Building a Successful Project Management Program at Your School

The Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management ReadyTM certification is a relatively new program, so you may be wondering how and where to start. If you’re looking to start or enhance a project management course at your school, then you’ve come to the right place. Get advice below on the best ways to build a successful project management program at your school.

Research Funding Options

One of the common issues faced by many educators is a lack of funding. We know that asking for additional budget to grow or increase resources in your classroom can be a frustrating process. We are here to help!

Luckily, there are funding sources dedicated to expanding career and technical education. Educators can explore a variety of funding options: The Carl D. Perkins Act; federal and state grants; and non-traditional options. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act is designed to increase the quality of career and technical education (CTE) across the United States. The Perkins Act provides almost $1.3 billion in federal support for career and technical education programs in all 50 States, including support for integrated career pathways programs.

In addition to the Perkins Act, your state will most likely have programs and grants that you can access. Speak to one of our experts about navigating funding options.

If you’re ready to go the non-traditional route, consider connecting with your local library or workforce services team, your PTA chapter, or even leverage Donors Choose to gather contributions from your community.

Decide on the Program Structure

Once you’ve secured funding, you’ll need to finalize your program structure. Some states, like North Carolina, have built a separate project management course within their CTE program. Other states, such as Florida, have opted to embed project management skills into other CTE courses. There’s no right or wrong answer, and it’s important to consider which course of action will work best for your school, district, and state.

If you decide to incorporate project management into an existing course, remember project management is valuable in all career paths. This makes it a natural addition to construction management courses, information technology courses, culinary courses, or even organizational leadership taught by your state’s Junior ROTC.

Dive into the Curriculum

You may be saying, “I see the value in project management but I’m not an expert. How can I be expected to teach this to my students?” Luckily, PMI has created a myriad of resources for teachers to use. If you’re not familiar with project management, don’t fear! “As a teacher, you have a lot more experience with project management than you think,” said Carol York, CTE educator from North Carolina.

As part of the PMI Project Management Ready certification program, PMI has built their own curriculum. You can learn more about the curriculum structure and available resources here.

Market the Program

You’ve done all the legwork, but it’s not enough to build the program. You need to get students in seats and make sure they’re learning successfully. Luckily, project management is a skill that all students need. “I think project management is a life skill. Our lives really are a series of one project after another,” continued Carol York. Connect with guidance counselors to make students aware of your program and its many benefits. You can also get students excited through club week, promoting project management through organizations like National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America.

Marketing your program doesn’t need to stop with students. Connect with other CTE educators to show how project management skills can help students be successful in their classes. You can also bring in experts from the community to help students understand how project management skills are leveraged in the real world. Networking with professionals in your community also creates connections for internships and jobs for students in your classroom, allowing them to apply their knowledge and gain valuable work experience. And isn’t that what true career and technical education is all about?

Interested in learning more about bringing project management curriculum in your classroom? Learn more here. And, as a thank you for your participation in our Month of PMI program, PMI wants to make sure you check out its latest resource, Kickoff. Kickoff is a free, 45-minute digital course and tool kit that guides anyone doing project-based work in launching successful projects from start to finish. Learn more here.