*This Letter to the Editor by Dr. Bill Rocks, ACM dean of career education, was shared with local media outlets in February.
How do you help someone struggling to find or chart their path? What should I tell my child or grandchild to do?
My answers to these questions are identical: Consider Career and Technical Education. As Allegany College of Maryland celebrates national Career and Technical Education Month, nothing makes me prouder than seeing students prosper through CTE programs.
CTE opens doors by offering individuals a way to gain skills and earn credentials in an abbreviated time with minimal cost, from one-semester programs to two-year associate degree programs. It empowers the next generation of skilled workers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.
The suggestion of training or college can be met with intentional or unintentional pushback when adults are struggling to find a job. But behind every pushback is a valid concern – the ability to pay, family responsibilities or lack of adequate childcare, negative experiences at the high school or college level, or a fear of failure. This is where a small college that prioritizes affordability and student success can help. We offer services designed to uplift every student, including financial aid, scholarships, free use of technology, tutoring, counseling, a food and supply pantry, and more. Much of this information is located at allegany.edu/career-and-technical-education.
For youth, I encourage students and their guardians to visit www.mdcteworks.org to learn about career options, CTE career clusters, and college pathways. Why? Because it may improve their chance of graduating from high school. In 2020, Maryland CTE students had a high school graduation rate that was 13% higher than non-CTE students. We offer high school and technical center graduates advanced standing when they enroll in related programs at ACM.