Kaskaskia College is Celebrating National Career and Technical Education Month

February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) month.   Each year, the Association for Career and Technical Education celebrates career and technical education and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs nationwide.  To assist in celebrating national CTE month locally, throughout the month of February, Kaskaskia College Dean of Career and Technical Education George Evans will be submitting a weekly series of editorials that will highlight Kaskaskia College CTE programs, their faculty and their students.
To start, let’s answer a very common question:  What exactly is Career and Technical Education? 
Career and Technical Education is a term applied to educational programs that specialize in the skilled trades, applied sciences, and the use of modern technology to enhance a student’s career preparation.   These programs prepare youth and adults for a wide range of high wage, high skill and high demand careers.  High school students and students of all ages should take a moment and study the many CTE programs that are offered at Kaskaskia College.  If you put forth the effort to earn a CTE certificate or degree, the education you can receive for a minimal investment can pay dividends for your lifetime. 
CTE is broken down into sixteen career clusters, comprised in the following categories:
·       Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
·       Law, Public Safety and Security
·       Agriculture, Food and Natural resources
·       Human Services
·       Transportation, Distribution and logistics
·       Finance
·       Architecture and Construction
·       Education and Training
·       Arts, Audio Visual Technology and communications
·       Health Sciences
·       Government and Public Administration
·       Manufacturing
·       Business Management and Administration
·       Information technology
·       Marketing Sales and Service
·       Hospitality and Tourism

For the purposes of this week’s editorial, I would like to focus on the following CTE programs at Kaskaskia College: 
·       Business
·       Accounting
·       Culinary Arts
·       Agriculture
The Kaskaskia College Business and Accounting Programs are ran by Business Professor Tim March and Accounting Professor Ira Hickam.  Professor March brings over 25 years of experience in the business and food service industry.  He is a former business owner, hotel manager and has several years’ business experience in a variety of food service related industries.  Professor March does a great job of relating his life experiences to the students in his classroom.  Tim is also active with the college’s marketing department, as he serves as a mentor to the college’s marketing intern and is the past editor of the college’s marketing publication, the BizzBuzz.  Students who are wishing to earn a degree in business or entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business are strongly encouraged to reach out to Mr. March with any questions they may have about future coursework or degree seeking information.
Accounting Professor Ira Hickam brings an incredible pedigree of life experience and education to the accounting program at Kaskaskia College.  Ira possesses dual Masters Degrees in Accountancy and Educational Administration.  She is also a Certified Personal Accountant with over 35 years of experience.  She has taught at several colleges throughout the United States, as well as worked in the corporate arena for Walt Disney!   Ira is very detailed and compassionate instructor, who works with her students methodically to assist them in their accountant pursuits.  Students who wish to pursue a degree in accounting or business owners whom are looking to sharpen their bookkeeping and payroll skills are strongly encouraged to speak with Ms. Hickam, as she has a wealth of knowledge of the accounting trades.
Chef Robert Rhymes spearheads the Kaskaskia College Culinary Arts department.  This program is designed to provide the skills and knowledge needed for those individuals who have a passion for the culinary trades.  From a short order cook to a restaurant owner/manager, this program provides you with the entry levels skills needed to thrive in the culinary industry, as well as the advanced knowledge needed to successfully navigate a diverse selection of kitchens, to include small restaurants, hotel restaurants, healthcare facilities and the higher end cuisine restaurants that are located throughout the state and in St. Louis.  Chef Rhymes also brings a world of experience to the Kaskaskia College CTE fields.  Chef has been employed as a Chef at the Ritz Carlton and Café Intermezzo in Atlanta, Georgia, and specializes in southern creole cuisine.  Most recently, Chef Rhymes was invited to the White House to serve on an educational nutritional committee, as part of Michelle Obama’s healthy living campaign.   Students and people who have a passion for the food industry are welcome to speak with Chef Rhymes in person to discuss taking coursework or earning a credential in the culinary trades.
The last program in this week’s editorial we would like to highlight is one of the most predominant and successful programs at Kaskaskia College: the KC Agriculture Program.  The Agriculture Program at Kaskaskia College is one of the fastest growing programs at Kaskaskia College.  Led by Professors Aaron Heinzmann and Bill Waggoner, the “Ag” program at Kaskaskia College serves a variety of students pursuing careers in the Ag industry, however the majority of the students who attend the KC Ag program are transfer students who are seeking Bachelorette degrees in Ag related fields such as Plant and Soil Science, Agri-Business, Precision Agriculture and Livestock Management.  At present, approximately 85% of KC Ag students transfer to well established universities such as SIUC, the University of Illinois, Murray State University, SEMO, Iowa State University, and several other predominate universities.  The Ag program is a diverse program that offers dynamic curriculum of which matches job opportunities within the Kaskaskia District and beyond.  Each year, up to 30 students in the program are actively sought by many area Ag employers for paid internships that could result in full time employment upon the completion of their coursework.  This program stands out at KC, as it is one of the few programs where local companies actually COMPETE for our students to serve as interns.  In addition to the modern coursework provided by Professors Heinzmann and Waggoner, the Ag program has one of the largest and most active clubs on campus, as well as is home to several National Championship Dairy Judging Teams.  On more than four occasions, the Ag Dairy Judging team has been invited to judge at the Scottish Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As you can see, there is much going on in the CTE fields at Kaskaskia College.  We have the experts ready to teach you the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this ever increasing competitive work environment.   If you wish to receive any additional information about any of the programs mentioned in this editorial, please contact me at 

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