high school: college, career and life? What is your “dream” for YOUR future? Start with at least three ideas or goals:

1. Your college dream:  _____________________________________________

2. Your career dream: ______________________________________________

3. Your life dream: _________________________________________________

What are some specific steps you can take to accomplish your dreams?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

Begin by making your school experiences meaningful and productive, take charge!

> Take classes that:

  • Will prepare you to reach your goals.
  • Meet graduation requirements.
  • Will prepare you for 1, 2, 4, or more years of education and training after high school.
  • Will prepare you with marketable skills that lead to a job.

> Get involved and participate in a school club or other school activity groups.

> Track your success! Keep a file of your grades, school progress, and school activities.

Remember what you do now will lead to what you can do for college, career, and life in the future!

The blog is taken from the Utah Student Planning Guide Grades 9-12, page 8.

Jordan High School Counselors @ Work

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

In a previous blog, we featured a senior student at Jordan High School, who acknowledged the efforts of her counselors toward ensuring that students are college and career ready by the time they graduate high school. At the same time – and this is spring of her senior year – the student said that she had yet to make a final decision about a career direction, let alone which college she would attend in the fall.  In an ideal world, these are choices that would have been made much earlier – hopefully as a result of the fabulous Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Program components that offer many opportunities to explore career interests and take related Career and Technical Education CTE courses and to build the academic foundation to succeed in high school and beyond. The counselors at Jordan High School are working diligently to make this a reality.

April Sagala                         Ann Marie Proctor

For Jordan High School counselors, including April Sagala and Ann Marie Proctor, efforts in the area of helping students line up financial aid start soon after the holidays and continue full steam ahead through early April. They specifically target juniors for “Scholarships 101” sessions, but also encourage younger students as well as seniors to attend. They want to make sure that all students are well informed regarding scholarships to increase the likelihood of the students winning those awards by knowing and meeting criteria early. Scholarship information is also accessible via a robust Web page maintained by the counseling department. Other financial aid resources offered by the counseling staff include Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops, a Parents’ Night, and numerous helpful links to outside sources of financial aid information – e.g., U. S. Department of Education, UHEAA, and FinAid.org.

 The Senior Green Sheet, a monthly newsletter especially for seniors, is another impressive resource provided by Jordan’s counseling staff. These counselors are obviously dedicated to ensuring student success. Now if only students would take better advantage of all the help and expertise made available to them!

Utah Senior Contemplates Readiness for College and Career

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Meet Tabitha Kertamus, a senior at Jordan High School, who was interviewed recently about her plans for life after high school.

On a scale from 1-10 (with 1 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘totally’), how prepared do you feel to start college and/or a career?
On a scale of 1-10, I sit at a solid 6 with how prepared I feel to start college and/or a career. I have applied to several colleges, and was accepted to all of them. The problem is, now I have to make a choice, and I have no idea what to do. It’s hard to decide when all people important to me have different opinions on what I should do. I definitely am not ready for a career yet, though hopefully college will help with that.

Counselors offer many opportunities to help students apply and pay for college. Tell about any of these opportunities you took advantage of, and how they helped you.
The counselors are especially helpful to students. I have taken the opportunity to personally sit down with my counselor and talk about my college plans. Counselors are there for us, and they have programs like FAFSA Fridays, where students go into the counseling center during lunch on Fridays and they work on their FAFSA forms. My counselor encourages me to do what I want to and wants me to be successful. Counselors also keep track of what colleges students have been accepted to and they are willing to help us reach a decision. I’ve had my counselor help me look for scholarships so I can apply for them. They’re very helpful.

What advice would you give counselors and teachers to help them ensure that students learn about life after high school?
Teachers and counselors try their best to get students involved with preparation for college. The problem is a lot of students hear the same stuff from everybody. So we don’t listen when they try to help. They try assemblies, but a lot of kids see it as a way out of class, and they just leave the school. I think they need to be more enthusiastic and really encourage students to participate. They need to find new and more information about college that won’t scare us away. They need to have more mandatory college activities for students. A big help would be to offer field trips to college campuses for those who would like to attend the college.

What’s the one best piece of advice regarding college and career decision making that you would offer to your fellow students?
My advice is to do what makes you happy. If you want to go out of state, who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life, not theirs! A bird can’t have other birds spread its wings for it. You don’t have to make a decision on a career right away, but definitely start college as soon as possible. Go to school while you’re still in the groove of it, and definitely go where you’ll be happiest. Happiness is the key to a magnificent life.

Moving ahead – letting go of the past . . .

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The end of a school year fosters bittersweet emotions for many of us. This guest blogger offers strategies for moving effectively ahead.

