Greetings WACTE members!
It is my pleasure to serve the organization as your President. There is a great deal of energy around Wyoming Career and Technical Education this year. We are positioned to make significant advances if we combine our efforts. The current workforce crisis has created a heightened awareness that Wyoming must focus on CTE to provide our students opportunities in careers in which a high demand currently exists. Our programs prepare students for entry into the market in agriculture, trades and occupational areas, and business. These careers bolster and strengthen Wyoming’s economy. Emphasis on high-demand, localized careers positively impacts a student’s opportunity to remain in the state and contribute. Our stability in Wyoming has a direct link to CTE in our communities. It is critical that Wyoming has a homegrown, skilled and trained workforce for its infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and hospitality needs. We also need a new generation of young people to help diversify and fortify our future economy. Wyoming must invest heavily in CTE to provide sustained economic growth. These factors are why leaders are looking to you to help understand how to proceed under current conditions.
This year you will likely be involved in many discussions on the importance of CTE. Consider that it 2008, there were roughly 5,307 Concentrators. Today we have steadily declined to 3,549 statewide. This represents a 34% decrease in our Concentrators. Only 21.5% of our CTE students become Concentrators now. The primary reason is that many of them are focusing on requirements of the Hathaway Scholarship Success Curriculum. When combined with district graduation requirements, course offerings, full classes, prerequisites, career planning changes, demands of other electives including P.E., and new computer classes, it makes it extremely difficult to become a Concentrator at the upper levels of the Success Curriculum. When this scenario is combined with the opportunity cost of a CTE student taking foreign languages when they are focusing on accounting, for example, it creates an obvious inequity toward CTE. When these facts are presented to lawmakers and decision makers it creates a compelling message. It is important to note that we do not oppose any educational choices but simply want to make available CTE courses for those that choose a career pathway. Please refer to our WACTE Position Paper document for more detailed information on the topic.
Although our legislative efforts are very demanding, we are also guiding the organization in a direction that is conducive to business and industry relationships. The WACTE Executive Board recently voted to provide a business membership for an annual cost of $250. Precedence from ACTE and the existence of no issues within our Constitution, Policies and Procedures, and By-laws allowed for adoption of the measure. Having corporate membership will help us in our lobbying, provide revenue to the organization, and create opportunities for teachers to share in professional development sessions from organizations that focus on the topics we teach. We will invite many of these groups to our summer conference for breakout sessions or division meetings. Groups like these will help to advance our message and stress the importance of our programs. The new WACTE Corporate Membership forms have been distributed through email. If you have a partner that wants to join, the process is in place.
We are very pleased to announce the 2019 WACTE Summer conference is being held at the Pathways Innovation Center in Casper, June 19-21. The Pathways Innovation Center (PIC) is a CTE building and program of the Natrona County School District that focuses on advanced CTE courses, certifications, and credentials. It will be a very exciting venue, and we are working to secure a top-notch keynote speaker, organizations and music! We will continue to host our steak fry, banquets and bring in important policy persons to meet our membership.
There are great programs, projects and endeavors that are happening in Wyoming CTE. If you have one of these, and there are many, please write a story so we can all learn about your work with CTE students! We need to promote what we do well.
Some import dates for professional development are coming up. ACTE’s Career Tech Vision will be held in San Antonio, TX, Nov. 29-Dec. 2, https://www.careertechvision.com/ and
ACTE Region V will be held in Bozeman, MT on April 10-11, 2019 https://www.acteonline.org/region-page/region-v-events/ I plan to be at both of these and hope many of you are able to represent Wyoming.
Lastly, thank you as always for your steadfast work in CTE. The next month will be an extremely import time to be involved in creating dialogue about CTE to our Wyoming leaders. You are in a position to make the change we all want.
WACTE President 2018-19