Each February, career and technical education (CTE) programs step into the spotlight for CTE Month®. Across the nation, students, educators and community partners celebrate the value and achievements of CTE programs as an integral component of a well-rounded education for all students. So, how will your Iowa school district or college campus celebrate?

CTE programs throughout the state help prepare Iowa students for future successful careers in high-demand fields. High-quality CTE programs engage students as they develop both technical and academic skills and feature both classroom instruction and hands-on learning experiences. Popular in-demand career fields such as health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, culinary and more are frequently offered to students looking to develop skills and gain experience. Oftentimes, students are also able to earn college credits and valuable credentials through CTE programming.

“CTE programs are an important part of education in Iowa and can open doors for students,” said Dennis Harden, chief of career and technical education at the Iowa Department of Education. “They provide high-value opportunities to learn new skills using real-world technology and help individuals identify potential career pathways.”

Students, educators and partners are encouraged to participate in activities to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of CTE programs next month. Individuals can join in the celebration through a few simple activities.

1. Use social media to highlight achievements
Engage followers with discussion posts, photos and short videos on your CTE programs. This is a great, no-cost opportunity to promote CTE Month® and what you’ve achieved in CTE over the past year. Use the hashtags #CTEMonth and #CareerTechEd in your posts during February.

2. Spread the word on CTE at your school district or community college
Get creative and feature CTE programs in your school’s announcements, video screens and publications. Set up demonstrations and exhibits during lunch. Mentor younger students on the exciting opportunities CTE programs can provide and how it can help guide their college and career pathways. CTE teachers can share their experiences on why they became a CTE educator and why it is important.

3. Reach out to community partners
CTE Month® is a great time to connect with business and industry. Invite business leaders to talk about their workplace and how CTE programs can help lead to employment in high-demand careers. Thank current business partners for their involvement in your CTE programs.

4. Participate in CTE Day at the Capitol
Join Iowa students and educators for CTE Day at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. This annual event, sponsored by the Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), showcases CTE and student members of career and technical student organizations (CTSO) host display in the Capitol Rotunda, which provides opportunities for participants to meet with legislators and share their learning experiences. Register with the Iowa ACTE to participate in this upcoming free event.

5. Learn more about CTE programs in Iowa
The Department will feature different CTE highlights and headline stories throughout February. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to hear more about what Iowa is doing in CTE.

For more information on CTE Month® and ways to celebrate, visit the Association of Career and Technical Education.

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