Tuesday, September 02, 2014
   
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GHS trying to find gaps in CTE curriculum

Students to be better equipped to find jobs.

Based on changing trends, Gothenburg High School is putting its career and technical education curriculum under a microscope.

The process was explained by GHS guidance counselor Jerry Wiggins when Stakeholders met Feb. 5 at Gothenburg Public Library.

Stakeholders is a group of community members who meet monthly to learn about different topics in the school district.

Wiggins said the district is reviewing what’s offered, determining curriculum strengths and weaknesses and looking at projected employment trends.

“We’re trying to identify any gaps and hoping to address them by altering some of our coursework,” he explained. “Perhaps we’ll require certain courses for all students or create a new course to suit the employment projections and student interests.”

Using a chart, developed by the Nebraska Department of Education, Wiggins showed possible careers in six career interests that students are shown (see chart).

Within those clusters are sub-clusters of employment areas Wiggins gets students to explore.

“Kids change their minds so the goal is to get them into a certain pathway,” he said. “For example, there are certain skill sets needed to be a nurse or a plumber and we try to get students to explore these areas. Maybe they’ll find something that fits better.”

For the third year in a row, Wiggins said more seniors are choosing to attend a two-year instead of a four-year college.

“The number one reason is financial and kids are also recognizing that they can get decent employment opportunities that don’t require a four-year degree,” he said.

Across the country, Wiggins said many students find themselves unemployable and with debt after graduating from a four-year institution.

Others, with a two-year degree, are finding good jobs and are without debt, he said.

Another trend Wiggins said he’s noticed during the past eight years is that GHS graduates are returning to Gothenburg to raise families and become part of the community.

Based on state projections, Wiggins said most of the jobs in the next 10 years will be in health care, agriculture and natural resources and transportation, logistics and distribution.

Wiggins said students are exposed to different job opportunities through junior high and high school, including job shadowing experiences, and the

ABLE program (Advocating for Business, Labor and Education) helps with career awareness.

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