New pathways ahead for CTE students

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West Central Indiana Career and Technical Education students will soon have additional options available with new guidelines released by the Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.

CTE students currently enroll in a program during their junior and/or senior year of high school with a strong focus in a specific industry to acquire skills and knowledge.

Under revamped graduation pathways, students will continue to pursue career readiness but will now have a broader reach into multiple career paths while still gaining hands-on experience, free dual credits and certifications prior to graduation.

“Next Level Programs of Study will allow our students to get more out of their time in our programs, not only in the classroom, but in the workforce to prepare them for their post-secondary plans,” CTE director Sara Nicodemus said.

The change offers the flexibility for students to hone-in with a strong focus in a specific field, or explore multiple career areas during their last two years of high school. 

“For example, a student will now be eligible to become CNA certified as a junior and then opt-in for either a senior capstone that involves on-the-job skill development, or explore other options to diversify their skill set,” Nicodemus added.

The flexibility of the new guidelines not only opens more doors for students, but also allows businesses to welcome more students and vie to keep young, local talent to develop as future leaders. 

“We understand the power of CTE and its impact not only for the students but for our community. It’s a great feeling knowing our students are graduating earning diplomas combined with a strong set of industry-ready skills and knowledge to support the local businesses and earn competitive wages,” said Rob Ramey, superintendent of Western Boone Community Schools.

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New CTE Program Links Students to Welding Industry

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Local high school students can now enroll in a newly implemented Welding Technology program at North Montgomery High School. West Central Indiana Career and Technical Education (CTE) launched the program in partnership with Vincennes University for the students enrolled at their co-operative schools – Crawfordsville, North Montgomery, Southmont, and Western Boone.

After years of planning, West Central Indiana CTE Director Sara Nicodemus is thrilled to see the program take off in its inaugural school year with a new classroom and instructor. “Everything about designing this program has been strategic. We wanted to offer a top-notch program that students would be excited to sign up for and learn from an industry professional.” Course instructor Jeff Harp brings over 15 years of industry experience in fabrication shops, production and structural welding to the program of 25 students.

“My goal is to introduce students to the welding trade, and provide the skills necessary for those students who want to enter straight into the workforce, and also highlight the opportunities in continued education,” Harp mentioned when talking about objectives for his students.

Classes meet daily for two hours throughout the school year, where students are exposed to multiple welding processes, learning about different metals, and how to follow proper safety protocols. The newly renovated classroom space offers 21 welding booths, cutting-edge equipment, and will feature curriculum based on industry standards. Students receive high school credits towards graduation as well as free dual-credits through Vincennes University to put towards post-secondary education.  

North Montgomery Principal Michael Cox couldn’t be more excited about the addition, “We’re thrilled to have this program here at North Montgomery. It is an exceptional opportunity for the students of our community. With Mr. Harp being a North graduate in 2005, it gives the students insight to the welding world and an immediate mentor at school and for their future careers.”

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