May 1, 2024 6 min read

Preparing Students to Work Safely and Successfully in School and On the Job


Career & Technical EducationK12


K12 EducationOnline TrainingStudent Training

Career readiness and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs have been getting more attention over the past decade. Reports warn of a growing gap between the skills employers are looking for and those that job candidates possess. Because of this, education institutions are ramping up their programming to help address this concern and ensure students are prepared for the evolving needs of the workforce. In just the past decade, 27 states increased their funding of secondary CTE an average of $182 million, according to Advance CTE, the national association of State CTE Directors.

Preparing the Future Workforce

CTE programs are important in preparing the future workforce because they help students gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills for specific careers through work-based learning (internships, apprenticeships, etc.) – and they provide students with career exposure earlier in their educational journey. In addition to the practical skills, well-rounded CTE programs should also include training on other critical topics.

Workplace Safety and Health Training

An essential, though often less-talked-about area of CTE skills-development, is workplace safety and health. Young workers and workers new to the job are at greater risk for injury than older adult workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 100,000 workers between the ages of 16-24 are seriously hurt on the job each year in the United States. Understanding how to be safe and healthy on-the-job is an important asset when it comes to employability. It helps the individual avoid injury, and also helps the company avoid the high human and financial costs of employee injuries.

CTE programs can help teach these valuable skills by:

  • Promoting a strong safety culture in classrooms and laboratories
  • Teaching key workplace safety and health competencies, including:
    • Specific safe work practices – everything from wearing proper protective gear to taking regular breaks.
    • A broad understanding of how hazards in the workplace can and should be controlled.
    • Communication and problem-solving skills that will help students address issues that arise on a job site.

Accidents and injuries are preventable when students have the proper knowledge and skills. Teaching these skills in CTE programs will help students understand how to avoid injury on the job, and how to avoid creating hazards at school that could place themselves, their peers, or their teachers at risk.

Career-Readiness Training

Career readiness skills include the ability to work in teams, manage people, and to pivot as needed to accomplish tasks to support the success of the company or organization. These skills help students be successful in work, in college, and in life, regardless of what field they end up going into and are repeatedly noted by companies as being just as important when vetting potential new hires as practical skills.

Including career readiness training as a central component of CTE programs will go a long way toward ensuring students are prepared for the world of work and will help them be attractive candidates for any job they pursue because these are the skills that will help students be able to adapt, learn, grow, and lead.

Workplace Compliance Training

For many students, the internship, co-op program or work-based learning experience they participate in during their high school CTE program is their first experience in a formal workplace setting. So, it’s important for CTE programs to include training about compliance with federal, state or local laws and regulations. Topics may include harassment, discrimination, emergency planning, and more. Understanding these issues helps students be more prepared for employment. It also makes them more attractive job candidates because when a company’s employees have this knowledge it helps the company protect itself from legal liability, maintain ethical standards, foster a culture of trust and respect among employees, and promote consistency.

Industry- Recognized Credentials

Earning an industry-recognized credential can be an important step toward qualifying for high school graduation for some students. In fact, as of 2020, at least 27 states and the District of Columbia had a policy in place allowing students to attain credentials as part of graduation requirements or college and career readiness pathways. Possessing an industry-recognized credential also helps a student prove competency and capability in a given field and demonstrates to the community and employers that the student is knowledgeable, properly trained and equipped to carry out their duties. Connecting students to opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials puts them on a path to success after high school.

CTE programs help students explore and pursue diverse career paths, ensuring they are well-prepared for the demands of the working world, and that they have the skills that today’s employers seek. By including training in the areas above, education institutions can set students up to be safe and successful in their careers.

Vector Solutions’ Powerful Career and Technical Education Solutions

The Vector CTE Training Program provides online courses that enhance students’ employability by teaching critical workplace health, safety, compliance, and career-readiness skills, and also helps them earn industry-recognized credentials. The program’s course libraries include:

  • Workplace Safety: These courses focus on essential safety procedures in alignment with industry best practices and national standards from OSHA, the EPA, GHS, and other safety organizations.
  • Workplace Safety Microlearning: This is a library of short, 5-minute courses focusing on learner knowledge and effective skill development. These courses are perfect for in-the-moment refresher training.
  • Workplace Compliance: These courses cover crucial compliance-related subjects valued by employers, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of how to foster respectful and inclusive workplaces.
  • Career Readiness and Life Skills: These courses equip students with the competencies and personal and professional skills that will support their successful transition to continuing education or the workforce.
  • OSHA 10-Hour Construction: This course helps students who are entering fields in the construction industry earn this industry-recognized credential. It includes an official OSHA-10 Construction card.
  • OSHA 10-Hour General Industry: This course is an OSHA-Authorized online training course that provides relevant material to help students stay safe on the job. It includes an official OSHA – 10 General Industry card.

All Vector CTE courses are authored by subject-matter experts, are customizable, and are delivered through Vector’s award-winning training management system which helps administrators track training requirements and progress. They easily integrate with a school or district’s existing CTE programs, and are available in 20 languages.  Courses include pre-and post-course assessments and reporting to help administrators monitor and measure learning.

The Vector Pathways Work-Based Learning Platform, Vector Pathways, formerly PathwayOS®, connects K-12 schools and students to work-based learning opportunities. Vector Pathways  helps institutions simplify business partner management and digitizes workflow with a business partner database, portal and job board. It also offers tools for logging hours, tracking experiences and service activities, and provides reports.

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Vector Solutions' CTE Suite helps CTE and work-based learning administrators better prepare students for their future workplaces. To learn more about Vector Solutions’ CTE Suite, schedule a demo.

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