While occasionally working for his father’s landscaping business, high school student Hector D. realized that protection against sharp tools, thorny shrubs, biting insects and brutal heat could be improved with better gear.

He had the idea for a technical vest that would protect workers that he is calling Arbolero – combining the Spanish word for tree and a bolero vest. Now his teachers in the business management Career Technical Education (CTE) program are helping him develop his idea into a viable business.

He is learning how to create a business marketing plan and understand the finances involved in starting a business. Hector has done a SWOT analysis, developed a marketing plan, designed a logo and built a website for Arbolero.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, but unfortunately one in five will fail in the first year, and almost half will go under within five years. So why not start teaching the basics of business management in high school to our potential entrepreneurs?” said Krisha Moeller, CTE Specialist/Teacher. “If more high schools taught business management, we might be able to improve the success rate of small businesses.”

She points out that more than half of small business owners are not college graduates, so future entrepreneurs need to learn how to run a business somewhere. Introducing high school CTE business classes is a great start, she says, especially for minorities who make up about 20 percent of small business owners.

“Hector and fellow business management students are getting an introduction to economics with a focus on credit, consumerism, budgeting and financial institutions,” added Moeller. “Skills that benefit all students.”

They learn money management, including basic accounting, budgeting, interest and the costs of debt. In the advanced course, students develop skills in project management, leadership and practice pitching their concept and business plan to a focus group of their classmates. Hector earned the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) certification, which demonstrates his knowledge of advanced concepts within the platform.

Hector, 19, will graduate this year, but he came close to not being able to complete his education due to an illness that had him miss a lot of high school and fall far behind. Thanks to our personalized instruction and a flexible schedule, he was able to work at his own pace to catch up on credits, even after he would have aged out of traditional high school.

Hector has always liked the idea of someday running his own company and has found the business classes helped him manage his own finances and he is even giving his dad some business advice.

February is National CTE Month to raise awareness of the role that CTE has in readying learners for college and career success.

“Hector is planning to go to college, but that isn’t the choice for everyone. Enrolling in CTE classes can put students on a path to a high paying and rewarding career whether or not college is in their plans,” said Moeller. “And we see that students enrolled in CTE pathways are more engaged and perform better in all their classes.”

Written By:
Ann Abajian
Antelope Valleycaprice youngCentral ValleyHigh DesertInland EmpireLos AngelesNorth CharlestonOxnardSacramentoSan DiegoSan Fernando Valleythrive global