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Virginia ACTE is an affiliate of the national Association for Career and Technical Education.

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Jessica M. JonesHome : President’s Message

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What’s Your CTE Story?

Dr. Jessica M. Jones
2018–2019 Virginia ACTE President

In a world filled with technology, it’s become a natural occurrence to post a message on Facebook, Tweet a thought, Snapchat a story or Google a question. Often when we are curious about something we inquire or investigate further. After being a student and now a teacher in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) field for over 20 years, I know the impact CTE has had on me, my students and the communities in which I have worked and lived. Career and Technical Education provided opportunities, resources and experiences that otherwise I nor my students, colleagues and fellow community members may not have been able to access. I look back and wonder if I had not been inquisitive in wanting to know more about the world I live in and the people I share it with; to know more about the science of how to help people solve health issues with plants; to delve deeper into the core of what I was learning in school and applying that knowledge to solve real-world problems daily, I may not have ever become an agricultural education teacher. Career and Technical Education shapes the personal journey of millions of students annually, while utilizing a shared vision for student success. I wholeheartedly know and believe Career and Technical Education shaped me to be who I am today, but I wanted to know what others think about Career and Technical Education. So, I asked the Internet to answer, “What does Career and Technical Education Mean to You?” Interesting enough, nearly 200 million results appeared. One of the results that caught my attention was published by Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work. They stated,

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation. CTE prepares these learners for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies, and makes academic content accessible to students by providing it in a hands-on context. In fact, the high school graduation rate for CTE concentrators is about 90%—15 percentage points higher than the national average.

Yes! Career and Technical Education makes a positive difference in the lives of its students and their communities. Through enrollment and involvement in Career and Technical Education courses as well as the related Career and Technical Education student organizations, students not only explore career options, but they receive the real-world, hands-on training that prepares them for their future. The Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education is dedicated to expanding relevant and rigorous Career and Technical Education programs, enhancing leadership among its members, and influencing public policy for the benefit of Career and Technical Education students and professionals while developing a competitive workforce in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Efforts to achieve this mission take on the ability for students and professionals to learn, lead and succeed in and out of the classroom environment. And I, like many of you, are a living product of Career and Technical Education. My challenge is not just for you to share your CTE story, but to help others create and share their own CTE story. The possibilities are endless to the impact CTE has on the lives of students as we spark their intrigue, fuel their passion, and drive their knowledge towards bettering their lives, the lives of others and bettering our communities. The Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education strives to bridge the gap to success for all of its stakeholders as we transition students into being college and career ready, while forging opportunities to extend excellence in education through our valued professionals.


Dr. Jessica M. Jones
Virginia ACTE President