When most people think of career and technical training, images of students learning how to weld, frame a house or wire buildings may come to mind.
But the training now available to high school students is more diverse than that as the state focuses on building a workforce that can quickly respond to emerging technology and creative industries.
This week, 450 high school and Louisiana Community and Technical College System instructors from around the state attended the Super Summer Institute — a five-day training that qualifies them to teach career and technical training courses to high school students. The teens who take the courses can earn industry-based certifications and credentials for careers after high school.
Training was provided for courses in Web technology, health services, manufacturing, welding, carpentry, electrical and drafting. Training sessions were held on South Louisiana Community College’s Lafayette campus and at Lafayette Parish School System sites.
The training was revived last year as part of the state’s Jump Start initiative — an effort to revamp the career diploma track to better prepare high school students and align career and technical training with regional workforce demands.
The training sessions conclude Friday when educators take an exam to become certified to teach and credential students in a technical field of study.
West Feliciana High art teacher Killian Williams-Morantine is becoming certified in the Adobe suite of programs, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
“My goal when I return is to get these kids on a career path and get them certified so they can walk out with a diploma and certification to be ready for careers,” Williams-Morantine said.
Before he earned a degree in visual arts and later certification to teach, Williams-Morantine was an engineer working in the oil and gas industry in Lafayette. He said the state’s Jump Start program benefits students because of its focus on preparing them for their future. Technology plays a major role in their preparation.
“Even the oil field has changed. It’s no longer blue-collar or white-collar jobs. It includes IT and specialized technicians,” Williams-Morantine said.
Kelly Lulich, a math teacher at JCFA, a charter school in Jefferson Parish, attended the training to become certified to teach an Internet business associate course.
“With the new Jump Start, this specific course is required across most of the career pathways,” Lulich said. “It’s a good course to start students on.”
The training involved educators renewing their certifications or attaining initial certification, said Lisa French, Louisiana Department of Education’s executive director of career and technical education.
“The big picture of this week is that this training initiative ensures we’re creating a sustainable workforce and creating a workforce for companies of today and tomorrow,” French said.
The state has approved 47 career paths for students to follow. Some of the career paths are offered statewide, while others are specific to a region to meet that area’s workforce needs, she said.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.