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Burke CTE students rank 7th in the state

posted Nov 9, 2017, 1:25 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

           A high percentage of Burke County Public Schools students enrolled in a Career and Technical Education course go on to earn a credential in that class. A recent ranking released at the annual state CTE conference lists Burke County CTE students seventh in the state based on the number of credentials earned per student enrolled.

            Students completed CTE courses in subjects such as fire fighting, health care and Microsoft Office with credentials, which are endorsed by business and industry and document student mastery of skills required for employment and advancement in a career. In Burke County, 1,514 students enrolled in CTE courses earned 1,302 credentials.

            The state has collected data on CTE students since 2010-11. Statewide, students earned 160,224 credentials issued by professional associations, vendors, or employers during last school year, up from 14 percent the previous year.     

According to the US Department of Education, credentials demonstrate that students have acquired the designated knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a specific job through a written, oral and/or performance-based exam.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “I am extremely proud of our CTE students who go on to receive credentials in their field of study. Our CTE programs are topnotch and our bright and talented students who take advantage of CTE courses are better prepared to enter the workforce and/or further their education because they have mastered skills today’s employers are seeking.”

  Rexanna Lowman, director of secondary education and CTE for Burke County Public Schools, said, “CTE students may not realize the importance of a credential until they apply for a job, but students with credentials actually have an edge over non-credentialed job applicants when it comes to getting hired for entry-level jobs. They also have the potential to make a higher starting salary and because they earn the credentials in high school, there is little or no cost to the student or their parent in the credentialing process.”

Lowman also explained that the ACT WorkKeys also measures career readiness and employability in students. Test-takers who score high enough on the assessment receive a Career Readiness Credential, which is available at four levels – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Employers use Career Readiness Credentials as a screen to improve the quality of their workforce and to help potential employees understand the level of performance necessary to be successful in a particular field. In Burke County last year, two students received Platinum scores, 187 Gold, 404 Silver and 188 Bronze.


Photo: A Patton High School student in the fire academy navigates a dark room searching for an exit. Fire fighting is one of the many CTE courses in which students can earn credentials.