Career technical education programs receive over half a million dollars in grant money |

Career technical education programs receive over half a million dollars in grant money

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Career Technical Education is a priority for the Nevada Joint Union High School District, as it’s consistently touted and emphasized by administrators.

At a district board meeting Wednesday night, district director of career technical education and state and federal programs Aurora Thompson demonstrated she’s continuing to support that theme.

This past year, Thompson helped the district accrue about a half million dollars in grant money for career technical education. A grant of $82,403 for this year was awarded to help the district organize career technical education pathways; a Strong Workforce grant gave the district $228,720 over three years to help with staffing costs and curriculum development; and another three-year Strong Workforce grant of $303,043 will help the district coordinate internships for the program.

Thompson has applied for another set of grants for culinary, agricultural and construction courses totaling almost $4 million. The director said she will know whether the program is awarded the money on April 6.

To be eligible for the $82,403 — part of a Career Technical Education Incentive Grant — career technical education courses need to get an aggregated average score of at least 27 out of 45, a ranking determined based on course enrollment numbers, whether students complete career technical education pathways and whether they enter jobs or programming similar to their pathway after completion.

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During the 2018-19 school year, Nevada Joint Union High School district scored 28.

In addition to strengthening all career technical education programs, Thompson has a particular focus on building programs that feed into jobs with the highest demand in the northern California region, namely public service, health care and construction sectors.

Some of the more robust district programs include agricultural courses, said Thompson, as it maintains strong relationships with local industry partners.

“So it really serves as a model for the other pathways,” she said.

One of the issues Thompson must navigate in her position is whether to encourage students to explore different pathways, since if they explore too much, they may not complete a pathway, thereby failing to give the district an opportunity to get more money for a particular course.

“I always try to be balanced in that it’s not all about the money,” said Thompson, “I would never discourage a student” from exploring different options.

Mostly, the career technical education director said she tries to balance student priorities and remain responsive to their needs.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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