C3SO, Colorado Creative Careers Student Organization, is a CTSO for students who have the desire to develop their interest in careers and leadership roles within Arts CTE fields. Students will expand their understanding of career opportunities, hone their skills in the creative arts, learn from professionals from the creative industries, and network with others from throughout Colorado by becoming active in their local C3SO chapter.

The career fields that are represented by C3SO are:

  • Audio / Sound Production
  • Digital Design – Animation, Graphic Design, New Media, Photography, Web Design
  • Visual Arts
  • Film / Video Production
  • Performing Arts
  • Technical Theater and Design

About Us

Since President Woodrow Wilson signed the first national vocational education act in 1917, the federal government has provided funding for Career and Technical Education. The initial modest investment in 1917 of approximately $7 million now has grown to more than $1.2 billion. Today, the federal government provides funding with the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act which specifies required and permissible uses of these funds for activities at the local and state levels. One of these required and permissible activities is the use of Career and Technical Student Organizations to assist students in gaining valuable skills in careers, leadership, and personal attributes. Colorado so highly regards CTSO’s for providing these valuable skill experiences that they have required schools to offer a CTSO experience as part of every program approval.

The career and technical student organization (CTSO) is regarded as an integral part of career and technical education. CTSOs play an important part in preparing students to become productive citizens and to assume roles of leadership in their communities. Educators have found that the CTSO is a powerful instructional tool that works best when it is integrated into the career and technical education curriculum. This guide can assist instructors in providing organized activities that help students gain career, leadership, and personal skills that maximize employability.

C3SO, Colorado Creative Careers Student Organization, is a State Only Career and Technical Student Organization developed right here in Colorado. With Colorado ranking within the top five states in the nation for creative careers, educators from around Colorado wanted a CTSO developed to specifically meet the needs of students interested in Creative Arts Programs. C3SO can become an important tool to help students turn their passion for creativity into the skills necessary for today’s careers.

History/Origins

The Creative Careers Movement in Colorado began in 2009 under the leadership of Jennifer Jirous (Program Director – STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology) in collaboration with Sheila Sears (Deputy Director – Colorado Creative Industries). Because of a growing number of Arts CTE programs, an effort was made by the state leaders to develop an annual event to bring together the teachers and students in the programs. The first Creative Careers Festival was held in 2010 and four more were held from 2011-2015. The festivals brought together students and teachers from Arts CTE programs to attend workshops led by professional artists. These festivals were also meant as a pathway for the development of a state recognized CTSO.

In 2014, the Creative Careers Advisory Committee received approval from the Colorado CTE Leadership for the Colorado Creative Careers Student Organization to be officially recognized as a Colorado CTSO. A Handbook was released with guidelines and instructions for setting up chapters at individual schools. Under the leadership of David Barnes (Program Director – STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology), C3SO entered the next phase of the development, establishing strong chapters in schools throughout Colorado.

From 2009-2018, the Advisory Committee for the Colorado Creative Careers has included a dedicated group of individuals who volunteered countless hours in the efforts to create opportunities for CTE Arts students.  We would like to thank the following individuals for their efforts in supporting the Creative Careers Festivals and working to establish the CTSO:

Jennifer Jirous, CTE Program Director, STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology
David Barnes, CTE Program Director, STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology
Sheila Sears, Deputy Director, Colorado Creative Industries
Tony Raymond, CTE Assistant Program Director, STEM, Arts, Design & Information Technology
Sarah Heath, Assistant Provost and State CTE Director
Gully Stanford, College in Colorado
Karol Gates, Director, Office of Standards and Instructional Support, Colorado Dept of Education
Pat Sagrillo, Special Projects Coordinator, Colorado Community College System
Rob Epstein, Visual Artist and Arts Organizer
CJ Juleff, Arts Organizer
Michael Bautista, Arts Administrator
Beth Cambell, Arts Organizer
Jim Asmus, Multimedia Teacher, Career Development Center
Lara Kirksey, Stagecraft & Design Instructor, Denver School of the Arts
Jonathan Howard, Stagecraft & Design Instructor, Denver School of the Arts
Ed Glassman, Video Cinema Arts Instructor, Denver School of the Arts
Cori Herbst-Loehr, Arts Administrator and Instructor, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
Jason Watkins, Stage Technology and Visual Arts Instructor, Niwot High School
Jody Chapel, Visual Arts Instructor, East High School
Laura Seward, Graphic Design and Interactive Media Instructor, Westminster High School
Craig Gibson, Art Instructor, Fort Lupton High School
Steve Moos, CTE District Coordinator, Thompson School District