Career And Technical Student Organizations Can Help With Personal Growth And Career Prep
By Angel Hernandez, Stride Student Advisor
When I first joined Stride Career Prep, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to pursue as a career, but I knew I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity available to me. One of the options available was joining a “CTSO” (Career and Technical Student Organization). To be honest, I had no idea where to start, because I wanted to join one that would specifically help me grow as a student, but that also didn’t focus on a single career path, like healthcare or engineering. It wasn’t until I heard of “SkillsUSA” that I finally knew I had found what I was looking for in a CTSO.
SkillsUSA is a national CTSO that focuses on creating a skilled workforce, and talented future leaders, by working on both technical and personal skills. So, if you were interested in robotics, forensic science, graphic design, or simply personal growth, you could learn about it, while also learning how to be responsible and have attainable goals for yourself. Pretty much anything a student could think of, SkillsUSA offers, in one way or another. Once I learned that I could explore all those career prep options, I immediately signed up!
When I went to my first SkillsUSA meeting, I instantly felt welcomed and like I was joining a community of like-minded individuals, as I pursued career prep and personal development. As a group, we worked together on projects that built our professional and personal skills, such as public speaking, organization, and efficient teamwork. When we weren’t discussing skills, we got to spend our time learning about subjects that genuinely interested each of us, like forensic science and education, without having the pressure to commit to a single career pathway. Along with meeting in groups, the CTSO encouraged us to give back to our communities, so we could grow not only as students but as leaders and good members of society. So, I decided to get involved with a local pet clinic by volunteering, where I learned that helping others can be such a fulfilling task, and that being a true leader requires both experience and patience.
By being part of SkillsUSA, I even had the chance to participate in Stride’s National CTSO Competition, which occurs every spring semester, with Stride-powered schools all over the country. My SkillsUSA sponsors, and the rest of the students, met every week to work together on our resumes, speaking skills, general career prep, and just to talk about how we felt our projects for the competitions were going. To my surprise, and with the great help of my sponsors, I had won second place in the resume writing contest! In the end, I was just so happy and grateful to be part of a community where I could learn, grow, and achieve great things.
No matter what a student is looking for, SkillsUSA is great starting point! You have the chance to join a supportive community, build your professional and personal skills, engage in career prep and development, show your progress as a student in competitions, and most importantly, explore. And, who knows, you might just love it and stick with it like I did!
Be sure to also check out “A Student’s Overview Of Online School’s Benefits,” to learn more about education and career prep with Stride!
And, you can read another terrific blog post by a Stride Student Advisor about discovering the right internship for you, here!
To learn more about Stride Career Prep's Student Advisory Council, make sure to visit https://www.k12.com/stride-career-prep/about/student-advisory-council.html