Archive for the ‘Technical Schools in the News’ Category

Microsoft and Alabama Department of Education Team Up

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Microsoft has teamed up with the Alabama Department of Education to offer a technology academy to high school students. Students can develop skills to help them succeed at college and in future careers. The Microsoft IT Academy has been successful in other states, and now comes to Alabama.

Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley believes this program will encourage workforce growth. High school graduates with technological certifications can bring their new skills to local businesses. The Microsoft IT Academy brings the latest programs and technology to students.

The program is known as Microsoft IT Academy. Students will have the ability to become certified in various Microsoft applications. Every high school in Alabama will soon offer the program. Students will get unprecedented access to technology and education.

The program is taught through e-learning, designated software and internet-based courses. Students will be able to complete a variety of technical courses, and earn professional certifications. Advocates for the program are hopeful for its success. Students will get the opportunity to graduate from high school with professional credentials. College bound students will have an advantage when they begin the fall semester. Many universities even test new students for computer proficiency.

The Microsoft IT Academy gives students a great way to get interested in learning. Students have tangible incentives for attending the academy. They can attain professional certifications. Many supporters believe this program will encourage learning. The idea of brining real-world credentials into the classroom is exciting. Students may take a more active role in their education if they can see the direct benefits. Students can do more than just prepare for college, they can learn valuable skills. Microsoft is an industry-leader, and used almost everywhere. Students take their credentials with them after high school graduation.

Participating schools get access to many different Microsoft learning programs. There is a Microsoft IT Academy website for members. There are over 1,500 online courses. Students will be especially interested in the programs teaching about game development, simulations and videos. Beginning students can take advantage of the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum. There is also a large e-reference library. Finally, students will be able to take advantage of DreamSpark. DreamSpark allows students and teachers in science and mathematics departments to use advanced developer tools and platforms, not usually available.

Students participating in the Microsoft IT Academy will have the latest technology at their fingertips. College-bound students will appreciate the advantage gained in their future endeavors. High school graduates going directly into the workforce will have professional credentials and training.

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A Vocational Education: An Exciting, Fresh Start for Students

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Thanks to Arizona education and business leaders, vocational education has seen a dramatic change in its curriculum and its general perception by both the public and educational system. It wasn’t too long ago a technical schooling was seen as no more than a means to clean the schools of the academically lazy and ‘bad’ students.

Today, these schools are viewed as exceptional jumping points for strong careers in a number of industries. They’ve become a respected part of economic recovery and development and an extraordinary opportunity for our young to train for welding, nursing assistants, auto technicians, machinists, electricians and more. Today, students take nationally recognized exams and get accredited certifications. The statistics between available jobs and qualified applicants in the fields these schools cover is expected to expand over the next 10 years, especially as baby boomers retire and the technology proceeds to advance. Vocational schools are preparing high school students today for that contingency.

Training programs are more focused and practical than in the past, when they were used to fill seats with troubled teens. Today, these schools are getting more and more applicants that are looking for vocational training. They are aware this training could cost thousands of dollars at private trade schools and community colleges. Under the right circumstances, many vocational schools can offer tuition free schooling.

In some circles, a vocational education is still stigmatized. There are those in the educational system that believe a high school graduation to college path is the only way. Some parents are concerned that this training limits a child’s potential and vision for the future. Neither view takes into account that the next step in any student’s life isn’t necessarily college.

Students often realize the benefits of having a skill straight out of high school to present to potential employers. A number of vocational programs actually have waiting lists. And college should never be counted out. High school grads that move into good jobs can always decide to attend college later. Only now, they will focus as well as have the opportunity to pay for it, alleviating burdens on family.

Far too many of our high school students are graduating into minimum wage positions. Too many of them accept that as their station. There should be encouragement to get into programs. Certification as a nursing assistant can lead to other opportunities in the medical field, such as Head Nurse or Dental Assistant. This would require going back to school and potentially increasing their salary by tens of thousands of dollars. But first, these students need to get their foot in the door with the proper training and support.

A good program can also help our students develop discipline. By mastering technical skills in a focused group environment, they learn to show up on time, become team players and demonstrate initiative through projects.

If you know of a high school student that is in need of career advice or hasn’t really decided where the next step after graduation is going to be, or if their plan is to get a job straight out high school, help them learn about vocational schooling. It’s not the end of their future, it’s the beginning.

