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Archive for the ‘College and Career Ready’ Category

Meet the Counseling and Guidance Team at Corner Canyon High School

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Corner Canyon High School, located in Draper, is the newest high school in Canyons School District. Their student body consists of about 1,800 students in grades 9-12. Interestingly, because seniors could opt out of moving to the new high school, the senior class is the smallest and around one-third of the students are freshman! Just last year, ninth grade was still part of middle school, so these students not only found themselves in high school, but in a big, new high school, and that brought some challenges.

Fortunately, team leader Allyson Hanks (A-C) and fellow counselors Amy Hardcastle (D-H), Sally Matsen (I-M), Dina Kohler (N-R), and Phil Handley (S-Z) were totally up to the challenge. They developed a program – “Get Some Grit” – to increase the awareness of key skills and attitudes they need to succeed in high school and beyond.

Of course there are the other 1,200 students in grades 10-12 to serve, and counselors are equally dedicated to assuring the success of these students. “Visibility” is a key counseling strategy. It is important that students know the counselors – especially their own – and that students perceive their counselors as available and helpful. The number of students who drop in, and the days that counselors are spending in classrooms add up to a focus on student success as they progress through their high school careers.

The “Senior Silver Star” newsletter keeps seniors apprised of dates and deadlines, but also offers them other information to promote their success beyond high school.

Another practice worth mentioning is the building-wide effort to “catch students being good.” School staff carry “Charge Cards” – Care, Honor, Achieve, Respect, Give, Engage – to hand out to students. Students can then enter their cards in drawings for prizes.

This is just a sampling of the counseling and guidance practices being implemented at Corner Canyon High School by a team of exemplary counselors with the support of administrators at both the school and district level. Utah CTE wishes CCHS counselors and students continued success!

Great things are happening in every school across the state. Utah CTE wants to hear from you. Educators and students, what is your CTE story? Tell Utah CTE about what is taking place in your school/classroom by sharing your CTE story.

Students, nominate your favorite school counselors for an “I Love My School Counselor” honor in February, during Career and Technical Education Month. Entries are due Friday, January 31, 2014.

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.

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.

Employment by Industry

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Career Highlight is usually devoted to information organized by categories focused on occupations, but this month we decided to take an industry perspective. There are some occupations that are fairly industry specific – doctors and nurses are largely employed within the health care industry, and mining machine operators work in the mining industry. However, there are many occupations employed across industries. For example, computer programmers, administrative assistants, office managers, and custodians are needed in almost any work environment, no matter the industry. Therefore – especially when jobs are scarce – it’s worth thinking about pursuing opportunities outside the industry most often associated with your occupation. That is, check out businesses and organizations within growth industries to find jobs that will use your skills and may offer better security and wages than the same occupation in an industry that is declining.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) organizes industries into just two very broad groups: goods producing, or service providing. The goods-producing industries include: ¨ Construction; ¨ Manufacturing; ¨ Mining.  Service-providing industries include: Educational services; Financial activities; Health care and social assistance; Information; Leisure and hospitality; Professional and business services; Public administration; Trade, transportation, and utilities. Service-providing industries are projected to account for the most job growth through 2020. As illustrated below, employment is projected to increase by more than 5.6 million in the health care and social assistance sector, with home health care and family services leading that growth. Providers of management, scientific, and technical consulting services will lead the growth in the professional and business services. For additional details, consult this article in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. For Utah-specific industry outlook information, you may be interested in the regional Industry Briefs developed by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Meet Jeananne Lybbert: Dishing Up CTE Intro and More

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Jeananne Lybbert joined the staff at Fort Herriman Middle School about six years ago, and is an integral part of a dynamic CTE team that is dedicated to helping students learn about all areas of career and technical education. (Read about their celebration of CTE Month in the Fort Herriman MS Newsletter.) For Ms. Lybbert, it is equally important to help students discover their personal talents and interests. That is one reason that she enthusiastically endorses the Career Development Activities (CDAs) in CTE Intro. For example, students complete a career interest inventory to help them understand how the school subjects, extra-curricular activities, and hobbies that they enjoy translate to potential career interests. Students have opportunities to study specific occupations that match their interests, and can even try out various work roles through Work-Based Learning experiences. Ms. Lybbert says that seventh grade is ideal for engaging students in self-discovery, and she enjoys the many “ah-ha” moments that her students experience as they participate in the CDAs. As a FACS teacher, perhaps Ms. Lybbert might say, “CTE Intro is the best thing since sliced bread.”

