Journal of Research in Technical Careers


Career Technical Education, Cal-HOSA, Mental Wellness, Prevention and Early Intervention


Education | Educational Leadership | Secondary Education | Vocational Education


This study aims to explore career technical education (CTE) students' involvement in practicing and promoting mental wellness in schools and communities. Specifically, this study focused on students enrolled in a career and technical student organization (CTSO) leading youth-defined activities raising awareness of risk factors and protective factors associated with psychological distress and wellness. This study is grounded in resilience theory expounding on the resilience of HOSA students and their motivation to thrive and overcome adversities as they advance their career and college readiness and their civic engagement. Purposive sampling was used to select 94 students from seven high schools with a CTSO (i.e., HOSA) and participating in a prevention and early intervention project. Semi-structured interviews were done with these 94 students enrolled in a CTSO. Our findings revealed three key implications: (1) a CTSO can serve as a protective factor that mitigates the many risk factors to which young people are exposed; (2) a CTSO is able to promote and focus on student's early signs of mental health issues; and (3) exposing students to leadership and training opportunities may facilitate a career path into mental health fields.