Administrator’s Corner: Celebrating National Career and Technical Education Month

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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Administrator’s Corner by Jeff Halverson

February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Media outlets regularly report on the shortage of skilled workers in the labor pool. Conversations over coffee at the local eateries will often include the frustrations over finding an available contractor to hire for a specific home improvement or remodel. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the skilled labor shortage is projected to continue unless and until communities act to reverse this trend. Career and technical education programming at Albert Lea High School is working to address this shortage by providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in these high-demand careers.

Jeff Halverson

Albert Lea High School is fortunate to have dedicated teachers trained and licensed in career and technical education that provide our students with experiences and training in areas that are in high-demand in today’s labor market. CTE programs at Albert Lea High School provide students with valuable hands-on learning experiences that prepare them for a potential future career. With the increasing demand for skilled workers in Minnesota, it is critical for students to have access to these programs.

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Albert Lea High School students have shown great interest in the CTE courses offered at ALHS. For example, during this 2022-2023 school year, over 600 ALHS students enrolled in over 1,350 CTE semester course credits. A sampling of these courses includes residential electricity, basic woods/carpentry, small engines, welding, creative foods, computer programming, and landscape/horticulture. Additionally, ALHS students have benefited from school district/community stakeholder partnerships that provide students with valuable opportunities for experiential learning away from the high school campus.

We are encouraged by the level of interest in CTE programming demonstrated by our students. This reinforces our desire as a school district to continue reflecting on how we might make these student experiences more enriching for students as they explore various career interests while also developing their foundation of skills. In the coming months, the school district will be seeking community input on the direction of our Career and Technical Education programming. Please consider how you might join in this conversation as we seek to maximize the possibilities for our students now and in the future.

Jeff Halverson is the executive director of careers, technology and innovation for Albert Lea Area Schools.