In honor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin visited Mid-Coast School of Technology to highlight the importance of Career and Technical Education in providing high-quality career pathways, shine a light on the vast array of program offerings for students, and celebrate the powerful teaching and learning happening in CTE schools.
Enrollment in Maine CTE schools has increased by 9.4 percent between the 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 school years, with more than 9100 students now in Maine’s 27 CTE schools.
While at Mid-Coast, Commissioner Makin met with educators and students, visited several classes to see the wide range of programs offered at the school, and got hands on experience alongside students. She engaged with students and educators enrolled in programs focused on auto collision, bakery and pastry, welding, carpentry, design technology, marine technology, machine tool, outdoor leadership, EMT, certified nursing assistant, and small engines. Mid-Coast has seen its highest enrollment ever this school year and serves students from 21 towns. The school has 18 high school level programs plus adult education and college courses taught on site.
“It’s awe inspiring to experience the energy, engagement, and excitement of the students here at Mid-Coast and the passion these educators, who are leaders in their fields, bring to help enable student success both inside and well beyond the classroom,” said Education Commissioner Makin. “Everyone has a way to learn and everyone has a path to success and we want to make sure students and families know that Career and Technical Education is such a vital and vibrant pathway for young people. At schools like Mid-Coast, students use their hands and their minds to gain knowledge and skills in everything from technology and culinary arts to computer design and the skilled trades, while also learning how to collaborate with others, be self-directed, critically think, and find joy in what they do. And they can leave here, often with some level of certificate or credits that give them such a great head start in their careers or at college.”
In her meetings with students, many of them talked about how they had to break through the stigma that still exists around career and technical education and how they want more people to know about CTE as an option. They highlighted the opportunities they have to work toward real world goals, gain experience in their industries, have the safe space to make mistakes and learn from them, and learn life skills. Mid-Coast School of Technology Director Bobby Deetjen said that students “learn skills but also how to have confidence and become leaders.”
Photos from the visit are available upon request and will be featured on DOE social media.