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April 7, 2017

 

CTC Culinary  

 

In the three years that Ben Carter has been at the helm of
the IPS Career Technology Center (CTC),
the program has seen significant growth. He’s also successfully expanded Career
Technical Education (CTE) throughout IPS, from Grades K-12.

 

Under Carter’s leadership:  

 

  • CTC student enrollment has increased
    significantly, from 1,100 to 1,800.
  • More than 90 CTC students have participated in
    internships, an increase from five during Carter’s first year of leadership.
    “The goal is to hit that 100 mark,” he said.Ben Carter
  • Project Lead the Way — a non-profit organization
    that develops STEM curricula for use by U.S. elementary, middle and high
    schools — has expanded into 12 additional IPS schools, offering more than 1,500
    K-12 students access to engineering, computer science and biomedical
    programming.
  • Computer science has been added to five schools,
    helping 350 additional students gain access to computer science curriculum.

 

“Part of my role is not just Grades 9-12, it’s also K-8, so
we expanded Project Lead the Way in our elementary/middle schools,” said
Carter, who serves as director of Career & Technical Education at IPS. “A
lot of my immediate focus is at the career center because that’s just what I
live on a daily basis, but it’s also the expansion of K-8 opportunities.”

 

The strides being made through CTC programming hasn’t gone
unnoticed. In February 2017, CTC — one of several IPS Choice programs — also became
an award-winning program when it received three Career Technical Education
Awards for Excellence: a Pathway Award for its partnership with Duke Realty; a
second for its Architecture and Design Pathway; and a third, the Student Award,
was given to Tech student Leona Huddleston, who is in CTC’s Architecture
pathway.

 

While it’s easy to assess the program’s success to Carter
alone, he quickly shies away from taking all of the glory. “The growth of CTC
is definitely a team effort,” he said.

 

That team consists of industry professionals in the 15 career pathways that CTC — which
is located on the campus of Arsenal
Technical High School
— offers, everything from Architectural Drafting
& Design to Animal Science to Culinary Arts to Dental to Automotive to TV
Broadcasting.

 

Through
CTC, students (who are from Tech, other IPS high schools and even non-IPS
schools) are provided with excellent career pathway options aligned to industry
standards. Each pathway prepares students for acceptance into competitive-wage,
high-demand careers, post-secondary schooling, or apprenticeship upon
graduation from IPS.

 

Peek inside the classrooms in the CTC and you’ll see
industry professionals teaching students the tools of their trade, whether they
are designing houses or apartment complexes, mastering the skills needed to be
a master hairstylist or learning how to shoot and edit video.

 

Having CTC in an urban school district isn’t lost on Carter,
who often arrives on campus at 6:30 a.m. and spends much of his time in meetings
with corporations to develop partnerships and to expand programming.

 

“A program like this in an urban school setting is even more
important because it’s all about equity. I think that you have to be super
intentional about that,” said Carter. “I tell our partners all the time that
this isn’t your normal school district. If you want our students to intern, you
have to be intentional and provide 10 spots for us. You need to be intentional
and come here and make sure that our students have the same access and equity
(as other school districts). Having a career center is great, but if it’s not
producing outcomes for our students then it’s pointless (it’s just a building).”

 

A former high school math teacher, Carter said his
attraction to Career Technical Education is its ability to make instruction
applicable on a daily basis and to make outcomes reachable and attainable for students.
He actually began his career in CTE while working for Warren Township Schools.

 

“Vocational education is so technical and rigorous, from the
technical texts that students have to read and the problems that they solve,”
said Carter. “But it’s not all about the rigor, it’s about the mindsets that are
created for students. It’s more about empowerment. You can really get empowered
from a CTE class. Students can say, ‘I have a resume. I’ve sat in meetings with
heads of corporations. I have 12 college credits.’ That’s the confidence that
you get from CTE.

 

Carter admits that CTC at Tech has taken a lot of iterations
over the years — both before he took the reins and during. But transition is
required when you’re working to take something to another level.  

 

“Our vision is to become an elite career center and
innovator in urban CTE,” said Carter. “Short-term is making sure 100 percent of
our students have post-secondary placement. I’m competitive and I want to be
the best.”