CTE summit focuses on education, workforce benefits

Photo by Deb Gau Paige Duthoy and Braxton Seifert show off some of the sweatshirts the Lyon and Murray County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunites) program created for their class business. The business, called “Minnesotafied,” will be selling apparel, tumblers and stickers with a Minnesota theme.

MARSHALL — Career and technical education is a good investment for Minnesota’s schools and workforce, said speakers at a Friday event in Marshall.

According to data gathered by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, high school students who concentrate on CTE and work-based learning are more likely to be employed in their field years after high school graduation.

“CTE is for every kid,” said Luke Greiner, a regional labor market analyst at DEED. Data showed that students benefited from career and technical education whether they went on to college or not, Greiner said.

The difference CTE makes was the keynote topic at the third annual CTE Summit held in Marshall. Area businesspeople and educators heard updates on career and technical education programs being developed in the area, and even heard from students in the Lyon and Murray County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program.

“It’s classes like these that allow us and are preparing us the best to work for businesses like you, and maybe even start our own businesses,” said Braxton Seifert, a CEO student from Marshall High School.

Over the past couple of years, Marshall Public Schools has started putting focus on career and technical education, said Superintendent Jeremy Williams. Renovations are ongoing at property the district bought in Marshall for a Career and Technical Institute.

“That will open up in the fall of 2023,” Williams said. “We’ll have a medical institute – we have a CNA lab that’s built as part of this program, where we’ll have CNA classes to start with. We have a manufacturing institute, that’s our welding classes. And we have an automotive institute where we’re doing some auto repair and auto body-type classes in the center, with lots of room to expand in the future.”

The audience heard more about the benefits of CTE from Greiner.

“I really think CTE needs a perception shift, both from administrators and adults, but also through the eyes of students,” Greiner said. Rather than mainly being an option for students who aren’t going on to college, CTE can show benefits for all kinds of students, he said.

By looking at Minnesota tax data, DEED found that students who concentrated on CTE in high school were more likely to have steady employment and higher pay six years after they left high school, Greiner said. Students who did not go on to college, students who went to a two-year program and students who went to a four-year program all showed benefits.

“Part of the reason why there’s those wage premiums is because students who concentrate on CTE, they have the opportunities to connect with you (employers),” Greiner said. “The careers classes, the mentorships, the internships, job shadows, guest speakers, all that creating meaningful relationship with an employer in their own backyard.”

During part of the CTE Summit, the audience got an update on the Lyon and Murray County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program. CEO is a nationwide program, where high school juniors and seniors get an in-depth look at local businesses, and gain experience creating their own businesses.

The inaugural class of Lyon and Murray County CEO has a group business project underway, and individual students said they were thinking about their own business pitches.

“The CEO program has been so great, because I feel like we’ve made so many connections so far,” said Cloie Stevens.

“How CEO has really affected me is definitely my confidence,” said Paige Duthoy.

She said she’s learned how to communicate with people in the business community and not feel overwhelmed.

“It’s just, ‘Don’t be afraid, just go out there, be kind, and try to get things done,’ “ she said.

As a class, Lyon and Murray County CEO has developed “Minnesotafied,” a line of products like apparel and stickers with Minnesota-themed logos and slogans. The big kickoff for sales of the products will be today at the Kindlmarkt event, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Marshall Area YMCA.


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