Eighth-graders will get a chance to check out the James Valley Career and Technology Center and Jamestown High School at an orientation on Jan. 28.
“It’s kind of just an introduction to all that we have to offer both here at the Career and Tech Center and at the high school,” said Mike Soulis, guidance counselor at the Career and Technology Center.
The two houses of eighth-graders - about 90 in each house - will spend half a day at either place, then switch after lunch to the other.
“We feel it puts a more successful rate on their high school experience and graduation,” Soulis said of the event.
At the Career and Technology Center, students will spend 15 minutes in each of the seven subject areas offered there, said Soulis. Some hands-on activities are planned, he said.
Adam Gehlhar, principal at Jamestown High School, said the students will spend about 30 minutes in each area at the JHS. They will also practice using procedures for the lunch line at JHS, which are different from Jamestown Middle School.
At the high school, students will get a presentation on logisitics, adjusting and transitioning to high school from the administration and counseling team. They will participate in small group tours, led by the JHS Student Council, and team building. They will take part in activities exploration in the commons. Most student activities will have a booth to try and recruit future members, Gehlhar said.
The orientation event was first held about three or four years ago, Soulis said.
“To show off what we can do and what we do here at the CTC,” Soulis said of the reason to hold the event. “. … With the trend nowadays of occupations, there’s a high demand in the trade skills. Not every kid’s a four-year college kid and not every kid’s a two-year college kid. But we want to show them what we have to offer and what possibilities there out there for careers.”
Besides careers, the classes offered also help students with life skills, he said.
The Career and Technology Center offers programs in:
About 500 students a year take classes at the Career and Technology Center, Soulis said. Students attend from Jamestown and a few attend from Montpelier.
Soulis noted that the classes offered at the center are in demand in today’s workforce.
“I would say pretty much every area we offer is in demand and it’s getting to the point where businesses are offering programs to pay part of their schooling upon completion or with assistance in training,” he said. “In our area, we have construction tech. Hillerud’s (Hillerud Construction) has a sponsorship for construction tech. John Deere has it for our diesel programs. I know, working with the car dealerships, the auto body people have worked with our students in the past. There is not an area that we offer that isn't a high percentage of employment upon further education.”
Soulis said some students may think that attending a trade school is entering a lower paid occupation but that’s not true. Showing students what the center’s programs offer gives them other options to consider for their future.
“We want them to get inside our hallways. To see what we do,” Soulis said. “The academics part is very important, but if they can get a chance to come out and do hands-on stuff and work, and see the things that we can offer them, I’m hoping that one, they experiment and try an area, and two, maybe that works out to be a career choice for them.”
He said the orientation has benefits for students.
“It opens up the doors,” he said. “The more you can experience in high school, the more you’re not second-guessing or changing when you go to college or when you graduate from high school what you want to do. And we want to create more experiences for our kids so they’re put in a better spot to decide what they want to do for a career.”