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March 23, 2023 -- Jayla Gabriel isn’t certain what she wants her future career to look like, but she’s enjoying exploring her options. The Hilltonia Middle School 8th grader is enrolled in multiple career-technical education (CTE) classes, and she is learning everything from construction measurements to interior design.
Jayla Gabriel said she is exploring different career pathways and learning the skills each course offers.
“I signed up for a lot of CTE classes; I like trying everything out,” she explained. “I like taking the classes because it’s something new.”
Jayla Gabriel is building a foundation she can expand on in high school by taking these classes in middle school. High school courses focus on technical skills and the ability to gain experience while enrolled in school. Her brother, Jonathan Gabriel Jr., is enrolled in the CTE program at Briggs High School, where he is learning to build structures like birdhouses.
Their mother, Monica Gabriel, works in the construction field. She said seeing her children gain vocational skills while still in school is exciting.
“The CTE program is very beneficial. It gives the kids a chance to have a skill set without having to go to college,” she said.
Through Columbus City Schools’ Career-Technical Education program, students can gain industry credentials and certifications while still in high school. The curriculum gives them a framework for their future careers and prepares them to enter the workforce directly after graduation.
Office of Career and Technical Education Curriculum Coordinator Christopher Daniel said CTE classes offer students a pathway from high school graduation to a career without a college degree.
“Career-Technical Education is a fantastic opportunity for our students,” Daniel said. “By providing students with hands-on career tech experiences as early as middle school, we’re giving them pathways to explore their interests and possibly discover their future careers.”
CCS provides flexibility, choice, and relevant course offerings for improved student learning experiences as part of its Power of One Strategic Plan. By offering nearly 40 different Career-Technical Education programs across the District, CCS students can prepare for success after graduation in a field of their choosing.
“There is a high demand for skilled trades in the workforce right now, and our students can help meet that demand,” Daniel said. “We want to ensure they know their options before graduation and can plan accordingly.”
Through their classes, Jayla and Jonathan Gabriel Jr. can learn skills that will help them join the skilled trades workforce if they choose. Monica Gabriel said providing students the option to acquire marketable trade skills is crucial to overall student success.
“It gives them an idea that there are a variety of things they can do,” she said. “These kids are our future. They can have interests in all different aspects of life, and they can succeed in all different things from a young age.”