TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Career Technical Education (CTE) programs give students hands on access, learning, and training in fields they’re interested in. Now, southern Arizona kids have two more options when it comes to what CTE programs they can pursue thanks to Tucson Unified.
TUSD is breaking ground Friday at Santa Rita High School on a new facility that will house the districts new dental and diesel CTE programs. The district says they chose dental and diesel to be the two new programs for two reasons: first- there is only one other dental program (in the Marana School District) and one other diesel program (in the Amphi School District) available to students in the Southern Arizona area and second- because some both fields have a plethora of vacant jobs they need filled so the students can have essentially guaranteed jobs.
"It’s a win win. I mean this is what we need for our youth to be able to go out and find a career,” Chuck McCollum, the CTE coordinator for TUSD, says of the new programs.
Once built McCollum says the new facility will have, in part, a dental clinic where students will get training in a real life dental setting. McCollum also adds that presently there are two organizations that the district is in talks with to have them run the clinic. Bringing in those organizations will allow the students experienced teachers and will also allow for low cost dental care for the Santa Rita High School area, McCollum tells KOLD News 13.
Students who go through either the dental CTE program or the diesel CTE program do not have to be TUSD students. McCollum explains that any student interested in these fields can take part in the program.
All students who do the dental or diesel program will walk away with the proper certifications they’ll need for that field, preparing them for work and success; something that McCollum says is central to the goal of CTE programs.
“It’s all about low cost career opportunities for kids,” he explains. "Now I’m not gonna say they’re not maybe gonna have to go to Pima if they wanna be a Dental Hygenist but right now they can go to work as a Dental Assistant and attend. And so student loan debt is down, parental help is down.”
The groundbreaking on the new facility at Santa Rita High School start Friday at 9:30 A.M.