Is Your Focus on Career & Technical Education? (CTE)
For ten years as a CTE (Career & Technical Education) teacher, I watched my most successful and promising students struggle to transition to the workforce. How could this be?!
These students had high GPAs, high SAT/ACT scores, and won numerous awards and scholarships. They were even recognized on stage during international competitions in their field (e.g. DECA, BPA, FCCLA, etc.). However, these students would return to me years after graduating from high school (regardless of the training/college education they received) seeking advice on entering/advancing in the workforce.
Why Was This Happening?!?!
My CTE program, like many across the country had ample technology, teacher training, materials, and resources. We met regularly with our Advisory Committee Board (professionals in the field volunteering their time to advise the teachers on the relevancy of our curriculum). Our students were performing highly on nationally recognized assessments and competitions. We had everything we needed, yet we were missing something…
After years of wondering what the missing piece was, research from around the globe is revealing a common theme… Our workforce (those in it and entering it), does not possess soft skills.
“Soft skills”, the term itself, sounds unimportant or optional, but we’re discovering it is critical.
Our workforce has strong technical skills, but that’s not enough. We perform well on “tests”, have strong skills and credentials listed on resumes, but our skills in the area of teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and communication are lacking. As a result, our workforce is struggling to lead us into the future.
A study of 500 CEOs revealed that 75% of career success is dependent on soft skills, leaving only 25% truly dependent of the technical skills that we focus on so heavily. Another skills needs assessment on emerging sectors discovered that nearly 95% of the skills most needed of newly hired employees is soft skills.
In fact, “soft skills are the most influential factor in hiring decisions by employers, even above technical skills and credentials,” according to a study by JPMorgan Chase.
As CTE teachers, we only want the most for our students in preparing them for the workplace. We gather the best materials we can, conduct research in our field, create relevant lessons, and teach them the skills they’ll need for employment. That’s why I was so frustrated when I witnessed my top-performing students hitting a wall as they entered the workforce. It seemed as though the students deserved more results from both their efforts as a student and mine as a teacher.
If That’s Not Frustrating Enough…
There’s constant pressure on CTE teachers to justify the value of their programs. Core academic teachers rarely understand the importance of Career and Technical Education and often scoff at the flow of dollars in these programs. Furthermore, CTE teachers as a whole are very aware that at a moment’s notice a slight change in the political winds could dry up the much needed additional funding to run these programs.
So, with all of these pressures, CTE teachers need their students to be successful… beyond just the tests and competitions, but in the true arena of the workplace.
If we’re truly committed to developing a sustainable, qualified, workforce pipeline, something has got to change. We can’t teach the exact same curriculum in the exact same fashion and then expect different results…that is insanity.
So, the missing piece we must introduce, and quickly, is soft skills. We need to teach students how to communicate, organize, plan, manage time/details/resources, think critically, and solve problems (without instructions).
Employers are begging for us to teach students these skills, and most teachers agree that these skills are important. So, why aren’t we teaching these skills?
Simple, until now, we’ve never had a ready-to-go curriculum. In the past, it was up to individual teachers to gather a myriad of resources while guessing which soft skills would be most useful in the workplace.
SOAR® Soft Skills has revolutionized instruction in soft skills! (Also known as “study skills” in education.) These skills are useful and applicable to students while automatically develop into soft skills in the work place.
- Is proven to raise student GPAs by an average of 1 full point!
- Has been declared 98.5% effective by teachers.
- Covers 100% of the Common Core Anchor Standards.
The SOAR® Soft Skills Curriculum, teaches students how to effectively:
- Identify students' strengths & “SuperPowers” (according to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences)
- Set goals
- Establish priorities
- Manage time
- Organize papers, desks, lockers, & other space
- Speak & listen effectively
- Work with teachers & peers
- Read and understand textbooks
- Take notes
- Study for tests
- Write research papers
- Prepare for presentations
- Track long-term goals
The SOAR® curriculum is used in thousands of schools. SOAR® has been THE best-selling study skills book, in the world, since 2007!
Is Your Focus Also On…?
SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills Curriculum
The SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills curriculum includes our award-winning student workbook, student app, and popular Multi-Media Teacher's Guide. Explore the curriculum below...
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SOAR® Is Guaranteed to Provide:
- a 0.5% GPA increase across your student body.
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Includes Information on SOAR's #1 World-Wide, Best-Selling Learning & Soft Skills Curriculum
Free Study Skills
Includes: SOAR Curriculum Trial Plus Report: 3 Core Problems in Education (with Solutions!) Brian Biology of Learning Videos