Military Crossroads with Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Michael Francis

Michael Francis, U.S. Army Sergeant

From 2000 to 2004, I was an active duty Soldier in the United States Army and have been in the Florida Army National Guard since 2005.

There are many parts of my military career that stand out in my memory. Basic training, my drill sergeant during the hot summer at Fort Jackson, being in my promotion board during the September 11 attacks, being deployed during multiple state emergencies, and so much more. Most recently, and regardless of political platform, I was honored to play a role in our democracy by providing security support for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in D.C.

However, these memories and events are not what changed me the most.

Instead, it is the military’s connection with CTE that has been the most valuable. That connection positively affected my personal life, my educational pursuits, and my civilian career.

Although military life is not for everyone, the skills and knowledge that are integrated within CTE are for everyone, whether an Army future is in the cards or not.

Digital Skills

In the military, I have to take online classes (many of them), connect to networks, install software on my computer, format Word documents, give presentations, organize digital files, practice good Internet security policies, and work on my career progression. Do these skills and tasks sound familiar to you? They should. These are the same skill sets that I use here at FLVS. These CTE skills fall within the Information Technology program of study and are relevant for any career, personal life, or educational aspiration. Here at FLVS, our students learn these skills in CTE courses such as Digital Information Technology.

Career Development Skills

During the process of entering the military, I had to take the ASVAB to help determine military jobs I might excel in. As a senior non-commissioned officer, I now mentor younger Soldiers for success in both their military and civilian careers. These are CTE skills that our students can learn in courses like Career Research and Decision Making and Personal and Family Finance.

Many More Skills

There are so many other CTE skills apparent in my military career. I work with law enforcement (Criminal Justice CTE area) applying lessons from our Criminal Justice Operations course, learn first aid (Medical CTE area), create macros and formulas in Excel which relate to basic programming fundamentals found in Foundations of Programming, and interact with web technologies like those in Foundations of Web Design (Computer Science CTE area). I must identify potable water (Culinary CTE), train Soldiers (Educational CTE), practice appropriate wire communications and public relation techniques (Communication CTE area), have a working knowledge of military land and air vehicles (Transportation CTE area), and I’ll even say applying field camouflage relates to the CTE area of Cosmetology (hey, not every guy knows principles of using lights and darks!).

In the end, these CTE skill sets and knowledge are not tied to the military alone; they are tied to life. CTE skills take the knowledge formed in math, language arts, science, and social science courses and apply them to real-world knowledge, skills, and situations. I am fortunate to have learned these CTE skills in my military career and would not be where I am today without them.

For the students reading this blog – Where will you learn your CTE skills? You can start by checking out the FLVS course links in this blog!

Michael Francis

Rappelling from the Black Hawk helicopter (2nd rope from the right)

Florida Virtual SchoolFlorida Virtual School (FLVS) has been leading the way in Kindergarten-12 online education for 25 years. FLVS provides a robust, award-winning curriculum to public, private, charter, and homeschool families and school districts nationwide. Learn more at

One comment on “Military Crossroads with Career and Technical Education (CTE)

  1. Angela Palmer

    Such a great article, Michael! I also served in the (Ohio) Army National Guard as a Sergeant E-5 for 8 years. I too see the valuable connection of CTE with military service. I have shared that with my students at times too. I too am thankful for my years in the military and valuable skills that I have learned for serving.
    Angela Palmer
    Digital IT Instructor


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