CTE Spaces: Focusing on Community & Industry Needs

The rise of Career and Technical Education (CTE) over the last decade or so marks a significant shift in PK-12 education. The pathways to college and careers are becoming an integral part of the high school curricula in many schools. Some schools are even pushing the programming and curriculum into middle school.

BVH has been involved in dozens of CTE projects in the past decade and we have seen overriding themes that are consistent markers of success for our clients. These include:

  • A focus on industry needs: These combine local, regional, and global workforce needs.
  • A focus on career pathways: These opportunities provide high pay and skill and will continue to see high demand. In a rapidly changing world, it gives students a broad platform for success. 
  • A focus on community partnerships: Community partnerships create a springboard for success for everyone involved. Program and equipment funding, real-world learning opportunities, and career connections are the tip of the iceberg for this resource’s potential.

In this blog post, we want to focus on the final point, which is often overlooked. Highly successful schools start the process of engaging the community, both locally and more broadly, very early in the process. Many try to build these as they are designing, or worse yet while construction is underway. This will inevitably lead to time delays, changes, and increased costs. Starting months and in some cases years before the start of design is ideal so that the school community is built collectively and comprehensively. This also creates a great opportunity for increased support in terms of funding, programming, and curriculum development.

Some examples of community partnerships building include:

Sandy Creek High School | Fairfield, NE
In building the curriculum and dream of the Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional  Studies (NCAPS), the school reached out and connected with 80+ industry partners to help inform their various pathways. In a community population of 6,200 with 115 students at the high school, they had to reach both close and distant partners to make all the connections work.

Lincoln Public Schools ‘Bay High’ | Lincoln, NE
Skate + Music + Fashion: LPS partnered with nonprofit Rabble Mill, known for its unique approach to serving underserved youth to create this focus CTE program. Bay High’s mission is to provide creative, entrepreneurial-minded students with the tools, access, and stewardship to be successful creators of tomorrow. It doesn’t hurt to have someone like legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk in your launch in addition to 12 community partners (including BVH).

Fremont Public Schools Career Center | Fremont, NE
Fremont Public Schools (FPS) is pulling together both industry and community college connections to build its new CTE Center. Industry partners helped to inform the programs and curriculum that help create career connections with local industries in robotics, construction, automotive, health, and fabrication industries. Metro Community College (MCC) and FPS have a long-standing partnership wherein students have opportunities to earn college credit while in high school and have a direct pathway to MCC to further their education.

Umoⁿhoⁿ (Omaha Nation) Public Schools | Macy, NE
In this reservation community, Omaha Nation Public Schools (UNPS) has created a CTE facility that will help foster community revitalization at the core of a challenged community. With limited local industry or community resources, UNPS envisioned a facility that would fulfill community needs in the areas of automotive technology, construction, early childhood learning, and healthcare, while creating career opportunities for students at the same time. Dining and shopping options were once a 45-minute drive outside of town. Now a local cafe and community store help foster community and local craft sales all within the school facility.

We at BVH are excited about the future of education and the emerging potential that CTE pathway spaces are creating for students and communities. Drop us a line if you have any insight or questions we can help you with as you think about your Career & Technical Education or Pathways facilities.

Check out our recent webinar for the Nebraska Council of School Administrators!

Recent BVH CTE Projects:
Lincoln PS/Southeast Community College – The Career Academy
Lincoln PS Zoo School Science Focus Program
Lincoln PS Bay High
Lincoln PS Northstar HS Aviation CTE Addition
Centennial PS
Lexington PS
Omaha Nation PS
Fremont PS
Wisner PS
Cross County PS
Wilber PS
Nebraska City PS
Omaha Public Schools – 11 schools CCAP master plan

23 PK-12 projects in the past 10 years


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