Building Pathways of Opportunities: The James Valley Career and Tech Center's Impact on CTE Month with SBDC Support

Building Pathways of Opportunities: The James Valley Career and Tech Center's Impact on CTE Month with SBDC Support Main Photo

26 Feb 2024

February marks Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, a time to celebrate the invaluable contributions of institutions like the James Valley Career and Tech Center (JVC&TC) in North Dakota. This dedicated month provides an opportunity to explore the dynamic collaboration between CTE institutions and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in North Dakota. Tiffany Ford, State Director of the North Dakota SBDC, sheds light on the impactful partnership between the SBDC and JVC&TC, emphasizing the multifaceted approach to education and career development.

Connecting Students with Real-World Innovation

Tiffany Ford explains how SBDCs are crucial in connecting businesses and students. By assisting over 2,000 businesses annually, SBDCs forge connections that benefit local businesses and students seeking experiential learning. Ford highlights the significance of small businesses, often struggling with financial constraints, utilizing students from career education programs. This helps companies to thrive and provides students with hands-on experience, preparing them for the unexpected challenges of the real world. Ford eloquently says, "The real world always brings the unexpected, and it is a valuable experience for students to get that hands-on experience before completing their education, where they can see how innovation happens every day in their field.”

Bridging the Gap Between Education and Business

In an era where technical skills are in high demand, the James Valley Career and Tech Center stands out in preparing students for technical careers. Ford discusses how SBDC professionals actively engage with CTE institutions during CTE Month and throughout the year. The emphasis is on creating partnerships, mentorship programs, and initiatives that bridge the gap between education and local businesses.” There is a tremendous benefit, not just to the ND SBDC program or the host institution, but also to the state’s economy and workforce, when our program partners with educational providers,” Ford states.  By offering business workshops, SBDCs empower students to turn their technical education into successful small businesses. Ford underscores the role of SBDCs in helping students work on their companies for long-term success. “Students that have graduated from a CTE program can be very successful entrepreneurs in our state, and the ND SBDC can help them get through with any of our offerings, especially with our confidential one-on-one business advising,” she says.

Navigating Challenges and Fostering Sustainability

CTE Month emphasizes the importance of promoting and enhancing technical education, and SBDCs actively support institutions like JVC&TC in navigating challenges, accessing funding opportunities, and developing strategies. Ford points out the benefit of hosting SBDCs at higher education institutions, fostering collaborations with educational providers. Through partnerships, SBDC staff becomes guest presenters, educating students on entrepreneurship and the process of starting a business. The SBDC's advanced credentials, certifications, and real-time market data contribute to successful collaborations that enhance the region's growth and sustainability in technical education initiatives.

Empowering Futures through Collaboration

As we celebrate CTE Month, the collaboration between the James Valley Career and Tech Center and the North Dakota SBDC is a beacon of innovation and empowerment. By building pathways of opportunities, connecting students with real-world experiences, bridging the gap between education and business, and navigating challenges together, this partnership ensures a dynamic and skilled workforce for North Dakota's future. Through Tiffany Ford's insights, we witness the transformative impact of collaborative efforts on education, entrepreneurship, and the region's overall prosperity.