VISD creates industrial technology courses

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Nov. 21, 2013 at 5:21 a.m.

Lauri Voss   and Susanne Carroll, VISD administrators, give a presentation to trustees Thursday night.

Lauri Voss and Susanne Carroll, VISD administrators, give a presentation to trustees Thursday night.

The Victoria school district is partnering with local industry giants to develop technology courses to meet area workforce needs.

School board trustees Thursday night gave district administrators the green light to submit the technology courses to the State Board of Education.

"I feel like this is going to happen," said Tami Keeling, VISD school board president. "... This is going to be a great service to our community."

The four courses were developed in partnership with Alcoa, the world's third-largest producer of aluminum; Invista, a polymer and fibers producer; and Victoria College, said Lauri Voss, VISD Career and Technical Education coordinator.

Because of their partnership with Victoria College, the courses will also be offered as dual-credit, which means it will count as college credit, Voss said.

"We are pioneering as a school district in the development of these courses," Voss said. "Before this, none of these courses existed in the state of Texas."

Even without board of education approval, VISD students will be able to take the four proposed courses starting in the 2014-15 school year. The courses are Introduction to Process Technology; Safety, Health and Environment; Digital Fundamentals; and DC Circuits, Voss said.

"It's a win-win situation," Voss said.

Trustee Michael DiSanto, a General Electric employee, serves on a Victoria Chamber of Commerce education and human resources committee, which also played a role in the development of the courses.

"This is to help prepare our kids for the needs in this area," DiSanto said.

Voss presented trustees with letters of support from local organizations, including the city of Victoria, Alcoa, Invista, Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent, Victoria College, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Melissa Correll, the Career and Technology Education campus principal.

"This is a forward-thinking and progressive move for us," Voss said. "... We want to fill the skills gap in South Texas."

The school district is now looking for instructors for the new courses, Voss said.

"It'd be nice to have a VISD teacher because I'm sure we have people with that skill-set," Voss said. "We want them with industry experience for them to be relevant for our students."



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