What does CTE Month mean to you? 3 Questions for Realityworks CEO Timm Boettcher

As Career & Technical Education (CTE) Month 2015 kicks off this week, asked Realityworks CEO Timm Boettcher to tell us, in his own words, what CTE Month means to him. In addition to presiding over our experiential learning company, Timm chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition, a group created by American business leaders to increase the population of skilled workers in the US through better alignment between the educational system and industry. Timm was also named the Association of Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) 2015 Business Leader of the Year for his sustained commitment to improving CTE.

CTE Month is an annual celebration held in February of CTE community members’ achievements and accomplishments nationwide. This year’s theme is “Recognizing Classroom Innovators.”

What does CTE Month mean to you?

Right now, US business leaders are faced with a significant challenge: fill the skills gap with educated, qualified professionals. CTE can be the answer to training these professionals in high-demand areas, but awareness and advocacy for CTE programs is needed. CTE Month is a great opportunity to generate that needed awareness and advocacy while showcasing the benefits of CTE programs and bringing together business leaders, CTE educators and students.

Why is it important to recognize CTE Month this February and year-round?

CTE Month is a time to bring awareness to a type of program that can benefit students and businesses alike through joint efforts of ACTE, businesses, educators and students. While CTE Month provides a platform on which to promote the value of CTE programs alongside entities across the nation, regular and constant advocacy is needed to connect educators with business leaders and develop CTE programs that match curricula to industry requirements and ensure students receive skills needed for employment.

What steps do you recommend business leaders take to engage with educators in their area during CTE Month?

By engaging in the development of programs, business leaders can help educators match curricula to industry requirements to be sure students receive skills needed for employment. Business leaders can also support schools that are training their future workforce by allowing for schools to tour their businesses, engaging in speaking opportunities and helping fund programs. Business leaders can even become active in organizations like the IWNC and other workforce development boards, and speak out to political leaders about the benefits of CTE programs to their businesses.

What does CTE Month mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and stay up-to-date on programs, products and ideas we generate regarding CTE by subscribing to our blog.