With programs ranging from culinary to marketing, biotechnology and more, Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New Hampshire provides high school students with opportunities to not only learn, but develop their knowledge in real-world settings.
“CTE is experiential career training,” explained Karen Hannigan Machado, principal of The Manchester School of Technology, one of more than two-dozen CTE centers across New Hampshire. “They train on the most up to date equipment and go out and learn in the field and job sites.”
This experiential aspect of CTE prepares high school students in measurable ways.
“They can go right into the job they prepared for in high school, or they will be further ahead in a certification or college program,” she added.
According to Jen Haskins, director of Career & Technical Education at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, CTE’s connection with — and alignment to — post-secondary education is often not understood by the general public.
“The biggest misconception people have is the level of rigor found in CTE classes statewide,” she said.
A majority of CTE classes also offer college credit and certifications in a variety of diverse industries.
“Many CTE students can graduate with six to 18 credits of college classes,” said Haskins, who also serves as president of the New Hampshire Career and Technical Administrators Association.
CTE programs are not, however, tied to specific jobs, but instead lead to “career pathways” that prepare students for a variety of different options.
“CTE puts students on trajectories that are far ahead of their peers in regards to hands-on skills and learning, all of which simulate an industry or career,” said Haskins. “CTE’s biggest value propositions include exploration, skill development, college credit and simulation-learning.”
In the Criminal Justice & Homeland Security program at Creteau Technology Center in Rochester, for example, these value propositions lead students through a deep exploration of the justice system in American society.
“They explore the question of crime causation from a number of theoretical perspectives and look at criminal law in the federal and state systems,” explained Michele Halligan-Foley, director of Career Technology Education.
In the program, students analyze essential elements of all major crimes, concepts of constitutional review and judicial scrutiny, and the principles that govern legal challenges to the constitutionality of laws.
“They also examine the causative factors in the development of youthful offenders and the development and philosophy behind treatment and rehabilitative practices,” she added.
The pandemic, however, threatens the viability of this and many CTE programs statewide, as directors navigate the logistical challenges related to providing “hands-on” learning in remote learning environments.
“It’s extremely challenging, especially for CTE students, who want the hands-on learning part,” said Vaso Partinoudi, director of Career and Technical Education, Applied Technology Center (ATC) at Milford High School.
Halligan-Foley agreed and said CTE centers statewide are losing students due to schedule changes brought about by the pandemic.
“It is going to take years to rebuild the numbers in CTE programs,” she said.
The potential impact goes well beyond education.
“The concern is how well-prepared our students will be when they try to get hired or go into training programs and college,” said Hannigan Machado. “It is very difficult to train people with only visuals.”
According to Haskins, CTE’s close connection(s) with industry partners may take on increased significance in the future.
“The relationships CTE programs have with industry is the backbone to students’ success,” she said. “These connections help guide us on curriculum development and real world applications, including opportunities like apprenticeships and internships. We will need to strengthen these relationships.”
Hannigan Machado added, “If we don’t, businesses will need to add more training on their side and won’t have career ready employees…If CTE struggles, the state’s economy struggles, too.”
In response to a shortage of dental assistants in New Hampshire and across the nation, NHTI, Concord’s Community College launched Dental Assisting Science I this fall for New Hampshire high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.
According to Joseph Wholley, who is currently enrolled in the course this semester, Dental Assisting Science 1 allowed him to explore topics that he would not necessarily be able to learn about in high school.
“As a bonus, I have earned college credits that will transfer to other colleges,” he said. “Learning more about our teeth that we have used everyday for our whole life has totally changed my perspective about keeping my teeth clean and healthy, too.”
The course, noted Kelly O’Brien, who teaches it, represents “a great way to start exploring this career field.”
“You have the benefit of completing the course on your own schedule while still receiving weekly assignments and communication from the instructor,” she said.
The course also underscores “the exciting and rewarding high-demand career” of Dental Assisting itself.
“In addition to assisting the dentist and performing duties around the office, you also interact with patients and ensure that all of their needs are met,” added O’Brien.
The program at NHTI, according to Ashley Buchanan, who graduated in July, builds “a great foundation.”
