Personalized Pathways to Students’ Dreams

Career and Technology Education (CTE) helps prepare Howard County students for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers through rigorous and relevant instruction with like-minded peers, starting as early as middle school.

At the high school level, HCPSS offers eight Career Academies available in each high school and 12 academies at the Applications and Research Laboratory. Each Career Academy offers a sequence of courses, internships, capstone project or research project related to students’ career goals, and the opportunity to earn college credit or industry certification.

HCPSS has embraced expanding access to Career Academy programming across the county, so as many students as possible can more readily explore their future college or career goals. More than 6,000 students were enrolled in Career Academy courses last year, representing a 50 percent growth compared to school year 2010–11’s enrollment.

Career Academies host and support a wide range of hands-on and networking opportunities throughout the year. For example, the Academy of Finance pursues yearlong projects that take on real-world challenges, such as urban revitalization after the Baltimore unrest and better flood alerts for Ellicott City. HCPSS’ Women in Engineering Day encourages young women currently enrolled in a Project Lead the Way course to pursue their interest in engineering.

Countless Howard County Career Academy alumni have found success in what’s meaningful to them. Biotechnology Career Academy alumnus Camilo Vanegas has gone on to create an award-winning startup that produces a leukemia detection device, while he continues his work toward a Ph.D. in molecular medicine. Career Research and Development Academy alumna Jamie Dorsey got her first banking job two weeks prior to high school graduation and has since risen into management while earning a bachelor’s in business management.

“The beautiful thing about the Career Academies is that it affords students and parents choice,” said Dr. Renee A. Foose, Superintendent of HCPSS. “They can still have comprehensive, advanced placement in the traditional coursework while at the same time, they can pursue very rigorous, career-related experiences that you won’t get at a traditional, typical high school program.”

For more information, visit the HCPSS Career Academies or watch the HCPSS Insight on Career and Technology Education.

Watch these videos for more Career Academy highlights:

HCPSS Career Academies

What People Are Saying About CTE

"Howard County school programs prepare students for the wide variety of life pathways they will encounter after graduation. In particular, HCPSS’ Career and Technology Education academies offer the real life experiences, such as mentorships and internships, that give our students the life skills to be successful wherever they go."
—Ebony Langford-Brown, Executive Director, HCPSS School Improvement and Curricular Programs
"[Career Academy] students get a chance to see connections between what happens in their courses and what happens in real life...Students have opportunities to see themselves not simply as 15- year-olds and 17-year-olds, but as future leaders."
—Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
"The Architectural Design Academy at ARL provided me with the tools to construct 2D and 3D designs. I have developed a portfolio for submission to prospective colleges and universities. As a future architect, I can give back to the community by providing internships and inspiration to future architecture students."
—Wallaki Gray, Architecture Design Academy Student, ARL
"In the near future, high schools will transform from a space designed to educate the masses to places that provide students with personalized pathways to their dreams. Our current Career and Technology Education program provides a visible model of how high schools can realize that vision for personalized learning."
—Bill Barnes, Director, HCPSS Secondary Curricular Programs