The FFA State Officers recently had the opportunity to visit Lëf Farms, a new 75,000 square foot, multi-million dollar production facility in Loudon. The operation, owned by Pleasant View Gardens, is expected to hydroponically produce 1.3 million pounds of fresh greens each year. With their state-of-the-art computerized system, harvest to table time is 24 hours. The State Officers were able to chat with Henry Huntington, co-owner, about the bright future for this commercial agriculture venture.
At the end of June, the National Career Development Association (NCDA) announced the formation of the Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association (VT/NH CDA).
According to Doug Cullen, who was voted founding president of the chapter by NCDA membership, it is the first time two states have ever collaborated within one chapter.
“There was actually a by-law change voted in by members at this year’s national convention in Chicago to even allow such a non-profit creation to occur,” he noted. “We are literally making history in its creation.”
NCDA Executive Director Deneen Pennington referred to the new chapter as “an important addition to NCDA’s state presence and voice in the New England area.”
“State divisions deliver significant services to the membership, help identify the leadership of the future, and provide essential feedback to NCDA,” Pennington noted. “This vibrant new division will help to establish and improve the standards for professional service in the field of career development in those respective states.”
VT/NH CDA liaison to NCDA, NCDA Trustee Wendy LaBenne said the new state division will provide career practitioners with meaningful opportunities to connect with others in the field and hold professional development events at a state level.
“The state division will also provide a platform for those interested in building leadership skills an avenue at the state level,” she said. “We look for all state divisions to promote career development in their state as well as provide leaders for consideration at the national level.”
Citing his belief that VT/NH CDA will help to endorse “the incorporation of theory and effective practice models into career development services” across both states, Cullen said his vision also includes greater bridge-building efforts between Canada and international NCDA affiliates.
“Given declining populations in both states, understanding best practices involving people from different cultures may assist career development practitioners working with a potential increase in students and clients coming to northern New England or being intentionally recruited by Vermont and New Hampshire industries from different nations,” he said.
As an initial step for the new chapter, Cullen expressed enthusiasm for its first official Chapter Networking Session as part of the Tri-State CTE Director’s Conference on July 29 in Burlington, VT. At the conference, Dick Knowdell, well known for his work with the Career Values Card Sort, Motivated Skills Card Sort, Occupational Interest Card Sort and the Leisure/Retirement Activities Card Sort that began in 1977, will speak about recent changes in the Career Development industry.
“It will provide new and existing practitioners with a perspective on how their jobs and the students/clients they support have changed and potentially how to adapt to those changes to be most effective,” he said.
According to Cullen, though, the formation of the VT/NH CDA is just one of many “exciting developments” in the industry that he feels could benefit CTE participants in the long term. One such development relates to a formal partnership between NCDA and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
“I feel ACTE alignment may enable greater CTE association involvement by CTE faculty/staff looking for more national and international exposure/best practices,” he said. “It may provide the most engaged CTE staff with a greater opportunity to interact with a broader and deeper set of CTE professionals as well as broadening and deepening the depth of CTE curriculum and student experiences in New Hampshire.”
Pennington also express optimism at the partnership, as she said both organizations serve “separate, yet overlapping constituencies with a similar focus related to career development priorities and support of practitioners in the field.”
“This partnership provides the basis for a formal collaboration between the two organizations that is be mutually beneficial,” she added. “Benefits include membership collaboration, professional development opportunities, and joint marketing efforts. The benefits to the local CTE stakeholders include access to all NCDA research, advocacy, professional development, and career resources at reduced membership rates.”
This is the first part of a three-story series where we look at the recent formation of a new chapter of the National Career Development Association and related issues.
Offered since the 1970’s, CTE programs at the Career Technical Education Center at Portsmouth High School are thriving, according to Career Technical Education Director Diane Canada. Averaging approximately 200 students annually, Portsmouth will offer seven programs in school year 2016-17, which include: Education & Teacher Training, Entrepreneurship, Culinary Arts, Construction Trades, Architecture & Engineering Design, Welding Technology and Automotive Technology.
Down one program from last year, Portsmouth will no longer offer Hospitality Management, however, as leadership elected to close it with enrollment numbers less than sufficient to justify its continuance. In the program, students spent one class period each week learning the different areas of hotel operations at the Sheraton Portsmouth Hotel. Such a closure, though, is not a negative development, but rather the result of the generally “nimble” nature of CTE programming itself.
“In the ten years I have been director, I have had to make changes to programming to meet the needs of the community and the interests of the students,” said Canada. “I have closed programs, cut them to half time, and put some on hold to determine whether to rebuild or close. I have increased programs and added new ones as well. I am continually shifting to keep our programming relevant to our students.”
As for what influences enrollment numbers for any particular program, she cited many factors, including economics, demographics, and perceptions regarding up and coming careers.
“Portsmouth is an affluent community where the vast majority of our students go on to four-year colleges,” she added.
In looking to the next academic school year, Canada expressed enthusiasm regarding the direction of their CTE programs, including Entrepreneurship, which was just granted two-year approval from the NHDOE Career Development Bureau.
“I have two teachers for this one program and all classes are filled,” she said. “These students compete in the UNH BizGen competition as well as in their own in-house business plan competition that is fully supported by the Seacoast Rotary Club.”
Education & Teacher Training is another program that tends to attract many students, who become extremely active in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a nonprofit national career and technical student organization program. Canada said these same students also intend to become quite active in Educators Rising, which provides young people with hands-on teaching experience, and help them develop the skills needed to become successful educators.
“Culinary Arts is also very popular in this restaurant town,” she said. “Our students compete very successfully at state and national levels. One student just returned from his second national competition in SkillsUSA.
In addition to expanding the footprint of current CTE programming, Canada said they are considering two new program areas.
“We are working very closely with Great Bay Community College to bring about a Computer Science Pathway,” she said. “This coming year, we will offer two courses that will be taught by GBCC faculty here in the high school as well as two courses offered in our blended learning lab through eStart. I am also partnering with a local nursing home, the Edgewood Centre, to offer an LNA Certification class. I am hoping to eventually offer more healthcare courses…This is an exciting time for our program and CTE statewide.”
Location: Plymouth, NH
Director: Randy Cleary
Location: Keene, NH
Director: Lisa Danley