CTE is not just another education acronym. It refers to “Career and Technical Education,” an area of study that is gaining more notice among students, teachers, educators and business leaders. But what is it and what does it look like in Thompson School District? Simply put, CTE classes are designed to prepare students for work.

Those of us of a certain age are familiar with the vocational education programs that taught the trades, such as plumbing, welding and auto mechanics. These days, many students want a career pathway in high school but they also enroll in certificate programs or two or four-year degree programs after high school.

Thompson School District offers six CTE pathways to guide students to the courses most relevant to their future careers. Some of the courses in each pathway even provide college credit at no cost to the student. The pathways are:

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Business & Public Administration
  • Health Sciences & Public Safety
  • Hospitality, Human Services and Education
  • Skilled Trades
  • STEM, Arts, Design and Information Technology

More information can be found on our website: https://www.thompsonschools.org/Page/16494

In addition to our current offerings, an exciting new apprenticeship opportunity will be available to TSD high school students next school year through a partnership with CareerWise Colorado and local companies. Students can enter into a three-year learning experience that combines classroom study, hands-on training and paid meaningful work for a company in their area of interest. Students are able to earn while they learn and come out prepared for careers in high-demand industries that pay average salaries around $50,000.

The CareerWise modern youth apprenticeship program is modeled after long-standing successful programs like that in Switzerland, where nearly three-quarters of high school students participate in apprenticeships, regardless if they pursue higher education. Whether a student enters the workforce immediately after high school or decides to continue their formal schooling, an apprenticeship experience will help them further their career goals.

I am thrilled that we are able to bring CareerWise Colorado to Thompson School District students and I am thankful to our dedicated CTE staff for pursuing this partnership. TSD is one of a handful of school districts across Colorado offering this modern youth apprenticeship opportunity to students. To learn more about CareerWise, please visit https://www.careerwisecolorado.org/

Lori Hvizda Ward
Thompson School District Board of Education

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