In response, the Patterson Joint Unified School District is attempting to provide local high school students a pathway to postsecondary education and careers for technical training. As of a June 3, the board of trustees has authorized Superintendent Phil Alfano to move forward to submit plans and request state funds for a Career Technical Education (CTE) building on Patterson High School’s campus.
CTE offers cost-effective pathways to both college and advanced technical careers, according to Assistant Superintendent Veronica Miranda. She, as well as other board members, such as trustee Bruce Kelly, have visited four vocational technical schools in Pennsylvania during the month of May to better understand the benefits of the program.
“We went there with a purpose,” said Kelly. “We left with a lot of knowledge, and we’ve found out what kind of methods we’d like to have in our program. Now we have something to work with.”
Four of the schools, including the Franklin County Career and Technology Center for students and adults, provide certification services and 20 to 50 different concentration programs. The schools also prepare college bound pupils for vocational opportunities and academic success through an integrated curriculum.
“These not just vocational projects,” said Alfano. “Vocational and academic skills will be emphasized. The proof is in the pudding where some of these kids go when they graduate. Some programs are a mix of 4-year universities, workforce and trade schools. One manager at a warehouse we visited is a Harvard graduate in Mathematics.”
Many other students went on to work for major industries, including Grainger, Microsoft and Hershey’s.
“The program will not only boost the level of student achievement, it will also support economic development for the Patterson community,” said Miranda. “CTE is an integral part of public education and plays an important role in economic and workforce development.”
Although the plans for the current CTE building will be designed for students, the PJUSD is looking to build technical facilities for adults in the future, if granted funding and land.
Although state funds are available, the District must come up with matching funds to cover half the cost of the CTE building. As of now, the District plans to utilize $2 million from an Ag/Auto project to receive an additional $2 million from the state.
The CTE building will be located on Ninth Street, between the Ag/Auto department and the Patterson High School soccer field. Project manager Zane Schreder states that the building will be roughly 60 feet long depending on the renditions of the canopy.
“This location is perfect. It is conveniently near the Ag/Auto department, but we are going to maintain the same area for the departments without impacting them. This building will enhance your campus,” said Schreder to the board.
PHS Principal Dave Stubbs stated that the Ag department would not be affected by additional building, as the Ag department is currently receiving upgrades, including the school farm, which will allocate space for floral boxes and storage units, allowing the CTE building space without blocking the adjacent fire lane.
“CTE prepares students for immediate employment, postsecondary articulation, lifelong learning and responsible citizenship,” said Miranda. “I’d say it’s a great investment.”
• Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org