VC, VISD discuss career and technical education programs

By the Numbers

In 2012 ...

•  3.4 percent of firefighters were women

•  9.4 percent of registered nurses were men

•  1.2 percent of automotive service technicians were women

•  5.9 percent of childcare workers were men

•  1.6 percent of carpenters were women

•  0.7 percent of dental hygienists were men

SOURCE: From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Victoria College faculty and staff as well as Victoria school district administrators and counselors participated in a workshop to explore the root causes and potential strategies for addressing low participation of nontraditional students in career and technical education programs.

The workshop was conducted by Susie Wheeler, the Texas Facilitator for the STEM Equity Pipeline. Wheeler works at Amarillo College, serving as project manager for a Perkins State Leadership grant titled Gender Equity in career and technical education.

She helps community colleges improve nontraditional student participation and completion in these programs. A male nurse or a female firefighter, for example, would be considered nontraditional.

This education is a series of courses - combined with hands-on training - that prepare students for careers such as welding, law enforcement and nursing.

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Grant, a federal grant administered through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, funds a variety of initiatives at VC designed to help these students succeed.

"The term 'nontraditional' refers to occupations for which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed," said Danette Johnson, VC's grant development director.

After learning about 18 common root causes for low participation among nontraditional students, workshop participants from VC and VISD compiled a list of those they believe are the most relevant in the Golden Crescent region.

"Our next step will involve getting feedback from nontraditional graduates or students currently enrolled in CTE programs," said Johnson. "Based on their feedback, we'll begin trying different strategies to address the root causes impacting our region."

Wheeler also discussed jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, which include areas of health science, information technology, manufacturing and architecture and construction. She pointed out that people with lower levels of education in these subjects make more than people with higher levels of education in other areas, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

This year, VC is working to increase participation of nontraditional students in the three programs: criminal justice, physical therapist assistant and nursing.

The STEM Equity Pipeline is a program improvement process designed by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, a national organization committed to the advancement of equity and diversity in classrooms and workplaces. For more information, visit

For more information on these programs, contact Victoria College at 361-573-3291.