COVID-19 impacting career, technical high school students

COVID-19 impacting career, technical high school students

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Career and technical classes are offered through most high schools to students when college is not the best option.

Students graduate high school with a certificate or license to begin working after graduation.

However, for some, like seniors taking cosmetology at River Road, that process has been delayed this year due to the coronavirus.

“For my seniors, they’re finishing up their hours and their written exam has been put on hold, because we were ready to take our written exam, but it’s been put on hold. As soon as TDLR opens that testing back up, we’ll schedule their testing, and I will go with them to do that. Soon as we finish that, I will open up the lab as soon as we are allowed to. We’ll do a little bit of practicing for our practical, and then we’ll go test,” said Christina Putnam, cosmetology teacher at River Road High School.

While these seniors are uncertain about if they will have a future job, the Workforce Solutions Panhandle is optimistic that the economy will even out once the pandemic is over, and jobs for those students graduating from career and technical programs will be available.

“We have a positive outlook on trade jobs. We’ve been in contact with all the apprenticeship programs throughout the program, and all of them have expressed they still have a need for skilled workers,” said Phillip Flores, business services representative for Workforce Solutions Panhandle.

As for now, schools are using online mediums to get students the education they need to become certified on time.

For career and technical classes that resemble essential needs, such as welding, heating and air and carpentry, local businesses say they are still hiring and in need of employees.

“In the Amarillo area we haven’t seen really any reduction in work. In fact, several of our contractor’s that we partner with are looking at their biggest year yet,” said John Roberts, business representative at Central South Carpenters Regional Council.

Workforce Solutions Panhandle says they have created a website listing all job openings in the Panhandle which can be found here.

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