Career, technical programs build valued skills
FOR USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN
February is Career and Technical Education Month across the nation and in the Wausau School District. Thus, I’d like to highlight the wide range of exciting opportunities and career pathways available to our students.
CTE programs in the Wausau School District include:
»Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
»Business, Marketing and Information Technology
»Family Consumer Sciences
»Health Science»Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship
»Technology and Engineering Education
Because of our community’s referendum support in 2015, our district’s CTE departments underwent significant renovations and expansions at both Wausau East and Wausau West high schools. As you might recall, the facilities were carefully planned in collaboration with several of our central Wisconsin business partners. Further, focus groups were developed in the areas of manufacturing, automotive, diesel and auto collision. Our business partners helped our school leaders determine efficiencies in space, safety aspects, instructional curriculum and desired equipment.
Our goals included providing our students with state of the art facilities and supplying resources for businesses to meet their need for a pipeline of future employees in central Wisconsin. Northcentral Technical College continues to assist us in supporting and developing our future workforce. Consequently, students are receiving dual credit in high school courses that will later articulate into NTC credits. This past year, 680 students were enrolled in at least one dual credit class with NTC.
Our district strongly believes our CTE students are experiencing the benefits of extremely dedicated teachers. Many of our CTE teachers have attended additional professional development and training to use effectively new equipment, such as CNC milling machines, auto collision bays, paint mixing booths and CNC routers.
The new Wausau East automotive lab continues to partner with the Wisconsin Automotive and Truck Education Association, a highly supportive business partner. One of the innovative ways in which we partner is through a program called Wheels to Work. This program offers low-cost vehicles and repairs to struggling Marathon County families and individuals. Our students receive vehicles from WATEA and repairs them in partnership with local auto dealers for needy families in our community. The program also connects individuals with financial guidance and community help agencies. This program has afforded our students enriching experiences and opportunities for all involved to give back to our community.
On Feb. 21, Wausau East High School’s new automotive lab will be the host site for this year’s Auto Career Expo. Hosted at Wausau East High School and sponsored by Fr ed Mueller Automotive, WATEA, and Northcentral Technical College,the expo will give high school students the opportunity to connect with local businesses to learn about the transportation industry and NTC transportation programs. Hands-on activities include a pit crew challenge, Hunter wheel alignment activity, scan tool diagnostics and many more.
There are more than 500 high school students who participate in career and technical student organizations in the Wausau School District. These organizations help to develop citizenship, technical leadership and teamwork skills essential for students who are preparing for the workforce and further education. They also enhance students’ civic awareness and provide opportunities for developing social competencies and a wholesome attitude about living and working.
For information about the career and technical education programs or to become a community or business partner, contact Jon Winter, CTE coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-261-0568.
Kathleen Williams is superintendent of the Wausau School District.