Dena Justice

Dena Justice

Career and Technical Education (CTE) includes courses and programs that combine academic and technical skills with real-world, hands-on experiences; allowing students in CTE programs to engage in demanding classroom instruction and then practice concepts and skills in a lab or shop setting. For example, Automotive Technology students learn key terms and tools for servicing vehicles in the classroom before moving to the shop to perform services such as an oil change or brake pad replacement.

Another example would be how students in a forensic science class, learn vocabulary and procedures related to searching and examining physical evidence in criminal cases and then use these learned concepts to collect and analyze evidence such as fingerprints, hair, fibers, paint, glass, and bodily fluids.

So, what is unique about CTE courses?

All CTE courses include standards for job-related skills and professional standards such as problem-solving, critical thinking, computer applications, effective relationships, and workplace skills. As part of the curriculum, students research career opportunities while building resumes and portfolios. The most unique thing about CTE courses is that labs and shops are equipped with up-to-date technology and equipment used in the actual job setting. Students’ experiences in CTE prepare them for their chosen career field because they have learned, practiced, and trained in a setting that mirrors a professional work environment.

Did you know Victoria school district offers programs of study in 12 career clusters?

All CTE programs of study are aligned to high-wage and in-demand occupations based on regional and state-wide labor market data. These programs of study prepare students for entry into the workforce or college and technical schools after graduation. You can find these career clusters and program of studies by visiting

So, why is CTE important for students? CTE courses and programs allow students to explore and choose career paths beginning in middle school. The school district is committed to every student finding their “AND” for a successful launch after graduation; we know that not all high school students will be college-bound after graduation. CTE provides students with the opportunity to learn the industry-based certifications to be successful in their chosen career field. Did you know that many students who complete a CTE program of study and earn an industry-based certification obtain jobs to support themselves while in college? Currently, students have the opportunity to make 12 industry-based certifications, you can find these by visiting

CTE is so important because it prepares students for a chosen career path through exposure to challenging instruction and hands-on, real-world experiences. In February, the district celebrated CTE teachers and students in recognition of National CTE mnth; however, celebrating CTE is a year-round event in the school district.

For more information on the district’s CTE programs, visit and follow us on Facebook @VISDCTE.

Dena Justice is the principal at the Career & Technology Institute.

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Dena Justice is the CTE Specialist and Principal of the Career and Technology Institute for VISD.

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