Investment in Career Education
Investment in Career Education
Posted on 12/08/2021

On a recent fall afternoon, CK High students in the Future Healthcare Workers club gathered in a health sciences classroom. Teacher Katie Staker and club members gathered around lifelike plastic arms, complete with fluid-filled veins. After practicing sterile glove removal procedures, they practiced inserting needles to draw blood.

It was the type of activity career and technical education (CTE) instructors and leaders envisioned for the district’s new CTE spaces. 

The 2016 bond supported a transformation of career and technical education as CK Schools modernized secondary schools. The bond also supported new permanent classrooms, updated science labs, technology infrastructure, performing arts and athletics spaces. 

A new food science lab opened in 2018 as part of Klahowya’s addition project (image taken pre-pandemic).Night and Day Difference

New CTE spaces include modern equipment that would fit well into any hospital, aerospace, maritime, construction, or kitchen setting. Enhanced electrical wiring and other infrastructure allows schools to shift with industry needs.

“Our CTE programs right now are night and day different from what they were pre-construction,” said district CTE Director Mark Anderson.. “We’ve been able to update our programs to better align with industry standards.”

It’s still early in the transformation process, but CTE teachers and leaders are excited by early success stories. Boeing hired an Olympic High grad onto the manufacturing floor of its Redmond plant. Students graduate ready to start work at SafeBoats. The district formalized a partnership with Horizon Air. 

A manufacturing lab opened in 2018 as part of Olympic’s modernization and addition project (image taken pre-pandemic).Industry Needs

CK Schools had good CTE programs before 2016, said teacher Richard Gifford. But new facilities offered a chance to meet the needs of a wider variety of businesses and industries.

“Being in manufacturing, we’ve been having challenges from a labor standpoint, like a lot of other industries,” said Cindy McFarland, with SafeBoats. “We are looking for skilled labor, but the type of skilled labor that we need is hard to find.”

In addition to new equipment and facilities, the district has also been transforming its curriculum. It’s put more emphasis on fundamental skills that many industries report they need, such as math for manufacturing, using hand tools, or creative problem solving.

“We have the ability to meet that need with our students,” Gifford said.