(Note: February is Career & Technical Education Month. In recognition of the vital role vocational education plays in our schools and communities, this is one in a series of stories of success achieved by local students who participated in the CTE program through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.)
When Bailey Rose began thinking about the career she would pursue after high school, she was quite certain she wanted to work in law enforcement – specifically, as a police officer. But once Rose enrolled in the Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program, she was exposed to possibilities that made her re-think those plans.
“My high school counselor steered me toward CTE due to the fact that I always wanted a career in the criminal justice field,” said Rose, a 2014 graduate of Farwell High School who now works as a correctional officer for the Clare County Sheriff’s Department. “When I started CTE, I wanted to become a police officer. But now that I’ve worked in corrections, I love it.”
As often happens in education circles, the right teacher at the right time helped provide career clarity.
“D.J. Newman was my instructor for both years,” Rose said. “He had a definite impact on my career choice. He helped with my career goals because he could actually relate to the topics because he has worked in the field for so long. He was able to share real-life experiences from his line of work, and he drove these quotes into your head that you could use on the job or outside the job – things like ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.’”
Clare County Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski credits CTE with helping provide the next generation of local, well-trained law enforcement professionals.
“We have participated in the program by having interns and assisting with instruction, and we have seen the kids grow,” Miedzianowski said. “The program has knowledgeable instructors and has made a great impact on preparing the students to become public safety servants, and contribute back to society to make the world a better place. We wholeheartedly support this program and its mission in the future.”
Rose absorbed everything she could in her two years in CTE, but her on-the-job experience through CTE’s job placement program is what closed the deal for her.
“The second year of CTE was focused on job placements and job shadowing,” she said. “It showed me what the day-to-day life in the corrections field was like. I did nine weeks at the prosecutor’s office and nine weeks at the sheriff’s department – in dispatch, on road patrol, in the jail. You could really get a feel of what it’s like to actually work in that area, and it helped a lot.”
One thing Rose discovered as she got more and more into CTE was that it wouldn’t always be what she expected – in the best possible way.
“I learned a lot of interesting things about many careers related to criminal justice that I never knew about,” she said. “I learned about the job of the prosecutor, of the road patrol, of the corrections officer and the police officer – it’s just that the last two stuck with me throughout the entire two years. But I hoped to accomplish many things related to the field such as physical training, defensive tactics, criminal investigations, etc. And I did.”
Rose has a distinct leg up on many young adults in that two years out of high school, she’s already well-established in a career she loves. Her advice to students considering CTE is straightforward.
“Go for it,” she said. “It’s better to do it now and figure out whether you really want to go into a certain career than to pay for two years of college and decide it’s something you don’t want to do. I may change careers later on down the road, but I will always remain in the criminal justice field. Because of CTE, I am where I am today. It helped me succeed in life.”