Homepage > Blog | The Whiteboard > 2015 > Mar 2015 > Upgrading Career & Technical Education for a Changing Workforce

Imagine it’s your first day on the job and you’re expected to hit the ground running – without any industry experience to guide you.

Whether you’re right out of school or ten years into your career, most people will tell you that they’ve had some sort of professional training. This on-the-job experience is exactly what CTE programs offer the hundreds of thousands of students exploring future careers. In fact, industry partnerships have become a driving force behind ever-evolving career training and education.

We talked with Walter Taylor, an agriculture teacher at Plymouth High School in Wisconsin, about his experience with industry partnerships, and the many other ways he and his district are upgrading the school’s CTE program.

Plymouth High School FFA member Andy Helmer was named National Winner in Dairy Production Placement at the National FFA Convention. With him are, from left, National FFA Eastern Region Vice President Wesley Davis and his Plymouth FFA advisors Tracy Heinbuch and Walter Taylor.

Why Partnerships?

When Walter started teaching, he used VHS tapes to demonstrate real-world skills to his students. Things have changed a lot since then, including what students learn outside of the classroom.

“You’ll find students and local business working together from the early morning until late in at night, striving to ensure that all learners meet their aspirations,” Walter said.

Partnering with local business leaders helps students train for the workforce, and gives them the opportunity to earn industry-backed certifications before walking across the stage on graduation day. These industry-backed certifications address new requirements students face when moving on to college or their first full-time job.

Walter also mentions that employers are looking for the most qualified job candidates entering the field. Because of this, industries are invested in programs that mold students into successful employees.


This is truly a lifestyle choice – a choice our school is proud to support by offering career training classes as well as opportunities for community engagement...


Trading Spaces

“We’ve been able to upgrade our facilities and programs through generous contributions from students, faculty and community, which shows the level of support in future generations,” Walter told us.

The school also turned to iCEV for digital teaching tools, like video demonstrations  – a far cry from the VHS tapes Walter was using his first year on the job.

“This is truly a lifestyle choice – a choice our school is proud to support by offering career training classes as well as opportunities for community engagement,” he said.

To learn more about how Walter is upgrading CTE at Plymouth High School, check out our case study.