Opinion: Technical education in today’s world


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Now more than ever, the world is calling on young people to face the unpredictability and turmoil that characterized the past year and a half.

More than ever, young people are responding to this call. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a national, nonprofit, career and technical student organization (CTSO) that has fostered the development of young community leaders for the past 77 years. With a focus on family and consumer science education (FCS) – formerly known as “home economics” – FCCLA has ensured that students across the country are prepared to take the world by storm, even in a pandemic.

Education in Family and Consumer Sciences focuses on the development of academic knowledge, technical skills, problem-solving and employability skills through the study of four main career paths: hospitality and tourism, personal services, visual arts and design, and education and training.

Through hands-on classes in fashion, the culinary arts, child growth and development, and financial literacy, among others, students acquire skills that will enable them to thrive in these fields and beyond.

Skills learned include applied academic skills, the use of technology and communication, which prepare all students for post-secondary education, professional careers, and the challenges they will face in adulthood.

So on the surface level, what may appear to be modest FCS activities are in fact creating the next generation of leaders.

The past 18 months have been difficult to say the least. Nonetheless, the FCCLA and FCS courses prepared members to face head-on the challenges posed by the pandemic, political conflicts and social unrest. Take quarantine, for example: the world has stopped, but having to stay home has forced members to rely on the critical and creative thinking skills learned in FCS classes to find innovative solutions to their limitations. . With virtual section meetings, social distance service projects, competitive events and online conferences, members were able to make their FCCLA experience as close to “normal” as possible.

And, with so many issues related to the pandemic, community service was booming. For example, the John P. Stevens High School Chapter of Edison served the community by sewing face masks for the elderly, making cards for medical professionals, and hosting a social distancing clothing drive. .

Finally, FCCLA has taught students how to effectively use their voices and skills to support the causes they care about at a time when the world really needs to hear them. Communication and interpersonal skills acquired through FCS courses, as well as FCCLA’s peer education and advocacy programs, allowed students to be well prepared to stand up for their beliefs and have their voices heard.

Despite the many challenges that have been thrown at them, FCCLA members and FCS students have never been stronger. So as the world looks to its youth, it is this group of young people who really stand out, not only as architects of the future, but also as leaders of today.

Jacquelyn Trotman

President of the State

New Jersey FCCLA

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