Union Grove ISD, the fiscal agent for the group, hosted the event as a brainstorming and Q&A session.
On hand were presenters from area technical schools, colleges and industry professionals.
“Career education is critical in today’s society,” said Union Grove ISD Supt. Brian Gray. “Statistics show that 28 percent of graduating high school students are entering universities that offer 4-year degrees.
“Those students that graduate are competing for only about 20 percent of the available jobs,” he said. “Students that opt for technical training and workforce-related skills are competing for 68 percent of available jobs. It is our responsibility as educators to offer real-world skills that give students who opt to enter the work force an opportunity to be successful, tax-paying members of society.”
School districts from across the area heard presentation on multiple curricula, possible CATE class offerings and discussed virtual learning as an option that allows school districts with limited resources to offer CATE classes.
“All school districts want to offer the best education possible, and we want all of our kids to be prepared for a 4-year college if that is the route they plan to go,” Gray said. “However, we don’t want to disenfranchise any students, and if they choose technical school or opt to go directly into the workforce, we want to give our kids certifications and other tools that make them employable.
“Statistics show that 60 percent of all baby-boomers will retire within the next ten years, and many of the jobs that will become available are of skilled workers.”
Kelly Muffoletto, the consortium coordinator, organized the meeting and brought in experts in many fields to address the educator audience. The groups discussed the fastest-growing career fields, and workforce areas that are in high demand, as well as pay structure of various industries.
Some of the CATE course offerings for the carious school districts: Medical Arts (certified nurse’s assistant and pharmacy tech), Welding and Fabrication, Veterinary Arts, Print Shop-Business Model, Adobe illustrator, Final/Cut Pro Digital Media Editing, Culinary Arts, Photoshop, Rocketry, Forensic Science and Criminal Justice just to name a few.
Schools attending the meeting included Alba Golden, Beckville, Big Sandy, Harleton, Harmony, Hawkins, New Diana, Ore City, Quitman, Sabine, Tatum, Troup, Union Grove, Union Hill, Waskom, White Oak, Winnsboro and Winona.
Presenters, in addtion to Ms. Muffoletto and Supt. Gray, included Kaye Morris, Tyler Jr. College; Adam Agard, OPAC-Business and Finance; Donna Bougue, Virtual School; Kelly Cobb, Prinicples of Health Science-Quitman ISD; Chuck Schu, NCCER Certifications; and Bud Johnson, Paxton and Patterson Health Science.