“It’s given me the knowledge of common dental materials used, procedures performed, anatomy of the oral cavity and dental instruments,” she explained. “This program covers a wide variety of topics and allows you to graduate with an understanding of how the field of dentistry operates and what role you play in the office dynamic.”
Noting NHTI is a CODA-accredited school, Buchanan said such a designation enables her to be one step closer to acquiring her certification. She said it also demonstrates her interest and dedication to her education and career.
“I am thankful for my opportunity to learn at NHTI and to be able to share what I have learned with the patients I see daily,” she said.
Dental Assisting Science I is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire’s eStart program, which offers courses with a tuition of $150 plus the cost of books. Students who complete and pass the course qualify for tuition reimbursement through the Governor’s STEM initiative.
Subjects covered in Dental Assisting Science I include the anatomy of the head with an emphasis on the osteological landmarks and structures of the oral cavity. Both permanent and primary dentitions are covered, including embryonic development and eruption patterns, as well as an introduction to the structure and function of the human body systems in health and disease.
To learn more about the course, or enroll, visit https://www.ccsnh.edu/colleges-and-programs/programs-for-high-school-students-to-earn-college-credit/estart/2020-course-schedule.
Citing a shortage of dental assistants in New Hampshire and across the nation, Lisa Scott, Dental Assisting Program Coordinator at NHTI, Concord’s Community College, set about to develop an online course in its Dental Assisting Program.
Her efforts have resulted in Dental Assisting Science I, available for the first time this fall for New Hampshire high school juniors and seniors.
“I wanted to create something more accessible to students in the state who would have to drive a long distance to take the course if it wasn’t available online,” she said.
Dental Assisting Science I is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire’s eStart program, which offers courses with a tuition of just $150 plus the cost of books.
Scott said students who complete and pass the course, however, qualify for tuition reimbursement through the Governor’s STEM initiative.
“This is a great opportunity for students who might have an interest in this career pathway, and the cost is very minimal,” she said.
As for the course itself, it is 3-credits, which can be transferred when students are accepted into the dental assisting one-year certificate program, the only one in NH accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Subjects covered in Dental Assisting Science I include the anatomy of the head with an emphasis on the osteological landmarks and structures of the oral cavity. Both the permanent and primary dentitions are covered, including embryonic development and eruption patterns, as well as an introduction to the structure and function of the human body systems in health and disease.
She said the course rhetorically answers several questions.
“Did you know every tooth has a name and a number?” she said. “Ever wonder what those bumps are all over your tongue?
Other questions include: Did you know the oral cavity can give us information about diseases in the rest of the body and did you know teeth were part of the digestive system?
“This course is a great way to explore the dental assisting profession as a career option,” said Scott, who said program graduates are able to perform a variety of duties.
“They are qualified to perform all of the expanded duties that are legal in New Hampshire, such as coronal polishing, exposing dental x-rays, placing sealants, monitoring nitrous oxide and other duties,” she said.
According to Scott, who is also a Certified Dental Assistant and Dental Hygienist, the course serves as a gateway to what she describes as “an exciting and rewarding career.”
“As a healthcare provider, dental assistants help patients with good oral health and overall health, and it is a career I have very much enjoyed,” she said.
To learn more about the course, or enroll, contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelly O’Brien at email@example.com.
Program information is also available at https://www.ccsnh.edu/colleges-and-programs/programs-for-high-school-students-to-earn-college-credit/estart/2020-course-schedule.
While the continued pandemic presents many unknowns, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) continues to look for opportunities to engage both students and industry.
“The association had to pivot quite a bit to be able to support the hospitality industry to the best of our ability,” said Amie Pariseau, Education and Workforce Development Director.
On the education side of her job, Pariseau said she has been mindful of not wanting to lose her connection with students, many of whom are learning remotely.
“Jumping off the Virtual New Hampshire Hospitality Month idea, I built a YouTube channel called Explore NH Careers, which is also a website with the same name,” she said. “The YouTube channel will be shared with Extended Learning Coordinators, CTE teachers, traditional teachers, VLACS, and community partners, such as Project SEARCH, Girl Scouts, and Girls Inc.”
