Freedom Works Here.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is an academic term that combines both education and technical skills along with knowledge and hands-on participation, giving students an alternative learning experience. In South Dakota, there are approximately 30,000 CTE students in grades 7-12 in the state.
CTE equips students with the top five skills that employers want, including: flexibility/adaptable; lifelong learner/motivated to grow; job-specific skills (hard skills); soft skills; and passion about an industry.
South Dakota has two statewide CTE Consortiums which help grow and promote CTE and its importance, with 20-30 school districts belonging to each of them. The Eastern Statewide CTE Consortium is directed by Sara Vande Kamp, who is based out of Southeast Tech and the Western Statewide CTE Consortium is under the direction of Fawn Hall.
Hall explained that the purpose of both the Eastern and Western Statewide groups is to bring school districts together to strengthen their CTE programs and provide more effective growth by pooling a larger group. She noted the CTE consortiums help encourage and strengthen relationships between school districts throughout South Dakota by making connections and hosting opportunities.
“Our statewide consortium provides direct access to the CTE teachers and students in nearly 60 communities, but there are also CTE programs in nearly every school across the state,” said Hall.
The consortium model allows for school districts to come together, accessing more Perkins V funding, collaborating with each other, training together, and supporting each other.
“Those districts are able to band together for a common goal across South Dakota, and that is extraordinary for everyone – students and industry included,” said Hall.
Hall noted that every day it is becoming more apparent how vital a trained workforce is to South Dakota’s economy. When businesses partner with local school districts, it helps students to experience work-based learning, understand the career path they are choosing, accelerate faster into the workforce, and see valuable career choices in their local community she said.
“It also helps the businesses to develop an immediate and long-term pipeline of trained workers. I would encourage businesses to reach out to their local school and just start that conversation about how they can partner,” Hall said.
She continued, “These students are preparing for careers in high-demand industries such as engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, business and more. These students are eager to start in their careers and industry partnerships are a critical component to that process.”
To learn more about CTE and how you or your local businesses can get involved, find your local contact here.