LCTE stages mock interviews

At the latest session of Leadership in Career & Technical Education, kids enthusiastically held up “Stop” signs during mock job interviews, calling out behaviors and answers that might give employers pause—from slouching in chairs to looking at text alerts.

A mock interview with Program Director Jenn Sethman

They also practiced introducing themselves with the kind of elevator speech needed to quickly make new contacts. As they have in all four LCTE sessions, the kids had time to network with peers from other districts as well adults supporting the program.

This year’s sessions have helped Trinity, a junior from Steel Center for Career & Technical Education, prepare for situations she knows she’ll confront following graduation.

Among other things, “I knew the term ‘networking’ but I didn’t know what it really meant or how important it was,” she said. Nor was Trinity familiar with LinkedIn, the online network lots of professionals use to connect with others who might help them in their work or job searches. She said she can imagine lots of ways to use it.

At the May session, which again brought together Allegheny County’s four CTCs, students also talked about instances where they’d need the soft skills that LCTE emphasizes. In addition to Steel Center, participating CTCs include A.W. Beattie Career Center; Forbes Road Career & Technology Center and Parkway West Career & Technology Center.

Three previous LCTE sessions engaged students in team-building exercises and other situations to practice the kinds of soft skills needed in the workplace.

Students often need this practice to develop the soft skills that research shows are as important to future success as academic performance. LCTE is just one of several programs the Consortium offers to help students build these skills. Aimed exclusively at CTC students, the program aims to reach students who will need these skills to advance within their fields or take on supervisory roles.