History of the Porter County Career and Technical Education District
The Porter County Career and Technical Education program started in 1971 with four school corporations. The Cooperative structure was initiated to plan and coordinate vocational and career education programming throughout the county and to expand vocational curriculum offerings. Through examination of the area vocational concept in an area Feasibility Study, it was concluded that expanded vocational program planning and development was necessary to meet the growing employment needs in Porter County. It was also concluded that an interdistrict cooperative structure was most desirable in serving these needs. The cooperative was developed to give structure to the offerings of vocational programs at different locations under joint leadership and funding provisions as a multi-site vocational area program. This structure was approved by the State Board of Vocational and Technical Education and identified as an “Area Program” and named Area District #5.
Since the inception of the Cooperative, additional program offerings have been planned and developed to give a wide range of vocational enrollment alternatives to all Porter County students. Students participating in these programs attend their home school for one-half day. A program area is selected by the student consistent with personal career objectives developed through the guidance and counseling process in their home school.
The purpose of the Porter County Career Education cooperative is to provide effective leadership in vocational and career education as it assists students in understanding and developing their career potentials in the world of work.
Career Education is supported as a central theme which integrates all areas of education. It is an education concept that emphasizes the importance of the individual student, the experiences one has, one’s occupational choice, and the development of decision-making skills. Through an organized program of Career Education, the student will acquire self-awareness, career planning skills, work attitudes, and develop entry-level workforce skills. Career Education involves every area of education because it deals with the whole student, the whole world of work, and the whole world in which one will live and work.
Vocational Education is a component of Career Education. Relating to the important career preparation phase of Career Education, Vocational Education helps the student build upon earlier career orientation experiences in which more self-awareness and familiarity with the total world of work was developed. The student begins to identify with a particular career field and Vocational Education provides the opportunity to prepare for entry-level employment in occupations requiring skilled workers.
In the late 20th Century, the term vocational education fell out of favor, and has since been replaced by Career and Technical Education (CTE), a term which communicates the higher level of technical skills that are being taught in 21st Century CTE programs.
Area Career and Technical Education District #5 has expanded to now include 10 high schools and to offer over 30 possible courses for students to explore and learn different career options. CTE is now closely linked to colleges, the community college system, apprenticeship programs, and various trade and technical schools through numerous articulation agreements which provide students the opportunity to start their college transcript while still in high school. CTE emphasizes the integration of math, science, and communication skills within the technology curriculum. CTE courses are designed for all students whether they are going directly into the workforce or directly to college after high school. CTE courses continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the workplace and the urgent demands of area employers.