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Press Release

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Celebrates Career and Technical Education Programs

~ Students from around the state showcase technology and career programs ~

TALLAHASSEE – In honor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and fellow state leaders joined hundreds of CTE students during a celebration at the Capitol to recognize them for their talented work. The capitol courtyard was filled with mountains of gadgets, technology and equipment, all on display as part of 70 different student exhibitions from CTE programs across the state. Commissioner Smith also thanked Florida’s more than 8,000 secondary career and education teachers who work diligently to inspire students to succeed in college and challenging careers.

“There are tremendous opportunities available for students to explore careers and gain hands-on experience through our innovative and creative career and technical education programs,” said Commissioner Smith. “By taking advantage of these opportunities, our children are giving themselves a head-start on a rewarding career and gaining the type of knowledge that will ensure their success in today’s competitive global economy.”

Also highlighted today were the winning CTE students of the Florida Department of Education’s (DOE) student Web site redesign contest and Florida’s Real World Design Challenge. Both contests were structured to provide students with a glimpse into real-world problem-solving, allowing them to use the skills they’ve learned to tackle challenges in these highly technical fields.

“Education comes in many forms and today’s tremendous turnout is indicative of the popularity of and need for career and technical education programs,” said Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson. “Continuing innovations in technology are creating numerous specialized fields and these programs ensure our young people have the expertise to fill higher paying positions which benefits the individuals and the economy as a whole.”

Manatee Technical Institute students Lauren Angelillo and Bianca Holland were chosen as the winning team for their efforts to redesign the student portion of DOE’s Web site. Student submissions from throughout the state were judged by a panel of technology and design experts, as well as communications and public relations professionals who were also on hand for the event. The contest required students to flex their creative and technical know-how as it applies to appealing and functional Web site design.

Lyman High School in Longwood, Fla., was also honored as Florida’s Real World Design Challenge team. Participating students applied their classroom lessons to technical problems facing engineers, mathematicians and scientists and utilized professional quality engineering software to develop solutions. Winning team members Brandon Carpenter, Ben McDeed, Craig Richards and Grayson Pylant and their teacher Bill Yucuis spent several months working together to develop solutions to a real-world engineering problem focused on aeronautics and energy usage. As a result of their hard work they will represent Florida at the National Real World Design Challenge.

“This type of activity provided our students with a chance to explore career options they may not have considered,” said Mr. Yucuis. “Each of our students gained experience that will put them ahead of their counterparts not just in this country, but globally as well.”

Florida Department of Education Interim Chancellor for Career and Adult Education Loretta Costin also highlighted the importance of CTE to our state and nation and recognized the dozens of state Career and Technical Student Organization State Officers who were present.

The day-long event featured displays and demonstrations from numerous CTE programs including robotics, engineering, digital art, agriculture, culinary and aeronautics.

In the last year, career academies and technical education programs have experienced significant growth. Florida currently has more than 565,000 secondary and postsecondary career and technical education students enrolled in one or more of the nearly 1,300 CTE courses. CTE is offered in all 67 school districts, all 28 State Colleges, and at 44 technical centers. To learn more about Career and Technical Education in Florida visit the Florida Department of Education’s Web site at http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/