Administrator’s Corner: CTE Month — giving some new opportunities

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

Administrator’s Corner by John Double

February is Career and Technical Education Month (CTE Month) and it is a great time for us to look at some great new experiences that are adding to the career exploration opportunities available for our students. Collaborating, both locally and regionally, has brought some great opportunities to the Albert Lea Area Schools for our students.

John Double

One of the areas where Albert Lea Area Schools is a leader in our region is in our Work-Based Learning (WBL) opportunities for all students.  Two years ago, we were awarded a grant to expand our WBL program with the creation of a coffee cart in an off-site location.  Partnering with Riverland Community College (Albert Lea), we opened the “Experiences & Opportunities” coffee cart on the Albert Lea campus staffed by our Transitions students and staff.  It was a great way to take their skills to the next level in a new environment.  The skills developed can lead to industry positions in the leisure and hospitality sector (approximately 26.1% of our students that went directly to employment after graduation between 2010-20).

Albert Lea Area Schools is a member of the Riverland Perkins Consortium comprised of one post-secondary institution and nine secondary districts.  Through working with our consortium, our district was able to receive a new CNC Plasma Cutting Table for our programs. Students in our machining and manufacturing, welding, advanced welding and youth apprenticeship courses will have access to learning this new piece of technology further preparing them for industry. In the last two years, approximately 18.5% of our students that went directly to employment after graduation went into manufacturing (the No. 2 industry in both Albert Lea and Freeborn County based on the 2019 U.S. Census).

Despite the pandemic adding some hurdles to educating our students, Albert Lea Area Schools continues their efforts to expand our Work-Based Learning experiences and further update our programs to reflect the needs of local industries. While we know that about 63% of our students will attend some sort of post-secondary education, we also work to provide the education needed for the approximate 28% that directly enter the workforce following graduation. Together, with our community, we will continue to wok in the best interests of all Albert Lea Area School students.

[Data cites from 2010-2020 S.L.E.D.S. Data and 2019 U.S. Census Data]

John Double is principal of the Albert Lea Online Academy.