MHSCA CTE opportunities and spaces

February is designated as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, which celebrates the importance of CTE in schools and the accomplishments of CTE programs. The Moorhead High School Career Academy is the district’s hub of CTE, with a wide spectrum of career and technical courses available.

“CTE has really evolved over the years,” explained Career Academy assistant principal Holly Strand-Rysgaard, who is a board member of the national Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE). “People may think of CTE as electives like the shop classes that our parents or grandparents might have taken in times past, but it has grown into directly preparing students for a career.”

According to the ACTE, 49% of jobs in Minnesota require skills training at a higher level than a standard high school education but less than a four-year college degree; but only 45% of workers are trained at this level. Career and technical education is aimed at closing this gap with specialized learning.

To this end, the Career Academy offers CTE pathways such as health sciences, information technology, child development, culinary arts, interior design, automotive, welding, agriculture, aviation, construction, business, entrepreneurship, digital design and photography—and more.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to make sure CTE-focused students find a pathway to follow,” said Strand-Rysgaard. “We want them to have a good idea of what sort of career they’d like to pursue and have an industry-recognized credential when they are done at the Career Academy.”

After completing high school, 90% of students who had CTE concentrations were employed, pursued further education or joined the military or Peace Corps immediately after program completion, according to 2021 ACTE statistics.

As part of the school’s evolution, Career Academy Community Outreach Coordinator Tom Dryburgh works to secure partnerships with regional organizations that are relevant to the various CTE pathways offered. These partnerships—with recognizable businesses like Sanford Health, Dakota Supply Group, Eventide and Cardinal IG, among others—serve the dual purpose of getting students hands-on, real-world learning experiences and defraying the cost of these programs for the district.

Organizations interested in a corporate partnership with the Career Academy can reach Dryburgh at 218-284-6544.