November 2020 • Volume 1 • Issue 3

Dr. Sharon L. Contreras, Superintendent


Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares all students for high-skill, high-wage or in-demand careers. The experience begins with career inspiration in Pre-K, awareness in elementary school, exploration in middle school, and preparation in high school. CTE equips students for post-secondary education and immediate employment opportunities to compete worldwide successfully.

Did You Know?

• North Carolina colleges and universities had only 1,992 computer science graduates in 2020; only 25% were female.

• North Carolina currently has 16,008 open computing jobs, which is 3.7 times higher than the average demand rate across all states.

• The average salary for a computing occupation in North Carolina is $92,273, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($47,200).

• The existing jobs alone represent the opportunity for $1,477,102,840 in annual salaries.

• Since 2018, Guilford County Schools made computer science courses available in every middle school (22), leading to a 700% increase in the number of middle school students enrolled in computer science – a foundational course for many career and college pathways, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

• Guilford County Schools has two Signature Career Academies at Kearns and Northeast Guilford HS that offer Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence Pathways to ensure students are prepared for Information and Computer Science fields.

Source: Code.org. (2020). Why computer science? https://code.org/promote/nc

Guilford County Schools, PowerSchool

• Feature Articles •

Governor Roy Cooper Proclaims North Carolina Career Development Month and Career Development Coordinator Day

On October 28, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper signed a proclamation that supports the work of Career and Technical Education (CTE). The proclamation recognizes GCS Career & College Managers (CCMs), formerly known as Career Development Coordinators (CDCs), and the essential employability skills necessary to thrive in the modern business world and contribute to the vitality of our state and nation. “We reimagined the work of our CDCs and placed intentional focus on the true value and scope of work with a simple name change - Career and College Manager. A CCM is a career facilitating agent who works to ensure students are guided into a talent pipeline for in-demand, high- skilled or high-wage occupations that aligns with the student’s passions, knowledge, skills, and interests,” said Dr. Eboni Camille Chillis, Interim Chief Innovation Officer, and CTE Executive Director.

CTE Offers Career Assessments to Help Students Connect Passions to Careers

During the month of November, GCS CTE has partnered with Counseling and Spotlight Education to make course advisement more meaningful and individualized for our students. The Career and College Guides our students receive help to provide appropriate guidance with course selection and work-based learning opportunities. CTE conducts career assessments to hone in on the skills and knowledge that can make students a qualified candidate for in-demand careers.

Middle School – Career Cluster Match assessments are administered to all 8th graders using NCCareers.org as early as October and continue through early December.

High School - Career Cluster Match and Interest Finder assessments Interest Finder Quiz (Long Quiz) are administered to all 9th through 12th graders, which concludes mid-January.

Apprenticeship & Partnership in Action!

Guilford County is fortunate to have one of the largest, fastest-growing youth apprenticeship alliances in the state, Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP), with 185 current apprentices. November 8-14 highlighted National Apprenticeship Week. GCS CTE has 27 seniors as first-year apprentices, 8 in Information Technology, 15 in Advanced Manufacturing, and 4 in Automotive Systems. Congratulations to all our current and former apprentices. Thank you to GAP for precise partnership with business/industry in a high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career within the Piedmont-Triad!

Over 300 CTE Students in Computer Science and Engineering Pathways Participate in Tech Exposure Day (TED)

A Virtual Field Trip: Tech Exposure Day (TED)

Guilford County Schools students participated in a virtual technology education field trip hosted by the CodeHouse. CodeHouse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on cultivating a strong pipeline between students of color and industry-leading technology companies. At its core, CodeHouse aims to tackle the diversity gap in technology by providing exposure and resources to enhance students’ technical skills, promoting internship/full-time placement, and elevating the next generation of diverse leaders in technology.

This virtual field trip allowed students to connect with leading tech companies and industry experts from Microsoft, Google, and Pixar. As students engaged in the various sessions, our very own Melanie Garcia, a junior at Dudley High School, was awarded a MacBook Pro. Congratulations to Melanie and your new device for learning and recreation!

GCS CTE Maintains Momentum through the Fannie Mae Contract Award of $500,000

The pandemic has caused us all to pivot. Still, GCS CTE continues to engage Fannie Mae, business/industry partners, educators, and students with opportunities within our Safer Together Green Housing Initiative Contract award of $500,000. The Safer Together Green Housing Initiative is a dual-curriculum program focused on construction and technical education. It aims to build a pipeline of skilled trade workers to help address the local labor shortage by working with Minority and Women's Business Enterprise (MWBE) contractors in Guilford County.

The program's hands-on educational components allow students to engage directly with local contractors and other technicians to rehabilitate local homes and develop valuable, high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand skills in construction and other periphery trades. Students and teachers will learn about green construction, geospatial technology, and affordable housing while serving as pre-apprentices with opportunities to obtain industry-recognized credentials. 7.2 million more affordable housing units are needed for extremely low-income families. Housing is the key to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. Research shows that increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility.

To maintain the momentum of our Safer Together Green Housing initiative, our Community of Practice (COP) partners (Dr. Stephen Sills – Director of the Center for Housing and Community Studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, Brett Byerly of Housing Industry Partners, Cheryl Brandberg and Jim Sandknop of Community Housing Solutions, and Michael Blair of Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Josie Williams of the Greensboro Housing Coalition), led by Dr. Chillis, GCS Chief Innovation Officer, facilitated several thought-partner sessions to move the project forward. The COP devised a plan and created virtual "Get into Industry Tours" and virtual "Expert Training" with a focus on weatherization, geospatial technology, HVAC and ramp building codes for our Professional Learning Community (PLC) Champions: CTE carpentry teachers - John Hensley (Grimsley High School), Bruce Lockwood (Southern Guilford High School), James Adkins (Weaver Academy), and Neil Dixon (Andrews High School).

