Area high school career programs grow as student interest rises

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - Area high schools are increasing say they are increasing their efforts to train students to fill the workforce before they even graduate.

School districts like Copperas Cove, Midway, Marlin and Academy ISDs say they are seeing a growth in their programs.

The Academy ISD’s culinary program, which allows students to get a food handlers license, is doubling next year with more than 100 students showing interest in participating.

“There’s been a lot of interest for the kids who don’t find interest in the medical field and things like that,” said Amber Coppin, the culinary arts teacher at Academy High School.

“And it’s good because there’s a worker shortage in the restaurant industry so there graduating into a workforce that’s waiting for them.”

Other districts like Copperas Cove and Midway are expanding their programs to meet the needs of the workforce and of their students.

Midway is constructing a building to house its various career tech programs.

Copperas Cove ISD has 11 industry certification opportunities for students, but plans to increase the number to 30 for the next school year.

Most of the career and technical education courses are free and Copperas Cove pays for students’ certification exams.

Teachers and administrators at various school districts say these certification programs are valuable in providing a career path for students who may choose not to attend college and helpful for those who do, as well.

Almost 63% of 2020 high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in a college or university in October 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, down from 66.2% in 2019.

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