In addition to her CTE Intro responsibilities, Ms. Lybbert also teaches FACS Exploration and Foods to grade 8 and 9 students. As a National School to Watch, Ft. Herriman has organizational supports to promote her efforts to meet the distinct developmental needs of middle school students. She is pleased to be a part of Ft. Herriman’s larger community – the school, district, and the partnerships – that work together to promote the success of their students.

Fort Herriman Middle School


Nebo Students Soar in CTE Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

On October 3, 2013, the Daily Herald highlighted students in Nebo School District who participate in Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning (WBL) opportunities. WBL provides opportunities for students to learn a variety of skills through rigorous academic preparation with hands-on career development experiences. Under the guidance of adult mentors, students learn to work in teams, solve problems, and meet employers’ expectations. Through a variety of WBL experiences students see, firsthand, how classroom instruction connects to the world of work and future career opportunities.

Below is a portion of the story featured in the Daily Herald:

Ever wonder if being a pilot, a nurse or a teacher would be the right job for you? Well, one Utah County school district is helping its students find out this information while they are in high school. Nebo School District’s Work-Based Learning program matches student interns to businesses whose trade relates to the students interests.

Students sign-up for Work-Based Learning, spend the first couple of weeks attending critical workplace skills classes, and with help from advisors, select an internship. Then students learn from professionals in the field while visiting the businesses or organizations twice a week.

“The program gives students a chance to try out a career that they are interested in. If students do a couple internships in high school, they tend to have a better idea of what they want to do in college,” said Chris Thomas, the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at both Spanish Fork High School and Salem Hills High School. “If career sampling is done in high school, not college, ultimately it will save the students money.”

Part of the matching process includes filling out an application, stating career goals and listing three choices of places the students would like to intern. Though Thomas has an extensive list of internships from past years, she claims that new internships are created every semester.

“While they aren’t on location, the students are in the classroom, learning how to get a job and then how to keep a job,” said Thomas. “We teach students how to write resumes, cover letters and reference pages. They learn interviewing skills, networking, how to fill out job applications. Later, once they’ve been placed with an employer, the students are taught business ethics, attitude and teamwork.”

Read complete story HERE

Work-Based Learning opportunities are available at every high school throughout Utah. If you’re interested in participating in a WBL experience talk to the school counselor in your school.

Meet CTE Teacher Chris Humbert

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Meet CTE Teacher Chris Humbert: From Designing Buildings to Designing Curriculum

The bell marks the end of the school day, but Chris Humbert is still going strong. Students are slow to leave his classroom, and there are some who walk in from the hall to say ‘hi.’ Mr. Humbert obviously has the respect of his students at Kearns Junior High School, and is quick to acknowledge their strengths and contributions. Given his ease in this classroom setting, you would never guess that he hasn’t spent his whole career here, but in truth, Mr. Humbert was an architect for many years before pursuing his teaching credentials. There were a number of steps involved in making his way to a full time teaching position at Kearns Junior about three years ago, and he credits Granite School District’s Great Beginnings pedagogy classes for giving him a big advantage as he moved from industry into teaching.

Mr. Humbert encourages students to participate in Career and Technical Education – especially Technology and Engineering, and is constantly on the lookout for new ways to communicate all the advantages that CTE courses have to offer. His web page offers his students in CTE Intro (7th grade), Gateway to Technology (8th grade), and Gateway to Engineering (9th grade), a central location for finding course information and more. Mr. Humbert has also just started a Twitter account (follow @MrHumbertKJH) and is eager to find ways to use Twitter and other social media to communicate and share with students and their parents.

