MARSHALL — Career and technical education is a good investment for Minnesota’s schools and workforce, speakers said at an event Friday in Marshall.
According to data collected by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, high school students who focus on CTE and workplace learning are more likely to be employed in their field years after graduating from high school.
“CTE is for every child,” said Luke Greiner, a regional labor market analyst at DEED. The data showed that students benefited from career and technical education whether or not they went on to college, Greiner said.
The difference CTE makes was the key topic at the third annual CTE Summit held at Marshall. Area business people and educators heard updates on career and technical education programs being developed in the area and even heard from students in Lyon and Murray County’s CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program.
“It’s courses like these that allow and best prepare us to work for businesses like yours and maybe even start our own.” said Braxton Seifert, a CEO student at Marshall High School.
In the past two years, Marshall Public Schools has begun to focus on career and technical education, Superintendent Jeremy Williams said. Renovations are underway on property the district purchased in Marshall for a Career and Technical Institute.
“It will open in the fall of 2023,” Williams said. “We’re going to have a medical institute — we have a CNA lab that’s being built as part of this program, where we’re going to have CNA classes to begin with. We have a manufacturing institute, these are our welding courses. And we have an automotive institute where we do some auto repair and auto body classes downtown, with a lot of room for expansion in the future.”
The public heard more about the benefits of CTE from Greiner.
“I think CTE needs a shift in perception, both from administrators and adults, but also through the eyes of students.” Greiner said. Rather than primarily an option for students who don’t attend college, CTE can have benefits for all types of students, he said.
Analyzing Minnesota fiscal data, DEED found that students who focused on CTE in high school were more likely to have stable employment and a higher salary six years after leaving high school, Greiner said. Students who did not go to college, students who attended a two-year program, and students who attended a four-year program all showed benefits.
“Part of the reason there are those salary premiums is because students who focus on CTE, they have the opportunities to connect with you (employers)” Greiner said. “Career courses, mentorships, internships, job shadows, guest speakers, all creating a meaningful relationship with an employer in their own backyard.”
During part of the CTE Summit, the audience received an update on Lyon and Murray County’s CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program. CEO is a nationwide program where high school juniors and seniors take an in-depth look at local businesses and gain experience creating their own businesses.
The inaugural Lyon and Murray County CEO class has a group business project underway, and individual students said they are thinking of their own business proposals.
“The CEO program has been so great because I feel like I’ve made so many connections so far,” Cloie Stevens said.
“How CEO really affected me is definitely my confidence.” Paige Duthoy said.
She said she learned how to communicate with people in the business community and not feel overwhelmed.
“It’s just, ‘Don’t be afraid, just go out there, be nice and try to get things done'” she said.
As a class, Lyon and Murray County CEO developed “Minnesotafied”, a line of products such as clothing and stickers with Minnesota-themed logos and slogans. The big kick off product sales will be today at the Kindlmarkt event held from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Marshall Area YMCA.