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How the CTC Can Support Your Local High School

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) will be part of a panel presentation this Friday, October 15 at 1:00pm Central entitled “Supporting High School to Community College Pathways with High Employer Engagement.” This live webinar will feature plenty of opportunities for attendee Q&A and group discussion. The event is hosted by the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN), which will be holding its annual conference next month. This presentation will focus on the successful “BILT model” of employer engagement with a special focus on how it can be used to support high school programs and strengthen high school-to-community college pathways. Picture of the back of a school bus, the sky and trees.

You can sign up for the October 15 webinar here.

And you can learn more about the NCPN conference and register here:

This webinar is part of a larger effort by the National CTC to better support high school IT programs and leverage the CTC grant work already being done, whether it’s offering professional development opportunities specifically for high school faculty or sharing more widely with secondary schools the recorded webinars and classroom resources that are so popular with community colleges.

To that end, at a recent quarterly meeting of the CTC’s Convergence College Network community of practice, faculty attendees discussed how best to support local high schools. That conversation covered a number of topics: boosting connections between community colleges and high schools, navigating complicated high school credit transfer challenges, and getting high school faculty properly trained and accredited. That summer CCN group discussion was followed by a couple of smaller focus group Zoom meetings this fall that involved a high school faculty and administrators.

From those meetings, the CTC has identified a handful of specific strategies to better support high school IT programs. These suggestions seem to fall in one of three categories: growing instructor skills to stay current with industry, providing classroom resources, and helping expand student outlook at IT career pathways. See below for more specifics.

Growing instructor skills to stay current with industry

    • Professional development events – Going forward, track topics for Summer Working Connections (the CTC’s successful IT faculty training program) will be developed with an eye towards offering content that might appeal to high school instructors. You can lean more here. Winter Working Connections will run online this December 13-15, 2021 and Summer Working Connections will run next July 11-15, 2022. Working Connections’ mission is to help keep IT programs current and aligned with industry needs.
    • Short videos to showcase best practices – The CTC has created and curated a number of short webinars on cutting-edge topics that could appeal to high school instructors. More will be coming soon.
    • BILT content – The CTC will begin publishing short one-page summaries of the quarterly trends discussions provided by our BILT (Business and Industry Leadership Team) employers. The hope is these one-pagers will be easily consumed by busy high school faculty to keep them informed on the evolving IT landscape. The first one can be found here.

Providing classroom resources

    • Short videos on IT workforce trends – Select webinars from the CTC’s new Brown Bag series could be suitable for use with high school students exploring IT trends.  Another possibility for classroom work are entries from our Day in the Life interview series with IT professionals – no videos run longer than five minutes – that provide real-world industry perspectives.
    • Virtual labs – High schools affiliated with a CCN member community college are eligible to request free access to A+, Network+, and Security+ virtual labs. Students only need an internet connection and a browser to access the content. Learn more about joining the CCN here.

    Helping expand student outlook at IT career pathways

    • Live Zoom panel talks – The CTC is looking at ways to help community colleges better showcase IT careers and education pathways. Sometimes high school students aren’t aware of all of the possibilities.
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