For the students whose aspirations may not include attending a four-year college, there are many alternatives such as an associate degree from a two-year community college, an apprenticeship, or certificate from a specialized trade or vocational school.
Students in high school must consider an important question; what does post-graduate success look like for them? It could mean a college education, a career in the military or a technical job right out of high school.
Post-graduate success takes many forms. A four-year college is a great choice for students who want a career that requires a bachelor’s degree, or who want to obtain a master’s or professional degree in the future.
However, for the students whose aspirations may not include attending a four-year college, there are many alternatives such as an associate degree from a two-year community college, an apprenticeship, or certificate from a specialized trade or vocational school.
The School District of Palm Beach County prepares children in grades K-12 to thrive as productive citizens, regardless of the path they follow. Our district is a national leader in providing innovative learning opportunities. We offer more than 330 choice and career programs, at more than 125 schools, in grades K-12. Think about that, students in kindergarten immersed in a Biomedical and Veterinary Technology program. That is one of many optionsfor students in elementary school. Children thrive through innovative teaching techniques that focus on the student’s individual talents or interests.
The district’s Choice and Career teachers provide training and industry certifications in a number of exciting, high-demand areas of study.
Our Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology program prepares students for advanced training and employment in the HVAC industry. The Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program provides hands-on training in a fully integrated, state-of-the-art facility, training students for employment in the auto body and refinishing industry.
The Construction program provides necessary skills to enter home-building, general contracting, and related industries. Students actually build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Families throughout the District have directly benefited from these efforts, an important and emotionally satisfying experience for the 100+ students who contributed to each project.
We also offer industry certifications that help students, right out of high school, enter into the workforce as certified pharmacy technicians, emergency medical responders, pre-school teachers and so much more. Research indicates that students who attain industry certifications earn more money over the course of their careers than those lacking these types of industry-recognized credentials.
Our district works closely with local business partners to ensure that our academies align with future employment needs in Palm Beach County.
It is important to let students know that while the conventional trajectory of a four-year college after high school is commendable, students can also achieve great success in the trades and through certifications that lead to gainful employment.
February is Career and Technical Education Month. Let’s celebrate the value of CTE and shine a light on our district’s programs that prepare students for in-demand careers with a depth of learning that builds real-world skills. By creating a dynamic collaborative environment and providing rigorous programs, we are ensuring that all of our students are poised to succeed in the global economy.
DONALD E. FENNOY II, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Fennoy is superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County.