The content, she said, is varied and includes everything from cooking demonstrations and learning about cuts of beef to industry tours and industry chats.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Pariseau, who noted several industry members “are ready to join in on Zoom chats and demonstrations.”
“I will also be working with the Department of Education to learn about their preferred platform in order to share documents and other tools,” she added.
Regarding her focus on the workforce, Pariseau said she continues to promote the NH Restaurants, Hotels, & Attractions Job Board and connect community partners, such as Veterans Affairs to jobs.
“I just try to support them the best I can through this time,” she said.
According to Pariseau, though, the pandemic has presented NHLRA with a somewhat stark reality.
“In March through June, I lost the opportunity to showcase the industry to middle school and high school students,” she explained.
April had also been set as New Hampshire Hospitality Month in which 500+ students were scheduled to tour properties around the state and learn about the different opportunities and career pathways in the industry.
“I created a YouTube playlist for Virtual New Hampshire Hospitality Month, which I hoped to fill with tours,” said Pariseau. “With the industry trying to survive, it was particularly hard to ask them to participate, though, and so it’s mostly populated with cooking demonstrations.”
On the workforce side, the training NHLRA scheduled in partnership with Granite State College, “Fundamentals of Hospitality Management,” was canceled in the spring.
“With the college only offering programs virtually in the fall, we have decided to forgo this training at this time.,” she noted. “We have been working diligently, however, on sharing training tools through both the National Restaurant Association and American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, which have been free or low cost.”
In looking ahead, Pariseau said she and NHLRA will continue to work on finding the best ways to interact with students.
“They are the future generation of this industry,” she said.
Without the ability to get them out to see the industry behind the scenes, talk to people who are passionate about what they do and give them hands on experiences, Pariseau acknowledges she is worried.
“I can’t promote hospitality as a viable career path,” she said. “Virtual learning is a real challenge for me to overcome to be able to promote the industry that drives New Hampshire’s economy, but it is one I am tackling head-on.”
To learn more about NHLRA, or NHLRA’s Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund which has provided close to $150,000 to hospitality employees impacted by the coronavirus, visit https://www.nhlra.com.
For adult learners who want to earn an associate degree in 20 months or certificate in 10 months, the Accelerated Lifelong Learning Program (ALL) at Nashua Community College (NCC) may be for you.
Developed by Samantha Belcourt, CTE and Continuing Education Coordinator, ALL is scheduled to launch in fall 2020 with the following programs:
- Business Administration AS: Management
- Business Administration AS: Small Business Entrepreneurship
- Psychology AA
- Data Analytics Certificate (10 month program)
While the program lays out a fast-track, Belcourt said ALL’s cohort-structured schedule provides a pathway to success for committed students.
“The structured schedule is designed for adults to plan ahead of time and know what to expect for class time and homework,” she said. “It combines online, evening and weekend education to complement a 9 to 5 work schedule. Adult learners can still work while they engage in a full-time college schedule.”
Belcourt said she was inspired by a similar program that helps adult learners in California.
“I learned about it this past fall at a conference with Complete College of America,” she explained. “That program [in California] has had a huge success in this accelerated style. I think many people are looking for this type of fast-paced credential to get them where they want to be.”
With increased economic stressors on individuals and businesses since the health crisis began, Belcourt said that “it’s a good time to have the option of an accelerated degree and certificate pathway.”
“A lot of companies have now laid off employees, and people are not sure yet about their education goals,” she added. “I am hoping people will find this program helpful while unemployed to gain more credentials.”
As for who makes for an ideal candidate for the program, Belcourt cited “motivated students looking to get ahead fast.”
“It’s good for someone who has started some college in the past and wants to return and get their degree at an accelerated pace,” she said. “ALL is also good for high school students who are comfortable with an accelerated pace…For students with the ultimate goal of a bachelor’s degree, ALL also creates a pathway to the Granite State College accelerated bachelor program.”
To learn more about ALL, visit https://www.nashuacc.edu/academics/all.