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Technical schools becoming popular alternative to traditional education

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Technical schools becoming popular alternative to traditional education

So, you’re thinking of signing up for a welding training program or attending electrician schools. You may have heard about how technical schools are gaining traction across the country. Well, what you might not know is just how popular these institutions are becoming, especially in parts of the South.

Another way

According to the Memphis Daily News, technical training schools in the area are experiencing a dramatic increase in enrollment as thousands of students realize that these colleges can help them find work. In fact, the number of specialized technical schools operating in Tennessee has more than doubled in the past 10 years, from 13 to 30 – and that doesn’t even include state schools, community colleges and nonprofit training centers.

“We just believe that if we provide excellent education, students will just tell friends and family and then we will continue to grow,” Adrena Jackson, director of National College of Business and Technology’s (NCBT) Bartlett campus, told the news source. The number of graduates at the NCBT almost doubled to 408 between 2008 and 2011.

With figures like these, it’s hard to ignore how important technical schools are becoming in getting America back to work. If these graduates can do it, so can you.

Supporting the next generation of skilled workers

Technical schools are gaining steam thanks to both private companies and nonprofit advocacy groups that recognize the value in hands-on education. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, South Carolina, recently received a $100,000 grant from retail giant Wal-Mart and Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit group.

“The fastest on-ramp to a better life is a college credential,” said Michelle Gilliard of the Walmart Foundation, as quoted by the news source. “For many students, the barriers to completion are daunting, and engaged faculty and staff members can make the difference between students dropping-out or persisting through.”

Let us know how technical schools will help you achieve your dreams in the comment space below.

Technical schools to adopt national standards framework

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Technical schools to adopt national standards framework

Before you decide on which technical schools you want to attend, you need to think about the quality of the courses. Do your prospective schools employ instructors with a lot of experience? Is the equipment state-of-the-art? It can be tough figuring this stuff out, but thanks to a new national initiative, picking a technical school may soon become a little easier.

A standardized approach

Education Week reports that the National Career Clusters Institute (NCCI) is working with industry leaders, companies and technical schools across the country to develop a standardized framework known as the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC).

These guidelines will require all career training institutions, technical schools and community colleges to adhere to a set standard of rules to make sure that students are getting the training they need to find work.

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium helped to develop the framework, and polled more than 3,500 people across 48 states to design the CCTC.

Pathways to Prosperity

The regulations are part of a wider initiative known as Pathways to Prosperity, which aims to enable students to pursue other educational options aside from bachelor’s degrees. The project was launched after the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) published a report outlining alternative strategies to get people into work, other than traditional four-year degrees.

Although the program aims to expand the choices available to high school students, the initiative could have a profound impact on technical schools and non-traditional students.

“The lessons from other countries strongly suggest that this might be the single most promising strategy for greatly increasing the percentage of young adults who earn a postsecondary degree or credential that prepares them to embark on a meaningful career,” said Robert Schwartz, a professor of practice at HGSE.

What do you think of this initiative? Let us know in the comment space below.

Wisconsin Tech Connect links students to jobs

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Wisconsin Tech Connect links students to jobs

The nation’s job market has seen better days. Even if you’re not out of work, there’s a good chance one of your friends or family members is currently looking for a job. Rather than waiting for politicians to turn the economy around, unemployed workers should think about how enrolling in technical training schools may be able to help them.

While every technical college offers a different mix of programs, these schools typically provide educational options related to small engine repair or welding training. Students can quickly earn a diploma and re-enter the workforce with an updated skill set.

However, this is far from the only reason why technical schools are so helpful in the job search. Some institutions, like Wisconsin’s Mid-State Technical College, are focused on playing as big a role in students’ post-graduation search for work as they possibly can, WSAW reported. This isn’t just something Mid-State’s website claims to attract students, as the school has the proof to back it up.

Each year, roughly 1,000 students graduate from Mid-State. Of these individuals, around 86% entered their desired career path soon after leaving the college.

“One of the key resources used to help both students and employers is called [Wisconsin] Tech Connect,” Connie Willfahrt, the college’s vice president of student affairs, told the news source. “It’s a service for employers to post jobs. It’s very widely used.”

According to Tech Connect’s website, this statewide online employment information system is designed for students and graduates from one of the Wisconsin Technical College System’s 16 schools.

What do you make of online resources like Tech Connect? Would you feel comfortable using them if it meant landing a job before you even graduate? Let us know in the comment space below.

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