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CTE committee works to fulfill labor market needs, increase student success

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Hagadone News Network | February 18, 2021 1:00 AM

Boundary County School District 101 is working with a community Career Technical Education committee to broaden course offerings and career training opportunities, Superintendent Jan Bayer said.

“Our long-term goal is to develop a thriving CTE program to meet our students’ needs and the support local industrial market,” Bayer said.

The first meeting, held Nov. 2, featured presentations from Dennis Weed, economic development; Sam Wolkenhauer, Idaho Department of Labor; Andrea Fuentes, BCSD curriculum director; and Bayer. The night included an overview of labor market trends, manufacturers’ labor/skill needs, current programs at Bonners Ferry High School, and a brainstorming session of what happens next. Twenty-six individuals from business, education, and post-secondary attended the meeting.

The committee identified the following soft skills that district students need — and included punctuality, trainability, personal responsibility, common sense, and pride in productivity. Hard skills identified by the committee included computer skills, technical reading/writing ability, technical mechanics, trouble-shooting, and math skills in the areas of measurement, algebra, and geometry depending on the trade.

“Based on input from the committee, the school district is working to adjust course offerings, graduation requirements, and integration of the soft/hard skills across the curriculum,” Bayer said.

A second meeting was held Jan. 25 with just over two dozen individuals present for the virtual event. Presentations were given by Christina Feliciano, Idaho Business for Education; and Michelle Stout, Idaho Department of Labor. These pair discussed opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, and workforce training. Bayer said the district’s goal is to offer BFHS students real world work experiences, so they are prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.

“Boundary County School District is excited to announce progress in better meeting the needs of our students,” Bayer said.

Toward that end, the school board approved work force training credits and the district is expanding its technical writing and math courses at the high school. In addition, it has an agreement with Idaho Forest Group for an apprenticeship program and is working with Boundary Community Hospital to again offer a CNA program.

“We are continuously working with local area businesses to expand our apprenticeship, internship, and work force training opportunities,” said Bayer.

The school district recently received approval from the Idaho State Board of Education to adjust its graduation requirements for students wanting to pursue a high school diploma focused on CTE pathways.

“We are so excited for our students and our community as we move forward,” Bayer said.

The next CTE committee meeting will be held April 19. All wishing to attend the meeting or help explore opportunities to help better prepare students for the workforce, should contact to Jan Bayer at jan.bayer@mail.bcsd101.com or by phone at 208-267-3146.