← Utah CTE Blog Home

Become a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist

April 6th, 2015

Bear River_IT_IMG_0672Do you like formatting documents, creating spreadsheets, or developing electronic presentations? Are you proficient in a Microsoft Office program—Word, Excel, or PowerPoint? If you answered yes, you can become certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) by taking a MOS exam at one of the 74 testing sites in Utah. Becoming certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist will give you a competitive edge in the job market by displaying your advanced Microsoft Office skills.

Utah students, age 13 to 22, are eligible to participate in one of six competition tracks by submitting a qualified, passing score on any of the following exams by May 20, 2015:
>Microsoft Office Specialist Word (2013 or 2010)
>Microsoft Office Specialist Excel (2013 or 2010)
>Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint (2013 or 2010)

To date, Utah students have taken almost 12,000 exams and passed more than 6,000 exams. In addition, more than 5,800 Utah students have certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist.

Students who certify as a Microsoft Office Specialist qualify—highest score, lowest time—to compete in the state, national, and world competition. At the 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist Utah State Championship, now through May 20, 2015, student competitors will showcase their expert skills using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and the top winners, one per track, will represent Utah at the 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship in Orlando, Florida June 18–20, 2015.

In May 2015, invitations to the U.S. National Championship will be extended to top students from Utah who have entered a qualified exam entry. During the 2015 MOS U.S. National Championship event, student competitors will take a unique competition exam in their track, further testing their knowledge of the applications. In conjunction with the event, Certiport will host the inaugural 2015 CERTIFIED Educator Conference. CERTIFIED will be a place for teachers who offer certification in their classrooms to share best practices, learn what is new, and learn why certification is valuable.

“The growing popularity of MOS certification in Utah shows our dedication to college and workforce readiness, and the competition is a way to get kids even more excited,” said Laura deShazo, Utah State Office of Education. “We look forward to seeing students perfect their Microsoft skills and represent our state at the MOS U.S. National Championship. Being named best in the state at Microsoft Office is a resume booster and an experience the winners will never forget.”

May 20, 2015 is the deadline for students to enter the MOS U.S. National Championship. For official rules, prizes, promotional materials, and current rankings talk to the business or Information Technology (IT) teacher in your school, or visit 2015 MOS Utah State Championship.

2015 MOS U.S. National Championship
Who: Utah middle/junior high and high school students
What: 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist National Championship
Where: Orlando, Florida
When: June 18-20, 2015

CTE Students Amazed at All the Things to Do at STEM Fest

April 6th, 2015

By Judy Newton, Kurt Twining, and Bethann Martin
CTE Intro teachers at
Evergreen Junior High

STEM Fest 1Five yellow school buses, five team teachers, 250 7th graders with permission slips, and 15 parent chaperones can make for one very exciting, high energy day. STEM Fest at Utah Valley University was calling to our school, Evergreen Junior High, and we met the challenge. Every 7th grade CTE Introduction student was invited.

STEM is a buzzy acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Last week President Obama announced a $240 million initiative paid for with private donations to stimulate students’ interest in these areas. In our own state, Governor Herbert has organized the STEM Action Center, dedicated to “promoting science, technology, engineering and math through best practices in education to ensure connection with industry and Utah’s long-term economic prosperity.” As a result, Utah’s school children have been making the bus ride to a series of STEM activity days.

Throughout the country in STEM fields, there are more jobs available than people qualified to fill them. For the most part, these are high paying jobs. Looking to set-up a better pipeline of students graduating and working in STEM fields, hundreds of companies had booths at the STEM Fest with hands-on activities to engage students and spark their inquiring minds. Career options for girls and minority groups were especially encouraged.

STEM Fest 5Ava F. and Brooklyn K. certainly had a fun time. “The corn starch pool was really fun.” Brooklyn commented. “We got to walk across a mixture of corn starch and water.”

“Yeah,” Ave agreed. “In science, we learned about how corn starch and water can be hard if pushed quickly and watched a video of someone walking across it, but at STEM Fest we actually got to experience it.”

Both girls really loved the hands-on application of science concepts at STEM Fest. In fact, most students were amazed at the high energy and things to do at STEM Fest. We soon realized there just wasn’t enough time to “sample” all of the offerings. It was said that over a three day period of time, STEM Fest attracted over 12,000 students. Evergreen Junior High was thrilled that 250 of them were ours.

