Career and technical education opportunities abound in the Colorado Springs area, with industries (also known as occupations or occupations) seeking new employees to move up the ranks.
Depending on the part of town, the offerings of these courses can vary dramatically.
School districts use the local job market and labor statistics to drive programming decisions, according to Jessica McAllister, secondary program coordinator for Louis Palmer School District 38.
“You might talk to districts down south that have agricultural programs because their economic areas depend on agriculture,” McAllister says. “At D-38, we’re going to be doing a disservice to students for actually learning farming skills because it’s not part of our local economy.”
D-38 instead offers programs in business, engineering and computer science at both Lewis Palmer High School and Palmer Ridge High School. This year, the district also added construction to its line-up.
However, even if a student’s neighborhood school does not offer a particular program of interest, another school in the area may. Her CTE directors across the county meet regularly to brainstorm ideas and improve the deals at their respective schools. The ultimate goal is to create opportunities for every child to explore their interests.
Widefield School District’s Manufacturing Learning Lab (MiLL) in School District 3 provides students with three careers (Cabinet Manufacturing, Construction Tech, and Welding Tech) handpicked by local experts who have identified occupational employment needs in Colorado Springs. You can learn either. Classes are also open to outside school districts that don’t have the resources for these very specific deals.
MiLL partners with local companies that provide state-of-the-art equipment for programs with high operational costs.
The facility was originally conceived as a way for students to build relationships with industry professionals by offering them four years of hands-on experience prior to graduation. As a result, students often leave her MiLL with the opportunity open, according to D-3 Career and Technical Education Director Nikki Carter.
“We have partnerships with industry insiders…they’re actually helping us offer internships so our kids have somewhere to go after graduation,” says Carter. said, “The hard part of K-12 education is the gap, and what to give them when they’re ready to graduate, or at least the next piece of work that can give them the information for a job.” and help set them up for success in that way.”
But over time, the way schools think about skilled work has evolved, according to Colleen Johnson, Director of Student Success for Manitou Springs 14th School District.
“CTE is not a dad’s career program,” says Johnson.
Students at Manitou High School can build homes in the school’s parking lot, a program that has grown in popularity in neighborhoods throughout El Paso County in recent years, but Johnson said students aren’t traditionally thought of. He said there are more opportunities to dabble in CTE. Skilled trading. Nevertheless, the district expanded on the idea.
Students can manipulate sound and lighting, build sets, and explore the technical side of theater. A senior art student interning for a local business owner who designs a courtyard mural. There is also a metalsmithing class where students can create and sell their own jewelry and sculptures or put on a show. Each of these is under the umbrella of CTE.
“So really change the way we think and say that college is not for everyone or for everyone. Post-secondary education and training is for everyone. What the pieces look like should be different,” Johnson said. ”
The D-38 school offers courses in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign as digital media and communication channels in middle school. High school students can earn an Adobe credential in addition to school broadcast and newspaper opportunities. Middle school students can also dabble in biomedical pathways through classes such as medical detectives and forensics. There, students learn about fingerprinting, ballistics, and blood pressure measurement and reading.
Exposure to a variety of skills early on can help students find new passions or identify things they definitely don’t want to do before committing to a costly degree.
“It’s important now to celebrate their discovery,” McAllister said.