From Cars to the Classroom

James Sternweis

From Cars to the Classroom

Scholarship recipient wants to share passion for tech ed with younger students

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

February is Career & Technical Education (CTE) Month!

What is CTE? It’s the connection between education and careers. It’s education that trains people for hands-on careers that fill a need in our world right now.

Studies indicate that youth and adult learners in CTE programs are more engaged, graduate high school at higher rates, earn industry-recognized credentials and set themselves up for rewarding and family-sustaining careers.

The skills gap in Wisconsin is real: 55 percent of jobs in Wisconsin require skills training—more education than high school but less than a four-year degree, however 48 percent of Wisconsin workers are trained at this level.

The new Career and Technical Education Instruction program at FVTC helps to address that gap, by training individuals to teach tech education and industrial arts programs to middle school and high school students.

James Sternweis is enrolled in the program, and plans to teach classes in automotive technology. Read his story below!

As a student at Waupaca High School, James Sternweis knew he wanted to work in automotive repair. What he did not know was his love for fixing vehicles would lead him back to the classroom; first as a college student and then as a teacher.

“I wasn’t sure whether to go into heavy equipment, automotive or diesel repair,” James explains. “Then two of my teachers asked if I knew about the Career and Technical Education Instruction program at FVTC. I was intrigued, so I did some research and decided this program was a good fit.”

Once James graduates with an associate degree, he can enter into a contractual agreement with a participating school district where he will teach technical education classes for three years while deciding whether to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“I want to teach automotive technologies at the high school level and use the time to determine if I like teaching,” James says. “If I like it, I will start on my bachelor’s degree. If I do not like teaching, I will use the skills from the program for something else.”

In addition to a helpful nudge from his teachers, James also received a financial boost as a recipient of the FVTC Foundation Staff Giving Scholarship. In James’ case, the additional money lessens the strain of commuting from Waupaca.

“One of the best things about FVTC is it’s much more affordable than a four-year college,” James explains. “But I still work full-time to pay for school. The scholarship pays part of my tuition, which leaves me with more money for commuting to school.”

The Career and Technical Education Instruction program will prepare you to teach technology education/industrial arts programs at various educational levels.
You’ll gain skills in areas like welding, construction, automotive, engineering, manufacturing, as well as teaching curriculum.
Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to teach occupational, vocational, career or technical subjects to students at the middle and secondary school levels.