This model and mission is unique from other schools in a variety of ways. First, having 4K-8 and 9-12th grade learning communities collaborating together to focus on building technical knowledge and skills at each grade level is unique. Workforce research shows that students, especially girls and students of color, start to make decisions about their interest and abilities in math and science by the 3rd grade. Starting early in technical education is a way to increase the diversity of technical higher education degree seekers and the workforce.
Second, this model is unique because it is planned with industry and educational partners at the table from the beginning. The idea of this expansion came out of the needs for high-skilled entry level workers in Kenosha and across the country. All four career paths chosen are in high demand; therefore, there are more job opportunities available than skilled workers to fill them.
Students in the high school will earn certifications that align with competencies identified by industry in all technical classes. Students will be able to showcase these competencies in a portfolio and career fair.
While this model prepares students for postsecondary education, the focus is on students being workforce ready by integrating career readiness skills (such as creativity, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving) at the end of high school. Students will be able to prosper at jobs in high-demand, high-skilled positions.
Finally, this proposal and KTEC’s school is about returning our students back to understanding the dignity of work. If we want our economy to prosper and grow, we need individuals to pursue careers in the trades and other technical fields.