February is CTE Month®, honoring the administrators, teachers, counselors and other professionals who help students and adults identify career goals and make the educational and training plans to reach them.

Given the anticipated demand for more highly skilled workers needed to successfully compete in the global economy, the efforts of today’s educational and career development professionals in developing tomorrow’s workforce have never been more important.

In its 2018 state-by-state report, the Association for Career and Technical Education® (ACTE) outlines the range and scope of activities taken in each state during 2018.  And while an impressive 146 policy actions related to CTE were passed last year, this total is nearly 100 fewer than were passed in 2017. 

These policy and funding initiatives are the foundation upon which every CTE professional is able to act, whether they are in the educational or career development field.  Keeping an eye on state legislature support for CTE, and ensuring your state is being proactive, is vital to making sure your state’s students and working adults can meet future labor demands.  Learn more about your States CTE systems here.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from policy, we argue that professional efforts should focus on helping each student or client develop a personal, individually tailored plan that links insight into the person’s unique combination of personality, preferences, skills and talents to careers that leverage their individual strengths.

Using individual insight as the foundation of a student or client career plan has several advantages:

  • The individual’s insight can help focus career exploration in areas where the student or client is more likely to find satisfaction and success.
  • The goals and plans made by the student or client are more motivating — they’re based on personal insight.
  • The individual’s personal insight can become a lifelong touchpoint, helping the person refocus and adapt to changes in market demand for their skillset based on self-knowledge.

This doesn’t have be difficult. There are several recognized curricular products that can help the student and professional craft individual plans.  Besides, making a student career and educational plan personal just makes common sense.