Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Program Puts Students in the Field

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Program Puts Students in the Field

One of the main objectives behind Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to provide high-school students with real-world learning opportunities as they prepare for college and a career. This focus on experiential learning has led to the development of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, a unique program at Huot Career and Technical Center in Laconia.

“We started this program about 8 years ago at the exploratory level, and there was a lot of student interest,” said David Warrender, Director of Career and Technical Education. Now a two-year program, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice covers a variety of related topics, including the social and political influences that contribute to law enforcement. In addition to learning about different policing philosophies, students study constitutional law and major United States and New Hampshire Supreme Court cases.

Bill Clary, retired police officer with 28 years service, teaches the program. According to him, the program is unique in its focus on building community partnerships, which provides students with numerous opportunities to directly engage with professionals in the field. “I have built relationships with every police department in Belknap County,” he said. “Some departments take interns from our program where students can ride along with a police officer, while other departments come in and teach a class or do a demonstration.”

Clary has forged partnerships with New Hampshire State Police, Belknap County Jail, Belknap County Sheriff, Belknap County Attorney, New Hampshire Fish and Game, and Marine Patrol Bureau among other agencies. “The only way we can teach these students what it’s like out there is to show them what it’s like out there,” he added.

Kris Kelley, Deputy Chief of the Gilford Police Department, said individuals who are often successful in getting hired at a law enforcement agency are those who take advantage of these types of programs. “The Huot Technical program provides great insight into law enforcement, while providing firsthand knowledge and expectations of the profession, giving students a leg up on the average applicant without any background,” he said.

Regarding internships, Kelley said they help students gain critical insight into the daily job requirements at area agencies, allowing them to ask questions to gain a deeper understanding. “I really see it as a great opportunity for both the agency and the student, as they may decide to work in the field someday,” he said. “At the very least, they have gained a little more understanding as a citizen, which may give them a slightly different perspective than that of the average person.”

The program at Huot Career and Technical Center has led to many students securing immediate employment at various agencies, including Laconia Police Department, Belmont Police Department, State Police, Maine Corrections and Fire Service. Many have gone on to colleges, some of which include University of New Hampshire, Saint Anselm College, George Mason University, and others.

One of three former students who now work for the Marine Patrol Bureau, Michelle Gallant cited the program’s experiential learning components as critical in her current career choice. “I met extraordinary guest speakers from the law enforcement profession, and I learned first-hand experiences and information from Mr. Clary,” she said. “I was able to go on several field trips to the Laconia Circuit Court, Belknap County Jail, the Laconia Police Department, and more.”

In addition to providing students with a tangible glimpse into a possible career,  Clary said the program helps students develop general life skills, such as resume preparation, job interviews and public speaking. He also provides students with assignments in which they must analyze a current issue from both sides. “We want to make sure the students understand both sides and listen,” he said. ”If students can explain both sides of any issues and listen to other viewpoints, we will all be better off for it.”

Huot Career and Technical Center is one of 28 CTE centers throughout New Hampshire.

CTE Students Represent An Important Employment Pipeline for Hospitality and Tourism

CTE Students Represent An Important Employment Pipeline for Hospitality and Tourism

On Tuesday, May 25, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) will host an in-person Hospitality and Tourism Job Fair for the Southern New Hampshire region. It is an event particularly suited for high school students at any one of the state’s 28 Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers. “Now more than ever, our state’s CTE students are very valuable to the hospitality and tourism industry,” said NHLRA’s Amie Pariseau. “CTE students are passionate and ambitious. They can arrive on day one with skills in hand and the desire to learn more.”

As guidelines have lifted, she said NHLRA and the hospitality and industry itself are now faced with “the next crisis.” “It is no exaggeration that the industry is very short staffed, and people are very worried about being able to be open for their guests or burning out their existing staff,” she said.

Designed to provide high school students with experiential learning opportunities, often in real-world settings, the state’s CTE centers provide numerous programs with many directly connected to hospitality and tourism. “The hospitality and tourism industry is actively hiring,” said Pariseau. “While the opportunity to make good money has always been there, this summer looks to be one of the highest pay scale jumps we have seen in recent years.”

At the Job Fair, which is free, more than 3-dozen employers are expected in attendance. Registration is encouraged but not required. The Hospitality and Tourism Job Fair takes place at DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown on Tuesday, May 25 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Click here to register online, or contact Pariseau at 603.228.9585 or for more information.

“Whether you are a student or someone looking at hospitality as a possible career path, the industry is a wonderful opportunity to gain responsibility, accountability, and customer service skills,” said Pariseau. “You can take these skills wherever you go in life.”

CTE Centers Adapt, Integrate New Educational Technologies

CTE Centers Adapt, Integrate New Educational Technologies

In response to the pandemic in 2020, many Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers in New Hampshire began to look at ways to integrate cutting edge technology into its programs.

“Investments in technology have enabled us to create interactive and virtual educational experiences for students,” noted Vaso Partinoudi, director of Career and Technical Education, Milford High School & Applied Technology Center.

She said the challenge to creatively engage students is heightened in CTE programs.

