Graduation rates for students involved in Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, or CTAE, classes throughout Georgia has risen 6 percent since 2014, and Forsyth County’s rate remains above the state average.
Georgia’s graduation rate for CTAE pathway completers reached 94.9 percent this year, up from 88.9 percent two years ago.
According to Valery Lowe, director of college and career development for Forsyth County Schools, local high schoolers who completed CTAE pathways graduated at a rate of 99.72 percent.
“Our district has a strong belief that career pathways have major impacts on graduation rate and academic performance in Forsyth County. These programs provide student engagement through hands-on curriculum, extracurricular participation through their career and technical education student organizations and the ability to participate in real-world, project-based instruction,” Lowe said. “With our teachers focusing instruction on business and industry engagement, the classroom becomes a relevant place for learning, and our students take pride in the impact they are making in our local community.”
Georgia’s CTAE program leverages partnerships with industry and high education to “ensure students are prepared for careers in the 21st century workforce.”
“Students are engaged and look forward to coming to school each day because of the strong relationships built with our teachers and advisors involved in each pathway area,” Lowe said.
More than 100 career pathways are offered within 17 career clusters, allowing students to earn industry credentials, participate in work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities and serve as leaders through memberships in co-curricular Career and Technical Student Organizations.
“This rate proves that when students are engaged and see the relevance of their education, they succeed,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Every child is not the same, and we need to provide an educational experience that offers a variety of paths toward college, career or the military.”
Woods congratulated the state’s teachers, school district officials, business partners and community members who “supported Georgia’s CTAE programs. In connecting students with rewarding future careers, you are truly changing lives.”
Success stories of CTAE graduates can be found close to home.
Priya Rathakrishnan, a 2015 graduate of Lambert High School in south Forsyth, will serve as the 2016-17 national president-elect and 2017-18 national president of HOSA, an international student organization for future health professionals that promotes career opportunities in the health care industry.
“I began my freshman year of high school with a huge desire to somehow learn more about and become involved in the health community,” said the rising Emory University sophomore. “I joined HOSA – Future Health Professionals because I saw that this organization had the ability to provide opportunities for students to become the better candidate through competitions at state and international leadership conferences, community service and awareness for health causes.”
She said because of her involvement in the organization, her passion for health care has “only grown stronger, and I have gained numerous communicative, teamwork and employability skills that I know will be beneficial to me throughout my life as I continue pursuing the path to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.”