Superintendent's column: Programs prepare students for modern workforce
By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Dec. 2, 2017 at 5:42 p.m.
Updated Dec. 3, 2017 at 1 a.m.
During this week's Victoria Economic Development Partnership meeting, we engaged in great discussions regarding the importance of career and technical education programs and how they prepare our students for the jobs of today as well as provide for a workforce that will sustain our economy and support our community.
During the last six years, VISD has experienced tremendous growth in the area of our Career and Technical Education programs.
We offer 65 CTE course opportunities, including nine practicum courses with internships. We also offer 17 local industry partnerships, four postsecondary partnerships and have more than 200 high school students enrolled and employed in our Career Preparation programs.
Furthermore, this past year we celebrated more than 250 high school students receiving CTE licenses and or certifications. We are proud to state that all VISD students have the opportunity to enroll in the following CTE offerings: engineering, graphic design, education and training, business, health and medical, information technology, agriculture, robotics, video game programming, pharmacy technician, certified nurse aide, welding, automotive technology, collision repair and refinishing, cosmetology, construction technology, law enforcement, forensic science, anatomy and physiology, advanced animal science, engineering design and problem solving, engineering math, instrumentation and electronics and process technology.
VISD held our "Learn to Earn" event at the Career and Technology Institute for our fifth-grade students Thursday. This event provides our students with the opportunity to explore all of the Career and Technical Education programs that will be available to them when they enter high school.
The "Learn to Earn" program for our fifth-grade students was developed by Martin Sanchez, CTE Counselor, and modeled after our current Dream Big STEM Expo that provides the opportunity for all VISD eighth-grade students to tour the CTI classes before they begin their high school course selection process.
Our goal in CTE is to increase awareness of the outstanding and beneficial educational programs VISD has to offer districtwide. Our fifth-grade students also completed a career interest inventory survey, and the results of this survey will be used to determine what CTE courses and programs will be best suited for them as they enter their high school years.
"Learn to Earn" provided our fifth-graders an opportunity to learn from our high school students enrolled in the CTE programs at CTI.
The students were able to experience the hands-on and real-world applications of what makes CTE so unique. They also were able to experience the "wow factor" as our high school students demonstrated the use of technology and techniques in their specialized training career fields.
These programs allow students to earn industry-standard certifications as well as prepare students for career and collegereadiness.
Each elementary school had nine groups of students, and those students were led by the CTI ambassadors, which are made up of high school students who attend our Career and Technical Institute.
We extend our sincere appreciation to Martin Sanchez for orchestrating the logistics of this educational field trip as well as his collaboration with Rick Villa from Communities in Schools.
CIS generously provided the funds for the transportation from the elementary school campuses, and we truly appreciate their commitment to supporting our students. We would also like to thank Ms. Lauri Range, CTE Coordinator; Mrs. Dena Pilsner, CTI Principal; and all of our amazing CTI students and staff for creating a future of hope and endless possibilities for "Every Child, Every Classroom, Every Day."
Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, we truly appreciate all of our Career and Technical Education family members for allowing our students the possibility to dream big and to have the courage to make those dreams come true.
We are "VISD proud."
Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.