Celebrating the value of Career and Technical Education

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

By Troy Watkins, Business Education

Teacher and CTE Department Chair, Austin High School

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month is a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

Email newsletter signup

Austin High School is fortunate to have a variety of CTE options for students to select. CTE teachers take pride in preparing students to enter the real world by teaching specific career skills, soft skills, and giving students a chance to prepare for future careers. Below are some of the things students are doing in CTE courses right now.

Business Courses 

Accounting — Students are learning about financial statements and how to use Microsoft Excel.

Marketing — Students have been studying Minnesota businesses and creating PowerPoint presentations on them.

Introduction to Business — Students have gone through the sales process and did mock sales demonstrations.

OJT (On the Job Training) Seminar — Students just completed a section on investments and are starting to learn about credit cards, loans, and the importance of maintaining good credit.

Mentorship — Students finished their resumes and cover letters and are getting ready to start their 35 hours of mentorship experiences in the community in a career field they selected.


Family and Consumer Science continues to offer hands on learning is all areas.  Food and culinary classes demonstrate proper cooking methods and techniques based on the science of nutrition and the type of food.

Child Development classes are learning through playing with different manipulatives, and the Teacher Cadet practices teaching strategies that are used in classrooms in all levels of teaching.

Media Courses 

Channel 4 News — Students post new on the high school web site that anyone can view each week.

Video Production I — students are learning about camera movements and have been filming the camera movements in a group setting.

Reyna Andrade Avalos works on wood projects at Austin High School. Photo provided.

Reyna Andrade Avalos works on wood projects at Austin High School. Photo provided.

Video Production II — students are working on their stop animation projects that introduce them to advanced settings in Final Cut Pro X and how to manage speed control in the software.

Agriculture Courses

Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources — Students are introduced to many topics within agriculture including ecology, animal science, plant science, biology of agriculture and communication and FFA.

Food Chemistry — Student receive their chemistry credit by learning chemistry concepts with an agriculture and food focus.

Plant Science — Students learn hands on about all aspects of the plant industry including soils, anatomy and physiology, plant reproduction and sales and marketing.

Animal Science — Students learn the ins and outs of the animal industry with topics including history, handling, nutrition, genetics, health and animal products.

Landscaping —This courses teaches students landscape and design principles and give students hands-on opportunities to work on landscapes in the community.

Small Animal Care — Students focus on the small animal/companion animal industry and learn basics such as care, nutrition, disease management and handling of many different species of pets.

Wildlife Management — Students learn about the large mammals of Minnesota such as deer, moose, bear and wolf and how conservation and care can impact Minnesota’s economy.

Ag Issues and Leadership — This course is designed to look and discuss current issues facing the agriculture industry and how perception is key to teaching the public about agriculture and how leadership is key to every aspect of life.

Annex Courses 

Woods I — Students are building cabinets, rocking chairs, folding tables, turning bowls on the lathe. Class will be partnering with the Riverland Carpentry Program and Habitat for Humanity to build a couple of bathroom vanities this spring for the Habitat House.

Wood II — Students are constructing canoe book shelves, coffee tables, head boards, end tables, night stands, folding outdoor tables, bow cases, bow racks, deer antler shed holders, deer antler mounts, entertainment centers, tool boxes, and an oak bar.

Wood III — Students are constructing gun cases, gun cabinets, head boards, desks, tables, coffee tables, cabinets, end tables, and dressers.

Carpentry — Students are constructing an 8’X 12’ Victorian play house. The play house will be fully wired with lights and outlets. The interior will be fully finished. The students will also build cabinets, tables, vanity, and shelves. The Wood III class and the carpentry class will be going to Riverland Community College to compete in the seventh annual Carpentry Skills Contest and Career day.

Project Lead The Way — Intro to Engineering Design teaches students the design process while incorporating computer-aided design and real world projects. Students learn the importance in documentation and presentation within design.

Manufacturing Systems — Introduces students to welding fabrication, design, and projects related to the manufacturing skills trade. Students learn SMAW, OFW, GMAW and TIG welding processes and apply this knowledge to various projects throughout their high school careers.

Trans Tech I — Students bring in their vehicles to learn basic maintenance and some entry level automotive technician skills

Graphic Arts is working with the Masonic Lodge of Austin to print a two-sided wooden paint stir stick to help promote their monthly pancake fundraisers. The graphics students are printing blue ink on both sides of 100 paint stir sticks.