Integrating Project Management into CTE Programs

Article excerpt

ENSURING WORKFORCE READINESS IS AN INHERENT component of career and technical education (CTE). but how exactly do we equip students with the right skills to be ready for the demands o1 the 21st century?

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One approach that is gaining momentum integrates project management into CTE programs. Project-management skills help students solve Problems. become leaders, think (Tit develop as warn players and take responsibility. It provides experiences that help build the 21st-century skills most desired by future employers, while equipping students for success in their personal lives.

Teachers and youth leaders who use learning projects in their classrooms know how incredibly motivating and et engaging these projects can be for students. They also know how challenging projects can be--especially without clear guidance on how best to plan. organize, launch, lead, manage and make the most of a rich learning project.

Embracing Project Management as a Key CTE Skill

Around the world, project management is becoming recognized by government and education leaders as a useful and practical way to teach leadership, communication and collaboration skills to students through classroom projects, which perlectly align-with the goals of CTE programs. In the United States, three states Washington State. Idaho and North. Garolina--have incorporated project-management education into their high school GTE programs. We will discuss some of what is occurring in Washington and Idaho.

CTE Students Value Project-management Experiences

Imagine a classroom where students are simultaneously engaged in hands-on learning, working iii self-directed project teams. learning different subjects and managing different projects. all in one large room. It sounds like chaos, but it isn't!

Students at Roosevelt High School in Seat tic. Wishington, are concurrently creating three-dimensional engineering models, learning digital electronics, exploring aerodynamic principles and a lot more. GTE teacher Karl Ruff achieves this seemingly impossible educational harmony by using project-management tools and techniques to orchestrate the work of multiple project learns conduct his classroom lessons on project management and leadership skills, and guide his students toward becoming more independent learners.

Rull's approach to teaching project management is less about memorizing project-management terminology and more about learning from hands-on projects. He engages students in real project management and rotates the role of project manager so each student has the opportunity to take on the responsibility of project manager.

The actual day-to-day managing of the project is only one part of a broad set of technical and project skills students experience firsthand; they also gain practical life skills like planning and organizing.

Christian, one of Ruff's students (and project managers), observed, "What I like most about pndect management is that you're learning ... something that will actually help you in college, in life. ... It's a useful skill to learn."

His students also apply these skills in other classes without prompting and this has not gone unnoticed by their teachers either. It has become known that teachers who want real project work to go oil in their classes look for his students because they stay "focused on their tasks. communicating, collaborating and problem solving" in effective ways, says Ruff.

As more schools in Washington adopt project management as part of their CTE programs, teachers and schools (and students and parents) are seeing the value project-management approaches can bring to managing their learning and preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century. …