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February 22, 2021

IEC Convention & Expo 2021: A Great Opportunity for High School Students to Gain Exposure the Electrical Industry

If your company is working with high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, consider that IEC’s 2021 Convention & Expo in Denver, October 6-9, is a perfect way to introduce students to the world of electrical contracting. Students will receive free admission to the Expo! Contact training@iecrm.org for details.

Not every student is suited to go to college, and not every student necessarily wants to go.

Dating back to our colonial days, vocational high schools have their basis in the apprenticeship style of learning a trade. They really became a force in the early 1900s as the U.S. grew into an industrial power with a crying need for skilled workers. Until about 30 years ago, vocational schools stressed trade skills over academics, with the majority of students going straight to work after high school, but as of 2004, almost 80 percent of CTE graduates have been continuing on to pursue college or other post-secondary education options.

As a result, today’s multifaceted CTE schools are not your grandfather’s pre-factory training, though some of that remains available. Career prep has progressed with the times and now students can take courses that teach skills for a wide array of occupations ranging from the likes of electrical engineering to skilled trades, technical sciences or marine biology to computer animation or business finance. Typically, students take a full slate of academic courses and are required to pass state tests to graduate. 

In Colorado today, there are approximately 144 CTE programs across 129 schools and 55 districts, which means the majority of vocational programs are embedded within a larger high school or being offered as an additional course of study. As a result, it’s important to determine what electives, languages, and honors, AP, or IB classes are offered so that after graduation, students may continue to a two- or four-year college if they choose, or enter an apprenticeship training program like IECRM’s.