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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 20, 2017

FHS career, technical education update: ACTE, business, ag

By DIANE GOUDY, FHS teacher and chairwoman of Career and Technical Education | Mar 25, 2013

The national Career and Technical Education month was celebrated, so this article was written to share local CTE information.

According to the fact sheet printed by the Association of Career Tech Education, CTE encompasses 94 percent of high school students and 13 million postsecondary students. It includes high schools, community and technical colleges, four-year universities, and more. CTE educates students for a range of career opportunities through 16 Career Clusters and 81 pathways. Academics are integrated in rigorous and relevant CTE curriculum. It helps fulfill employer needs in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand areas. Students are prepared to be college- and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills, and technical, job-specific skills.

In addition, the ACTE reports that investing in CTE yields big returns for state economies. High school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better, and graduate at higher rates. The ACTE report continues that career and technology education addresses the need of high-growth industries and helps close the skills gap.

The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, especially in trade, transportation, utilities, manufacturing, and healthcare. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations will experience faster than average growth rate.

Finally, middle-skill jobs, (jobs that require education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor degree) are a significant part of the economy. Of the 46.8 million job openings created by 2018, 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate degree. (Source: acteonline.org)

On the local level, Fairfield High School’s CTE department shares the overall goal of preparing students with the skills necessary for future education, careers, and personal use.

The strands within the FHS CTE Department being focused today in Part I are: Business and Vocational Agriculture. The CTE Program Report Part II (in a later edition) will focus on the strands of Family and Consumer Science, Industrial Technology, Automotive, and Project Lead the Way.

In the Business Department, students have the opportunity to take a variety of classes – accounting, law, computer literacy, business procedures, and entrepreneurship. Students also have the opportunity to earn three Indian Hills Community College college credits in each of two courses: Intro to Computers and Business Computer Software taught by Diane Goudy, CTE chair.

The most recent CTE class added to FHS is Life Essentials (which is a FHS graduation requirement) taught by Brad Repp, Heidi Grunwald and Goudy. The courses main emphasis is financial literacy, careers, and employability skills.

Goudy attended a three-day Family Economics Financial Education class this summer in Ames. Many new ideas from this class were implemented in the curriculum. The community is involved with the class with some of the class guest speakers include Deena Morrissey (Iowa State Bank), John Stever (Edward Jones Investments), and Alex Kessel (Farm Bureau Insurance).

A Multimedia class is co-taught by Art Instructor David Kraemer and Computer Instructor Goudy. The focus of the class is graphic design, photography editing, and creative publications. In addition, students create a web-based portfolio highlighting their best work and the creative process.

Brad Repp, Business Instructor is busy with his classes that include Accounting I & II, Introduction to Business, Life Essentials and Business Law. The number of students enrolling decides which of these classes will be offered from year to year.

The student organization, Future Business Leaders of America members are state competition in Coralville March 21-23. Several community members are mentoring these students to upgrade their performance level.

Competitions are designed to have the students grow in their business and employability skills. This year, the Friends of FBLA group has been formed to promote the business organization and help facilitate community involvement. For more information, contact Michele Greiner and Joanne Hietpas, co-chairs.

In Agricultural Education, students are busy with many projects. In Agricultural Explorations, the freshman just finished learning about ag careers and authoring a children’s story about the career of their choice. They are now exploring the history of agriculture.

In Advanced Ag Mechanics, students are busy rebuilding a wagon, modifying an enclosed trailer, and many other projects.

Wildlife Management students are embarking on a study of fish, while Ag Business students are doing a mock trade simulation with selling commodities in cash, forward contract, and the futures market.

Horticulture students are busy planting and transplanting annual flowers and vegetables in the greenhouse, in preparation for a spring plant sale. Watch for them at the farmer’s market this spring.

Horses and Small Animals students are finishing their study of the dog and are about to begin the cat. They’ll continue with horses and other pets after spring break.

The FFA has had a busy spring. David Waugh and Wyatt Aplara competed in the welding career development event at sub-district, earning a silver rating. Trent Taglauer did Ag Sales, advancing to districts. Jarrett Helweg was the Creed Speaker, earning a bronze. Several students are preparing a Chapter Activity Exhibit for state convention. Students will also be involved in state band, state choir, and committee work at state.

The CTE department values community support in its effectiveness. If you have feedback to offer or want to assist in some way, contact any CTE instructor directly or by e-mail to the CTE department chair diane.goudy@fairfieldsfuture.org, phone at 472-2059; by mail, or in person at FHS, 605 E. Broadway Ave., Fairfield.

Thank you for supporting Fairfield Community School District and especially the CTE Department.


Diane Goudy is a teacher at the Fairfield High School and chairwoman of Career and Technical Education.

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