Most people who have lived in Licking County for any time have a general knowledge of the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County (C-TEC). Most know that C-TEC is a career center for high school juniors, seniors, and adults, who are attaining and refining skills in preparation for graduation and career advancement. However, what many people may not know is all that C-TEC does for career development beyond our physical facility.
C-TEC operates 15 satellite programs in nine schools around Licking County for students in grades 7 - 12. Our programs explore multiple careers paths with focuses on engineering, healthcare, and IT. We also offer programing that explores robotics, construction, and even entrepreneurship.
Additionally, C-TEC has a Department of Career Development dedicated to helping students in every Licking County school district. The department’s focus is making students aware of, exploring, and planning for careers. To accomplish this, the members of this department work with teachers and administrators in all Licking County School districts to provide career development services to students in every grade, all in the name of exposing students to careers, and helping students plan how to pursue them. These services are not limited to the career fields and opportunities C-TEC provides. The Career Development Department’s goal is to assist students with career thinking and steps forward, regardless of what those paths may be. Whether these careers coordinate with C-TEC offerings is not important. What is important is that students understand what careers suit them based on their interests, talents, and understand the appropriate pathways for their career interests.
Having students take and analyze career interest inventories is just one of the services provided to grades K-6. In these grades, activities are customized to fit the audience and the need. There are presentations given on the pathways students can take after high school. These presentations are in collaboration with our business and industry partners, and the goal is to get students thinking about what comes next: trades, technical schools, the military, college, or going straight into the workforce.
In 8th grade, Licking County students are introduced to specific C-TEC programming by touring our facility. Junior high school students can come to us in the summer months to take part in a STEM camp that explores STEM careers. New this year for junior high school students is also a Career Camp designed to give students an in-depth look at a variety of careers.
In high school, we shift more to a focus on planning for careers. Sophomore year is the time students determine if C-TEC’s Secondary Center is the right choice for them, and the career development team is out in the schools working with students helping them make that determination.
For those students who do not attend C-TEC, our Career Development team works with juniors and seniors in Licking County to focus on in-demand careers, and the training and planning required to go into those careers. Students visit our industry partners, getting exposure to great local companies and career options and helping connect them with potential employers. Students are also connected with mentors and job shadowing opportunities, and the department connects high school teachers with professionals who will present their careers to interested students. C-TEC also helps teachers find those HR professionals who will work with juniors and seniors on interview and resume skills.
So, why do I share this information? Simple. Careers come later, but the work starts now, and C-TEC is dedicated and determined to help deliver that message to every student in Licking County!
Joyce L. Malainy, Ed.D. is the Superintendent of the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County