Meet Becky Smith: This Teacher Has Solar Power!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Becky Smith is Nationally Board Certified in Technology and Engineering. She teaches CTE Intro as well as math at South Davis Junior High School, and could probably teach effectively with her hands behind her back, given her knowledge and experience. However, Miss Smith enjoys mixing it up with new resources and activities. She says that keeping things fresh ensures that students are engaged, and student engagement is what nourishes her passion for teaching. She enjoys working with state specialists, and also makes an effort to participate in professional development opportunities that are offered by her district. When asked which CTE Intro activity is her students’ favorite, she described how the class builds solar ovens and then cooks with them! (Check out NASA’s instructions for building a solar oven and their recipe for “Sun S’mores” here.)

Miss Smith says that the activity-centered lessons are appealing to seventh graders, and she is committed to assuring that students get the full benefit of the CTE Intro course, including –

  • The self-knowledge that will help them better understand how to become a contributing member of society.
  • The opportunity to explore the world of work and to learn about the education and training needed to be successful.
  • A personal college and career plan, developed in cooperation with parents, counselors and other educators.

Next time you see Miss Smith, be sure to tell her that she’s a shining example for CTE Intro teachers everywhere!


Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Over 20 Percent Youth Joblessness and Still No Apprenticeships? This was a question posed by economist Robert Lerner as he advocated for expanded youth apprenticeship as a key strategy for raising the skills and productivity of American workers. In his paper, Can the United States Expand Apprenticeship? Lessons from Experience, Lerner offers examples of skill mismatches, especially for many technical jobs requiring mastery of specific occupational tasks. He suggests that this mismatch can be largely addressed by ensuring that apprenticeship becomes an attractive and viable alternative to college and/or the military for many more high school students.

So what is apprenticeship? Registered apprenticeship connects students who are interested in developing new skills with employers who want to train workers for jobs that use those skills. Students earn while they learn – usually at least minimum wage at the start of their program, with increases as they progress. Apprentices typically complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of related instruction each year. Sponsoring employers, employer associations or labor unions will often pay for the technical instruction that is provided by a technical school, community college, or at an apprenticeship training center. Individuals who complete an apprenticeship earn a nationally recognized certificate. You can learn much more about apprenticeship, including sources of additional information and from testimonials, by reading a recent article – “Apprenticeship: Earn while you learn” – in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

This table reflects the ten most popular apprentice occupations. You can click on each occupational code to view additional details – like wages for inexperienced workers in the occupation, or current job openings – available in the Utah Occupation Information Data Viewer.


Occupational Code

Active Apprentices, 2012

Median Nat’l Hourly Wage

Median Utah Hourly Wage



36,742 $23.96 $21.81


15,479 $19.20 $17.07


13,201 $23.62 $23.44
Pipe fitter


8,586 $23.62 $23.44
Construction craft laborer


7,947 $14.42 $13.51
Sheet metal worker


7,714 $20.81 $21.76


5,479 $16.97 $15.95
Structural steel/ironworker


5,041 $22.18 $19.10


3,560 $16.92 $16.54
Pipe fitter (sprinkler fitter)


3,266 $23.62 $23.62

Sources: U. S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics program, Utah Department of Workforce Services

Meet Coleen Huff, Outstanding Educator – CTE/Computers/Guitar

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

You might think that after 28 years of teaching at Mt. Nebo Junior High School, Coleen Huff would be growing tired of it all, but you’d be wrong. She continues to be exhilarated by her students, fellow faculty members, and even by the general community she serves. She says the secret is to keep on learning, and she is quick to point out the opportunities she has to collaborate with colleagues at the school and with district leaders.

Even at the end of a long day, Mrs. Huff’s passion for teaching is evident as she describes the CTE opportunities available at Mt. Nebo – a school with over 700 students. She reports that Mt. Nebo Junior High School offers an Introduction to Agriculture course that is wildly popular with the eighth and ninth graders who manage to get in. She takes pride in the fact that two of her students with special needs passed MS Word and Computer Technology state testslast year. And she is eager to describe her CTE Intro students’ favorite class project; making, marketing, and distributing their own brand of candy bar. “They’re so creative, and they learn so much!”

As Mrs. Huff walks the halls, pointing out various classrooms and features of the school, she is warmly greeted by staff and students alike. She generously shares credit for her achievements with others, which may be one reason that everyone looks forward to working with her for years to come.