New courses to be offered in welding, construction trade and medical careers
Benicia High School’s Career Technical Education (CTE) department has long been a way for students to get hands-on experience in select fields before they have even set foot in college. This goal will continue on a bigger level, as the department will offer new courses in the fields of construction trade and medicine, as well as the return of two former courses that have been revitalized for 21st century learning.
In addition to its current offerings of robotics, AP Computer Science, engineering and architecture, digital media and introduction to digital photography, and the senior internship training course iQuest, the CTE department will be offering three new courses in the 2017-2018 school year: Construction and Building Trades 1, introduction to medical careers and basic welding/automotive training. Funding for these courses were provided through the Career and Technical Education Incentive Grant, a statewide educational grant which aims to provide K-12 students with the skills that allow them to transition to postsecondary schools as well as employments.
Auto shop and wood shop were long-time staples of Benicia High, but they went on hiatus in 2013 following the retirements of Eugene Cirese and Ed Muscolino respectively.
“It was difficult finding a new teacher,” department chair Annette Fewins said. “The grant enabled us to update our shops and hire teachers to establish the new programs.”
As in the previous wood shop course, students in Construction and Building Trades 1 will gain hands-on skills by working with woodcutting and power tools, but the course will go beyond just woodworking. Students will work with all aspects of the foundation of a home, from framing to electrical to plumbing.
“It’s a taste of pretty much everything,” Steve Shields, the teacher hired for the course next year, said. “They start out with hand tools and safety aspects and being able to work together in teams. “It will cover the basics of math, science and a little bit of history, such as how construction is used in our society and different jobs that are in the industry.”
Shields is currently working on setting up the new shop as well as purchasing new equipment and materials.
The other new course is introduction to medical careers, in which students explore the anatomy and physiology of the human body and apply knowledge to the medical fields. They will learn about the structure of the organ system and how it functions, diseases, disorders and medical terminology. The course will be taught by Sonya Seslar-Pagsolingan, a registered nurse who teaches at Unitek College as a vocational nursing instructor.
Shields said the new automotive course will be more than an auto shop course. It will also include welding and fabrication and cover the practical and theoretical application of maintaining and repairing vehicles.
The courses will all be part of new pathway programs for the school, sequential courses designed to support a career field. Students who complete two or three courses in a pathway earn certificates. Although the courses to be offered are all introductory, advanced courses in the fields are slated to be offered beginning in the following year.
“We are excited to offer these courses,” Fewins said. “Students are excited as well, as all of the new courses filled quickly. It’s great that students will be able to connect their education to their future careers and or college experiences.”
Shields hopes that students will gain the skills necessary and become aware of the many job opportunities available in the workforce.
“There are many jobs out there that are unfilled right now,” he said.
Shields said the new courses are also “a good way to work with your hands and create something, whether you use it as a profession or not, maybe as a hobby. You can take the knowledge that you learned from history, math or science classes and put them to practical use.”
He also hopes to have students from the courses participate in SkillsUSA and have students give back to the community by being able to fix signs or park benches.
Although registration is closed, the three courses will continue to be offered to students at all grade levels. For more information on the courses, contact Fewins at email@example.com.