Picture of two students working on electrical wiring projects as part of the SkillsUSA contest.

This fall, more than 215 Kentucky teachers participated in a training for new career and technical student organization (CTSO) advisers.

The training, funded by $45,000 from the Kentucky Department of Education’s approved Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) plan, supported new CTSO advisers in schools across the Commonwealth with a focus on effectively managing and seamlessly integrating their respective organizations into their curriculum. CTSOs enhance student learning through offering career-focused leadership development and providing students participation and competition opportunities at local, regional, state and national levels.

“The pandemic significantly decreased participation in CTSO involvement at the local and state level by around 80%,” said Robin Linton, the state’s CTSO director. “When we returned to in-person learning, the idea of face-to-face training provided an opportunity for modeling of best practices and allowed teachers to network and share ideas.”

State CTSO advisers will be providing follow-up support through visits to the new CTSO advisers’ classrooms.

“The ESSER funds supported a national SkillsUSA trainer to share ideas with the 33 teachers that attended,” said Melanie Jamison, the SkillsUSA state adviser. “The training provided everyone an opportunity to meet in person for discussions and questions regarding SkillsUSA and the CTSO overall.”

Justin Hornbeck, a video production teacher from the Early College Career Center in Hardin County, said he was glad to get to meet his fellow CTSO advisers.

“This training was very beneficial,” he said. “Just getting to meet others was a big help. Having someone walk me through the website and where things are was extremely helpful.”

“The Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) training offered invaluable resources to family and consumer sciences teachers,” added Ashleigh Vanhoose, FCCLA state adviser. “FCCLA is the bridge between the family and consumer sciences classroom and real-world settings. Advisers gained skills that will help them empower their students to make real changes that benefit their personal growth, family relationships, career skills and community lives.”

To learn more about career and technical education in Kentucky – including CTSOs – visit the Kentucky Department of Education’s CTE webpage.