“Our whole focus is to provide experiential and technical training to high school students that prepares them for college and careers,” she said. “This type of learning is hands-on, which is difficult to achieve when you cannot physically get together.”

Emerging online educational learning platforms like NewselaPear Deck and Nearpod, however, have provided teachers with the ability to virtually engage students in new ways. Tammy Andrew, a computer science teacher at Milford High School who teaches several CTE classes, cited her use of Nearpod as one example.

“Nearpod enables me to make nearly any educational resource — PowerPoints, Google Slides, or any video — interactive,” she said. “Students can personally or anonymously respond to a video, for instance, and share responses. Students can respond to each other, too.”

In a computer programming class, Andrew said students can begin an assignment on a piece of paper or a Google document. If students are visual, they can use their cell phone or camera to submit an assignment. A digital timer, which can be turned off by the student, provides a countdown for those that require it.

“Students have a voice in how they learn,” said Andrew.

At the height of the pandemic, Kim Daniels, marketing educator at Milford High School & Applied Technology Center, said Nearpod helped teachers conduct synchronous lessons while all students were remote.  

“Nearpod allows a teacher to cast a PowerPoint on the students device that the teacher controls,” she said. “It also allows for quick check-ins for understanding through a variety of activities that the students can engage in together as a class, even though they are at home learning alone.”

According to Andrew, the pandemic has accelerated the technology adoption rate by school districts.

“We are two to three years ahead of where we would be otherwise if it were not for COVID-19,” she noted. “We are pushing the abilities of Zoom, Canvas and Nearpod into the future because we need these things now.”

Such technologies, while enhancing CTE, cannot replace hands-on lessons and work-based learning.

“A computer is not a substitute for face to face learning,” Daniels said. “The opportunity to provide instant feedback and offer corrections while we watch students work is missing during remote work days.”

Jen Haskins, president of the New Hampshire Career and Technical Administrators Association, agreed and said all CTE centers statewide are “creatively working” to meet the need for experiential learning in the state.

“We continue to work with many stakeholders, including industry partners, to provide students with real-world learning opportunities like apprenticeships and internships,” she said. “With the aging of New Hampshire’s workforce and the ongoing pandemic, CTE is more important than ever.”

Milford High School & Applied Technology Center is one of 28 CTE centers throughout New Hampshire.

CTE Centers, Industry Partners Creating Career Pathways for Students

CTE Centers, Industry Partners Creating Career Pathways for Students

One of the value propositions behind Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New Hampshire is to provide hands-on learning for high school students, an objective that often involves industry partners.

“We work with industry to create real work opportunities for students,” said Rich Paiva, Career Development Coordinator at Wilbur H. Palmer CTE Center, who helped launch an internship program in welding two years ago.

This program involves Spraying Systems Co. in Merrimack. 

“Before the pandemic, we had students tour their facility during Manufacturing Month in New Hampshire,” explained Paiva. “The students met the welders and were able to ask questions.”

One student, Shea Williams, found some answers.

“Between the program and the tour, he realized this was the career path for him,” said Paiva.

This realization led to a conversation with Joe Ruelas, Vice President Operations at Spraying Systems Co., and ApprenticeshipNH.

“We had to work out some details and how we could combine our program with the time spent at Spraying Systems so Shea could earn high school credits while over there,” explained Paiva. 

This creative arrangement enabled the hours Williams spent in the welding program to roll over into a full apprenticeship at Spraying Systems after he graduated from school last June.

“Spraying Systems is now sending him to Manchester Community College for an Associate’s degree,” Paiva said. “It is going great.”

Ruelas agreed.

“Shea has done very well for us,” he noted. “He has willingly accepted being trained on everything. He has a good work ethic and, most importantly, works well with others. He will one day be a good welder, hopefully, for our company.”

Citing his working relationship with Paiva as a big reason why Spraying Systems Co. developed apprenticeships, Ruelas said there are several advantages to creating them.

“One is to provide students the opportunity to learn a trade or skill in manufacturing,” he explained. “The other is to create and maintain a culture at our company of passing on knowledge to less experienced people and people who strive to learn more. The last one is to help improve the community.”

As for how his apprenticeship experience has been at Spraying Systems, Williams said it “has been awesome.”

“I am able to learn lots about my chosen trade of welding,” he said. “I am also being trained how to do many other procedures in manufacturing, such as sandblasting, pressure testing, and even some machining. I enjoy the company of my coworkers, and I enjoy the work I do.”

The experience for Williams is priceless.

“The best part of the apprenticeship is being able to get up in the morning and do something that I enjoy doing and can take pride in,” he said. “Welding is something that I enjoy putting a great deal of effort into, and being given the opportunity to learn and get job experience at the same time is something I am certainly grateful for.”

According to Paiva, Williams’ experience is “a textbook example of CTE.”

“We are here to help students explore career pathways, and Shea’s experience is possible through innovative partnerships with external stakeholders and industry,” he said. “Everyone benefits with CTE.”

Wilbur H. Palmer CTE Center is one of nearly two-dozen CTE centers throughout the state of New Hampshire.

CTE Leaders Look to the Future

CTE Leaders Look to the Future

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.”