STEM Fest 3STEM Fest 6STEM Fest 2

College and Career Awareness

April 2nd, 2015

Cedar City_IT_IMG_4499Have you heard the news? CTE Introduction is changing to College and Career Awareness. This seventh grade course is designed to acquaint students with the Utah labor market and the employment opportunities for which they can prepare by defining a College and Career Ready Plan. College and Career Awareness offers exploration and preparation in college and career pathways, focusing on jobs that are high skill and high demand, as well as satisfying and financially rewarding.

The College and Career Awareness course is designed to help students identify their interests, abilities, and skills. During the course students will:

  • Become knowledgeable about the importance of career options and career planning; self-knowledge/self-efficacy (interest, aptitude, ability); current and emerging occupational information; and the preparatory steps for college and career readiness.
  • Improve development in core subject content that is necessary for college and career readiness; explore relevant education, training, and career opportunities essential for success.

During the year long course students will explore skills, knowledge, and concepts related to CTE College and Career Pathways in:

  • Agriculture
  • Business and Marketing
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Health Science
  • Information Technology
  • Technology and Engineering, Skilled and Technical Sciences

College Career Awareness color 300 dpi

Save the Date: Utah 2015 Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition

March 31st, 2015

20140501_095314On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 20 high school students from across Utah will gather together to compete in the state Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College. Students, working in teams of two, will compete to successfully debug a 2015 Ford vehicle. The competition requires repairs to be made with the highest quality workmanship (in the lowest total time) within 90 minutes.

The qualifying process began in February with 276 Utah students, in 19 high schools, taking the Ford/AAA written exam in order to have the opportunity to compete in the state hands-on competition. Those students scoring the highest participate in the hands-on competition. The exam includes 50 questions (10 each) in the following five areas:

  • Environmental and generic safety practices
  • Steering suspension and brakes
  • Electrical
  • Engine performance
  • Power train (engine to drive wheels)

The ten teams (two students in each team) participating in the state competition on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 are:

  • Bountiful High School Jason Naelge and Mitch Alsop
  • Clearfield High School Dallas Stoker and Cole Younger
  • Davis High School Jake Hoffman and Brett Winterton
  • Emery High School – Tuckett Allred and Hunter Jefferies
  • Olympus High School – Brinton Neff and Andrew Lodder
  • Provo High School – Christian Beaumont and Rich Shriber
  • Riverton High School – Wade Tate and Cason Hales
  • Syracuse High School – Tyler Fralick and Caleb Hill
  • Timpview High School – David Forsythe and Jose Estrada
  • Woods Cross High School – Joseph Jackson and Richard Whittaker

The winner of the state competition will advance to the national competition in Dearborn, Michigan (home of Ford Motor Company headquarters) June 7-9, 2015, to compete for nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes.

The Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition fosters students’ interest in the automotive industry through a spirited nationwide competition with opportunities to win prizes, scholarships, tools and awards along with an experience that could help shape the future of their careers. The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program helps to ensure future technicians are well-educated to meet ongoing changes in the industry. With more jobs available than workers to fill, a career as an automotive technician provides a promising future.

The work of automotive service technicians and mechanics has evolved from simply mechanical to high technology. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, in Utah, an experienced automotive service technician earns an hourly wage of $17.20, or $35,776 per year. This occupation is projected to grow 2.3 percent through the year 2022.

If being involved in the automotive industry interests you, contact your school counselor to register for classes in the Career and Technical Education Automotive Service Technician Pathway.

CTE Internship with a Smile

March 31st, 2015

Emily Goldman photo 1b

By Emily Goldman, student at Sky View High School

My name is Emily Goldman and I had the opportunity, during the winter of 2014-2015, to complete a CTE Internship at Dr. Grays Dental Office in the field of dental assisting. I am planning to pursue a career as a dental hygienist, and this internship let me get my foot in the door and see how a dental office really is. It also helped me have a better understanding of all of the procedures and tools that are needed to run a dental office successfully. I developed so many helpful skills that will help me not only at work, but also outside of the office.

