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CTAE graduation rate rises to 94.9 percent: student success stories show relevance of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education

The graduation rate for students involved in Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) has risen to 94.9 percent in Georgia – a strong indicator of the relevance of these programs and their impact on student outcomes. This represents a six percent increase in the graduation rate for CTAE pathway completers, up from 88.9 percent in 2014.

This rate proves that when students are engaged and see the relevance of their education, they succeed,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Every child is not the same, and we need to provide an educational experience that offers a variety of paths toward college, career, or the military. I congratulate every teacher, school and district official, business partner and community member who has supported Georgia’s CTAE programs. In connecting students with rewarding future careers, you are truly changing lives.”

Georgia’s CTAE program leverages partnerships with industry and higher education to ensure students are prepared for careers in the 21st century workforce. Students can take courses in more than 100 Career Pathways within 17 Career Clusters, earn recognized industry credentials, participate in work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities, and serve as leaders through membership in co-curricular Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). In July 2015, the Georgia Department of Education launched Educating Georgia’s Future Workforce, an initiative aimed at increasing the state’s focus on career education and expanding partnerships with the business community.

“The mission for CTAE in Georgia is to educate our future workforce by providing experiences for students that will prepare them for workplace success,” State CTAE Director Dr. Barbara Wall said. “The 94.9 percent graduation rate of Georgia’s CTAE pathway completers is strong evidence that Georgia’s CTAE students graduate both college and career ready.”

Beyond the numbers, the importance and relevance of CTAE is displayed individual students’ stories. Below, learn about two CTAE students now serving in national leadership positions.

National HOSA President Priya Rathakrishnan, Forsyth County Schools graduate:

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Priya Rathakrishnan, a 2015 graduate of Lambert High School and rising Emory University sophomore, will serve as the 2016-17 national President-elect​ and 2017-2018 national president of HOSA, the association for future health professionals. HOSA is an international student organization with a two-fold mission of promoting career opportunities in the healthcare industry, and enhancing the delivery of quality healthcare to all people. The organization provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, adult and collegiate students enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs, or who demonstrate an interest in pursuing careers in health professions.

“I began my freshman year of high school with a huge desire to somehow learn more about and become involved in the health community,” Rathakrishnan said. “I joined HOSA – Future Health Professionals because I saw that this organization had the ability to provide opportunities for students to become the better candidate through competitions at state and international leadership conferences, community service and awareness for health causes. From the moment I stepped foot into this organization, I have been blessed to embark on a path of tremendous growth as a leader and as a future health professional. HOSA, being co-curricular, has enhanced my learning inside and outside of the classroom and I’m very grateful for the educators and advisors who allow students to embrace these opportunities every day. Because of HOSA, my passion for health care has only grown stronger and I have gained numerous communicative, teamwork and employability skills that I know will be beneficial to me throughout my life as I continue pursuing the path to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.”

National TSA President Jack Crawford, Lowndes County student:

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Jack Crawford, a student at Lowndes High School, has been named 2016-17 president of the national Technology Student Association (TSA). TSA is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a membership of more than 233,000 middle and high school students in approximately 2,000 schools spanning 49 states. Members learn through exciting competitive events, leadership opportunities, and more.

"I first joined the Technology Student Association because of its innovative nature and engaging atmosphere," Crawford said. "Nowhere else had I found such a unique organization that not only pushed you to find your limits and break them, but also encouraged failure in order to pursue success. Six years later, that still rings true. TSA has developed my problem solving and networking skills, and I've been able to use them in school as well as in everyday life. Because of TSA, I have developed a wider perspective of social and cultural interactions in the context of learning to live in a technical world, and I plan to pursue a career in international law."

Both HOSA and TSA are Georgia CTSOs -- organizations that provide motivation, leadership training, and career development opportunities for students enrolled in Career, Technical and Agricultural Education programs in middle and high schools.

"I am immensely proud to see these Georgia students serving as national leaders," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. "TSA, HOSA, and other Career and Technical Student Organizations play a crucial role in preparing students to thrive in the future. I'm thrilled to see Jack Crawford and Priya Rathakrishnan at the forefront of this work, demonstrating once again that Georgia is a land of leaders."

Georgia’s K-12 education landscape is home to many national leaders at the student, teacher, and administrator level. Learn more here.