Is your career and technical education center future-ready?
February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019
When school districts create opportunities for collaboration in their CTE centers, they help students be ready for jobs that don’t currently exist
During February, we celebrate CTE month. This month allows us to highlight those programs around the country that are giving students the opportunity to thrive in the specialized fields within career and technical education (CTE). This month also gives us the opportunity to imagine what CTE education will look like in the future.
Over the last two years, Lewisville Independent School District in north Texas has taken the time to imagine new CTE possibilities, as they partnered with our team to develop the design of their newest CTE center, Career Center West.
The synergies that can happen from collaboration amongst diverse programs forecast the future jobs available to students after graduation.
As we designed Career Center West, we focused on the intersection between programs. Car enthusiasts, health professionals, machinists, computer scientists, law enforcement professionals, and woodworkers—to name a few—will all come together in this center. What do all these careers have in common? They reflect the careers in demand today, in our region and across the country. The confluence of these diverse careers in one building creates a unique opportunity.
Most of the jobs today’s students will encounter upon graduation do not exist currently. Having diverse careers represented under one roof provides opportunities at the fringes, at the intersection of where one program bleeds into another. The synergies that can happen from collaboration amongst diverse programs forecast the future jobs available to students after graduation. The design of Career Center West fosters these collaborations, and in doing so, broadens the interests and expertise of its students.
The idea of collaboration is at the heart of this design, encouraging the interconnected programs to create together and embrace the messy vitality that this collaboration generates. Centers such as the Career Center West act as a melting pot for the diverse programs to interact by creating thoughtful spaces inside and out for students to come together, share ideas, and showcase their work.
The main gallery at Career Center West was created to encourage this informal collaboration—it’s the main stage for collaboration to happen. Although the gallery was not part of the original program, or the original budget, the design team worked tirelessly to find efficiencies in plan and elsewhere to offset for this vital addition to the Center.
The gallery becomes the “living room” of the center. From this space you can see into virtually every program. As you enter the center, space invites you into the gallery. From the gallery, the various programs at the Center are on display. To the right, the double height workshops are interrupted by their supporting spaces. On the left side of the gallery, the academic programs face the space. The second floor is lofted and has views of the main gallery.
The career opportunities available to students change rapidly, and for this reason, CTE programs must keep an eye on the future. Each space at Lewisville ISD’s new CTE center is specifically designed to support the unique and specialized programs housed within, while allowing these programs to change and grow. The collaboration spaces are integral for our goal of being ready for the future, as the collaboration from diverse programs will forecast future careers. CTE education prepares students for the future, not just by giving them the skills to succeed as they enter the marketplace but also by sparking their creativity and helping them become lifelong learners ready to adapt to the ever-changing career environment.