The nature of the contemporary workplace requires that learning is life-long and supervised work-based learning opportunities are extremely important in technical skill development. Placements in real-world work settings combined with continuing education provide meaningful experiences and increase earning potential. Work-based learning, postsecondary skill training and continuing education to stay on top of industry changes are integral parts of understanding Maryland’s CTE.
Harford Technical High School
Landscape Architecture and Management
In his junior year of high school, Dan enrolled in the Landscape Architecture and Management Program, one of the Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs of study in the Environmental, Agricultural and Natural Resources career cluster in Harford County. While satisfied with the skills he gained in the classroom, Dan wanted more “real world” experience in his field. He worked with his instructors to enroll in the Work-Based Learning (WBL) program his senior year and found a paid work experience related to his studies with a hydroponics company.
After a lay off by the hydroponics company, Dan did not become discouraged or frustrated. He consulted with his WBL coordinator to seek out other authentic work experiences to apply and practice his skills. When given a chance to work on landscaping equipment at Aberdeen Outdoor Power, Dan jumped at the chance for another paid internship. Even though the focus of this experience was on types of equipment used in landscaping instead of landscape architecture, Dan threw himself into the experience to learn yet another aspect of the landscaping business.
As a result, Dan graduated from high school while still employed by Aberdeen Outdoor Power as a shop helper. With his hard work and determination, Dan earned a promotion and is currently the shop Foreman. "The opportunity to experience different areas of the landscaping profession would not have been possible without the WBL program.", says Dan. "The work-based experiences allowed me to have hands-on practice and try many different areas of the landscaping profession." His employer, recognizing Dan’s strong work ethic and "can-do" attitude has paid for further postsecondary training so that Dan could gain additional technical skills. Dan’s long-term goal is to stay with his current employer and take more courses to gain additional skills in business management. In the future, his aspirations include a promotion to a management position within the company.