After a brief intermission on this project, due to COVID-19, work is set to continue in January 2021 with a repository of recorded industry tours and expert training sessions to become part of our Safer Together Green Housing Virtual Toolkit. The momentum continues!

Greensboro Entrepreneurs Speak to Academy at Smith Business Students

In addition to the health science focused career pathways available at the Academy at Smith, students have access to a business course within the General Management Career Pathway. Students enrolled in Mr. Tanner’s Business Management I and Microsoft Word and PowerPoint courses were invited to learn business management basics from local entrepreneurs. Jasmine Beard of AJOY Consulting and Marcus Thomas of The Thomas Consulting Group shared their personal experiences with creating and managing businesses. Ms. Beard and Mr. Thomas discussed many relevant and realistic aspects of business management, such as the process of planning and starting a new business, entrepreneurial collaboration, employee selection, and financial planning. The dynamic duo will return “virtually” to the Academy at Smith to discuss “Teamwork as an Essential Employability Skill” as we conclude National Career Development Month. Both Ms. Beard and Mr. Thomas are highly adept in educating others about entrepreneurship and business management, as they currently serve as Program Chairs for the Leadership Greensboro 2021 Class. We are thankful for their commitment to service and giving back to their community by providing these informative sessions to our students.

Marcus Thomas of The Thomas Consulting Group (left). Jasmine Beard of AJOY Consulting (right).

• Business & Industry Spotlight •

A Community Partnership: Say YES Guilford and GCS CTE

Say Yes Guilford is a local education non-profit organization committed to providing access to support services and scholarships designed to prepare Guilford County Schools' students for success in college, career, and life. Their staff, volunteers, and partners are dedicated to kindergarten to career success. They use an equity-based model to provide evidence-based, impactful, and consistent services making sure students who need the most, are offered the most support from elementary school through high school and college. To date, Say Yes Guilford has created a $28.5 million scholarship impact on the graduates of Guilford County Schools, allowing those students to attain access to post-secondary education opportunities ranging from bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and professional certifications.

Say Yes Guilford knows preparing students for the next generation of Guilford County's workforce and personal success can't wait until high school begins. For this reason, they are excited to partner with GCS's CTE department to better prepare students for careers in the future, with a focus on preparing all students high-skill, high wage, and in-demand careers for today's workforce and the future - not only GCS students and graduates but the entire Guilford County community because when our students succeed, we all succeed!

• Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) Spotlight •

Eastern Guilford High School's chapter of The National FFA Organization celebrated its National Day of Service, along with over 27,000 other FFA members and volunteers across the country during the month of October. The FFA is part of a nationwide group of CTSOs. The National FFA Organization is committed to the individual student, providing a path to achieving premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. The Eastern Guilford High School FFA Chapter team officer set a goal to help other students in their community by distributing essential supplies to ensure a productive virtual learning experience. With the help of the school's social worker, Melanie Littlejohn-Lee, the team created over 200 care packages that included pencils, notebooks, hand sanitizers, soaps, toothpaste, and more.

The FFA officers are Amie Mabe (Advisor) and Angela Page (Career and College Manager), Eastern Guilford’s FFA Chapter will continue this service project until the end of November. For more information regarding this initiative, please check out their fundraising website at tinyurl.com/EGFFAFUN.

• CTE Teacher Spotlight •

Congratulations to Ms. Veronique Williams, a finalist for the 2020-2021 Guilford County Schools Mentor Teacher of the Year. Ms. Williams is a Special Populations Coordinator and ensures accountability of services and instructional support for CTE students classified as part of a special population. Special populations include homeless students, students whose parents are active duty, students with special needs, English learners, single-parent households, students in foster care, etc. We are so proud of Ms. Williams' commitment to our students and her advocacy of our students and teacher needs! We hope you continue to shine bright, Ms. Williams!

A CTE Teacher Featured on myFox8 News

Sierra Gilliam, Drone Technology Teacher at Western Guilford High School's Signature Career Academy (SCA)

During these uncertain times of pandemic guidelines and virtual learning, the teachers in Guilford County Schools have stepped up to the challenge! One of those being our very own CTE teacher, Ms. Sierra Gilliam. She is currently a Drone Technology teacher at Western Guilford High School SCA. She is one of many teachers in GCS who entered the teaching profession from the industry as an alternatively licensed teacher, and myFox8 News captured her story. Ms. Gilliam is also a CTE Pathway Innovator, who serves as direct support for teachers within the same content area. This support includes collaboration in fostering classroom/lab innovation, partnerships, simulations, visioning experiences, along with rigorous/relevant and consistent curriculum documents for teaching and learning environments that are full-time face-to-face, virtual or blended. Thank you, Ms. Gilliam, for choosing education as your second career and CTE as your area of impact!


For more information on Native American Heritage Month visit: https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov

• GCS CTE Staff •

Dr. Eboni Camille Chillis • Interim Chief Innovation Officer & CTE Executive Director

Nancy Cross • GCS CTE Director

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