As a dental assistant I had to learn surgery steps, names and functions of tools, and the proper ways of cleaning the exam rooms. I also had to gain a very comfortable relationship with patients as well as the parents of patients, so they would have no worries of how a surgery or a cleaning would go. While waiting for the doctor I would have to keep a conversation with patients, which helped me with my social skills. I absolutely loved every minute of interning at Dr. Gray’s office, and that had a lot to do with the other dental assistants as well as the hygienists and receptionists. They were all so patient and understanding and helpful in whatever task that I was asked to do.

I am so thankful that I was able to have this chance to see if it was what I really wanted to do, and it is due to the amazing people who helped me see all the good of a dental office.

Trip W Club Sponsors a Dinner Meeting

March 27th, 2015

By Steven Jualio-Martin, welding student at Highland High School

Steven Jualio-Martin photoOn March 10, 2015, Salt Lake City School District welding teacher, Denise Hevner and the Trip W Club (welding club) held a dinner meeting with guest speakers. The purpose of the dinner meeting was to inform students and their parents/guests about the many career opportunities in the field of welding. Together they brought in six guest speakers that are currently working in different areas of the industry.

One of the speakers was a young man by the name of Emilio Quintana. Emilio is a former student of Ms. Hevner and is a Weber State University student who is working on getting his engineering degree in welding. He mentioned the fact that you can make money by creating art through welding. It’s very interesting what you can do with welding! The fact that you can make money by making art speaks volumes to some. You could be an entrepreneur and start your own business.

Despite the fact that welding comes with a good salary, Nick Price from the DATC (Davis Applied Technology College), pointed out that you don’t need to have a huge salary to be happy. He shared his story about opportunities he’s had to get better paying jobs in the field, but turned them down to be a teacher. “It’s about finding your passion and doing what makes you happy. You know you have found your career when you look forward to going to work on Monday,” said Nick.

20150310_191631_resizedIMG_6052Jason Hart from Lincoln Electric brought in a virtual reality welding machine to demonstrate how it works. What make this a great training tool is that it gives you instant feedback on your travel speed, travel angle, work angle, arc gap and position. It will rate and score the weld upon completion. This kind of technology is the future of welding education.

All of the guest speakers shared their own experiences and perspectives on how to get started in the welding industry. After the dinner meeting, there was a question and answer session for both parents/guests and students to talk with the guest speakers about more detail and personal information. Parents/guests seemed pleased to learn of the potential for a well-paying career in welding.

America is short more than 200,000 welders right now. If you have the skill and you enjoy it, there is a career waiting for you. The welding industry doesn’t just mean getting under the hood either. That is only one branch of the career path tree. There are many career options if you like welding, and it doesn’t mean you have to be a welder. Learning to weld is just the foundation.

IMG_6055We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our guest speakers:
Nick PriceDATC
Bob NorthLocal 27 Iron Workers Union
Woody Cook – SME Steel
Emilio Quintana – Weber State University student
Bob UdySalt Lake Community College
Jason HartLincoln Electric



My CTE Internship at Esplin-Weight Attorneys at Law

March 26th, 2015

By Bilmer Chacon, student at Spanish Fork High School

Bilmer ChaconHello, my name is Bilmer Chacon. I am a senior attending Spanish Fork High School. My career goals for the future are to go into law or the computer science industry, so I have been interning at Esplin-Weight Attorneys at Law in Provo, Utah to find out more about one of my career interests.

Esplin-Weight is a law firm handling a variety of cases from adoptions to business matters and divorces. I have had the opportunity to intern with Trent Cahill, one of the firms’ attorneys. Each day when I arrive he updates me on current cases he is working on, how he will handle the case and what approach he plans to take to assist the client. I have been taught to make and file documents and have been able to attend and learn about different aspects of the court. Each employee at Esplin-Weight has been instrumental in explaining things I didn’t understand, showing me what they do in their different jobs, and providing information on what it takes to become a lawyer.

So far I have loved everything I’ve learned. Even though it will be a challenge to become a lawyer, thanks to the people at Esplin-Weight, it is now something I think I can do and that I would enjoy doing!


A Head-Start on Pursuing My Dreams

March 25th, 2015

By Merralee Young, student at Sky View High School

Merralee Young photo 2“When I was in fifth grade, I had the most amazing teacher. She taught us how to be respectful and responsible. Through her teaching style, she treated all of her students equally and made us all feel like we were important and had something to share with the world around us. Elementary school is such a critical time. All of the kids need someone to teach them to love school, and to teach them how to be a respectable member of society. Ever since fifth grade, I have had a desire to have that same kind of influence on other kids that my fifth grade teacher had on me.

