Career Technical Education Classes to Better Prepare Students
Modesto City Schools has a strong desire to establish programs that support students after high school to be career ready. The State of California has recognized the importance of Career Technical Education classes for our high school students. What were formerly called ROP classes are now courses that better align with the goal of preparing more students for careers in highly skilled and hard-to-fill jobs from Engineering to Construction, Public Services to Programming, and even Fashion Merchandising. Modesto City Schools has benefited from this change by seeing increased funding from the state for these critical areas. This funding is meant to enhance, expand, and create new CTE programs in our district.
Soon, Modesto City Schools will see new ag farms to better serve our agriculture programs at each high school. Our culinary students will have an authentic café and coffee bar to serve meals they have prepared in an industrial standard kitchen, and an automotive shop that utilizes the latest technology. In addition, all of the CTE programs within Modesto City Schools will see new equipment and updated curriculum that reflects what is happening in their respective industry.
Research has shown that students are more likely to graduate on time if they find high school courses that fit their interest and challenge them. CTE courses accomplish this along with the added incentive of developing employable skills that will allow many of our students to go to work immediately out of high school and earn a sustainable wage. The benefits for our community are many; we are preparing tomorrow’s workforce. These students have developed the key soft skills of working in teams, following directions, and observing work hours. Our students learn these skills and hopefully can put them to work here in our community where they were raised. Our graduation rate will continue to increase as more students are linked to their coursework in this fashion.
Modesto City Schools enhances the student’s preparation for being job-ready by increasing the responsibilities of Work Experience Coordinators at each of our high schools. These coordinators monitor students that work part time while attending high school full time. They also teach the soft skills to our students that employers want to see in entry level workers. Whether it is as simple as understanding that an employer is looking for dependable employees that can work within a team and be on time, to goal setting and resume writing. Our Work Experience Coordinators regularly visit local businesses for tours and to learn new ways to support students. Each of our schools, including junior highs and elementary schools recognize the importance of career awareness at an early age. Many of our schools look for local businesses to attend their career fairs. This is a great way for our community to become involved in their local schools.
It is an exciting time in Modesto City Schools as we continue to invest in our students’ future. Collaborating with local industry, our CTE programs are providing the workforce of tomorrow.
By Jeff Albritton, Senior Director, Alternative and Vocational Education Modesto City Schools