Northwest Austin career and technology programs put emphasis on ‘middle skills job’ preparation

Organizations such as Future Farmers of America have been around for decades, but more students are graduating from high school with certifications. Here are seven offered in AISD.

Organizations such as Future Farmers of America have been around for decades, but more students are graduating from high school with certifications. Here are seven offered in AISD.

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7 certification programs in Austin ISD
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Lanier High School
Austin ISD is seeing an increase in student interest in “middle skills job” certification from both workforce- and college-bound students, said Tammy Caesar, AISD’s director of career and technology education, or CTE.

Caesar defines middle skills jobs as attainable jobs that require certification but do not require a college education, such as automotive technicians or certified nurse assistants.

“I personally think a lot of it is baby boomers are retiring, so employers don’t have anyone to fall into those categories,” she said. “This is a quick way to put people in jobs without having to go to school for four years.”

Caesar said at least 10 AISD students have been hired in the past three years as auto technicians before graduation, and those jobs include health insurance and a retirement plan.

“It helps these kids get out of poverty,” she said.

One of the more popular CTE programs in AISD is the health science tech program, in which students complete rotations at Seton Healthcare and St. David’s Healthcare hospitals and become certified nurse assistants.

Caesar said CTE programs are not just popular among students looking to enter the workforce after high school. AISD also sees college-bound students interested in CTE because the different certifications build their resumes.

“Certifications give them a leg up,” she said.


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