Public School System’s Career and Technical Education director Dr. Jessica Taylor gave a briefing of the CTE’s cohort programs and PSS’ proposed new graduation requirements during the Rotary Club of Saipan’s luncheon yesterday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Garapan.
During the meeting, Taylor shared the goals of the CTE program under PSS and a more in depth look at four of the cohort programs—Teacher Academy, Nurse Assistance Program, the Construction Program, and the Entrepreneurship Program.
Very similar to the older vocational education, the current CTE program works to provide students from high school to as young as middle school, the opportunity to feel, and receive basic training for a chosen certain career path, regardless if the student desires to go to college or seeks to dive into the workforce after high school graduation. She also added that if the student graduates from high school, but is still involved in the cohort, they may, and are encouraged to continue until receiving their certification. Taylor noted that the students will earn credits from involvement in these programs, and upon completion, will receive certifications in that chosen field.
Taylor, who previously wore many hats as teacher, counselor, vice principal, and principal over the years, shared how beneficial the program may be, especially in light of the coming CW issue in 2029.
Taylor brought up that the necessary key to making the programs fully successful was the participation of local industries and businesses.
“Partnerships with postsecondary and industry are important,” she said “…After receiving such certification where do they go? It’s one thing for us to go out and really have this conversations but if an industry or a business does not see that vision, it’s very hard to work together. Really the partnership is so important, because we just need that last link of industry, getting the students in there with these certifications.”
She stated that through the program’s visible success stories, hopefully businesses and industries join their team to help provide a place where students may experience and adapt to the workforce developing skills through internships and such; which will not only prepare them for work, but also give the student a potential jobsite after earning such credentials.
Taylor, answering a question from Rotary Club president Wendell Posadas about the $12 million federal funding for CTE, said that the new CTE center for students was underway, with building construction to take place besides Marianas High School facing Beach Road.
Along with discussing the CTE programs, Taylor announced that new high school graduation standards are being proposed by PSS and are available for public feedback. The standards give students a wider variety of choices in electives, and the proposed standards are now being made available for public review and feedback before decision of implementation.
“We do have these that are currently being looked at, and we would like the stakeholders, our parents, our students, our educators, our industry partners to really provide their feedback, before we meet with the board.” Taylor said.