SISD Career and Technical Education director selected for national summit

Socorro Independent School District Career and Technical Education director George Thomas has been selected as one of 10 CTE directors in the country to participate in this year’s Advanced CTE National Summit.

The Advanced CTE National Summit, set for September 15-16, brings 10 CTE departments and their members together to create a blueprint of how to better serve students interested in business and industry.

This year the event, titled “ CTE Summit: A Summit of CTE’s Impact & Promise,” will focus on creating a shared set vision among CTE programs on how to ensure students of all ages find success in the workforce, despite the current economic downfall brought upon by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thomas was nominated to participate in the summit by the National Skills Coalition, one of 10 event sponsors.

“I’m blessed to be a part of SISD and to have the support systems we have from our board members, superintendent, cabinet and our community that help skills education and CTE across our region,” Thomas said.

In May 2018, the NSC reached out to workforce commissions across the United States and identified SISD as one of four CTE programs in the nation that far surpassed the goals of CTE, which are to provide opportunities to all students through quality academic counseling and career guidance, while maintaining sustainable partnerships with business and industry for current or emerging occupations.

The SISD CTE team’s outstanding partnership the district’s Community Education program is one of the reasons for the national recognition and led to Thomas’s latest invitation to the national summit.

“@SISD_CommEd congratulates Mr. George Thomas @GThomas_SEC, SISD’s CTE Director, on being chosen 1 of 10 CTE Directors in the US to participate in the Advanced CTE @CTEWorks national summit in Sept.,” said SISD Community Education director Anthony Fraga via Twitter. “Advanced CTE provides leadership and support for the National Career Cluster™.”

Both departments reflect the district’s commitment to provide all students with endless opportunities for college and career readiness.

“To best be able to serve our students, we provide them with instruction, but also links to postsecondary education, work and internships, which takes all types of resources and the input of the entire community,” Thomas said.

After the recognition from the NSC, Thomas and Fraga were invited to present their brief titled “Better Together: How Adult Education/CTE Collaborations Benefit Workers and Business” in February 2019 in Washington, D.C.

The brief explained how to support skill-based education for adults in the community with limited funds and how CTE teachers worked with the adult students to get them accredited with industry certifications.

Certifications through the SISD Community Education program cost far less than what other entities charge for certifications. Through SISD’s innovative collaboration between CTE and the Community Education, many certifications for the adult students were paid with funding from the state and with a higher student success rate, Thomas said.

While presenting in Washington D.C. in 2019, Thomas and Fraga met the Assistant Secretary of Education Scott Stump and was able to discuss with him how SISD’s program is utilizing available resources to help support the adult education program. Since then, they have gone on to present at several other large national conferences.

“To present at the national stage is phenomenal,” Thomas said. “Being recognized shows that we’re respected for our input and what we’ve been able to provide.”