LULING, Texas (KXAN) — It’s becoming common for students to graduate from high school with more than just a diploma, many are walking the stage with certificates in hand that will lead them right into the workforce.
School districts across the state have been embracing Career and Technology Education (CTE) courses, offering classes like engineering, culinary arts, and cosmetology. All of the classes allow students the chance to graduate with certificates. Most large school districts have been offering these courses for years, but now smaller school districts are signing on as well.
“We are up to about 17 programs of studies, technical programs of studies,” said Luling ISD CTE Director David Smith.
Smith says it’s been a work in progress for the last four years, but last year and this year is when the district really started to see interest. He says 75 percent of all students in high school are taking at least one CTE course.
“Our students deserve the same opportunity that any 5A, 6A school has because of their size and because of the staff that they can put in place,” said Smith. “Students are beginning to catch onto the idea that there is purpose for why they come here every day.”
Part of the purpose is to earn good money and a stable job after earning their diploma.
“Those are high wage, high demand jobs that we don’t just need to send the message that, ‘oh you have to go to college or you won’t go anywhere,'” said Smith.
This school year, the district added cosmetology. Just a few weeks after school started TEA released news that funding for cosmetology courses may be cut. In a press release, the TEA says it’s in the process of revising CTE programs, “to reflect high wage, high demand occupations in Texas.”
“What TEA’s purpose is in reviewing it is to just make sure that we’re not just putting something out there for students that’s a dead end, because we wouldn’t want that,” said Smith.
The TEA says it’s in the review process. Luling ISD is keeping its fingers crossed, and set to continue introducing more courses. According to the TEA website, if it decides to cut the money for cosmetology programs, the decision will be made early next year.
KXAN’s Lauren Lanmon talks more with Luling ISD and their plans to continue growing its CTE courses tonight on KXAN News at 6.