AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - River Road High School's vocational programs include cosmetology, welding, and certified nurse assistant training with hands-on opportunities available as early as sophomore year.
“We do in all three career and technical fields, we partner with other businesses in the community so that we tell them 'Hey, these kids are certified, here’s where you go apply, here’s everything that you need.” And most of them are employable right after high school," said professional school counselor at River Road High School Amy Francis.
She said while most schools encourage attending college, it’s not the only option.
And some students can even use what they learn to help them pursue their college goals.
“Especially the girls in cosmetology a lot of them say, ‘I’m going to use thisk to help pay for my college’,” said Francis. “The people in the CNA program, most of them are looking at fields in the medical field, or careers in the medical field and so they feel like the CNA will give them a leg up.”
Canyon ISD is also on track to developing a Career and Technology academy.
“An expanded culinary arts center beyond what we have today,” said Canyon ISD superintendent Darryl Flusche. “To introduce cosmetology to Canyon ISD, to our students at Randall High, Canyon High and Midway. We’ll be bringing in our health sciences academy within that facility as well as our construction technology academy.”
He said schools that teach trade skills not only benefit students, but the local workforce.
“What are the needs in the area economy, Canyon and Amarillo and the vicinity?,” said Flusche.
“We have a college and career fair scheduled for April and just making those phone calls to the businesses in our area, especially plumbing, they’ve seen such a decrease in applicants in the plumbing field that they’re really wanting to see kids start looking at those technical careers,” said Francis.
Amarillo ISD will be hosting several open meetings later this month and next month to discuss a Career Academy concept.
Francis believes it’s only the beginning of a trend that will start fulfilling career needs in our area.
“We’ve discussed adding a future teacher program here, we’ve discussed adding an electrician program here,” she said. “And so I think that you’re going to see that shift because that’s what our community needs. That’s what they’re looking for.”