Eagle Update: CTE programs work to build local work force

Each school has a state requirement to develop and monitor a “World’s Best Work Force” plan, focused on meeting five goal areas. Many of the goal areas relate to career development. New Ulm High School has made it a priority to increase opportunities for students in the area of vocational and technical skills, as well with post-high school opportunities. Our school board is committed to meeting the needs of our students and our community. High School Career and Technical Educators (CTE) have met with several community groups, businesses and individuals to identify the skills and expectations students will need to be successful after high school.

CTE programs have been a significant part of the New Ulm High School Curriculum for a very long time. Our priority and focus recently is on the alignment of what we teach to what industry expects. An additional focus is to offer certification for our students when they complete a course of study, such as with Welding, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Contractor Licensing and QuickBooks. We feel these certifications will provide our students with a head start when applying for jobs in our area. As part of upgrading CTE programs, we are also committed to enhancing tools and equipment. With district allocated funds and support from our community through donations, we are in the process of purchasing necessary construction equipment, metal fabrication, and welding equipment.

We have found technology to be a common denominator that is used within most industries. With what we have learned from our industry and community partners, we are committed to bringing technology into the CTE classrooms through the use of Computer Numerical Control (CNC). Under CNC Machining, a computer program is customized for an object, and the machines are programmed with CNC machining language. This type of technology is used in nearly all manufacturing including metal, wood, and plastics. By using tools and equipment that correlates directly to industry, both locally and regionally, our students will have opportunities that many other students may not be afforded. We began our updates last year by purchasing a CNC Plasma Cutting machine for our metal fabrication and machining courses.

For students who desire to enhance the skills learned in high school, they may choose to continue their education at a CTE post-secondary school looking at career-specific educational opportunities such as Electricians, Carpenters, Welders, Fabricators, as well as work in the field of Mechatronics. For some students that may choose to take their knowledge and skills to a four-year post-secondary institution, they may focus their attention on Engineering, Architecture or Medical Science fields. For students who choose to forego post-secondary education, they can make an immediate impact on industry by entering the workforce. One thing is certain, whichever avenue the student chooses, we want to give them the greatest advantage for success, and we believe the direction our career and technical education programs are moving will provide lasting opportunities.