During February and March, high school students across Ascension Parish are choosing classes for the 2021-22 school year. In addition to traditional college preparatory courses, Ascension public schools offer over 100 career and technical education courses that provide college-bound, career-focused students real-world learning for real-world success.
Designed to turn student interests and natural abilities into career-ready skills, these programs provide specialized training in fields such as computer science, culinary arts, medical services, architecture and construction, multimedia production, manufacturing services and business management, according to a news release.
On Feb. 11, Acadian Ambulance was on Dutchtown High School's campus recruiting its emergency management technician students with offers of signing bonuses.
"Acadian Ambulance is more than an employer of our graduates. They invest in our program to ensure students are learning the latest industry standards so they are ready to work on day 1," said Ronnie Harper, Dutchtown High School EMR and EMT instructor and athletic trainer.
Dutchtown High senior Alexi Odland could not hide her excitement about possibly joining the Acadian Ambulance team. "I am in the EMT program and the Acadian Explorer Group because I'm looking to become a paramedic. I did Allied Health, but this is more hands-on, and you learn so much about the body," said Odland. "The fact that you're learning how to help others really teaches you about humility. Plus, you get to meet people from other schools and make lifetime friends."
St. Amant High senior Jacob Stewart always knew he wanted to be a paramedic. "I just love helping people. My mom's a nurse and my dad's a paramedic, so it's in my blood," said Stewart. "I think being in the Jump Start Diploma pathway is helpful because I can take focused classes, as this is all I want to do."
East Ascension High senior Blake Stone pursued the EMT program for different reasons. "I took this course because I really was looking forward to joining the medical field (after college). This is a great opportunity to get a head start on what you're planning on doing after high school. You get to meet new people and learn a lot of things that you don't get in a regular classroom setting," Stone said.
Career training programs are offered at all four high schools, the APPLe Digital Academy and Career Center in Sorrento and the Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. Students enrolled in any Ascension high school have the opportunity to take specialized courses offered at other high schools and centers. The following are programs offered by location:
- Donaldsonville High School: Allied Health and Culinary Arts offering credentials in Certified Patient Care, Certified Medical Assistant, ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certificate, and National Restaurant Association ProStart Certificate of Achievement
- Dutchtown High School: Culinary Arts and Allied Health offering credentials in ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certificate, National Restaurant Association ProStart Certificate of Achievement, and Emergency Medical Technician
- St. Amant High: Allied Health offering credentials in Certified Patient Care and Certified Medical Assistant
- APPLe Digital Academy & Career Center: HVAC, Drones, and Criminal Justice offering credentials in HVAC Excellence Certification, FAA Part 107 — Remote Pilot Certification, and 911 Dispatcher Certification
- ABC Pelican (industry partner): Construction Craft Programs offering credentials in NCCER Pipefitting Levels I & II, NCCER Electrical Levels I & II, NCCER Millwright Levels I & II, AWS Welding Levels I & II, NCCER Scaffolding, and NCCER Rigging
In addition to the programs listed, Ascension offers the following credentialing opportunities: ACT NCR WorkKeys Silver, ADDA Certified Apprentice Drafter, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Visual Design, Autodesk Inventor, Carpenters International Training, Fashion Design, FEMA, First Aid/CPR/AED, Louisiana MicroEnterprise, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, NCCER Core, Food Handler, Emergency Medical Responder and OSHA 10.
Beyond certification courses, Ascension offers hands-on experiences for students through work-based learning programs that include Cooperative Marketing Education, Cooperative Office Education, and General Cooperative Education, Career and Technical Education Internship in Allied Health, and CTE Internship in Information Technology.
Students interested in enrolling in Career and Technical Education programs and internships can reach out to their high school career coach. Contact information and more information about these programs can be found at www.apsb.org/CareerTech.