“I’m Merralee Young. In the winter of 2015 I completed a CTE Internship at Sunrise Elementary School in the field of elementary education. I got to work with Mrs. Hellstern in her afternoon kindergarten class. I’m pursuing a career in elementary education and this internship has really helped me get out of my comfort zone and really get to see what elementary education has in store [for me]. It was a great experience to spend so much time with such a great teacher. Kindergarten can be a hard age, but Mrs. Hellstern is very good at what she does. I think she understands what level of cognition the students are at and knows just when and where to push her students to do their best. For example, Mrs. Hellstern’s class has their own mission statement, separate from the schools. One of the key words in this mission statement is “synergize.” She was teaching her kindergarten class how to work together, or synergize, by reading them a story and giving each student a partner to work on an assignment together. It was something none of the students had much experience with, but they responded very well.

“I feel fortunate to have been able to work one-on-one with the students, and observe what it takes to be a teacher. I had the chance to do things like organize files, do crafts with the students, and read stories to the class. When I was responsible for a group of students, it felt a little out of place to take charge because I don’t get to play the teacher role in my life very often. I found that it’s harder than it looks to be in charge of 25 children, but that it’s something I’m very capable of doing. My favorite part of this experience is how rewarding it is. I love interacting with the kids, and hearing their funny stories. It’s also pretty neat to see how the students learn and progress, even in just a few short months. I have definitely learned some amazing things that will give me a head-start on my career in elementary education.”

Merralee Young photo 1


Join CTE at the 2015 Utah STEM Fest

March 24th, 2015

Middle/junior high school students, and their families, are invited to attend the 2015 Utah STEM Fest March 25-27, 2015 at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.

Utah STEM Fest is an innovative workforce development tool designed to provide students with hands-on exposure to diverse and exciting careers. Through interactive exhibits students will learn about careers, Milford_TE_IMG_4459discover the technical skills required to be successful in a career, and find out how to train for jobs in some of Utah’s fastest growing industries, including:
> Aerospace
> Automotive and Diesel
> Construction
> Energy and Energy Efficiency
> Engineering
> Manufacturing and Composites

STEM Fest mapSTEM Fest is about innovation and how to harness it. It’s about imagination and how to fuel it. Students and their families will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on experiences in science and technology. Be sure to stop by the USOE/Career and Technical Education booth located at C15 in the exhibition center.

Who: Utah middle/junior high school students

What You Can Expect to See at Utah STEM Fest:
> BYU’s soft-robot and unmanned aerial vehicle
> Discovery Space Center
> Larry H. Miller race car
> Superhydrophobic material
> Supermileage vehicle

> Wednesday, March 25, Thursday, March 26, and Friday morning, March 27: Open to middle/junior high school students.
> Friday, March 27: Open to the public from 2:00-8:00 p.m.

Where: UCCU Events Center on Utah Valley University Campus 800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT

Why: To learn about future career opportunities that align with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines.

Questions: Contact Carl Lyman – carl.lyman@schools.utah.gov

STEM Career Resources:
STEM Career—Learn about STEM careers and available scholarships.
STEM Girls—Find out about the career opportunities for women in STEM.
O*NET—Explore STEM careers by discipline.

National Ag Week Omelet Cook-off

March 20th, 2015

IMG_0203In celebration of the first day of spring, and to celebrate National Ag Week, Utah FFA hosted an omelet cook-off at the Utah State Fair Park. Teams competed to cook the best tasting and most creative omelet in 15 minutes. The competition was “egg-citing” to watch as each competitor “scrambled” to create an omelet that would impress the judges.

Four distinguished guests—Christina Nolasco, former State FFA President; Randy Rigby, President, Utah Jazz; LuAnn Adams, Commissioner, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food; and Governor Gary Herbert—were deemed “egg-cellent” judges for the event. Judges
“egg-amined” each omelet for appearance and taste to crown an “egg-ceptional” winner in two categories.

Haley Smith, KSL TV, won “Most Creative” omelet and an Oakdell Eggs representative won “Best Tasting” omelet. Both individuals were “egg-static” to be named the winner of the 2015 Omelet Cook-off.

Related Story:
KSL Morning Show – National Ag Day Omelet Cook-off