The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) cites the 2005 National Association of Manufacturer’s Skills Gap Report that over 80 percent of respondents to that survey said that they were experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. It is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) field that tries to close this gap by preparing students for the 21st century workforce. Sustaining educationally sound and robust CTE programs depends on a stable level of enrollment. When student demand for CTE classes suffers due to increased academic demands, opportunities for CTE to play a role in enhancing the performance of schools through practical application of academics to the “real world” suffers. One of the factors playing a direct role in the success of CTE programs at the secondary level is the knowledge and perceptions of guidance counselors. It is logical to believe that if the guidance counselor understands the career and higher education opportunities related to those fields, they would be more likely to advise students to explore CTE. Guidance Counselor knowledge of the opportunities for careers and for higher education in a specific career field is vital to the continued success of CTE, the schools and to industry needing a well trained work force. CTE leaders and proponents are often concerned about School Counselors’(SC) knowledge of CTE career and higher education opportunities and their willingness to encourage students to consider CTE fields (Brand, 2008). Anecdotally, counselor’s knowledge and support of CTE is often cited as a concern. The importance of the role of the SC in promoting or discouraging students for CTE fields has been examined (Matulis, and Osborne 1990). Research by Dyer (2003) found that agriculture teachers perceived support of guidance counselors the second most influential factor behind scheduling conflicts as a problem preventing students from taking agriculture. In fact, the Association of California School Administrators (2008) identified guidance counselors as a key component in efforts to improve graduation rates and achievement scores by strengthening CTE. In an attempt to understand more clearly, the role of Illinois school counselors in the guidance process, and to identify support the CTE fields might provide school counselors to assist with their professional duties, a series of research projects were conducted. The initial two studies in this series sought to identify the knowledge levels and perceptions of school counselors about the career and higher education opportunities in agriculture. This was followed by a two part study, first to assess knowledge levels and perceptions of school counselors about the career and higher education opportunities in Career and Technical Education (CTE) fields, and in the second phase, to use a consensus process to identify tools and methods to help educate the school counselors about opportunities in CTE.


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