Northwest ISD leaders and Metroport Chamber of Commerce members invited representatives from area businesses to attend the first workforce development forum April 16. The intent of the forum was to showcase the district's career and technology education program and gain feedback from attendees on how to continue to prepare students to enter the workforce.

In a nutshell

According to district documents, Northwest ISD’s CTE program encompasses seven academies and 16 additional programs of study across the following 12 industries:
  • Agriculture, food and natural resources
  • Architecture and construction
  • Arts, audio/video technology and communications
  • Business, marketing and finance
  • Education and training
  • Health science
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Human services
  • Manufacturing
  • Information technology
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Transportation, distribution and logistics
Kelley Broughton, director of CTE, said that the program serves over 13,000 students in the district, which represents approximately 80% of secondary school students. Students from various academies were present at the forum, including Jacob Hart and Michaela Smith, both seniors who attend the Aviation and Aeronautics Academy at Eaton High School.

“My whole family is in aviation, and most of our family friends are pilots,” Hart said. “My dream is to become a pilot for Southwest Airlines.”

Smith said that she became interested in aviation—specifically drones–when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe representative who works with drones came out to talk to her eighth grade class.

Area employers were also on hand to see how they could partner with the district to help students gain more CTE experience. Sam Leopard with Fast Signs in the Alliance area not only provides signs for the CTE program, but his business has sponsored internships in the past, and he’s interested in having interns from the CTE program again.

“It’s great to see how fired up [the students] are about doing something with what they’re learning here,” Leopard said. “It’s not just a grade and then moving on.”

What you need to know

According to the district’s CTE website, current eighth grade students interested in enrolling in the CTE program need to complete an enrollment request. Students should speak to their campus counselor or college and career exploration/AVID teacher for additional information.

Broughton said that CTE classes are offered at all four Northwest ISD high schools. Should classes not be offered at a student’s home campus, Broughton said that the district does provide bus transportation both to and from the campus of the program for which the student is accepted.

Quote of note

“Our goal in Northwest ISD CTE is for our kids to develop a competitive advantage,” Broughton said. “We say they are going to live locally but compete globally. So when we say competitive advantage, we are talking about our kids being able to go out and compete with whoever those competitors might be.”