Building a Career Pathway Starting in High School

Wednesday 12:50 PT / 1:50 MT / 2:50 CT / 3:50 ET Online


Chelsea Campbell, Red Rocks Community College
Industry guidance and input is vital for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. The water industry needs fresh, energetic talent to fill the retirement gaps. A Water Quality Management (WQM) concurrent enrollment program strengthens the talent pipeline and creates a career pathway for students. At the end of their senior year, students receive an academic certificate, are prepared to sit for a state licensing exam and can enter a stable, growing career. Curriculum changes, collaborations with school districts, community college administration, and staff from both organizations, and assessment were all a part of creating a successful pathway.
Teaching in high school is very different than teaching in college. The average age of students in the college program is 32 years old and most are going through a career change. Therefore, it was important to discuss the WQM curriculum approaches to make sure the college-level outcomes were being met. It was important for both entities that the high school students had the same opportunities as the college students. Therefore, equipment costs and feasibility were brought into the conversation. Enrollment and how to recruit students was the next large piece to the puzzle.
After 3 years, the program has grown from 15 to over 80 students. The WQM concurrent enrollment program creates a clear pathway for students to transfer to a 2- or 4-year program with college credits already completed or enter the workforce. Come learn from my mistakes, successes and experiences to expand the career pathway for interested students in your area.

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