HERSHEY, Pa.— Milton Hershey School® is planning spring Career and Technical Education (CTE) exposure programs during February, National CTE Month. These programs are designed for elementary and middle school students to discover their interests in specific career pathways through skills-based activities.
“For a lot of kids, they want to go into something they find useful and purposeful,” explained Dave Curry, MHS Career and Technical Education. “We’re continuing to do more things on the front end to place students in the appropriate pathway.”
To help students consider purposeful careers at a young age, elementary schoolers will research different industries and select their favorite career area to prepare for the school’s career fair in May. The students will rotate through 11 stations and learn about each career pathway offered at MHS by interacting with high school students who are currently enrolled in the program. Many of the stations will feature interactive, hands-on activities, including an augmented reality sandbox that represents the Computer Technology pathway.
When they enter middle school, MHS students expand on their interests through skills-based education in all 11 pathways. The hands-on lessons help them develop video production skills, experience with software like AutoCAD®, laser engraving knowledge, the ability to assemble internal combustion engines, and more.
“We want to simulate a real work environment as much as possible,” said Curry. “We want to keep their [excitement] flowing and give them an opportunity to challenge themselves.”
Each lesson incorporates STEAM and design thinking to prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Eighth graders also have the opportunity to tour the school’s dynamic CTE classrooms, which include a TV studio, courtroom, and culinary arts kitchen, among others. By exposing them to CTE programming throughout elementary and middle school, students are prepared to commit to a career concentration their freshman year of high school.
MHS high school students receive hands-on instruction, internship and co-op opportunities, and industry-recognized certifications to prepare them for college and the world of work. For seven consecutive years, every MHS senior has graduated with at least one industry-recognized certification. Students in the Class of 2017 are on track to receive two certifications.
More information about Milton Hershey School’s Career and Technical Education program, and early exposure programs, can be found at mhskids.org