Ribbon cutting at Career & Technical Education Center in Idaho Falls on Monday. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — A remodeled building designed to offer technical classes for students all in one location is now officially open in downtown Idaho Falls.
Idaho Falls School District 91 held a ribbon cutting on Monday for the new Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC) located in the old Deseret Industries building at 450 E Street. After the ribbon cutting, administrators and teachers gave tours of the building.
“It’s been amazing. The kids are super excited. They love hands-on learning. It’s really great to see them excited and be engaged,” said Beverly Hott, principal at Career & Technical Education Center.
The students come from District 91, along with Ririe, Firth and Shelley school districts.
The stand-alone building opened at the beginning of September. Before, there was not an actual building that had all of the classes under one roof.
RELATED: District 91 announces Career Technical Education Center for students
“We were housed in whatever building could house us. We were in back of buildings for so long and Dr. Shank (the D91 superintendent) came in and said, ‘We need a facility,’” Hott said. “So we tripled our programs and tripled our enrollment.”
Hott explained about 320 students are currently attending and there are morning and afternoon sessions for juniors and seniors.
Classes offered include construction, welding, industrial mechanics, agriculture plant and soil, culinary, law enforcement, firefighting, CNA, EMT, and pharmacy tech, among others.
“They come out of here with certifications. Most of them get apprenticeships and/or internships by the time they graduate so they are ready to actually step into the world of work when they leave this facility,” explained Hott.
One student has already been able to receive an apprenticeship just by attending CTEC.
Skyler Tolman, 17, is a student at Skyline High School and takes welding classes and an English class at CTEC. He moved from Nevada and said he has been able to have a lot of opportunities at the new building.
“Everyone else helps and makes sure you get on the right path,” Tolman said. “I want to be a welder. I want to pipeline weld and hopefully start my own business.”
Tolman will begin an apprenticeship with Intermech for the next two years after being recommended by CTEC. It’s made possible through the STRAP program which is a school-to-registered apprenticeship program created by the Idaho Department of Labor.
Skyler Tolman (left) and Melvin Cromwell | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
“It is something that links businesses to the high school education programs,” said Melvin Cromwell, vice president and general manager of Intermech in Idaho Falls. “In two years, he (Skyler) will have two years completed in the program and then he will have another two years if he decides to move on with the rest of the program. He can finish that and he will be a journeyman sheet metal worker at the end of that four-year program.”
Cromwell said CTEC is a great opportunity for students who have a desire to learn a trade. He hopes to find more students like Tolman in programs that are meant for everyone.
“I have students from 4.0 GPAs to 2.0 GPAs in this facility and they are all phenomenal. We are just glad that they get that opportunity to maybe find their niche in life and to pursue it,” Hott explained.
It gives students the opportunity to experience what they want to do ahead of time, rather than later.
“If they don’t like it, they can experience it in high school and change rather than waiting until three years into a college degree,” said Dr. Jim Shank, superintendent for D91.
Shank explained the building for the programs has been leased for the next five years.
“We put about $4 million into this. Not only with the remodel but also with the equipment. We also invested in additional staff. We have some more teachers here because we are offering more programs,” he said.
Part of the money came from federal ARPA funds and from the school district’s general fund.
There is a long-term goal to eventually move CTEC into the Idaho Falls High School building.
“Our long-term vision—and this has to do with the bond that will be on the election in November, is to build a new Idaho Falls High School and take the current Idaho Falls High School and turn it into a technical center so a CTE Center would then move into the old Idaho Falls High School,” Shank explained.
Currently, the automotive tech program continues to be at Idaho Falls High School.
CTEC is able to have up to 500 students a day meaning 250 can come in the morning and 250 can come in the afternoon.
“Just so excited. I hope that others can catch the vision we have to prepare kids for the future and what it is that our communities and businesses really need and this is a big piece of it,” Shank said.
Part of the welding class. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
CNA class | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
Part of the CNA class equipment | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
Law enforcement class | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
EMT class | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
Culinary students | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
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