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SRC approves new career and technical education initiative

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 17, 2013 06:51 PM

Struggling to be heard over protesters who came to oppose school closings, the School Reform Commission approved a plan for improving career and technical education across the District on Thursday night.

The plan includes a new state-of-the-art CTE high school, although details weren't provided on where it will be located or how it will be paid for. Other objectives are more access for students, more work-based learning experiences, a districtwide curriculum for CTE programs, and a "talent pipeline" to train CTE teachers and principals.

The goal is to double the number of students in CTE courses from 6,000 to 12,000 by 2017, assure that students graduate with industry credentials, and create new certification areas.

The plan is to open 30 new CTE programs, including Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology, and Renewable Energy, as well as Veterinary and Pharmacy Technician certifications.

School leaders have sought for decades to upgrade and modernize the District's offerings in what historically has been known as vocational education. It has had trouble in the past keeping up with rapidly changing industry demands. Traditionally, vo-tech was for students who did not excel in academic pursuits, but many technical fields now require high-level math and other  demanding coursework. Parents and students have consistently complained that there weren't enough courses available in fields that lead to high-paying jobs.

The District received a $5.7 million grant from the Middleton Foundation last year to improve its CTE programs. 

One of the 37 schools the SRC wants to close by September is Bok Technical High School. It plans to move all of Bok's programs to nearby South Philadelphia High School.


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Comments (19)

Submitted by Rob (not verified) on January 18, 2013 6:30 am
Let's call the new high school...Bok Tech!
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 18, 2013 7:39 am
How about Germantown H.S.; Lankenau H.S.? Surely if we court those schools and other community organizations, Philadelphia Community College among them, who have also received grant money for the same purpose, we can find a collaborative "win-win" to build the necessary facilities within a school? (City Council "hint hint"/"nudge nudge"). It would surely be much less expensive than building an entire new structure (H.S. of the Future is an example where an entire new structure seems to stand isolated from the community). If Council in addition could encourage through tax breaks, the start-up of businesses created by alumni, you might have the beginnings of real growth in the City. Years ago, before the housing downturn, Lowe's had a grant opportunity for schools, "Lowe's Toolbox for Education" that gave priority to just this kind of project in urban, low income schools. Now that housing seems to be bubbling again, perhaps the time is right to look for this again.
Submitted by Jason Sprenger (not verified) on January 18, 2013 8:07 am
One solution that’s proven to make a difference in helping the economy thrive and bridge emerging skills gaps is investing in career and technical education (CTE). CTE programs, whether at the secondary, post-secondary or other educational level, boost student achievement and deliver increased career and earning potential. CTE also produces workers for the open jobs of today, and boosts business productivity and economic status as a result. It’s great to see this program approved, because it's likely to deliver real results in this area. The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new organization of businesses working together to spotlight skills gaps and advocate/kick off CTE programs that work to curb the problem. For more information, or to join the effort, visit Jason Sprenger, for the IWNC
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Submitted by jimmy1122 (not verified) on November 18, 2015 5:24 am

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Submitted by Pubulis (not verified) on January 18, 2013 10:27 am
The district desperately needs CTE training. Let us be honest despite the fantasy projections of 440; 96% of our kids will never graduate college. Forget the figures about all the ones who spend a semester at college before being thrown out and then hounded fro the rest of their lives by bill collectors looking to collect the unwise student loans. It takes drive and FAMILY SUPPORT to last four years and I see little of either in my High School. But let us be honest the people running this district do not have a clue as to what industry wants, needs or anything else related to the real economy that pays taxes to support their care free lifstyles. If it ran a CTE program for political Apple Polishing the SRC would be in tis element. Instead it will run programs for the next generation of Buggy Whip Producers. It kills viable programs like Vending machine repair at Edison because it did not fit into their College for all plans.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 21, 2013 1:57 am
You are so correct, Pubulis, on many things you've posted here. I just want to say, however, that the problem is not just that students are being fodder-fed into colleges and universities that have no incentive whatsoever to really see them through that crucial "1st-semester." (Though this is definitely a serious problem.) It's also that students don't really know what career ladders ARE. They don't know HOW to build a career from their education, be it from high school graduation or higher education. That is the real problem, it's the elephant in the room, and I'm still shocked by how we just ignore this basic problem of career communication. Couple that with the fact that nearly all meaningful work that is not strictly legal, financial or medical/healthcare related in unavailable within the city's limits, and you have a recipe for long-term, systemic poverty. It's all fine and good to get students into college, and to even have them graduate. But if they cannot either commute to, or literally relocate to, their places of employment...what have we done? Saddled another generation with unbeatable debt...and created seriously embittered young adults. One day that WILL come back to haunt everyone, as it is up and down the class lines...
Submitted by Arnold Butler (not verified) on May 21, 2013 11:57 pm
In most of the occasion education organizations are used to provide better career building option as a result here also we have noticed certain changes are being taken place due to the contribution of School Reform Commission that approves new technical initiative education process that brings a revolutionary change in career building process.
Submitted by Paul Brown (not verified) on June 27, 2013 6:17 am

I think this project will help systems for technical education to improve. I hope that students will be able to get a technical job easily.

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