Educating the public: PV class enters national contest to spread awareness about the national CTE teacher shortage

Katie+Sulgrove+%28left%29+and+Nehal+Agrawal+%28right%29+are+creating+a+practice+video+with+Adobe+Premiere+to+familiarize+themselves+with+the+software.

Mukul Kulkarni

Katie Sulgrove (left) and Nehal Agrawal (right) are creating a practice video with Adobe Premiere to familiarize themselves with the software.

Mukul Kulkarni, Copy Editor

In an effort to address a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher shortage, PV CTE teacher Danielle Davenport and students in her Web Design Advertising class are entering a contest to produce a promotional video to induce more interest in the field. 

CTE classes expose students to relevant, technical, real-world careers. These types of classes train students in the skills needed for these high-demand careers through hands-on learning, theoretical teaching and critical thinking.

PV offers CTE courses in business, information solutions (Computer Science), industrial technology and family and consumer sciences. However, a continuous shortage of quality teachers for these classes has plagued the country.

Advance CTE is a non-profit that represents State CTE Directors and state leaders of CTE. Prior Advance CTE research has reported 86 percent of State Directors disclosed a moderate or severe CTE teacher shortage in at least one Career Cluster at the secondary level, and a further 60 percent indicating the same at the postsecondary level.

The dominant cause of the shortage stems from the program competing with the private sector for the same pool of teachers; teacher salaries are too low to compete with salaries in technical fields. In a survey conducted in 2016 of 47 State CTE Directors, 76 percent said the lack of funding for incentives and salaries is a major issue for recruiting industry to teach CTE. 

In addition, due to COVID-19, many CTE programs have been forced to go to all-online instruction although they are heavily dependent on hands-on learning. 

A survey was fielded to Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) members in January and February 2021. In response to the results, CTE professionals reported that motivating and engaging learners and providing hands-on learning and lab hours were the biggest struggles in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Many CTE programs have not been able to keep up with the intense cost of full-remote instruction thus being forced to terminate the programs. As a result, the fewer number of programs has led to a decrease in teachers as well. 

In hopes to address this shortage and to encourage more involvement in CTE, Davenport and students in her Web Design Advertising class are entering a contest called “Teach CTE Invest in Your Community,” hosted by ACTE. The contest involves creating a promotional PSA video that will raise awareness for the shortage of teachers.

The contest is offering prizes; the first place winner gets $250, second place will earn $150 and third place will receive $100. The deadline for the PSA video is Nov. 24. 

The team’s initial plan for the video is to include an introduction to the CTE teacher shortage problem, interviews with current PV CTE teachers and videos and pictures of the current PV CTE course projects. 

The team will work extensively with a suite of Adobe software to create the video. Three students are currently learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to create sophisticated graphics, one student is working with Adobe Animate to animate the text and graphics, two students are learning Adobe Premiere to stitch the whole video together and three students are learning Adobe Dreamweaver to publish a web page to host the video. 

Although this project is dedicated to spread awareness about the teacher shortage, Davenport and her students are excited to have an opportunity to apply their technical skills to a matter important to them. “I’ve never had an entire class work on a project together so I’m excited to see what the students create,” Davenport shared. “Adobe programs have so many cool features, and I have a class of really motivated students so I think the final product will be great.”

Senior Josie Olderog will be working with Adobe Illustrator to design the logos and graphics. “Through this project I hope to get a lot more experience with aspects of CTE,” Olderog explained. “I am also excited to be able to raise awareness for something I didn’t even know about before, but I love CTE so I’m glad this is something Mrs. Davenport informed us on!”

Sophomore Nikhil Behere is also one of the three students learning Adobe Illustrator for this project. Although the intended purpose  is to recruit industry professionals to become CTE teachers, Behere is enthusiastic that as a byproduct of the PSA, he will get to share his zeal for his fascinating projects that he has done so far.  

“I have so far enjoyed doing [Adobe] Illustrator because I can be creative, have fun, and open up my mind,” Behere shared. “Some students only see CTE classes as a graduation requirement and don’t see the benefits of them, so I think this project is a good way to share the cool things I did in these CTE classes and so others get a chance to do them as well.”

Davenport and her students know this shortage is a challenge and of immediate attention. They will meet this week to brainstorm ideas for the PSA. 

In a world where high-demand jobs are looking for entry-level employees who have the proper technical skills, experience and can hit the ground running, the need for educators that can teach these skills has never been greater. However, if there is a shortage of educators, students cannot acquire the adequate knowledge and skills to thrive in their future endeavors.