More than 1,500 Bend-La Pine high school students participate in Career Technical Education classes each year. Many of them go on to trade schools or begin working straight out high school.
One of those paths is through the La Pine High School metal and welding class. Here, the students get personal instruction and hands on experience in several types of welding.
“It has my last name on it and my brand and bunch of farm animals,” said Jadia Kemnitz, a metal shop student showing us the plaque she made. “I started it from scratch. I made the whole border. I believe this is 8 inches by 12 inches. I typed that out. Chose my font and then I cut it out with the plasma cutter.”
Within the next three weeks, every eighth-grade student in Bend-La Pine Schools will have an opportunity to experience high school Career Technical Education courses.
It’s part of a district-wide initiative to drive enrollment to these hands-on, high-skill programs in automotive, business, graphic design, health, construction, manufacturing, computer science, forestry and agriculture.
“There’s so many things that involve welding. There’s pipe welding. There’s vehicles and all this kind of stuff,” said Nikaijh Irving, a metal shop student.
Bend-La Pine’s seven high schools offer 33 Career Technical Education course. Some CTE pathways lead directly to college while others help students discover high-demand, high-wage career options.
“I’ve got a couple of students that are already signed up for some welding colleges. They can go into trade school right out of high school,” said Matt Zimmerman, Metals & Welding Instructor.
“We are having a CTE Fly Up Day for all our 8th grade students before they forecast for high school on March 2nd,” said Stephen DuVal, Bend La Pine School Director of College and Career Readiness. “Students will come into these spaces and learn about these programs from the teachers. See the tools. Participate in some hands on learning before they forecast. They will be aware of what options they have in high school before they show up in the fall.”
The public can help celebrate Career Technical Education Month by following features on different CTE classes posted on Bend La Pine School’s social media channels.