The job market faced by today’s high school graduates looks nothing like the market of five years ago, and with the pace of change in technology, there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring.

Auto makers are already testing automated driving systems that will reduce the need to hire truck drivers, and computer algorithms are being developed that could one day replace insurance underwriters, financial analysts and even radiologists.

What does career-readiness look like for students coming of age in such a rapidly-changing world? What kinds of skills and knowledge should they be acquiring, and how?  

If you asked Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the popular TV show, MythBusters, he’d say that while accessing the right training and schooling is important, the secret to securing a fulfilling career comes down to having the right attitude. “It comes down to resilience, hard work, and self-discovery. Growing up, I discovered if you’re methodical and work hard, you can do anything,” he told high school-age attendees of the 2018 Pathways to Professions Expo, a showcase of Career and Technical Education courses available at Utah’s public schools. His appearance, a question-and-answer session narrated by Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, was sponsored by Salt Lake Community College.hynemansmall

Before he was a TV show host and special effects expert, Hyneman was a man of many trades. In his younger years, he worked as a mountain guide, cook, building inspector, and builder in addition to laboring on farms and in libraries. At first blush, his resume might appear haphazard, or the record of someone who is perpetually distracted.

But Hyneman said he approached each of these occupations like an insatiably curious “forensic scientist” bent on soaking up all the knowledge he needed to master the job. “I didn’t start with exceptional skills. I’d follow-up, and follow through. I’d get my foot in the door, pay my dues and become an asset to the company,” he said.

His advice to students: Find things that interest you, and experiment with them—preferably not with explosives until you’re ready—be methodical, and don’t be afraid of failure. “Just be methodical and work hard and it’s amazing what you can do,” he said.

This strategy certainly comes in handy when it comes to orchestrating special effects, busting myths and inventing, which is what Hyneman is doing now for the U.S. military and venture capitalist entrepreneurs. MythBusters was an enjoyable and lucrative side gig that has given him the freedom to choose how to spend his time, he says. “My life now is about going into my shop, locking the door, cranking the music and coming out with something that nobody ever dreamed of.”

Asked by a student attendee when he realized what he finally wanted to do in life, Hyneman said, “I don’t think I’m there yet.”

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  • The economy is on the rebound, jobs are plentiful and wages are up. So, how can young people just entering the workforce take advantage of the boom?

    Some of the leading sectors of the economy right now are in engineering, computer science and health care. There’s also huge demand for skilled professionals in the trades. A 2017 study out of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that between 1991 and 2015, good jobs in non-manufacturing trade industries, such as construction and transportation, increased in 38 states with Utah, South Dakota and North Dakota experiencing the most pronounced growth.

    And while a college degree may be the ticket to advancing in these fields, what many parents of teens don’t realize is that there are programs in high school that can give students a jump on their training.

    Virtually all Utah high schools offer career and technical education courses aligned to the state’s workforce needs—and to showcase them, Canyons District is joining other school districts in sponsoring the annual Pathways to Professions expo (see details below).

    The Oct.16-17 expo is free and a great way for high school-aged students to explore their academic options.


    CTEshowcase.jpg
    Did you know there are more jobs in the trades—carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and welding—than there trained Utahns to fill them?

    Construction, along with the health and personal care industries, will account for one-third of all new jobs in the U.S. through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these jobs pay above Utah’s median wage, and through the Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC), it’s possible for students to graduate from high school with the certifications and professional licenses needed to land one.

    Such was the prevailing message behind CTEC’s “Connect to the Tech” event on June 18, a free open house showcase of all the Career and Technical Education programs that CTEC has to offer. Middle-school-aged students toured the center on Monday (825 E. 9085 South in Sandy), and were invited to participate in some hands-on learning exercises, from discharging pepper spray at an assailant (criminal justice) to back-boarding someone suspected to have suffered a neck or back injury (emergency responders).

    “The cool thing about CTEC is you’re going to earn high school credit and college credit in most of these classes, and for a fraction of the cost of college tuition,” CTE coordinator Benjamin Poulsen told the participants. “One of the things we say is, ‘come start college with us.’”

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  • Once seen as an alternative to a college education, training in the skilled trades is now viewed as a good way to get a jump on college, and a career.

    “Last year, most of my students were aspiring electricians, and I had electrical companies offering to pay for their college education,” says CTEC carpentry teacher Tim Kidder, who explained training takes at least two years of college and two years of experience as a journeymen electrician. “They’ll pay for your education and find you work starting at $22 an hour.”

    From there, students can decide to continue with their education and seek a degree in electrical engineering, or launch their careers. Either way, they’re able to land high-paying jobs in interesting fields without accruing lots of college debt. “What an opportunity these kids have, and it’s the same with diesel mechanics, in welding, and in carpentry,” Kidder says.

    CTEC also offers technology-focused programs, including training in the biomedical field, software development, and 3D computer animation. CTEC courses are scheduled throughout the regular school day, and CSD provides students with transportation between their home high schools and the tech center.

    It’s not too late to register for CTEC courses for the 2018-2019 school year, The optimal time to begin thinking about how to fit CTEC classes into school schedules, however, is in the seventh or eighth grades before students register for high school, Poulsen says.

    A full list of programs, and their accompanying certifications and college credit, can be found online or by calling 801-826-6600. But here’s a snapshot:


    CTEC Programs
    Building Construction
    Business Leadership
    Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
    Computer Systems
    Computer Programming
    Cosmetology/Barbering
    Criminal Justice
    Digital Media/3D Animation
    Emergency Medical Technician
    Fire Science
    Heavy Duty Mechanics/Diesel
    Medical Assistant
    Medical Forensics
    Nursery Horticulture
    Welding Technician
    It’s no longer referred to as “vocational education” for a reason. Career and Technical Education has gone mainstream.

    Today it’s seen as the path to acquiring the kind of marketable skills needed to succeed in high-paying industries ranging from health care, science and engineering to early childhood education. What's more, those skills are now often taught in tandem with core subjects to boost achievement in literacy, math and history. In fact, 94 percent of high school students take CTE courses, not to mention millions of college-age students.

    Want to know how CTE applies to you and your teenage children? Join us at the South Towne Expo Center on Oct. 25-26 from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. for a showcase of CTE training and job opportunities. Co-sponsored by school districts and postsecondary institutions throughout Utah, the event is free and open to the public.

     
    Three Corner Canyon student guitar-makers this summer won international awards and cash prizes at the Freshwood Student Competition at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers (AWFS) convention. The winners are:

    -          Sadie Chidester, first place and $1,000, “Featherprint”

    -          Jacob Rubisch, second place and $500, “Mahogany Gem”

    -          Porter Thorkelson, honorable mention and $250, “Sun Burst.”

    Chidester, Rubisch and Thorkelson are among six students from Corner Canyon, and 19 high school students nationwide, who were selected to compete at Freshwood. The competition was held at the Las Vegas convention in July 2015. The international competition includes high school and college students from the United States and Canada.

    Sadie Chidester - Featherprint
    Jacob Rubisch - Mohagany Gem
    Porter Thorkelson - Sun Burst
  • Sadie Chidester - Featherprint
  • Jacob Rubisch - Mohagany Gem
  • Porter Thorkelson - Sun Burst
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