TEMPLE, Texas—The workforce in Temple, Texas, is skilled, trained and readily available due in part to the local school districts’ focus on high quality Career and Technology Education (CTE) Programs. During the past three and a half years, Belton ISD, which has several schools within the Temple city limits, has experienced 91 percent growth in its CTE program since it was revamped to reflect career clusters outlined by AchieveTexas, a statewide education initiative by the Texas Education Agency designed to combine rigorous academics with relevant career education. In addition, next year Temple ISD plans to launch a new five-year CTE program that includes three main career path options: health science, technology and telecommunications, and human services—all of which support career clusters outlined by AchieveTexas.
Temple EDC Vice President Charley Ayres said having strong workforce development programs help attract more businesses to the area.
“In addition to a steady stream of well-trained, high-integrity veterans transitioning out of the military every month from Fort Hood, we also have excellent school districts with strong Career and Technology programs in Temple,” Ayres said. “Most businesses claim that their greatest assets are their staff. Having a strong workforce in Temple allows businesses to grow and thrive.”
In a CTE program overhaul several years ago, Belton ISD began offering classes that are more interesting to students, such as media technology and additional high tech classes, and the program began to grow. Each year since, a significant higher number of students enroll in the CTE program than the year before.
Belton ISD also began incorporating some existing courses into the CTE program. For example, students can opt to take forensic science, advanced animal science, advanced plant and soil science or anatomy as a fourth-year science course.
It is not just the courses that make classes more interesting and engaging for students; Belton ISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Ed Braeuer said it is also crucial to provide the right guidance and the best teachers.
“Our CTE program administrator and a facilitator partner with the school counselors to guide students toward the CTE programs that are in line with their interests,” Braeuer said. “We have so many options for students to learn and gain career-related experience at Belton High School through the more than 70 CTE classes we offer. We provide opportunities in 15 of the 16 career clusters identified by AchieveTexas.”
Braeuer said the CTE team is also focused on hiring the right teachers for the jobs—and that means people who bring energy and fun to learning.
Belton ISD works with area businesses to understand their workforce needs. An advisory board helps guide the direction of the CTE program, and several Memorandums of Understanding are in place with organizations such as Scott & White Healthcare and Seton Medical Center, local construction companies, and many others. This helps to ensure that the CTE program is teaching the techniques that are currently being used in the respective industries. For example, in the construction cluster, the students use nail guns instead of hammers.
“What we do in our CTE program is very fluid,” Braeuer said. “Our educational curriculum and the tools and techniques that we teach constantly evolve to match the industries so that our students can enter the workforce prepared, trained and confident.”
Through the CTE program, students can achieve certifications and save time and money, allowing them to enter the workforce sooner. For example, licensed vocational nurses can complete post-secondary classes and certification in two semesters instead of three after taking courses in high school.
Statistics prove that the Belton ISD CTE program is successful. Not only has the program grown substantially, but nearby Temple College offers a nursing program in which one in 10 students who apply get accepted; however half of the students who were in the CTE vocational nursing program at Belton High School were accepted into the Temple College nursing program last year.
The new five-year CTE program at Temple ISD allows students to enter the program as early as eighth grade. Each career path will offer high school students the opportunity to secure industry certifications upon completion of the program. Certain juniors and seniors can participate in internships during a two-hour block of the school day to gain invaluable on-site training and real-world experience.
“The goal is for Temple ISD students to graduate high school with a strong academic foundation to make them marketable to immediately enter the workforce or go to college,” said Temple ISD Superintendent Robin Battershell. “We are in touch with the businesses community to ensure that our educational programs stay relevant and cutting edge.”
Many Temple ISD CTE students will be able to graduate from high school with the training and certifications needed to immediately enter the local workforce.
Business partners are needed to contribute to the development of each course. While Scott & White Healthcare has already committed to partnering with Temple ISD to develop the health science career path, businesses are needed for the technology and telecommunications and the human services courses.
TISD has credentials and a long history in supporting workforce development. Travis Science Academy, a middle school in Temple ISD, is in the first year of a three-year path to pursue authorization as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy, which is a commitment to high-quality, challenging international education.
Next academic year, Scott Elementary School will also begin the Primary Years Program to pursue authorization as an IB school. Temple High School became an IB authorized school in 1992 and is one of only 46 IB authorized high schools in Texas.
About Belton ISD
Belton ISD has a proud tradition of excellence in education. Our mission is to ensure that every child achieves maximum educational potential. Belton ISD currently serves 9,800 students at 13 campuses spread across approximately 200 square miles in Bell County. Students attend eight elementary schools, three middle schools, one traditional high school and one New Tech high school. Belton ISD is committed to attracting and retaining high-performing administation, faculty, and staff who reflect the values of the community, serve as positive role models, exhibit moral excellence, and are committed to achieving excellence for all students. Belton ISD provides a variety of programs and services to ensure each child receives a quality education. For more information, visit www.bisd.net.
About Temple ISD
Temple ISD is a 5A school district with two early childhood centers (Pre-K), nine elementary schools (K-5), three middle schools (6-8) two high schools (9-12) and an alternative education campus. Temple ISD serves a very diverse student body of approximately 8,900 students and is the fourth largest employer in Temple with approximately 1,300 employees. Through the years, Temple ISD has produced 200 National Merit Scholar Award winners, including Black Achievement and Hispanic Recognition Scholars. The school district’s motto is: Offering families a GLOBAL education, right here in Central Texas. Visit www.tisd.org for more information.
Temple, Texas, is a community with a diverse economic base that includes healthcare, distribution and warehousing, and manufacturing as its foundation. Within 200 miles of a population of 19 million, Temple is in a strategic location that is central within the Southwest U.S. marketplace. Visit choosetemple.com.