YUMA, Ariz. - Typically, high school is the stage when most students place an emphasis on figuring out what career they want to pursue.
At times that includes college or other times heading directly into the workforce.
Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) has experienced success with helping students make that decision by taking the old model vocational school concept to a new level with their Career and Technical Education Program (CTE).
Over 700 students are extended the opportunity to experience the CTE program to hopefully find a career they’re interested in for their future.
Whether that be photography, culinary arts, welding, or something in the medical field, there are nearly 85 different courses for students to try.
If they like the course, they are able to receive dual credits that align with colleges, plus much more.
YUHSD Chief Communications Officer, Eric Patten, explained, “This gives students the opportunity, for those who might not go to college, to get a certificate to go right into the workforce and be an expert in that field when they leave high school. That’s something that’s sort of unprecedented prior to the last few years in terms of where CTE has grown and gotten students to a place where college isn’t the only option. But there’s a tremendous amount of CTE students going to college as well.”
What’s also unprecedented is CTE's focus on leadership.
For the first time in the history of the program, 11 students from YUHSD have been selected as ambassadors to represent the YUHSD CTE program on a state and national level.
In September, they'll be meeting with Congress and the President of the United States, on Capitol Hill advocating to bring awareness to CTE programs.
Patten said CTE has grown significantly over the years simply by students witnessing their peers prosper.
Now each year, more career courses are being added according to their students' interests.