APS Student Unlocks Dream Career through CTE
Posted on 02/06/2024
Caitlin McLeod holds up a Pickens Technical College banner she designed

When asked to describe herself, Caitlin McLeod needed just four words. “I am an artist,” she said. This budding artist in her early 30s is only a few months away from finishing the multimedia graphic design program at Pickens Technical College and couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.

In May, McLeod will complete the two-year program and become one of the newest Aurora Public Schools graduates to power their potential through career and technical education (CTE). CTE prepares youth and adults for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers.

 February is CTE Month and a good opportunity to explore the value in a CTE school like Pickens Tech. Pickens offers more than 25 certificate programs in a variety of disciplines like business management, nursing and construction.

Pickens student Caitlin McLeod working in the print services design roomPickens also provides arts programs like the one McLeod is taking and absolutely loving. She said she especially likes how hands-on the graphic design program is. “We learn all of the Adobe Suite programs and all the major industry tools that are used by professionals. We have all of that stuff in our classroom. So I feel really equipped and really knowledgeable,” she said.

 This is actually the second time McLeod has been a Pickens Tech student. More than a decade ago, she completed the school’s cosmetology program. After working for several years as a stylist and then taking a detour as a restaurant manager, she returned to Pickens to pursue her creative passion and embark on a new career as a graphic designer.

 Staying true to her “I am an artist” mantra, McLeod has already designed logos for real-world clients as part of her schoolwork and will soon be putting her skills to work in her dream career.

Pickens student Caitlin McLeod designing on a graphic computer workstation