Consultant advises I-SS to consider revamping Career Technical Education offerings

Posted at 11:40 PM on Aug 7, 2019

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BY KARISSA MILLER

Iredell-Statesville Schools officials are considering adding new courses to the district's Career Technical Education program, starting as soon as next July, as part of an effort to align courses and programs of study to the needs of local business and industry.

The proposal was advanced by consultant and education advisor Dr. Ed Shafer.

“We’re asking the district to consider that there be very explicit, coherent sequential programs of study that you can present to kids, businesses and families,” Shafer said.

The consultant asked the school board to consider expanding the Information Technologies program by adding programs such as visualization and analytics, cybersecurity, networking, telecommunications, and program and software development.

The I-SS CTE Department will re-evaluate all of its courses to make sure they are aligned with what is needed in the business community.

“One of the things I encountered here when I was talking to people -- a lot of ideas are flowing and the question is do they line up with the employment piece in the region … are there other ways to do it,” Shafer asked.

Shafer explained that there is a need to reduce some classes as the CTE Department shifts its focus toward becoming career and workplace ready, which will include earning career certification, licensing or credentials.

Additionally, the district should offer more professional development opportunities for CTE teachers, he said.

Director of CTE Todd Williams said the consultant was hired at the request of the school board to address low enrollment numbers at the Career Academy and Technical School and ensure that the district's CTE programs are aligned with the needs of businesses in the community.

The consultant was paid $17,000, district officials said.

“We’re trying to improve and make students aware of the good job opportunities right here in the county and trying to match the curriculum to the needs of employers," Williams said.

The CTE Department plans on offering a Teacher Cadet program in the future.

“Anytime we introduce a new course we have to re-evaluate and sometimes sunset courses that no longer match the essential standards and job skills needed by local employers. Federal legislation demands that our course offerings make connections to jobs that fit our communities all in an effort to build an intentional pipeline of prepared workers,” Williams said.

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