By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV
I attended the NC WORKS Conference last month and walked away truly inspired. I work in sales for Realityworks and keeping a pipeline of customers is essential for company survival. Inspiration comes from seeing students become successful in life as a result of our products.
NC WORKS is not really focused on just finding jobs for people, but that is a GOOD thing. They are focused on preparing people for well-paying careers and they have a great plan in place. The pipeline starts with Career and Technical Education Directors looking at middle school, where kids explore careers suited to their intellect, their interest and their lifestyles. That pipeline extends to high school, where students begin to make career choices, such as healthcare, or welding, or electrical trades, for instance.
Students choose a life career pathway that leads them to a certification, such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). But, the NC WORKS group does not want the student to stop there. They want the student to get that certification as a step into post-secondary, where the community college might take the student from CNA into an allied health field, such as respiratory therapy.
The goal is to get a student highly skilled so that they can best support themselves (salary) in their communities. That salary amount depends on where they choose to live, such as the higher end for areas like Charlotte and maybe less for more rural areas.
The bottom line here is the planning that goes into making sure we are pointing students toward careers that will allow them to live and prosper, create and support their families and be productive citizens.
The good news is that the products that my company is offering align directly in the pathways laid out by the NC WORKS commission. Our products allow students to experience workplace skills, such as geriatric nursing, welding or electrical trades in a safe environment and allows a student to find out early if they are well-suited for this line of profession. That makes me feel good.
This is a big charge to take on especially with and this month’s proposed Presidential Budget. It is aimed at cutting Career and Technical Education funding by a national average of 15%, this certainly won’t help this initiative. In North Carolina alone, according to ACTE, the state could lose 28% of federal funding under the President’s proposed budget.
Let’s hope they keep working on that budget and keep education in focus.