Support for Career & Technology Education Opens Doors
CTE Prepares Students for the Working World
Punctuality and perseverance, independence and interdependence, saving and spending – these are essential concepts for students preparing to enter the workforce. The Learning Center for the Deaf’s Career & Technology Education Program (CTE) helps students take those first steps toward building confidence and learning the lessons necessary to open doors to the working world.
“We teach students technical skills and life skills: timeliness, appropriate dress, teamwork, safety and problem-solving,” explains CTE Department Chair Jennifer Blasko. Our program has adopted the Council of Exceptional Children’s Life-Centered Career Education Curriculum, which is taught in all CTE classes as well as in the residential program, Walden School and after-school activities.
Recognizing the importance of these skills, the Massachusetts and United States Departments of Education have made student transitional preparedness a critical educational issue for the 21st century and a priority for the nation’s schools.
When it was first established, the CTE Program geared its curriculum to small groups of deaf students in areas of independent living and pre-vocational skills. In recent years, the program has expanded into a comprehensive high school department spanning a wide variety of transitional education courses for all secondary students.
Technical skills are centered around these content areas: Carpentry/Construction, Culinary Arts, Graphic Design/Media, Computer Technology, Building Maintenance, Bicycle Repair and Auto Detailing. Each of these programs operates as a small business where students, in addition to acquiring operational skills, learn to estimate costs, allocate resources and bill customers.
Culinary Arts students assist in dinner preparation for our residence halls and supply refreshments for campus meetings. The Auto Detailing program keeps all 16 campus vehicles looking their best. The Graphics Center prints materials for campus events and classroom instruction packets.
Students are paid for their work. They begin with structured on-campus work, shift to independent on-campus jobs and then advance to community-based, competitive employment. Recently, five students were employed full-time on campus with the assistance of a transitional employment grant of $14,450 from The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. This grant also provided the program with ten new iPads, which are used to transmit on-the-job instructions to students in both English and ASL.
As it evolves, the CTE Program will be looking for more partners to provide career education, job shadowing and competitive employment opportunities for students in transition. For instance, fostering ties with the Metrowest business community is a significant prospective goal.
Gifts to our Annual Fund provide vital funding for the Career & Technology Education Program. We gratefully acknowledge your support, as we strive to offer a diversity of vocational options for all our students.