Community Partner Views CTE Teachers as Champion Collaborators


~by Tom O’Hern

We often see and hear the acronym “CTE.” What does Career and Technical Education actually entail for high school students?

DECA, Business Professionals of America (BPA), AVID, science, technology and math (STEM) initiatives … These are just some of the high school programs occurring each and every day alongside CTE often with similar goals and intents.

The awesome collaborations I have had with many CTE teachers and their students for several years now has left me with one constant and observable theme: the CTE teacher’s strong desire for applicable opportunities to which students can tangibly grasp success. It’s more than just exposure to new things—it’s a desire to directly linking that student to a pathway for high school and post-high school education and employment.

I’ve also observed “universal teacher advocacy” to which CTE teachers are some of the most insistent educators I know. They listen intently to what their students are interested in and then try to fill that interest with academic, industry and community resources.

This exhausting advocacy includes high-volume student caseloads, a plethora of student Individual Education Plans or Personal Learning Plans, student attendance/absenteeism inconsistencies, student credit recovery … you name it. The CTE teacher has this winding flow of factors that sometimes is askew from what many deem as traditional and normative education practices.

In my own educational lens, the ultimate goal is for CTE students to be their own advocates when exploring the world of work. To ultimately grasp workplace competencies is what the CTE teacher evokes.

I, in turn, try to provide meaningful opportunities for those teachers with two focus features: (1) To provide resources and strategies that do not add more work for the teacher (2) The experiential activity (whether in-class or at a community business location) is meaningful for the students and adheres to the teachers classroom curriculum.

Student career pathways, career and college readiness programs, and circular core clusters are only so effective unless there are adult advocates within any profit or non-profit organization willing to open doors for student opportunity. For example, the continual employee shortages in manufacturing businesses (metals, printing, etc.) in Minnesota is expansive. Filling those gaps is imperative.

The answer does not lay in the lap of CTE alone. It’s a partnership that needs champions and advocates on both the education and the employer sides. The CTE bridge is strong, but the path for students to cross over into the workplace is paved by all who are willing to create and follow-through with commitments to student success.


Tom O’Hern is our guest blogger and High School Program Manager for Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest

Paper Manufacturing a Cut Above the Rest in Northeast MN


by Cameron Macht ~

Northeast Minnesota has the smallest number and concentration of manufacturing jobs in the state, but still has 8,905 jobs at 355 manufacturing establishments, accounting for 6.3% of total regional employment in 2013.

The Arrowhead has just 3% of the manufacturing jobs in the state, but has almost one-fourth of Minnesota’s employment in the Paper Manufacturing sector. With 2,321 jobs at 9 establishments, Paper Manufacturing is easily the largest sector in Northeast Minnesota, accounting for 23.6% of the 9,855 jobs in Paper Manufacturing statewide.

Continue reading

Skilled Trades That Allow You to Travel


by Monica Gomez ~

You might think that finding a job that allows you the freedom to travel requires a four-year degree, or even a more advanced education. However, there is good news for those who are interested in working in a hands-on environment. Skilled-trades workers have a number of opportunities to travel for their job. And these jobs often do not require a degree.

Here are just some of the blue-collar jobs that allow you to travel for work.

Continue reading

Southeast Minnesota Manufacturing Picture Coming into Focus


by Mark Schultz ~

Minnesota Manufacturers Week is an excellent opportunity to bring attention and focus to the manufacturing industry throughout the state, especially in Southeast Minnesota. With 36,634 jobs at 665 firms, manufacturing accounts for 15.6% of total employment in the region. That’s much more concentrated than in the state as a whole, where 11.4 percent of total jobs are in manufacturing.

Following the 2001 recession that affected all industries, manufacturing also saw a job decline in 2002, then remained relatively stable for the next 4 years, while other industries started to grow. During the more severe Great Recession in 2007, all industries including manufacturing saw significant drops all the way through 2010. Since then, the economy has started to see job gains again, although manufacturing has not seen the same level of growth as was seen across all industries.

SEMN Figure 1

Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data tool

Continue reading

Favorite Career and Job Sites


by Denise Felder

Update: the voting period for the DOL Challenge is now closed. However, you can still visit the DOL Challenge web site to see how your favorite career or job web sites did in the voting or to view the comments people posted about them.  Thanks for voting!

 

The good news is: there are a lot of resources available to job seekers on the Internet.  The bad news is: it’s difficult to separate the good Web sites from the less helpful ones.  Search the phrase “job seeker” on Google and you will get about 15,600,000 results.  The phrase “career help” pulls up 223,000,000 Web pages.

 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wants you to find the best job board, career information sources, and other online tools that help you find or advance your employment. DOL is compiling a list of online resources though its “DOL Challenge.”

Continue reading

What Women Need to Know about Salaries


by Teri Fritsma

There may be some skeptics out there, but the data is clear: women, on average, still earn less than men.  Sex differences in education, experience, and career choices can explain some of the gap, but not all of it.  For example, take just college graduates who work full-time.  Men’s median weekly wages are $1,243, while women’s are $932 for women (see this chart for the data).  And this graphic (based on data from the 2007 Current Population Survey) shows that women earn less even when they work in the same occupation as men.  Here in Minnesota, women make about 80 cents for every dollar men earn.  (That’s an unadjusted figure that doesn’t take into account sex differences in education, experience, career choices, etc.)

 

The pay gap has shrunk significantly over the past 30 years.  Still, these days even a small pay gap has big implications for families.  For the first time ever, women are on the verge of outnumbering men in the labor force.  And while it’s not new for women to work, what is new is that many women are finding themselves in the role of breadwinner.  Men have been much more likely than women to lose their jobs during this recession (especially here in Minnesota).  

 

If you’re a female (or male) job seeker, here are some tips to help you get the highest salary you can.

Continue reading