WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - There are 26 career paths students can embark on at the Wichita Falls ISD Career Education Center. Law enforcement, cooking and cosmetology are just a few.
“No longer can you just have a warm body, they need people that actually have the hands-on training,” said Michelle Wood, Director of Career and Technical Education.
Knowing what employers want and need is how they form their courses, courses that could change depending on the workforce.
“Education is an ebb and flow everything is movable, changeable,” said Wood. “This building was not designed to stay the way it is all the time, so as our business and industry needs change we will do the same thing.”
To keep up with the times they look at three areas when determining what courses are offered. Like what students are interested in and what the community is asking for.
“We look and see is there something on there that we can offer to kind of elevate what is needed in Texoma,” Wood said.
The third way is advisory committees for each program. They are made up of higher education professionals, local employers and those who work in that particular field.
“We do our homework and see is that something that is viable in our area, is that something a student can get a job in,” said Wood.
Because the goal is to grow the Wichita Falls workforce.
“The last thing you want to do is to put a kid through all this training and all this work, and then go hey go off to the Metroplex because we don’t have anything for you here,” Wood said.
What they are finding out is there is a need for skilled labor.
B.C. Gilbert, welding tech instructor, said welding is one of them.
“There’s more demand than there is supply,” said Gilbert. “The job I have is to prepare students, so they can enter the workforce right after school as an entry level welder but also, so they can further their education.”
When it comes to eliminating courses because of low enrollment Wood said that number alone will not be the deciding factor. Other decisions they weigh before making a final cut include possible changes to the curriculum and teacher performance.