Joliet Central High School and Joliet West High School are two of the 62 high schools that will benefit from the Education Career Pathways Grants granted by the Pritzker Administration to recruit future educators. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has awarded Career and Technical Education (CTE) Education Career Pathways Grants totaling $1,995,275 to 11 regional entities to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state.
The Three Rivers EFE System will receive $249,000 through this grant and will partner with Joliet Central and Joliet West High Schools, as well as Bolingbrook High School, Romeoville High School, WILCO Area Career Center, and GAVC Vocational Center. Students in CTE Education Career Pathways will get a head start on teacher preparation through opportunities for hands-on learning, dual credit, credentials, and mentorship.
A 2018 survey conducted by ACT found that only 5 percent of test takers indicated they were interested in teaching as a profession. However, researchers suggested that students might change their minds if they had an early experience with teaching and direct paths into the profession. Fifty percent of teachers in Illinois teach in the same county in which they graduated from high school, highlighting that local pathways into the profession can diversify the teaching corps and strengthen the local teacher pipelines.
Grantees submitted an implementation plan outlining how they will recruit underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois. The grant also requires a partnership between grantees and institutions of higher education, so students can earn dual credit or credentials and certifications prior to high school graduation.
CTE programs prepare students for both the workforce and the pursuit of postsecondary opportunities by developing students’ technical and employability skills while also strengthening their core academic abilities.