Career and Technical Education is the Bridge to Success at Milton Hershey School
By Rachael Mann, MHS Director of Career and Technical Education
Career and Technical Education (CTE) has always played an important role in my life. I’ve built my career on the idea that CTE is the bridge between education and the workforce. Whether at Milton Hershey School or beyond, the skills that students learn in their CTE pathways will lead them to experience new levels of success. I am beyond thrilled to be able to use my passions to prepare the next generation for careers they are passionate about.
I’ve been fortunate to have a broad range of experiences in CTE throughout my career. After college, I taught various courses as a CTE teacher for more than a decade. I worked at the Arizona Department of Education as a CTE supervisor and then as the Educators Rising state director. I also spent several years serving as the director of professional development at a technology school. Most recently, I traveled around the country speaking, writing, and consulting about projected changes in the workforce to ensure educators are equipped to prepare young people for the future.
I firmly believe that CTE changes the narrative of traditional education. It introduces young people to a skill that will serve them throughout their life. But learning a new skill can be daunting for students—which is why having experienced CTE professionals to guide them is imperative to the success of any CTE program. Teaching is the profession that creates all other professions and nowhere is that truer than in CTE.
Here at MHS, we have CTE teachers who are experts in their fields. More than that, there is a community that values helping students find their passion inside and outside the classroom. A high school diploma is no longer enough to guarantee a good job. Students need to have tangible skills to be competitive in the workforce. Every employee at MHS is enthusiastic about offering real-world opportunities for students from pre-K through 12th grade to practice their career skills.
Creating vertical alignment with career-focused education helps to ensure that young people are equipped for the future and in a pathway that is a good fit for them. It is important to give kids the freedom to discover what they love, are curious about, they do well, and the world needs of them. At the intersection of these points lies their destiny. Getting young people interested in their future gives them a competitive advantage when they graduate high school. Regardless of whether they pursue higher education or an entry level position, CTE is preparing them to be future ready.
MHS is a special place, and I am excited for the work ahead. With the CTE initiatives at the school, there is an opportunity to create a model in which CTE is central to K-12 education. The school’s rich history in career readiness has proven to have a profound impact on more than 11,000 graduates who have gone on to work in careers that they love. This is a direct testament to the work of MHS founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey. It is an honor to carry on their legacy and to share Mr. Hershey’s belief in preparing students for future success with more students and their families.
Rachael Mann is the MHS Director of Career and Technical Education. Coming to MHS with a wide variety of experiences in CTE, she is excited for her new role and the opportunity to lead a strong team of educators to positively impact the lives of young people.