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February is a month that acknowledges some very well-known observances and holidays. Black history month, American Heart Association month, the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington, and even Valentine’s Day. However, it is also CTE Month®, which celebrates the value of Career and Technical Education! Why is CTE something we should celebrate? Because CTE impacts us all every day!

Have you visited a doctors’ office recently? Then you probably were seen by a medical assistant who received training in a CTE program. Do you have children who go to daycare? Those child care providers received training in a CTE program. Have you ever called technical support for assistance with your computer at work or the electronic devices you use at home? You chatted with someone from a CTE program. Has your furnace been serviced this winter? That was a CTE professional. Have you ever had a massage, whether it was to treat an injury or just to pamper yourself? Your massage therapist was trained in a CTE program. When is the last time you had your car serviced or a dent in your bumper fixed? Those CTE professionals got your car running smoothly again. If we are really going deep, there is not a thing that you own that did not go through the process of design, manufacturing, and automation, which is all CTE!

CTE programs incorporate academic, technical, and employability skills that lead to employment in high skill, high demand and, high wage careers. The path to a CTE career can begin as early as high school for some students. Through postsecondary CTE programs, like those offered at Waubonsee Community College, individuals can earn certificates, degrees, and, industry-recognized credentials which lead to sustainable employment in a variety of industries. When companies are successful and individuals are gainfully employed, this has a positive impact on our economy, which benefits us all. Plus, we all have access to the well-trained CTE professionals that help us get by every day. Hopefully, you can see why CTE is worth celebrating!

Join me in celebrating CTE Month! Celebrate those individuals who like to work with their hands and who have a knack for electronics or tools. Those problem solvers who fix things, the makers who design things, and the thinkers that solve problems and puzzles. Those helpers who like to work with people and want their work to matter. Those that wanted a career and not just a job. Those are CTE professionals and they matter to all of us!

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