Interviewer: What is your name?
Chris: Chris Benson
Interviewer: What is your position at CSA?
Chris: Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Interviewer: What does that position entail?
Chris: I help develop all types of print and digital content related to Career and Technical Education. There are sixteen different career clusters in CTE that cover hundreds of careers, including agriculture, arts, construction, hospitality, healthcare, marketing, finance, information technology, public safety, manufacturing, human services, logistics, transportation, and many others.
Interviewer: How did you become a part of CSA?
Chris: I was working as a skilled trades product manager for a major publishing company, and my career path kept taking me closer to platform and technology development and further away from my passion, which is developing high-quality educational content for career-focused students. When the opportunity arose to help develop a CTE program for CSA, I was excited to get back to my roots. I began my career as a commercial/industrial electrician and followed it up by studying business, editing, learning design, technology, and product development over many years of night school.
Interviewer: What is the best part of your job?
Chris: I get to learn so much about so many different subjects. I can learn something new about three or four different topics every day, and I love that.
Interviewer: What do you wish people knew about your work at CSA?
Chris: I work with an amazing group of people. I know some people just say that, but everyone at CSA was chosen because they are highly skilled and have a strong passion for what they do and it shows.
Interviewer: What do you wish schools focused on more in terms of education and why?
Chris: Schools need to introduce students to the idea of career and technical education at a younger age. Teaching children that the things they enjoy doing can lead to a career with work that suits them is the key. Identifying and nurturing those skill sets at a younger age and then developing them through high school and post-secondary programs will produce a happier, highly skilled workforce. I am also a big advocate of producing content with multiple learning pathways. Not every student learns the same way, so if we create multiple options for the ingestion and retention of content, more students will be enabled to learn standards and skills with a deeper understanding, regardless of their individual learning style.
Interviewer: What are three interesting facts about you?
Chris: I attended night school for seventeen years, during which time I completed an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, two graduate certificates, and a master’s degree, all while working full time and raising a family. I went to trade school after high school and worked over twenty years as a US Department of Labor certified commercial/industrial electrician and electrical project manager. I am an Eagle Scout and I spent six years in the Army National Guard right out of high school. Thankfully, I served during a peaceful time period.
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