a student using a video camera

Category : High School

CTE – Unveiling a “Best-Kept” Secret

Wednesday , February 05 , 2020

CTE classes offered at PVSchools

This article was written by Rebecca MacGowan, director of Career and Technical Education.

The most frequent remark we hear while giving Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department tours of our amazing programs is, “We had no idea that these programs were available.” CTE is the best-kept secret in the district, and we want to unveil that secret!

So, what is CTE? CTE encompasses much more than a series of elective courses. It is a premier education delivery model that incorporates classroom learning, hands-on-lab experiences, leadership development and critical workplace skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving. The short answer is that CTE is the how and the why of the what. CTE makes what students learn in their academic coursework relevant. 

CTE offers students a place to tap into things that interest them.

A critical component of any project or goal is passion. Passion gives us the energy, drive, determination, and resilience to get through the rough parts as illustrated by the old adage, “Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” But passion is not something that you can instill in someone, it comes from within a person.

The students in our schools today are Generation Z (sometimes called iGen or Centennials) born between 1997 - now (ages 0 - 22), and there are more than 90 million in the U.S. They outnumber their millennial older siblings by nearly one million according to demographer Susan Weber-Stoger.

As with all generations before them, they share some common attributes. One of the attributes of Generation Z is that when they find something that interests them, they will move heaven and earth to get there. Career programs are a powerful tool to help students know what they don’t know. CTE has also been described as the spark plug to the engine of student interest.

Young people can only base their career aspirations on what they know, and many have no idea of the vast opportunities in the existing and emerging career fields in the U.S. today, or the CTE programs available in our district. There are a myriad of pathways available to students in any given sector with multiple exit points allowing students to choose a variety of post-secondary options. Immediate employment, tech or trade school, joining the military, or enrolling in a traditional university program are all viable options for all CTE students.

Alumni report back repeatedly that their Career and Technical Education program prepared them so well that they are far ahead of their non-CTE peers once they have entered their chosen post-secondary pathway.  

Some students who had anticipated pursuing a specific career actually changed their minds completely after experiencing a career program. And, for some students, this experience solidified their original decision.  

Choosing a CTE program will give students an opportunity to find their passion.  It is time to share the secret!

Learn more about CTE


About the Author

Rebecca MacGowan has been a part of CTE since her childhood and all of her professional years in education have been with PV Schools in the Career and Technical Education area, serving first as a Business instructor and then as the CTE Specialist for the district.  She became the Director of CTE in 2017-18.

She is a 3rd generation native Arizonan and 4th generation public school teacher and is passionate about Career and Technical Education and all of the opportunities it provides our district’s students.