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CTE Helping Students Pursue Careers In Demand

February 7, 2012, 5:03 PM by Nicole Winters

CTE Helping Students Pursue Careers In Demand
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Like the rest of the country, South Dakota expects to see a shortage of highly-skilled workers in the future.

Many of the jobs are in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. While it's usually the colleges and universities looked at to help fill these shortages, one high school in Sioux Falls may be able to help give future employees a jump start.

Going into her senior year of high school, Jaime Haas wasn't sure what career path she wanted to take, but now in her second semester that's no longer the case.

"I wasn't quite sure exactly where or what to do, but the nursing part of it- it's focused on, it helped me think maybe I can go into a nursing home or hospital," Haas said.

The Lincoln high school student decided on nursing after taking a Health Care class at CTE. The school offers 13 programs, which include health care and engineering.

"We just have a broad spectrum of classes where students can actually do some career exploration at the high school level," Principal Jim Kayl said.

Kayl says the school was created to give students hands on experience. Many of the programs are highly specialized and focus on careers in need of skilled workers. Kayl says that may help lead students to those jobs.

"I know a big push right now is the STEM careers; the science, technology, engineering and math. We've offered the Project Lead the Way Engineering Projects and we also added the Biomed or Biomedical Sciences Program for students. Both of those we've had an outstanding response from students and the business community," Kayl said.

The key to filling these highly specialized career fields like Health Care or Engineering may be to start kids young; that's what CTE is hoping to do.

"I don't know that it's ever too early to start. Obviously, a student will change their mind as they progress through, but it gets them thinking about career goals and what they want to do after high school," Kayl said.

Haas had her interest sparked by a single class. Now, she's ready to get her feet wet in her future career, one that happens to also be in need.

"It’s helped me determine my idea and plan, what I want to become," Haas said.

CTE is in its second year. It serves high school students in the Sioux Falls and surrounding districts.

Many of the classes work closely with businesses. Students in the health care class will start 12-week internships with area hospitals and nursing homes next week.

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