Welcome to February, what some call the year’s “cruelest month.” It’s usually cold, typically dreary and generally makes one long for spring — which is still almost two months away. According to that unusually large marmot, Punxsutawney Phil, we can expect another six weeks of winter weather. (C’mon, Phil! Don’t be such a scaredy-cat. It’s just your shadow.)
Fortunately, February has a couple of holidays to make things more bearable. Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14 — a special time for “amour,” flowers, and (of course) chocolate. The following Monday is Washington’s Birthday, aka Presidents Day (probably to help us recover from Valentine’s Day). Washington’s Birthday (the actual legal name of the holiday) honors both the first president and the office of president, including all the men to hold it since Gorgeous George (no women yet, but it will happen).
But what makes February exciting for me is that it’s also CTE Month! For 28 glorious days, we celebrate the value of CTE and the accomplishments of CTE programs and students from coast-to-coast. Career and technical education directly prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers in fields like medical, manufacturing, engineering, and my favorite, information technology (IT).
As a career choice, IT is tough to beat. Per CompTIA’s Industry Outlook 2018 report, IT is going to do well in the coming year. Two significant items stand out in CompTIA’s forecast: 1) a projected growth of 5 percent for the sector driven by customer demand and emerging products/services and, 2) an increased demand for skilled employees that will require companies to rethink their approaches to recruiting, training and managing talent.
As rapidly as the IT field continues to grow, so too does the need for certified individuals. That’s why I and my compadres are running full-tilt spreading the good news about the benefits of certification and the opportunities available to credentialed individuals. In the process, we’re racking up those frequent flier miles and hotel awards points. Just last week we were in Florida and Michigan, and today we’ll head up the road to Salt Lake City. Next week, team members will be touting TestOut’s award winning courseware in Ohio and Texas.
In the process of all this touting, we regularly have the delightful opportunity to visit with CTE instructors who can’t wait to share the accomplishments of their students. Brad Chamberlain, the instructor for Maricopa High School in Maricopa, Ariz., recently emailed me about two students, Reece Thompson and Braydon Sanders, of whom he is particularly proud. Reece has earned certifications for PC Pro, Network Pro, Security Pro, Linux Pro, and Switching Pro and Braydon has earned certs for PC Pro, Network Pro, Security Pro, and Server Pro 2016. Not bad!
2018 promises to be another great year for TestOut. The K-12 team will be coming and going all year long, attending conferences and sharing the certification message. To help keep us anchored at headquarters, we recently brought on a new administrative assistant, Tania Schlatter. Originally from California, she describes herself as a self-taught surfer-girl and an enthusiastic dirt-biker. Tania brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and we are excited to have her!
February is CTE Month, the K-12 team is excited and we are going pedal-to-the-metal all month long to continue helping students achieve their educational goals.
About the Author — Aubrey Barnett has been with TestOut for 12 years and is currently the K-12 Sales Team Manager. Aubrey is also an amateur photographer. She and her husband Dan have two children and together they enjoy camping and a host of other outdoor activities. Aubrey likes to chop down a cherry tree each year on Washington's Birthday, because Washington's Birthday happens in February when it's cold outside and people need firewood.