The State Superintendent of Schools and other elected officials toured some of the Merced Union High School District’s Career Technical Education Programs at Atwater High School on Monday.
During the tour, Superintendent Tony Thurmond spoke with teachers and students in several CTE classes at the high school such as Floral Design, Welding, Woodworking, Medical Technologies and Robotics.
According to the school district, there are more than 30 different Career Technical Education pathways offered throughout the district. The district said that beginning with the class of 2020, all MUHSD students will be required to complete at least two CTE courses to graduate.
According to district Superintendent Alan Peterson, the programs are important for college bound students so they understand and get exposure to industry before they go to college.
During the tour, senior welding students Colby Flatt, and Daisy Flores, spoke to educators and elected officials about their experience in the program.
According to Flatt, who came from a farming background, he was drawn to welding because he wants to have a future career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC.
Flores, who said she did not grow up on a ranch or a farm, said she came into the program with a blank slate.
Flores said the classes have even helped her with problem solving and becoming more creative. Even though she doesn’t plan on being a welder, Flores said she plans to go into mechanical engineering when she graduates.
According to Thurmond, the state is providing more funding for the programs which he claims have been underfunded in the state for years. Thurmond said that he is fully committed to supporting the programs.
“These programs help us ensure that our kids are ready for college and career, whatever it is that they plan to do,” he said.