HEMET – Hemet Unified School District was awarded more than half a million dollars from K12 Strong Workforce to expand its Career Explorations classes for middle school students. The program is currently at Rancho Viejo Middle School and Dartmouth Middle School, and beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, it will be at Diamond Valley Middle School and Acacia Middle School.
Over the last few years, HUSD has been working diligently to provide an increase in the number of offerings for its career-focused classes. At the high school level, we offer Career Technical Education pathways. CTE pathways allow students to take a class that provides in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in a particular career field. At the beginning of a CTE pathway, students learn about the field and its many intricacies. Next, students are able to utilize what they have learned and work on hands-on activities to further their comprehension. Finally, students are partnered with a local business that is in this field and they intern gaining real-world experience in the industry.
This school year, HUSD expanded its career focus by adding Career Exploration labs to Rancho Viejo and Dartmouth. Career Explorations allow students to spend three-week modules weeks learning about various career fields and completing hands-on projects based on their learnings of each field. At the end of each module, students are able to research the type of schooling needed for that career and they can begin to plan for life after high school.
“It’s better than other classes because you can find out what you want to do, and if you actually like what you are working on, you can see what colleges there are for you to go to,” Jasmin Cadena, Career Explorations student, said.
The Secondary Education Department and College and Career Department identified that the expansion of CTE into the middle schools would be highly beneficial to students. By expanding to middle school, students are now thinking about their future and different career paths they would like to pursue. They are able to enter into high school with a better idea of what classes they should add to their schedule.
A lot of thought and work went into expanding CTE in Hemet Unified, the district said. Staff wanted to make sure they were adding pathways that met the needs of local workforce demands and provide living wages. In addition, they wanted to make sure that pathways were aligned from middle school through the community college level. It means that students will be able to attend one of the local community colleges and pursue a certificate in the career field they are interested in and be a worthy candidate for businesses looking to hire.
Hemet Unified is working to ensure students are prepared for life after their K-12 education, whether a student is focused on furthering their education or entering immediately into the workforce.
Submitted by Hemet Unified School District.