Winona High School Shows the Importance of Keeping Career Tech. on Campus

WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) – Many of the skills needed for jobs at industries in our area were once taught in most high schools.

We’re talking about shop class where students were trained in woodworking and autoshop.

At Winona High School, their career and technical training is still a part of the campus.

That accessibility to classes makes more students able to take the courses, and in turn they may find the career path they want to take in the future.

You don’t see a lot of that in today’s high school classes, at least not on the same campus.

That’s not the case at Winona High School.

“In a small town, the few industries we do have, they call all the time looking for skilled laborers, and as a career and technical center, you know, we’re trying to meet that need,” said Director of Winona’s Career Technical Center, Lance Vanhorn.

Winona’s career technical center offers 7 courses, the latest being teacher academy, which they added just this year.

“A lot of times we have students, many students, that are hands on learners, so they can learn a skill or that kind of thing and be able to hopefully do that as a career,” said Teacher Academy Instructor, Holly Bridges.

Classes can offer students a glimpse into a field, but more-so they can offer nationally recognized credentials to high school graduates, putting them in the field after graduation.

“They can leave my shop, go into industry, and pick a job making $13-$15 and hour,” said Welding Instructor, Greg Wenger. “People are begging for machinists; they’re begging for welders. The schools are just not providing enough technology and people because students are afraid to come in here and take these courses.”

Many votech schools aren’t on school campuses anymore, and distance, among other reasons, can make students a little less willing to attend those classes.

“There’s a stereotype that goes along with career and technical education that the money is not there,” said Vanhorn. “Well, that’s changed.”

“I show them that they can make $150,000-$160,000 a year welding, $75,000 a year operating machinery,” said Wenger.

By showing students these opportunities and career paths, there won’t be much trouble in finding a job close to home with a decent income.

“In a small community like Winona, we need to develop our own,” Bridges said. “And so, we need our students to know that there are things available to them, and they can go down the road, get their degree and come back.”

Winona has the numbers to back up their success in career tech.

Of the student population, half attend these courses, and a solid percent of them end up going into a field all thanks to being exposed to career technical courses.

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