Construction, along with the health and personal care industries, will account for one-third of all new jobs in the U.S. through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these jobs pay above Utah’s median wage, and through the Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC), it’s possible for students to graduate from high school with the certifications and professional licenses needed to land one.
Such was the prevailing message behind CTEC’s “Connect to the Tech” event on June 18, a free open house showcase of all the Career and Technical Education programs that CTEC has to offer. Middle-school-aged students toured the center on Monday (825 E. 9085 South in Sandy), and were invited to participate in some hands-on learning exercises, from discharging pepper spray at an assailant (criminal justice) to back-boarding someone suspected to have suffered a neck or back injury (emergency responders).
“The cool thing about CTEC is you’re going to earn high school credit and college credit in most of these classes, and for a fraction of the cost of college tuition,” CTE coordinator Benjamin Poulsen told the participants. “One of the things we say is, ‘come start college with us.’”
Once seen as an alternative to a college education, training in the skilled trades is now viewed as a good way to get a jump on college, and a career.
“Last year, most of my students were aspiring electricians, and I had electrical companies offering to pay for their college education,” says CTEC carpentry teacher Tim Kidder, who explained training takes at least two years of college and two years of experience as a journeymen electrician. “They’ll pay for your education and find you work starting at $22 an hour.”
From there, students can decide to continue with their education and seek a degree in electrical engineering, or launch their careers. Either way, they’re able to land high-paying jobs in interesting fields without accruing lots of college debt. “What an opportunity these kids have, and it’s the same with diesel mechanics, in welding, and in carpentry,” Kidder says.
CTEC also offers technology-focused programs, including training in the biomedical field, software development, and 3D computer animation. CTEC courses are scheduled throughout the regular school day, and CSD provides students with transportation between their home high schools and the tech center.
It’s not too late to register for CTEC courses for the 2018-2019 school year, The optimal time to begin thinking about how to fit CTEC classes into school schedules, however, is in the seventh or eighth grades before students register for high school, Poulsen says.
A full list of programs, and their accompanying certifications and college credit, can be found online or by calling 801-826-6600. But here’s a snapshot:
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Digital Media/3D Animation
Emergency Medical Technician
Heavy Duty Mechanics/Diesel