Moving ahead – letting go of the past . . .
By Victoria Bork, School Psychologist, Valley High School
Jordan School District

Are you tired of spending a lot of time and energy trying to change the past? Here are some suggestions that may help you move forward:

  • Make a conscious choice to move forward. Start by listing the pros and cons of dwelling in the past. You may notice after making your list that the cons far outweigh the pros and therefore you will make the choice to move on.
  • Limit the time you allow yourself to dwell on the past. For example you may want to set aside 10-15 minutes a day to think about the past. You may find that you are getting bored/tired of dwelling on the past and move forward as a result.
  • Check the reality of your situation. Things may never be exactly the same again but that doesn’t mean you can’t move forward with new people and experiences in your life.
  • Clarify your values. Perhaps you have lost someone in a relationship or lost a job. In restating your values you may come to realize that you don’t need the same individual and/or job to make you happy and you can move to your new chapter in life.
  • Enjoy the moment. Create new experiences for yourself; e.g., join a club, take up a hobby, etc. Focusing on the present and the future will help you to move on!

Students Learn About Aviation at the 4th Annual Aviation Open House

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

By Helen Brown, Work-Based Learning Facilitator, Alta High School

In April, the 4th Annual Aviation Open House was held at the SkyWest Hangar at the Salt Lake City International Airport. This event was planned and organized by the Aeronautics Education Advisory Board led by Donna Lloyd of Granite School District. This was an excellent opportunity for students interested in an Aviation career to meet with colleges, flight schools, and businesses to learn how to prepare for their future career. Hundreds of students and their families attended the open house where they:

  • Toured the Airport Flight Control Tower. Conducting a flight in a flight simulator.
  • Detected all of the large equipment used to care for the runways.
  • Watched planes land and take off.
  • Visited with the Airport Fire Department personnel and observed their vehicles.
  • Visited with the Airport Police and one of their police dogs.
  • Watched a movie about Air Force One Pilot, Mark Tillman and what transpired during 9/11 while trying to keep President Bush out of harm’s way.

It was a fascinating day and everyone who attended expressed how impressed they were by the day’s events, and with the information they received. A letter was written to Sherry Marchant, Work-Based Learning Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education that expressed one attendees thoughts of the day.

“We attended (the Aviation Open House) with my son, who has dreamed of being a pilot for as long as I can remember. He is entering 9th grade in the fall, so it was the perfect opportunity to speak with those in the know about what he needs to concentrate on in high school. It was a great day!” said Toni Thayn.

We want to thank all of the businesses that participated in this event. Cornerstone Aviation, Leading Edge Aviation, Salt Lake Community College Aviation, University of Utah Atmospheric Sciences, Utah State Aviation, Utah Valley Aviation, Westminster Aviation, Jordan School District Aviation, Granite School District Aviation, Canyons School District, Boeing, TAC Air, ATK, Delta Airlines, Duncan Aviation, Airport Operations Fire Department, Airport Operations Police Unit, Airport Operations Bomb Squad, Air Force ROTC, Utah Air National Guard, Air Force Association, FAA/ATC-TRACON, Mountain America Credit Union, and SkyWest Airlines for their generous use of their Airport Hangar for our event.

Save the date for the 5th Annual Aviation Open House that will held in the spring of 2015. We hope to see many more students and their families take advantage of all this event has to offer.

STEM Occupations

Monday, May 5th, 2014

As per the recent message in this publication (“STEM 101,” April 2014), there is no universally agreed-upon definition of STEM. For the purposes of this month’s highlight, however, we’re focusing on occupations identified as STEM by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS looked at occupations in six broad groups from the Standard Occupational Classification Manual: 1) Management; 2) Computer and Mathematics; 3) Architecture and Engineering; 4) Life, Physical, and Social Sciences; 5) Education, Training, and Library; and 6) Sales and Related. (Though Healthcare occupations are commonly included in STEM, BLS offers a separate analysis of that sector, to be shared in a later edition of this newsletter.) From the full list of 100 STEM occupations* in these groups, here are the top three occupations projected to have the most job openings nationally 2012-2022:

 

 

 

 

 

 

*See Table 1 in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly – with source cited as “2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System, SOC Policy Committee recommendation to the Office of Management and Budget. Healthcare occupations are not included.” Source of Utah data in these tables is the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

In the following table are three occupations from the BLS list that you can typically enter with less than a Bachelor’s degree, and that will grow much faster than average through 2022 (a percent of current employment; average growth rate across all occupations is 11 percent):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will notice that “Computer User Support Specialists” appears on both lists. The fact that this is an occupation that employs large numbers of workers, and that it is growing at almost twice the average rate, bodes well for students prepared for entry.  For comparison: twenty percent of the 658,500 Computer User Support Specialists is 131,700 – significantly more than twenty percent of the 169,900 (33,980) Web Developers.

In addition to the technical skills foundation required in STEM occupations, workers must also have critical and creative thinking skills, and strong communication skills – technical writing, public speaking, and interpersonal communication. You can start developing technical, thinking, and communication skills while still in high school. Whether your career interests lead to a STEM career, or any other, a high school program of study that includes participation in a CTE Pathway of interest to you will help you succeed.