Career and Technical Education CTE – Live Rural, Learn Rural and Work (Earn) Global Initiative
There is no reason for the brain drain that has happened in the past few decades to continue to happen in our rural parts of the US. I have seen the small town my father grew up in – the one I fondly remember visiting as a child to see my grandparents – dwindle away as the majority of high school graduates move away and don’t come back. That brain drain decimated the local economy.
At one time, the wisdom was that if you wanted to be a part of a STEM/STEAM career, you had to move to an urban/suburban area. And OK, ten or twenty years ago I would have agreed with that, but not today.
Anyone who knows me knows that I believe education is the solution to everything. A naive belief maybe – but I am sticking to it. Things have changed and rural communities can benefit. So, let me make my case, and you will have plenty of time to judge me later.
What we need our rural youth to see is that they can have a highly creative, high-tech, high-demand, and a high paying careers wherever they want to live. Geography is not the determinant of their work and pay. It is a student’s passions, talents, skills and determination that will decide their career path. Again NOT geography.
What are some careers that allow a rural student to graduate and remain in their rural community?
What types of careers can a student expect to do that are high-tech, high-demand and high pay? For careers that would allow the student to graduate and remain in their rural community, web development, web design, web technologies, web animation and web and mobile applications are at the top of the list.
Notice that all of these careers have the word Web in them. These careers also have some similar characteristics in that they are creative, high-tech, yet do not demand any specialized equipment.
Web technology careers are especially in-demand for rural learners to explore.
Let’s look at why careers with “Web” in them make such good sense for rural communities.
Let me tell you a little story. In the early days of us shifting our courseware from desktop (we used to deliver our courses on CDs – sometimes up to 11 CDs) I worked with a friend of mine who had a web hosting company. I knew my website was safely on a server in a nicely air conditioned room in town. And backed up to another site someplace else in the US. However, when I sat down with my web guru and showed him how big our courses and learning management system was, he told me that we needed to move to a bigger server and that we were going to need some additional web expertise. He had a guy named “Robert” who could help me out. So I contracted through my friend to use his guy, and Robert helped set everything up on the new server via emails. The backups were running, we began to deliver courses “on-line” and everybody is happy.
Fast-forward about 9 months and we have a database issue that I cannot figure out (not everybody is happy), and so Robert and I end up working together over the phone. We get everything resolved and everyone is happy again. My web host buddy checks in with me, and I tell him that everything is fine. I told my friend and Robert that I wanted to take them both out to lunch, and my buddy tells me Robert lives on a farm in Wyoming. He is a fantastic web technologist with a flair for databases who my buddy met through a friend of a friend. He told me that he talks to Robert daily, and that Robert will tell him “Ok, I am off to ride the 4-wheeler.” Robert would work in the web for most of his day, and then he would enjoy his farm for the rest of the day. To really drive home how the world ahs changed, my buddy told me that one of my main servers was located in a small town in Wyoming.
The world economy is Global
We tell our students how they are competing globally for their jobs. Students hear scary bedtime stories of how people in other countries are going to take all our jobs. But there are careers where companies and small businesses want local talent. The careers of the web are just such an opportunity.
By 2020 over 50% of the US working population will be free-lancing either full or part-time. The percentage of millennials who are purposefully choosing to build careers as freelancers continues to grow. This really should not surprise any of us.
Let’s look at it from a different point of view. How are students learning and being trained in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Panama and other countries presented with the opportunity to work virtually for anyone? The answer is access to the internet.
Admittedly, in the US many of our regional areas are still a bit behind in getting high-speed access to the web. But, times are changing and more and more equity in quality high-speed access is happening.
For me, I see that the same connectivity that is allowing people from thousands of miles away to work for US businesses is the same access that would allow a motivated American to sell their talents regionally and globally.
What is missing?
We need to get our rural students exposed to more high-tech careers while in middle and high school. This means giving all rural students the chance to experience real-world project based learning education. That is the first step and it does not require the educator to be the subject matter expert. That is what course-ware is for.
Once a student realizes that a high-tech career path is an obtainable goal, we need to work to help get those students credentialed.
Announcing a “Live Rural, Learn Rural and Work (Earn)
We are discounting our courses to rural districts so that they can purchase our STEM and STEAM courses just as if they were a large district. This levels the playing field a bit more to provide more opportunities for more students.
I believe that we can show learners that they can enjoy living where they want and can have the career paths they want without moving to where they don’t want. Rural students are just as talented as urban/suburban learners. Do you want to see how one rural school is meeting the challenge? Check out this blog post Rural High School Students First in Nation to Earn STEM/STEAM Stackable Industry Certifications
Creativity, drive, talent, and entrepreneurship are pervasive throughout our country and crosses all boundaries.
I may be very naive (this would not be the first time), but I don’t think so. I believe CTeL will be able to show students getting STEM training, earning STEM industry certifications and getting paid internships all while remaining in their rural districts.
I believe we can show a way that students and schools can become the catalyst for new STEM economic growth in rural America.
Call me crazy. I don’t care – we are doing this anyway.
Courses Available for these special pricing considerations include the following courses that lead to International Industry Recognized Certifications. Click the link below.
So, if you are interested in seeing if your school qualifies as part of our “Live Rural, Learn Rural and Work(Earn) Global Initiative” then contact us today. If you want to talk to one of our rural districts who are taking part in this initiative, then contact us today. If you want to call me crazy – well that’s ok too.
In future posts, we will talk more about how companies are now moving high-tech work to rural communities to tap into creative, hard-working, well-educated, and talent-rich potential.
Have fun – Steve
Founder CTeLearning.com / I Support Learning, Inc.