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When you think of project managers, you probably think of mid-career professionals with 4-year degrees, right? Well, Chris Parker is a recent high school graduate and a technical project manager for Vega Construction, and his path was made possible by CTE.

Chris knew he wanted to enter a field that had strong demand and steady growth – a career he could count on for the long run. In high school, he started researching what fields he could pursue and how he could set himself apart. He soon discovered that construction fit the bill.

"It really started with project lead the way, and that eventually led to the apprenticeship program I’m in with Vega Construction and Surry Community College," he says. "I started my CTE path with a drafting class – it wasn’t the right fit for me, but when I discovered project management I knew that’s what I wanted to do."

For Chris, he says his biggest challenge in high school was getting real-world experience, and CTE made that possible for him. “CTE helped open the door for me, it gave me the basics to build on and it provided me with opportunities to discover what the workforce is really like.”

Chris had been working in the construction project management field for nearly a year before he graduated from high school, and he says this gave him a huge advantage when officially entering the workforce.

"When it was time to graduate, I had a plan," he says. "I was able to take advantage of the resources and opportunities available to me in high school to put myself on a path that will lead to success."

Chris Parker
Technical Project Manager, Vega Construction